29 January 2021
Report on a small study conducted
The Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) Policy Special Committee of the OpenStreetMap Foundation has been asked by the Board of Directors to assess the degree to which Free and/or Open Source Software or Services are being used within the OpenStreetMap Foundation (OSMF), the board itself, the different working groups, and committees. This analysis focuses on collaborative services to be used over the Internet. The FOSS Policy Special Committee was explicitly excluding the software used by the community at large, local chapters, or systems running on personal computers.
18 July 2020
The Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team (HOT) is opening board elections, and I am delighted to be invited by Miriam Gonzales a.k.a. Mapanauta, Nathalie Sidibe (both current board members) and Enock Seth Nyamador to run for it.
I am a long-time member of HOT, which I joined in 2013 when I was conducting mapping projects during my residency in Nicaragua. Since then I have supported HOT in many ways, from managing the website in the early days to working later as a project manager on the initial machine learning initiatives and leading the technical team to implement version 4 of Tasking Manager.
07 May 2020
Launch of version 4 of the software for teams in OpenStreetMap
The Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team (HOT) has launched the latest software version 4 of Tasking Manager. It comes with a number of enhancements that will improve users’ experience of collaborative mapping in OpenStreetMap. You can check it out now on the HOT Tasking Manager or watch this video to see it in action and what has changed.
Tasking Manager has evolved: technically and visually. Guided by our community of users, who participated in our user experience discovery, and the HOT tech team listened.
08 August 2019
Three directions to choose from
Many cities in the world need digital public transportation solutions: a World Bank study estimated for the year 2015 that 35% of the world’s largest cities and 92% of the largest cities in low and middle-income countries, do not have complete transit maps for planning or passenger information. This is currently undergoing a rapid change with new technologies. A lot of cities have started planning or implementing digital systems around public transportation data and services. One of the primary uses of technology in public transportation is to provide a passenger information system, or transit navigator or journey planning apps. This article gives a quick overview of the options cities have to successfully create one. Without reinventing the wheel – which would be a bad idea anyway – cities have three general directions they can choose from.
27 May 2019
The simplest Open Source passenger information system
OpenStreetMap’s mobile application OsmAnd included recently time-less offline routing for public transportation in their Android version. This closes the gap of crowd-sourced mapping of public transport lines and stops to be provided directly as a useful digital tool that people can use - a minimal viable product made by and for a worldwide community of practice! Now, every single bus line, which has been put on OpenStreetMap becomes directly useful for everybody who just installs the OsmAnd application. This is a huge opportunity especially for the many cities in the world with a public transportation system, but without a map of it.
14 March 2019
How to apply the successful and empowering principles of Agile Software Development to general project management in all kind of contexts
Most endeavours that involve several people or organizations require coordination. This is mostly captured by the term Project Management. This article introduces you to Agile Methodologies, which can be used in all kind of teams.
02 August 2018
How OpenStreetMap data was made available to people's smartphones
After the Nicaraguan OpenStreetMap community crowd-sourced with over 250 interested citizens the data of their capital’s public transportation system in OpenStreetMap, a schematic paper map was created from this data. In a next step the community wanted to offer state-of-the-art routing applications to the visitors and inhabitants of Managua. For this, the data from OpenStreetMap was combined with also crowd-sourced schedule information by the Sofware tool osm2gtfs. The result is the common format for public transport data - GTFS -, which was then possible to include into existing applications, where the data can be used now…
24 January 2018
Convert data from OpenStreetMap into GTFS
osm2gtfs is a community based initiative for the development of a versatil tool to convert data from OpenStreetMap about public transport, combine it with external schedule information in order to create a General Transit Feed (GTFS). The Software has been programmed by community members of Brasil, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and France. Now osm2gtfs can be used without any programming skills, whenever using our defined input format. And, of course, with programming skills it is always flexibly extendedable to support any other city’s particularities and sources for schedules.
25 October 2017
Article about OpenStreetMap in the print magazine of the Austrian Scientific Exchange Service (OeAD News)
For the two students Taalaikul (15), Ulsana (16) and their teacher Kaiyrgul from the remote village of Jani-Talap, which lies on the edge of the roof of the world - on the Himalayas in the Tien Shan Mountains in Kyrgyzstan - water is the central theme. In the spring, the area is regularly flooded during the snowmelt, but after a few weeks, the wide river bed, which runs past the edge of the village, dries out for the rest of the year. The environment of the village appears dry and barren in summer, snowy in winter.
