It was OpenStreetMap’s 19th Birthday in August, and having been part of the project for most of its history, I was invited back on to the Geomob Podcast to discuss some of the early days with the host, Ed Freyfogle. We covered a range of topics, including what’s changed over the years, the challenges of preserving motivation in the community, and that time when we unintentionally deleted big chunks of the map of Poland!

You can listen to the episode using the embedded player below, or on your favourite podcast app (look for episode 193). I’ve also included a transcript below, with some section headings if you want to skip ahead.


Ed: Welcome to the GeoMob podcast, where we discuss geo innovation in any and all forms, whether for fun or profit.

Ed: Welcome back, everyone. Time for another episode of the GeoMob podcast, and this is quite a special episode because it is OpenStreetMap’s 19th Birthday. This episode should be coming out - I’m not even sure exactly when the birthday is, I think it’s August 8th is celebrated as the birthday, which was declared the birthday because that was the day that the domain was registered, if I recall correctly. So today I have as my guest an old friend and someone who was involved in the very, very early days of OpenStreetMap and remains very involved to this day. And we’re going to kind of reminisce about some of the early days back in London, when OpenStreetMap was just getting started, and reflect on those special times, but also then how things are looking for the future of the project. So welcome back, Andy Allan. Great to have you here on the show again. You were a guest all the way back in episode 10 of the podcast, which is, a lot of water under the bridge since then. So, great to have you on the show, Andy.

Andy: Yeah thanks Ed. Thanks for inviting me back again.

Ed: For those that don’t know you and who maybe weren’t regular listeners back in episode 10, very briefly tell us a little bit about who you are and what you do and and your involvement with OpenStreetMap.

Andy: I’m Andy Allan. I’m the founder of Thunderforest and we make activity specific maps for developers, and it’s all based on OpenStreetMap. I’m also with the maintainer, or one of the two maintainers, of the website code base. So every week I’m working on that. And I’ve been involved in OpenStreetMap since 2006. So that’s a few years now.

Ed: So that was also when I got into OpenStreetMap, 2006 as well. And I don’t actually even remember when I met you, Andy, but it must have been at either a mapping party or at a pub meetup, kind of in that, in that time period.

Getting involved in OpenStreetMap

Ed: Um, take us back, tell us your first memories of OpenStreetMap and how you got involved in the project.

Andy: So there’s three things that got me into OpenStreetMap, and the first one was, I’d been doing some travelling and when I was abroad all the maps were rubbish. They just weren’t, just couldn’t find any good maps. And I’d been doing some open source stuff, I’d been doing some creative commons stuff. And I’d been wandering around trying to find paths on holiday, like go for a nice walk and thinking, wouldn’t it be great if there was some kind of, all the people getting together and some kind of open license doing some maps.

So that idea was burbling at the back of my head. When I came back to the UK, I’d seen a couple of blog posts from an [Open Source] developer called Tom Chance, and he had come across this project called OpenStreetMap. And the second time I saw him mentioning it, I thought, you know what, this, this fits in. This is the kind of thing that I’m interested in doing.

So I had a little bit more of a look into it and realized that the third thing that had been bubbling in my head had been I really wanted to buy a Garmin GPS, but I had no good excuse for spending like £150 on a GPS. And so when I thought, hey, I could buy a Garmin with the excuse being that I’m doing something useful with it by contributing to OpenStreetMap, then that made me go out and spend the money and that made me start contributing to OpenStreetMap.

Ed: Maybe we should set the context for some of our younger listeners because they may not even know how it used to be that people used to contribute to OpenStreetMap, because now you know you just go to the website and you click Edit. Exactly. It used to be you would go walk around with your GPS device, record where you went and I should say GPS device because obviously there were no smartphones at that time. So you had a special device and you would record where you went, and of course on a piece of paper maybe you could take some notes and write down like, oh, at, you know, at 10.37, I was at this place, or whatever, so that later you could line up the trace to where it went. And then what? Then you would go home, and then what would happen? Take us through this process, because I think people may not even believe it.

Andy: Yeah, I mean it was, it was hard to explain back then because when I got started, there was only about 20 or 30 roads in London in OpenStreetMap. Everything was blank and we didn’t have any aerial imagery to trace over. We only had Landsat imagery, which had like, I don’t know, a hundred meter resolution. So you could see where London was, but you couldn’t see any of the streets. And yeah, we had to walk up and down, walk the length of every street, with the GPS recording every second, so that we had this line of breadcrumbs, or this network of breadcrumbs.

