Mapping USA 2024 Conference Recap

On a chilly Friday in New York, our team attended and presented at OpenStreetMap’s (OSM) virtual conference, Mapping USA 2024. We love to continue to meet more of the OSM community and learn more about everyone’s fascinating projects and perspectives. 

This conference is dedicated to bringing together map lovers, GIS connoisseurs, and passionate people on how we represent our physical space in digital space. Talks ranged in topics from discussing how vital communities are to OSM, and how data quality has been studied widely but OSM goes beyond just data, to efforts to map various parts of the country (Scottsdale, rural New York, and Chaffee County, Colorado, to name a few), to useful user-made tools such as machine learning architecture that suggests missing road surface tags from overhead imagery. We want to share some of our favorite talks, our takeaways, and a synopsis of Dimitri’s presentation.

A great moment Minh Nguyễn’s talk on “Too many tabs: leveraging sister projects to stay organized”

Our Three Favorite Talks

  1. Maps at Meta by Christopher Beddow 

Maps at Meta took the floor to highlight the importance of maps and why we should contribute to them. This presentation also spotlighted the various applications of maps at Meta, from crisis response to business discovery–and featured generous shoutouts to BetaNYC!

Watch here: Maps at Meta – Christopher Beddow

  1. Too many tabs: leveraging sister projects to stay organized by Minh Nguyễn

Minh shared a topic that many of us can probably relate to–having too many tabs! This talk touched on some helpful tips to maintain focus, mapping on the road, and introduced a helpful tool to store your web pages when building a wiki or other data directory. Hopefully, it can also help you to close some of those tabs.

Watch here: Too many tabs: leveraging sister projects to stay organized – Minh Nguyễn 

  1. A behind-the-scenes look at OpenStreetMap mapping: It’s not all about data production by Levente Juhász

This presentation focuses on an aspect of any public data platform that can be easy to overlook: the users behind the data! Levente Juhász shared an early look at a developing project to profile the OSM community in part by aggregating user data across mailing lists, online wikipedias, and OpenStreetMap user records.

Watch here: A behind-the-scenes look at OSM mapping: It’s not all about data production – Levente Juhász 

Q&A with Dimitri Mimy after his presentation 

Dimitri Mimy, BetaNYC’s Fellowship Associate, delivered a project update on Mapping for Equity on OSM. This project is where BetaNYC’s Civic Innovation Fellows, undergraduate students, have created a public space data playbook that empowers communities and individuals to collect, verify, and analyze public realm data. If you missed it, watch it here: BetaNYC’s Mapping for Equity on OpenStreetMap: Project Update! – Dimitri Mimy 

We want to share some questions we asked him about his experience and his responses. 

Q: In general, this being your first conference presentation–what did it feel like, and what did you learn?

A: I was nervous at first, but the environment was so friendly and had such an air of mutual interest that I ultimately felt very comfortable! It was great to share what we [BetaNYC] were doing in our corner of OSM and to interact with people and their questions in real-time. It was great!

Q: Did anything surprise you about the conference in general?

A: I was surprised by the sheer diversity of projects and activities presented by members of the OSM community–from forest mapping to building a Wikipedia of highways and roads, and even a community profiling project on the users behind OpenStreetMap data, there was really something for everyone!

Q: What are you most proud of as far as how you prepared or how you presented at the conference?

A: I am proudest of how I utilized my notes during my presentation–I felt like I was able to share our central message fairly quickly, and I enjoyed the opportunity to chat with other members of the community to share additional insights in my remaining time.

nicole on #mapping-usa OSM slack channel gives props

Thank you!

Can you tell we enjoyed ourselves? We are grateful for the opportunity to continue to present and collaborate with the OSM community–thank you to everyone on the OSM team (Maggie, Quincy, Diane, Brian to name a few folks) who work tirelessly to make conferences like this happen. They are integral to keeping the community alive, and we appreciate you. 

With that said, we are also excited to announce that we have been awarded the State of the Map 2024 conference scholarship! This will allow our team members to travel to Salt Lake City for three days in June to attend, collaborate with more OSM-ers, and present updates on the work our Civic Innovation Fellows do in the Mapping for Equity project! We are so grateful and see you all in Salt Lake City.