Open Content

Edit OpenStreetMap with custom background

Posted by Strainu on January 29, 2017
Open Content / No Comments

I recently did a small video tutorial for the colleagues at forum.peundemerg.ro on how to edit OpenStreetMap using satellite imagery from InspectorulPădurii.ro. The method can be extended to any website offering satellite imagery compatible with the OSM license.

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Crowdsourcing în Europeana

Posted by Strainu on December 10, 2012
Open Content, Publications, Romana, Wikipedia / No Comments

Săptămâna trecută am fost invitat, ca organizator al Wiki Loves Monuments, la colocviul de închidere al proiectului CARARE, la Institutul Național al Patrimoniului. Pozele de la WLM vor fi încărcate pe Europeana prin acest proiect în urma scrisorii deschise trimise anul trecut către minister.

La acest colocviu am ținut o prezentare despre acțiunile de implicare a maselor (aka crowdsourcing) în realizarea de materiale pentru Europeana, pe care o puteți citi mai jos sau o puteți descărca în format pdf, odp sau pptx.

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Wikipedia for Maps (Wikipedia pentru hărți)

Posted by Strainu on October 16, 2012
Open Content, Publications / No Comments

Last Friday I was invited to the annual geo-spatial.org conference to talk about OpenStreetMap. You have the slides, in Romanian, below (odp, pdf). The text content is licensed CC-BY-SA-3.0-RO.

The movie will be up shortly on the conference’s website. Enjoy!

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Open Media Challenge impressions

Posted by Strainu on October 01, 2012
Open Content / No Comments

On Saturday and Sunday, I worked on the “Political Colours” map of Romania (in fact, a wannabe geo-spatial database for any and all kinds of data that you can divide up to the commune or village level). This was part of the Open Media Challenge hackathon organized by “the Sponge Media Innovation Lab”.

Before the event

When I first heard about the idea back in May, it seemed like a great opportunity to make an inventory of the existing data sources and the licenses they can be used under. Unfortunately, somewhere along the way, the “let’s distribute them freely [as in free content]” part turned into “let’s put them on the web with a big fat disclaimer and hope no one calls the police”. So the whole idea was a big failure from this point of view.

The organizing committee worked in total secrecy, ignoring the public mailing list created for this kind of discussions and showing a very original approach to the concept of “openness”.

During the event

The hackaton was organized in The Bucharest Polytechnic. Saturday morning was the day when students came to register before the school year (or something like that), which meant that the venue was full of people. Fortunately, the rooms were clearly marked with arrows – or so I thought. In fact, they forgot to mark the most important room – the rendez-vous point. 🙂 No biggie, somebody had left their phone number on the marks so I was able to find the place quickly.

The actual organization of the event was quite good – wireless Internet, coffee, juices and water at will, pizza for lunch and sandwiches in the afternoon. There was always someone around to help us with any organizing issue.

The people participating could be divided into 3 categories:

  1. Coders – very realistic, result driven people, just like you would expect. My team was especially lucky to have an equilibrated age structure – both young students and more seasoned professionals.
  2. Journalists – the only thing I could tell about them is: over dressed and over enthusiastic. Some of them seemed to be so focused on opening the government data that they were ignoring even the most basic rules of personal data protection. The phrase “it’s public money, so you need to have your data public if you want some!” seemed to be their motto.
  3. Others (activists, curious bystanders and even business people) – this category is probably too broad to characterize as one. Each one had their own ideas, plans and objectives. Some of them were interesting people, others not so much (read: useless hipsters)

After the event

On Sunday we were invited to a bar in the Old City to present each team’s achievements and to have some more presentations from “interesting” foreigners. To me, it was extremely boring, so I gave up and left after about an hour (and missed the moment when the jury announced we had won :P). Again, the catering was pretty good.

Conclusions

Overall, I think the OMC was a little more than a waste of time. Less talks and more talk (between participants) on Sunday would have gone a long way. The project I’ve worked on was in pretty good shape already, so we only fixed some bugs and imported more data. The planning was not fabulous, but it was better than in other hackathons I’ve been in. What we lacked was that one thing that would have all of us work together. We could very well work from home and have the exact same results.

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Want to work on Pidgin or LibreOffice this summer?

Posted by Strainu on May 15, 2011
Open Content, School, Software / No Comments

This summer, I’m going to be a mentor for a project in Rosedu Summer of Code, the local version of GSoC. The goal of the project is to create a way for Pidgin and LibreOffice users to send Romanian words that do not exist in the Romanian spelling dictionary to the maintainers of the dictionary. This is a continuation of my previous work on the issue with Firefox. It is also acceptable for the student to choose another application to work on.

Working with open source will mean learning to use the tools used in the project, as well as communicate with the other developers involved in the project by using mailing lists, wikis, IRC or any other mean used within the project.

So, if you’re a student and you want the opportunity to work on Pidgin, LibreOffice or any other FLOSS software, please apply for a place at Stagii pe Bune.

