Hello, KartaView!

After 5 years of serving the mapping community through OpenStreetCam and over 7.6 million kilometers recorded by contributors all around the world, we’re now happy to announce a new product identity: KartaView.

As maintainers and developers of KartaView, it’s been an honor so we’re taking this opportunity to share more on what we’ve been up to recently and what contributors can expect in the near future.

But first… Why the new name?

In 2018, the OSM Foundation (OSMF) adopted a Trademark Policy discouraging names like OpenStreet-Thing. This was brought to our attention this year. In support of our good friends, we chose to embrace the name change.

Despite changing names a couple times (anyone remember OpenStreetView?) our mission has stayed consistent since the early beginning: we want to make OSM better by providing an open, collaborative repository of street imagery for the mapping community. So the imagery license, terms & conditions and privacy policy remain unchanged – we have no intention to be less open.

KartaView at Grab

As you probably know, in December 2019 the team and the project transitioned to Grab – the super-app of Southeast Asia and top contributor to OSM in the region. 

Since then, besides supporting the global mapping community we’ve been increasingly active in driving imagery collection in Southeast Asia. The region is still an under-mapped region of the world despite a population of over 650 million and we’re on a mission to improve that.

Earlier this year we partnered with local Grab drivers across 20 cities in Indonesia and Malaysia, recording a staggering 880,000 km of imagery in the span of a few months. All this data is publicly available on KartaView for everyone to use.

On the engineering side, we’ve been busy this year with significant infrastructure and pipeline improvements to support the growing platform, and while improving some things… others broke. Apologies to our active users.

Kuala Lumpur coverage, all contributed by Grab drivers

Things are starting to look better and the engineering team is active on more future-proofing, which will be rolling-out in the coming months.

What to expect now?

First, kartaview.org will be the new home for the project. In the next few days, the other pieces like the mobile apps, JOSM plugin, Github repos will be updated as well. Some external projects integrating KartaView will probably need a bit more time to update the name, so most likely we’ll spot OpenStreetCam in tools and other corners of the internet for a while.

The name change will not break any existing integration (API end-point will be maintained) and changes to the legal terms and conditions are limited to reflecting the new name.

The Road Ahead

So now you know why we have to change our name and that our mission remains the same. There’s just so much around us that is unmapped, and we’ll always be at the forefront of this community-driven mission – to make OSM richer and better through imagery.

Thank you for being a part of the journey.

KartaView team

OpenStreetCam and ImproveOSM are moving to Grab

Following Telenav’s strategic partnership with Grab, we’re announcing that the OpenStreetCam and ImproveOSM platforms are moving to Grab! The goal of contributing to the OSM project by supporting the community with tools and data remains unchanged, and users will continue to benefit from those platforms.

  • Data and applications: The data is available to the OSM community just as before, with better latency for many.
  • Open Source: Good news, the code license is changing from LGPL to the more permissive MIT license. The imagery license will remain the same, CC BY-SA version 4.
  • Policies: The Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy were updated to reflect the project’s transition to Grab, other than that similar to the previous OpenStreetCam policies.
  • OpenStreetCam apps: The iOS and Android apps will now be published under the Grab AppStore / Google Play account – that makes no difference in contributing awesome imagery to the community! You can download and use the apps as usual.
  • Waylens: You can keep using your Waylens dashcams to contribute imagery to OpenStreetCam.

As always, we look forward to collaborating with the community members and improving OSM.


Detecting Traffic Signs in OpenStreetCam

OpenStreetCam’s mission is to help you improve OSM with street-view imagery. Photos taken with regular smartphones seem to be good enough for capturing map features like traffic signs, lanes or crosswalks. However, browsing the 120 million+ photos in OSC to find relevant things to map will take a while. The human factor is fundamental to OSM’s culture and we don’t see that changing, but we want to make editing street related attributes more efficient with automation.

We’re happy to announce a beta release of the traffic signs recognition on OpenStreetCam photos, made possible with machine learning. We processed a few million photos and detected around 500.000 traffic signs so far, currently available for tracks in several areas in United States and Canada. We’re working on extending the training sets and optimize the processing so that the area’s soon expanded.

What’s new from a user perspective: the track page on openstreetcam.org will now show detected traffic signs when available:

There’s a preview list of all detections in the track, detection overlays on photos and, of course, filters. Filters might now get a rep as something really exciting, but we’re excited about one of ours: the OSM status. Here’s why: after detecting a sign we compare it to the corresponding OSM feature and check if they’re consistent. Based on that, filtering is available.

For a practical example, let’s take speed limits: Instead of manually cross checking every detection with the maxspeed tag in OSM, one can only review detections where presumably maxspeed is not set or the value’s different in OSM. Just tick the Need review in OSM box.

Here are a few more examples of trips that have already been processed with our sign detections.

What’s next?

We’re busy working on a few things:

  • Scale the training sets and pipeline to extend the supported areas.
  • Traffic signs integration in the JOSM plugin.
  • Tagging new traffic signs support in the webpage.

If you like what we do and want to help:

  • First and foremost, you can use detections to improve OSM. If you’re seeing detections on tracks check them out, see what needs reviewing in OSM and edit. You can open iD or JOSM to photo’s location straight from the webpage.
  • Help us improve the traffic signs recognition. There’s a chance you will find some bad detections. You can review them and flag whether they’re good or bad, see the two buttons above the photo. We’re adding those reviews to training sets to improve recognitions, so please play nice.
  • Help us add these detections to the iD editor as well.

Tip: you can navigate between detections with Ctrl/Cmd + right/left arrows and confirm/invalidate with Ctrl/Cmd + up/down arrows. Goes pretty fast.