And as you say, first it was like writing on bits of paper, and then buying digital cameras so that you could take endless photos of street signs. When we’d go back home, we’d, fire up JOSM and start to trace over your little line of breadcrumbs to draw the streets and then add the road names and press save.

I think the key thing that a lot of people can’t imagine is we didn’t get to see the output after we pressed save. This is back in the time before the slippy maps were available, when there was a applet which loaded the map from the database and drew little white lines over Landsat background, and it would only be working for an hour or two per week.

It used to be a thing, you’d need to wait until midweek until, I don’t even know what the technical problems were, but there’d be one afternoon you would see the new things showing on the map and be like, quick, quick, take a screenshot whilst it’s still there before it all stops working again. So it was really early days.

Ed: Well, that is a very good point because I think people, people don’t realize all of that was invented around the same time. I mean, Google Maps had just come out. In like 2005, I think, early 2005, 2004, maybe. And, and that was the first time you could kind of move the map, you could drag the map. And of course, Google Maps, when it came out, only had the U.S. It didn’t have…, the rest of the world was just blank. And then eventually they added the U.K. And then it was only later that Europe and other places came on. Obviously there was no satellite imagery, or what they call satellite imagery, aerial imagery. I mean, this was very different.

And, and people were just, I mean, what you could do in terms of putting a pin on the map and all that, it was like every week something new was being invented. It was really, it was so dynamic what was happening. And then I remember for me, the thing that really got me into it was that, that O’Reilly book came out. Google Maps Hacks. When that came out, I bought that book, and I was like, Oh my God, this is really amazing, what people are doing now, and things, And of course, we were both fortunate in that we happened to be in London, at that time. And so, then the whole, the scene kind of came about, and we started having kind of the pub meetups, and the mapping parties.

Early Mapping Parties

Ed: Tell us, were you, were you at some of the earliest mapping parties? Give us your impressions of those kind of events, or how did it all work?

Andy: So I missed the first couple of mapping parties. They happened just before I got involved, but it was still very early days. And I remember, I’d been involved just through the mailing lists, and seeing people talking and all the different discussions going on.

The first event that I went along to had the titans of OpenStreetMap were there. Steve Coast was doing a presentation. Etienne, who was one of the early developers, did a lot of work on OsmaRender and things like that. He was there. Richard Fairhurst turned up to demonstrate a new editor that he’d been working on, where you didn’t have to draw each node individually first, you could draw a line and it would automatically put in the nodes. So that that was like technologically cool. But also it was just so cool how welcoming everybody was, because I’d been reading, you know like being a sort of passive participant in the mailing list. I turned up and everyone was super friendly and they would buy me a beer and it was, it was great.

So I was hooked straight away. And then, things, as you say, things happen so quickly. Like there were so many mapping parties going on every couple of weeks. Different places in London. Loads of enthusiastic people finding the project and getting involved. So yeah, so I remember lots of that. I do remember lots of beer was involved. So, some of the memories are slightly faded by time, but it was, it was a great time.

Ed: Yes, I can remember doing a mapping party where we met at the, it was on a Saturday and we met at the Multi-Map office. I don’t know if you remember that, it was on Fleet Street, and it was truly, the pie chart where everyone got their wedge of the pie. So there was a there was a map of London someone had printed out, and we we drew the different sectors and each one… then we all split up and went out and mapped and at this point you could still… literally you were writing in the names of all the streets or things that had never been mapped. The map was empty in places and this was still actually pretty late, this must have been like 2008 or so. There were still streets that were unnamed or whatever. Anyway, so then we all, and then we meet back up at the pub and everyone, uh, yeah, lots of beers. And then of course then that night, or maybe the next day, depending on how many beers you had, you actually had to upload all the data and watch the map fill in.

And it was really, it felt like there was something happening. You know, it really felt like… But that being said, It was also still core things, but, but then the question was always like, is this ever actually going to be useful for anyone? Any memories of the first time you saw someone actually making use of the map?

Andy: Ooh, that’s interesting. I do remember the first time I saw the maps going onto Garmin devices because somebody had reverse engineered how the Garmin proprietary map format worked. And when we started being able to load up what we’d already done on OpenStreetMap onto the Garmin devices, that was just cool in itself. Because because all the people could use it. But it was also super helpful for us because you could see, we’ve already done those.