18 December 2016
Giving a keynote speach at the ministry's award ceremony about 'Missing Maps: Participation Technologies for Disaster Relief'
Austria’s Federal Ministry of Science, Research and Economy organizes every year a national competition on Citizen Science. Mid of December 2016, the winners were awarded in the Festival Hall of the University of Vienna. The Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team was invited to give a talk about our work, and it was an honour to spread the word about Open Data for the good.
06 August 2016
OpenStreetMap workshops with teachers and high school children of 10 rural villages in Kyrgyzstan
OpenStreetMap workshops with teachers and high school children of 10 rural villages in Kyrgyzstan. The Kyrgyz Mountains Environmental Education and Citizen Science project aims at developing simple tools and activities for teachers to learn and conduct scientific investigations on the water resources around their village, and make the collected data publicly available.
19 May 2016
Nicaragua's experience with child and youth participation
Over the last couple of years several individuals of the Nicaraguan OpenStreetMap community MapaNica.net colaborated fruitfully in various ocations with UNICEF Nicaragua to experiment with participatory geotechnologies and children and adolsecents on the caribbean coast of the country. Jointly we created a publication about the systematization of processes carried out to empower girls, boys, adolescents and young people in the most vulnerable areas by the use and implementation of participatory technologies.
02 February 2016
Passengers created the public transportation map of Managua
When there is no map for the 1670 kilometers of metropolitan Managua’s public 45 bus lines network, there is only one thing you and anybody can do: Ask the people in the buses how to get from one point to another. The passengers of this complex - and naturally grown network within the capital - know most about it. And two years ago, a group of inhabitants of Managua by own initiative decided to take the feat and create the first bus network map in whole Central America.
18 December 2015
Wide collaboration to find a common identity for a community
In preparation of new great things we are developing in the Nicaraguan OpenStreetMap community - and which I obviously don’t want to spoil right now - we had a wonderful collaboration with Nicaragua’s most progressive design studio NINFUS to create a better logo for the community. Together with the most active people in the community we went on several iterations until we came up with this proposal. The new logo looks really great and is much more practical than before, as this has less colours and works also in smaller scales.
30 October 2015
Net-Neutrality violations lead to a dark age for an Internet of opportunities and social development in Nicaragua
The base of a free Internet, where all information packages are treated equally without any discrimination is in danger. In Nicaragua, these developments already lead to an internet of three classes, where the poorest have least opportunities. And very remarkably, the people fall blindly into the shiny lies of the telecommunication industry.
18 May 2015
The pros and cons of a law proposal for the 'Promotion and Development of the National Broadband Network of Telecommunication Services' in Nicaragua
Not everything in the world is just black and white. And this applies also to the new initiative for the ‘Law for the Promotion and Development of the National Broadband Network of Telecommunication Services’. There are good aspects, but there are also others that leak of profoundness and some should be criticized and modified in the interest of the Nicaraguan people.
18 April 2015
Implementation of a collaborative, crowd-sourced Geographic Information System for humanitarian aid and economic development
The Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team is based on the principle that free map data would be a tremendous benefit for humanitarian aid and economic development and the main activity are the organization of activations of worldwide volunteers to collaborate all together over the OpenStreetMap platform to raise geographic data for disaster response after natural catastrophes (such as the recent Ebola outbreak 2014, the tsunami 2013 in the Philippines or the earthquake in Haiti 2010). This information is then freely available for everybody but in particular to organizations and government working in the field to safe people’s life and improve the situation on the ground.
17 April 2015
New principles become old principles again - rethinking cultural creation
We are in a very extreme situation, where our laws about creative works differ a lot from the way how humankind lives culture. And the new media, through it’s extensive connectivity to all of us worldwise, is bringing us back the thousands-of-year-old nature to celebrate read-write culture, which we were constantly converting into read-only culture over the last century.
09 April 2015
Collaborative maps for social progress and education in Nicaragua
Free geodata technologies have been used to map the city of Bluefields Southern Caribbean Coast Autonomous Region (RACCS) of Nicaragua. This initiative strengthened the capacities of local actors with respect to their knowledge of social mapping. It also involved the participation of children and adolescents, as well as students and teachers from the Bluefields Indian Caribbean University (BICU) and the University of the Autonomous Regions of the Nicaraguan Caribbean Coast (URACCAN), under the coordination of MapaNica (OpenStreetMap Nicaragua) with UNICEF support.
