Disclaimer: I am in no way affiliated with the POSM or its
development. I'm just an OSM contributor who thought this was neat and
wanted to share the love.
For a while I've been envisioning some sort of system that would allow
map data to be collected over a large area and then committed and later
shared without an
Internet connection. Going
into a rural area without sufficient or existing Internet connectivity
would surely be a problem with using tools for compiling and rendering
OpenStreetMap (OSM) data. I had
come up with a few solutions that were not unique and seems to have been
Yep, just toss your GPS tracks, pictures, and JOSM output onto a USB
thumb drive and walk/drive it over to a centralized location, where
Internet connectivity is available, for processing. Sure, it might take
a while to collect all the information and take a while longer to
redistribute all the information to the people in the field but it
Okay, being a network geek this is my favorite solution; build your own
network! For the record,
I'm not talking about stringing wire from village to village like
soldiers did around Europe in
No, I'm talking about building wireless
LANs that may
already exist in these villages (or we can build our own!).
Adding our own infrastructure (email, web, and other servers) to the
network would provide basic communications between villages with a
potential connection to the Internet from a faraway town.
But this is far from funfor a software geek (I'm not one of those).
From here enter the POSM.
OpenStreetMap, or POSM,
device is a small server that hosts all the tools needed to compile,
edit, and publish collected mapping data without Internet connectivity.
The project was discussed at the US State of the
Map (2016) and the
is a must-watch.
Of course a POSM could be added to either a Sneakernet or Intranet to
allow for distributed data to be collected faster but the POSM, alone,
seems to make working with this data much easier in the field.
Back to my thoughts
Honestly, my first thoughts around making a box like this, even before I
heard about POSM, was the syncing of data back to the master OSM
database. If you watched the video to the end it appears someone else
in the crowd had the same concern. The answer to this was the use of
git to manage
conflicts. To me this is very smart as git was made for this type of
use-case (distributed data that needs to be compiled together at a core
I do wonder how well POSM would work if you had one in each village with
MAN connections between and having the POSMs sync among themselves,
sharing the data in near-real time. This would be beneficial as there
would be a backup of the data in the event one of the POSM devices died
and could add some redundancy. Providing connectivity could also aid in
communications between sites through
Lots of ideas... Lots of options...