Full-time OpenStreetMap

Ed: When exactly did you start working on OpenStreetMap because you were, if I recall correctly, you were the first employee of Steve and Nick when they started a company, which I think then is that what became CloudMade, or first they had another company. This was like the, the ZXY or whatever company, or I forget the exact name. And you were their first employee. You were their first team member. So what, what made you make that leap?

Andy: Yeah, so I was doing all this just as a hobby, including doing things like, creating what became OpenCycleMap, which was one of the first kind of themed maps that were available.

All that was just as a hobby whilst I had a proper job elsewhere. And then, Steve Nick had set up ZXY as a small consultancy, and they hired somebody to work there. Part of what they did was start pitching around for how to make a big company, like a VC backed company, to build on top of what OpenStreetMap was making available.

So when they got their first round of funding they went out to hire a bunch of people, and I was one of the first people to say yes. To chuck in the proper job, working in the public sector and go and work for Steve and Nick on their crazy startup idea. I was looking back at the timeline today and, I can’t believe how quickly everything happened between signing up - for me that was October 2006 that I signed up - and then April 2008. So less than two years later, I’m like chucking in the career and like doing OpenStreetMap as a full time thing. So, the pace that things were changing at, was huge. So I joined CloudMade in early 2008 and a rollercoaster ride for the next 18 months, learning a whole lot about how the world works and what’s involved in running a startup.

Ed: Tell us a bit about that experience. I mean, what, what did you work on? What were you building? What was your task?

Andy: It follows the line of what most startups based on OpenStreetMap have done over the years, except CloudMade was the first. So, being able to take the OpenStreetMap data and offer maps, offer geocoding, offer routing, offer all these kind of services that commercial players, or commercial organizations, want to use, but they don’t want to get down and dirty with the raw OpenStreetMap data themselves. So we had to, like, invent a lot of these things from scratch. There wasn’t existing open source software for some of these things.

A big chunk of the effort in the company was trying to prove this market existed, so there was lots of skepticism that A, OpenStreetMap was useful as it was, or B, that OpenStreetMap would ever be useful, and see whether anybody would be willing to pay for it. That took a lot of effort, and I think it shows that they were right, because even now, decades later, there’s plenty of companies who are following that same path, and plenty of businesses who are looking for those kind of services.

OpenStreetMap Everywhere

Ed: Do you ever just sit back and reflect, Andy, on like now, I mean, now OpenStreetMap is everywhere. It’s used by some of the biggest companies in the world. Are you ever just amazed that it actually worked?

Andy: Yeah, and that was a big thing back in these early days, back in the kind of like 2006, 2008 era, was like, is it going to work? Is it possible? There was a lot of people in the industry who just couldn’t imagine that there would be enough volunteers to map every street in the UK, for example. Never mind every building, or points of interest or anything else like that.

So I think it was interesting to try and figure out, is it possible, what would be needed to be possible, do we have enough volunteers, can we get enough volunteers, but it’s also interesting that a lot of people just didn’t worry about it and just got on with it. Because everyone was having fun, so, is it feasible or not, people didn’t… most mappers were just, doing the mapping parties, going out and mapping and not really worrying about these kind of existential questions.

Ed: For me, one of the big aha moments was, I did not go to the very first State of the Map, which was in Manchester, even though my company sponsored it, which is one of the things I’m very proud of that we had the foresight at that time to sponsor the very first State of the Map, but I did make it to, I think it was the second one in Limerick.

I don’t know. Were you, were you there for that one?

Andy: Yeah.

Ed: And, first of all, it was great. But a lot of people came. I mean, a lot of people from all over, not just, of course, there were all the people from London and stuff, but then all of a sudden you saw these people from, you know, all across Europe. There were people from Japan there, and stuff. And then, they rigged up kind of the very first kind of improvisational video conference and we had people like calling in from, I remember some guys from like Ethiopia who called in from Addis Ababa and they were like, yeah, we’re mapping our city.

A big part of the conference was people would just like show different maps of different parts of the world and just be like, you know, Oh my God, who’s, who the hell is mapping in Bolivia or, you know, Oh my God, look, some, someone mapped the city in Indonesia or whatever. And, you know, for the first time, I was like, wow, this is pretty wild.