29 January 2015
Testing the process of requesting a CCTV video footage in the UK
During vacations, using of the the massive camera surveillance in the UK in order to request CCTV images from institutions or companies, instead of being disturbed all the time by taking own photos on vacations in England. UK’s Data Protection Act states that people are allowed to request CCTV footages of themselves.
06 January 2015
How the once highly praised technology now become finally available for everybody
Some years ago there was a hype on the use of short message service (SMS) communication solutions especially in the IT for Development context and countries in Africa. And indeed, some remarkable projects came out of this: Such as using SMS for HIV/AIDS education in Uganda, providing farmers with relevant information through SMS in India, China, Indonesia and Nigeria and convenient money transfer over SMS in Kenya and Tanzania.
26 November 2014
Four examples how Open Data can actually help us
To share – it is that easy and very human, but less and less common practice. But with the Internet and New Technology humankind could rather leverage sharing to a new level which would imply progress and benefit for all. There are some movements that already do this, Free Software, Open Data and a lot of artists and photographs that publish their work with explicit permit to the use for everybody.
07 November 2014
Crowdsourcing geo information at the Carribean Coast
Last week Porifrio and myself, as members of the OpenStreetMap Nicaragua community, traveled to Bilwi, Puerto Cabezas, the capital of the Autonomous Region of the Northern Caribbean Coast. The trip was made possible with the support by UNICEF Nicaragua, which we highly appreciate. We were for four days in Bilwi to present the OpenStreetMap Nicaragua initiative and build alliances with interested groups and institutions.
23 September 2014
Second article in my column 'Brave new digital world' in Confidential.com.ni
We have built a system that allows tracking almost any person on this planet and we have not incorporated any suitable mechanism of control. We now know that all this is very out of control, but we are far away from being able to do anything about it.
26 August 2014
First article in my column 'Brave new digital world' in Confidential.com.ni
According to the Internet World Stats, Nicaragua is the second last of all countries in Latin America when it comes to Internet connectivity, after Haiti. In Nicaragua, most users use the internet mainly to communicate and entertain themselves, not so much to learn, to shop or to perform working activities. According to a study by the Center for Spanish Language Media at the University of North Texas, Latin American youths spend an average of 86 minutes on Facebook, daily. But the truth is that instead of enjoying pleasurable activities like talking, meeting new people, studying, eating, dancing and spending time with our friends, we end up sharing badly written notes and amusing photos from one corner of the cyberspace with an established network of persons who we call “friends”, and they, again, are also sitting behind a computer. It provides the illusion as if we were doing meaningful things and cultivating our friendships. Instead of living real life experiences, in fact, we are only managing our own virtual identity. We are connected, yes, but in a way bonded with our legs to the desk. Facebook isolates us on our devices.
20 December 2013
Neutralidad de red, vigilancia, censura y los provedores de servicio
A nivel mundial la neutralidad de red, censura y vigilancia en linea, se ha convertido en un tema central y urgente. Ya que se puede observar compañías tratando de hacer mayor negocio vendiéndo el Internet de servicio en servicio y hasta vendiéndo los datos personales de sus clientes a terceros. También existen algunos gobiernos cuyo objetivo es controlar a ciudadanos y ciudadanas por medio de medidas en contra de los principios de una red neutral y el acceso libre a información o almacenando una gran canitidad de datos para espiar a la población. Aunque hay algunos países, entre ellos Nicaragua, en donde este no ha sido un tema de interés. Por lo cuál, como residente de este lindo país, quisiera contribuir dando una primera base de información con el conocimiento que tengo, tomando siempre en cuenta que este artículo no pretende cubrir todos los aspectos del asunto.
20 December 2013
Net neutrality, surveillance, censorship and the ISPs
All over the world discussions are emerging on net neutrality, online censorship and surveillance as urgent topics. As we can see, companies try to sell the internet service by service or even the data a about their clients in order to make more money off of their clients. And as well as some governments who’s aim is to control their citizens by violating their principals of a neutral web, free access to information and collecting data by spying on the population. Still, there are some countries, Nicaragua being one of them, that are (almost) not suspects to investigation. As a resident of this lovely country, I would like contribute by giving an overview of issues I personally am aware of, but taking into account that this article cannot be claimed fully accurate.