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Libertatea dincolo de software

Posted by Strainu on April 04, 2011
Open Content, Publications, Romana, School, Wikipedia / 3 Comments

Acum două săptămâni am fost invitat să le vorbesc unor studenți ce urmează “Cursul de dezvoltare liberă” despre Wikipedia și alte proiecte libere în care am fost implicat. Am decis să mă orientez spre proiecte non-software, tocmai pentru a le oferi și o altă abordare a libertății decât cea pe care o văd la curs.

Am vorbit deci despre oportunitatea folosirii limbii române în cât mai multe din proiectele la care participă, apoi despre Wikipedia și OpenStreetMap, iar în final le-am prezentat câteva informații sumare despre licențele specifice pentru bazele de date. Prezentarea este disponibilă in format odp și pdf.

Prezentarea a fost bine primită, diferența între harta OSM înainte și după importul de date CLC smulgând câteva aplauze 😛 Din păcate s-a observat și în rândul studenților prezenți acolo o lipsă de încredere în capacitatea românilor de a produce conținut de calitate, precum și dorința multora de a pleca din România. Argumentul cel mai des folosit pentru utilizarea limbii engleze în blogurile lor a fost “pot să îl prezint unui angajator de afară”.

Un oarecare interes a stârnit și ideea mea cu o aplicație Google Apps de transfer de date între OSM și Wikipedia. Voi încerca să o pun în aplicare la următorul Coding Day organizat de PyBucurești.

Sper ca din cei vreo 20 de oameni prezenți măcar vreo 2-3 să aibă curiozitate să încerce proiectele despre care am vorbit.

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Wikipedia română – versiunea pentru mobil

Posted by Strainu on October 15, 2010
Open Content, Romana, Wikipedia / 4 Comments

De aseară, Wikipedia în limba română este disponibilă în versiune mobilă. Prima pagină este asemănătoare cu cea clasică, fiind însă adaptată la dimensiunile ecranelor mobile. Dacă aveți sugestii referitoare la această pagină, le puteți exprima în pagina de discuții.

Dacă intrați pe Internet de pe un telefon mobil sau de pe un dispozitiv gen iPad și aveți nevoie de Wikipedia, puteți folosi cu încredere http://ro.m.wikipedia.org/

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Romanian Postal Codes in OpenStreetMap

Posted by Strainu on October 11, 2010
Cool webpages, Open Content, Python / 2 Comments

After a short discussion on the Romanian OSM mailing list, I decided to write a small Python script to import the postal code data from SIRUTA into OSM, cited as demanded by law 542/2008, art. 32. As cities have multiple postal codes, I had to settle for importing data for villages, hamlets and towns. Still, over 12.000 new entries were added to OpenStreetMap. I will surely be an important resource for people wanting to use coordinates – postal codes association freely.

For people wanting to peek at the code, you can find it here. It uses the OsmApi library and a stripped version of the dbf fron INSSE (converted to CSV), containing the following fields: siruta_code, village_name, postcode, postocde_source.

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Wikipedia e mai prietenoasă cu diacriticele cu virgulă

Posted by Strainu on March 05, 2010
Open Content, Wikipedia / 2 Comments

De luna asta, Wikipedia în limba română a devenit și mai prietenoasă pentru diacriticele cu virgulă. Regulile au fost schimbate în așa fel încât este permisă scrierea cu diacritice corecte în paginile de discuție.

Au fost create redirectări de la numele cu diacritice corecte către articolele existente, aşa că acum utilizatorii de Vista, Win7 sau Linux pot să intre direct la pagina articolului din bara de adrese. Urmează crearea de aliasuri pentru spațiile de nume (unde depindem de administratorii serverelor) şi crearea de redirectări şi pentru paginile de discuţie.

Următorul pas, și anume trecerea definitivă la diacriticele corecte, va mai trebui să aștepte datorită cotei de piață foarte mari pe care o are IE6. Puteți participa și voi la discuția de la Wikipedia:Corectarea diacriticelor.

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Danese Cooper is the new CTO of the Wikimedia Foundation

Posted by Strainu on January 30, 2010
Open Content, Wikipedia / No Comments

The Foundation announced yesterday that the new CTO is Danese Cooper. For those of you who were at eLiberatica in 2009, she was the one hosting the “lightning talks” session, which was a huge success. For the others, she is a FLOSS evangelist which worked for SUN, Intel and the less-known REvolution Computing.

What struck me in this choice is the change in profile from the previous CTO, Brion Vibber. Brion was the main code maintainer and submitter for Media Wiki for years. Without being totally sure, I think Danese is not very familiar with web programming, so she will likely be more of a supervisor and a coordinator than an active participant. This is somewhat normal and marks an evolution to a more organized, enterprise-like foundation.

This also means that most probably, the main code maintainer will continue to be Tim Starling, which hold the job since Brion left, last October. Good luck to both of them!

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