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.
Al together 28 excited participants split up into nine groups mapping a total of nine and a half bus lines. Equipped with a printed map of Managua some pencils, a pencil sharpener and a GPS logging device, keeping traces in two different places. As precise information is not required in this case we could easily use smartphones to track the route of the buses.
An expected difficulty were the position and names of the bus stops. This is usually handled mostly in a very flexible way here in Nicaragua. Nevertheless there are defined bus stops, by definition of official regulations or by custom. And having the data about the bus stops would be the really first important step for any routing functionality in the future. Making good friend with the bus driver was a helpful way to gain such information, and a nice opportunity to talk about mapping, the city and more than one interesting story about curious incidents happening in the buses.
The teams are still in the process of populating the mapped information into OpenStreetMap. Status and more information can be found at the wiki page about bus routes in Managua.
It was a great day, everybody enjoyed it a lot and good progress has been made on the aim of mapping all the bus routes in Managua. A little community of mapping enthusiasts is starting to grow, and further mapping parties are planned, probably already next month. There is still work to do. Stay tuned…