09 October 2013
Talk at Nicaragua's local TEDx event about the Nicaraguan OpenStreetMap community
This year, I participated at TEDxManagua in Nicaragua with my talk in Spanish language ‘The map is in your hands’ (El mapa está en tus manos), about maps in a country where the streets have no name, community initiatives by active citizens and building the first map of Managua’s public transportation system.
18 August 2013
Presenting the initiatives of the Nicaraguan OpenStreetmap community
I had the honor to be invited and received a scholarship to attend and give a talk at the yearly edition of the State Of The Map US conference in beautiful San Francisco. A great community, with nice and interesting individuals and a very well organized, expiring conference made it all over a superb experience. It is remarkable that OpenStreetMap is a community project at an exploding point. A lot of innovation can be observed. The atmosphere of having fun with what people are doing is constantly present and a lot of start-ups and bigger companies are discovering business models, using Open Geo Data.
16 April 2013
Mapping the bus lines of Nicaragua's capital
At the first OpenStreetMap event in Managua the Mapertulia last December we initiated the idea of getting the information about bus lines in Managua mapped collaboratively. So we started now with a Mapping Party: A whole (sun)day beginning with an introductory session in the morning, then field work – mapping in the buses. After lunch another workshop about how to introduce the obtained information from the morning into OpenStreetMap, the wonderful world wide free and open map available for everybody to use or build upon it in any way. And in the afternoon coffee, fruit drinks, later some beers, sticking together and working, inserting the newly mapped bus lines into the global server.
19 March 2013
From 13th to 15th of March 2013 the third Drupal Summit Latino 2013 has taken place in Loja, Ecuador, after the first in Lima, Peru and the second in Guadalajara, Mexico. Once again the Drupal community from all Latin America gathered at one locality to share knowledge, rock Drupal at a new place, getting to know each other (better), plan future activities and enjoy good company. The event was held at the local university Universidad Tecnica Particular de Loja, which provided a good service, meeting rooms for BoFs and speakers as well talkrooms for a total of five tracks on the same time.
01 March 2013
The first Drupalcamp in this country
The first DrupalCamp in Bolivia took place from 21st to 23rd of February in the Universidad Católica Boliviana “San Pablo” in Cochabamba. A city, that it’s population also call kindly “Llajta” (Quechua meaning for “perfect place to live”). A big success: Three days of Drupal brought to this beautiful country, organized by the local community with support by international specialists. Did I say three days? Actually this camp were four days: One day before the official start Juan Pablo from Spain held a great code sprint for the Devel module. A really valuable initiative to help people getting involved more into contributing, learning, participating and forming actively this great open source project Drupal.
13 February 2013
The first co-working office in Managua
Inspired by other co-working offices I could experience all over the world and being tired of working alone at home, together with Leandro Gomez we took the initiative to open a real creative space in Nicaragua and this way co-labora was born. Looking for a physical place we allied us to the Cultural Center Quilombo, with which we share the same spirit and philosophy.
21 December 2012
Community building around OpenStreetMap in Nicaragua
Because of the fortunate increasing interest in mapping in Managua, after some different activities, like the mapping party initiative we realized with some students in the Universidad Centroamericana to complete the information in OpenStreetMap used for the porpuse of this map I built for the Debian Conference 2012 and as well a talk I gave lately about Open Data, putting a focus on OpenStreetMap as the mayor example in the National Festival about Free Software this same month. I decided to propose a meeting about OpenStreetMap, so the first ‘Mapertulia’ was born. About 30 people showed up to know more about colabortive mapping and how to use open maps for their benefit.
27 September 2012
DrupalCon South America reloaded
The Latin American Drupal Community keeps on working with a lot of motivation! A lot of people from the whole continent are forming a team to [organize together the DrupalPicchu in the beginning of 2014! Picchu means Summit in quechua (native indigenous language), so DrupalPicchu means DrupalSummit. This gives an original name to such an important historic event for the Drupal Latin Community.
