OSM and polish local governments - question from a french geomatician

Witam z Lyon (France)!

Ne mowy po-polsku (wszestko zapomnialem), psze proszam, ale mowy po-engelsku!

So, I will go on in english, sorry, and I hope that you will forgive me!

First of all, I would like to say that I’m impressed by the OSM Polish community dynamism! I wish It was the same in France one day… May be!

When I saw the video http://vimeo.com/2598878 “One year of edit”, showing how 2008 was a turning point for OpenStreetMap, I noticed that something quite sudden happened in Poland during this year : we can see that suddenly the whole country is colorized by new data. That’s the first reason why my attention was focused on Poland.

I have two questions:

  • what happened in that time: who gave the data? The UMP? What where the consequences?
  • more than all, I would like to know if OSM is professionnaly used by the polish local governments (Miasta, Województwa, or so on…). And if it is the case, who could I join in order to have an exchange with him about this experience (or experiment?).

I thank you everybody for your attention.
Serge Mang (Lyon, France, Poland great fan)

Things are not that good as they may seemÂ…

UMP, where we have a lot of data from, is another community project to create free map, started by Garmin users. So other group of volunteers shared their date with us. There are still some legal issues about that, as we cannot be sure UMP data is not tainted by any copyrightÂ…

Still no government office will share map data with us. Our law doesn’t allow that — even though the data is collected for public money, it is not public. One must pay to get a map from government and he is not allowed to freely distribute it. So most available maps, including the official government materials are copyrighted and thus not available to OSM. We are on our own.

I was not here back in 2008… I can say a bit about how I see the current progress.

I think the UMP project is the most important source of data currently. It’s focused on producing maps for navigation, so their road network is much more complete than of OSM. They have a lot more interesting data, though - that means forests or rivers, for example. You can see their data at http://mapa.ump.waw.pl/

You asked about the consequences - the most visible one, at least for me, is the existence of dense rectangles of roads in some parts of Poland, cut along the edges of UMP regions. Their data is sometimes inaccurate - they use a different road classification system, so ideally, the data imported should be reviewed carefully. Probably because of that, some people don’t want their areas to be imported from UMP.

I think using OSM data has little point so far, as the map is far from complete. There are spots of order in the areas of mappers activity, but the rest of the map isn’t really usable, because of the incomplete road network and the village names being outdated. Maybe that will change in the future, but there’s a lot to do yet. Therefore I doubt any officials are using the data. If I were one of them, I’d rather use UMP, if any.

If you mean this:

then it’s not Poland, but Belarus.
See description below the video:

Dzenkuje bardzo.

Shame on me: I played the video once, and It passed so fast that I made a confusion that cannot be forgived. I saw Poland… And it was Belarus!!! No excuses…
I’m so sorry! You will think: “oh, once again, a French guy who doesn’t care where the hell is Poland!” Please, beleve me: I know where it is and its shape, but it was really too fast! And after, when I saw OSM on Warshawa, I was really impressed: you have a lot of buildings, for example.
But OK, Warshawa is not whole Poland…

Thank you for all your answers and “little” corrections… I will die less fool… and will ask to osm-belarus!