Isle of Man gets free map data

Map of the Isle of Man from CloudMadeMap coverage of the Isle of Man has been slowly growing since I started contributing to OpenStreetMap in January 2006, spurred on at times by old Ordnance Survey New Popular Edition maps being made available to gather data from, and by the Isle of Man Government making some of its maps available too.

By this time last year the Manx map was looking in a pretty good state, though still lacking quite a lot of detail in the larger towns. The lack of detail was helped somewhat by the mapping party I organised at the end of last summer, but still didn't take the map to completion.

Around the time of the mapping party, little to my knowledge at the time, the founders of OpenStreetMap were making a concerted effort to map the island from scratch (under the guise of the startup map data company CloudMade) with the view of donating that data to the OpenStreetMap project. This method was in direct contrast to the piecemeal way the map had been growing up until that point and was more in line with the way commercial providers such as Navteq and TeleAtlas collect their data. With dedicated time, equipment and manpower, the methodology allowed for the map to be more accurately built up and methodically completed.

I'm happy to see that this weekend's State of the Map conference saw the release of that complete dataset. CloudMade's blog post and press release from yesterday give more information as well as a preview of the map.

Now that the data is available, I've agreed to lead the effort to import the data (licensed under a Creative Commons licence) into OpenStreetMap, likely replacing the existing maps built up by the piecemeal effort of a number of us volunteers with the results of the concerted effort from CloudMade, and afterwards adding back any of the original information that is complementary to the CloudMade map data (if any).

We should start to see the results of the new map over the coming weeks as I get time to import the data. I'm really looking forward to using this data in some of the web projects I've been doing in my spare time as well as maybe some others that have been floating around in my mind for a while.