17 September 2012
Reflections about DrupalCons in a global community
The very sad news about the cancellation of the DrupalCon in São Paulo has reached us volunteers surprisingly one day before the official announcement. The Drupal Association (DA) board took this decision because of the lack of interest (in session proposals and scholarship applicants) and sponsors which lead to the obvious lack of money.
07 August 2012
DebConf12 in Nicaragua
DebConf is a highlight of the Debian year, when the community comes together for hacking, presentations and discussion sessions, and just to spend time face-to-face with other contributors who are normally only names on a mailing list or nicks on IRC. This year DebConf took place in Managua, in the beautiful Central American country of Nicaragua.
18 April 2012
Registration is open
This year the 13th Debian Conference (DebConf) is going to happen for the first time in Central America. From 8th to 14th of July 2012 developers and contributors of the universal operating system from all over the world are heading to Managua, Nicaragua. Last year’s DebConf hosted in Bosnia-Herzegovina had over 350 attendees from 46 countries.
18 April 2012
A small tool for the Via Campesina - International Peasant Movement to visualize agrarian conflicts
The Central American activists from La Via Campesina asked my to help them to build an easy tool as an online observatory for agrarian conflicts. Today, on the International Day of Peasant’s Struggle, this website has gone online. Built with Drupal it was an easy task to create rapidly an useful tool to store the information and visualize such important incident for the global unity among peasants, landless, women farmers and rural youth.
13 June 2011
The third DrupalCamp in the region
Last month, in June 2011, the third DrupalCamp in Centralamerica has been taken part in the venue of the pacific headquaters of the University of Costa Rica in Puntarenas. In total 168 persons from Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua y Panamá assisted from the region as well as visitors from Colombia, Germany, Peru and the United States of America. There was a huge participation by people from different Drupal communities, private companies and public institutions. Most participants were professionals working in areas of graphic design, marketing, providers and programmers of services (technical support, software and web development), products or training related to Drupal and Free Software. There was also a strong participation of students and professors from University of Costa Rica.
03 March 2011
Spanish Drupal tutorials and learning materials for the community
Recently I was giving two intensive Drupal 7 workshops and trainings. One at the Universidad Nacional in Heredia, Costa Rica, sponsored by a United Nations Development Programme finanzed project in Costa Rica “TICs Capacity Building through the Use of Free Software to Promote and Strengthen Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMEs)”. And the other one at ISIC (Instituto de Informática y Comercio) in Managua, Nicaragua. Together with Leo Arias we prepared the materials of these trainings and made them publicly available at aprende.drupal-centroamerica.org.
14 February 2011
First Drupal event for entire Latin America
Being part of the main organization team I’m really glad to write about the first Drupal event oriented to the whole Latin American audience happened in Peru, Lima from 27th to 29th of January 2011. Over 250 persons from 16 Latin American countries and Belgium, Spain and the United States of America came together to share knowledge and experience about Drupal. During these three days, I almost would call them a historical momement, we had the oppurtunity to get to know each other and seeing the faces of people from the whole continent and Europe and we were able to set the base for future colaborations and the formation of a global Spanish speaking Drupal community.
01 July 2010
The second time Drupal is being celebrated in Central America
Last weekend (25 and 26 June 2010) took place the second DrupalCamp in Central America, the venue was this time the education center INTECAP in Guatemala. With 264 participants, it exceeded by more than double the number of participants for the DrupalCamp 2009 in Nicaragua.It brought together people from many fields: developers, designers, users, and both national and international companies to discuss the CMS/Framework Drupal. Another specific objective of the DrupalCamp was to strength and extend the still quite young Drupal community in Central America.
22 June 2009
Getting to know the movements and communities
From the 17th of June till 21th of June 2009 the First Central American Free Software Summit was taking place in Nicaragua’s northern mountains close to Estelí. Over 80 persons met from all Central American countries and some others from the all over the world (Mexico, Venezuela, Spain, Austria and Germany). Everybody was connected through the common ideology of Free Software and sharing. The majority of the attendants actively participate within local Linux User Groups inside of their countries. On the summit everybody loved to discuss topics like Free Software and government, Translation and adaption of open licenses to local jurisdictions, the role of women and Free Software in education.
20 April 2009
Organizing the first DrupalCamp in Centralamerica.
The first DrupalCamp in Central America took place 18th of april in Managua, Nicaragua. The all-day event aimed to actively form a community of professional drupalers from all Central American countries.