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  • Thematic extracts of OpenStreetMap data

    Oct. 17, 2011

    OpenStreetMap’s database is huge – currently a full dump of its 1.2 billion points, 110 million lines and one million relations is over 9 gigabytes in size, and can take hours or days to process depending on your task and available hardware. Some contributors make parts of the data available in country-specific extracts, a good example of how state-imposed spatial structure is reproduced even in independent and international projects, for lack of an alternative reference framework. For creating world- and transnational maps, these extracts are more or less useless.

    Today we are making available two initial global thematic extracts of OpenStreetMap data. These datasets cover the whole globe, but contain only a small fraction of OSM’s data that fits a specific theme. One of the datasets contains all motorways (all OSM ways tagged highway=motorway), the other one all major railways (ways tagged railway=rail, excluding service=* and any usage except main). You can find these extracts as zipped shapefiles on our data page.

    We will experiment further with improved filtering techniques to eliminate irrelevant geometries (such as parallel railway tracks or inner-city details of railway and highway networks), and we will also try to provide the data in OSM’s PBF format to support further processing with OSM’s toolkit.

    If you are interested in the technical approach to extract data from OSM’s huge planet dump file, you can find some hints on Flo’s blog.

  • Mimi & Eunice – Walls

    July 18, 2011

    From the online cartoon Mimi and Eunice:

  • is online!

    June 3, 2011

    While we are still preparing the very first release of our maps, the ›maps without borders‹ site went online. As usual for catchy names, the .com, .org and .net domains were sold already (but, also as usual, there’s nothing but ads on them), so we went for the still rarely used supranational .eu top level domain. While our maps will not be Europe only, we still feel it reflects what will probably (for pragmatic reasons like lack of travel budget ;) our main focus of research.

    Have fun exploring the site!