I mean that all these people are coming out of the woodwork, and of course there were many many technical problems to still be overcome and disagreements, and some of the personalities were a bit abrasive or whatever. But you could for the first time see like wow, this there’s really something here. There’s really something happening.

I do worry to a degree of whether that that gets lost now in OpenStreetMap, because it’s almost become so big. And also frankly, because in many areas, many things are already mapped. Although in my experience, you can always find more things to map. I mean, everywhere. Even in Germany, which is like one of the most mapped countries, there’s still tons of stuff to map in terms of house numbers and points of interest or whatever, but, even the occasional street. What’s your take on that?

Andy: Yeah, I remember Limerick as well, and that people would just turn up and talk about mapping their own town because in those days, it wasn’t necessarily a given that a large town like with 100,000 people in it, it might not have been mapped at that point, even in the UK.

Ed: I mean, it might be a point. It might be a point with a name.

Andy: Yeah. So, some people would turn up with these super detailed maps of places or, castles in Japan and things like that. That was great. But it really showed how much it was driven by the idea and not the practicalities of it.

Because we didn’t have a good technical set up and there wasn’t much data there. It wasn’t super useful for any practical purposes, but there were still people who were willing to pay thousands to fly around the world to come to a hotel in Ireland and say I’ve been mapping in my area and to hang out with other mappers.

So it shows how strong that idea was. But it wasn’t a fully formed thing. There was lots of changes and like you say, disagreements, on how the project should be organized, should Steve remain in charge of everything or set up a foundation to make it more democratic. And these things were all high drama, but also happened really quickly as well.

Lots of stuff changed in a short period of time.

New possibilities

Ed: Well, let’s shift focus a little, Andy, and rather than just reminiscing about the past, what’s your impression of the current state of affairs, but also the future? So, first up, let me ask, as someone who was there in the very beginning, when it was literally making the map by hand and drawing it on a piece of paper or whatever, and then, you know, manually entering that, what’s your take on all the new technological possibilities?

You know, like all the aerial imagery, the machine learning to extract the buildings from the imagery, all this kind of stuff, the cameras you can put in your car, all of it that can create the map for you. How do you, what’s your opinion?

Andy: So I’m very pro all of that, but with an important caveat in that I see all of this as tools for individual mappers to make their life easier, not as a replacement for volunteers.

So, going back to those early days, aerial imagery is great because it meant that I didn’t have to walk to the end of every street with a GPS, so that made it better. Better resolution imagery meant I could trace the buildings. If something else can trace the buildings, and I just need to click and say, these ones are right, but that’s actually a tennis court that looks like a building, then that’s fine for me.

What I’m really not that interested in is when people start feeding the data straight into OpenStreetMap and bypassing the community members. And it’s a tricky area because a lot of techie people see OpenStreetMap as a technological project. And so if they can make some better tech to kind of automatically update OpenStreetMap or things like that then they don’t see what the downsides of it are.

But as we were just discussing, it’s really not a tech project because we didn’t have tech when the project was starting off. It’s really a social project. It’s how to find volunteers, to motivate people, to get people interested in their own community, and to make sure that they’re always in charge of what’s going on in the map.

So I’m pro all these tracing and AI and things like that, if they are tools for for the mappers to use, and if they’re given to the people who have the most vested interest in their area of the map or their type of mapping.

Can we maintain OpenStreetMap?

Ed: But one of the challenges I see there, though, is, as I said, it was it was a lot of fun back in the early days because we were literally filling in the map, right?

You know, you find a road that hadn’t been mapped and you add it and then you get the satisfaction of of eventually seeing it render on the map. And I do say eventually, because, as you say, it could often be a process of days back then. But now, that’s much more rare, especially if you’re in a big city that’s already well mapped and, okay, maybe you can add the opening hours of a store or something, but it’s become much more about maintenance rather than creation, right?

And maintenance is just, for the vast majority of people, it’s just less motivating. So… You know, do we run the risk that there is no community? The community kind of burns out because it’s like, who wants to just do maintenance, right? How do we, how do we find the ways to keep people excited?

And there have been some good approaches to this with the various apps that do the gamification, like the Street Complete and stuff like that. And MapRoulette, but I worry that, particularly in these places that are already well mapped, It’s hard to… Is the passion still there that we saw in the early days, and can that be recreated?

Andy: Yeah, the maintenance issue is definitely a big one because it’s not as rewarding, as compelling to walk down the street to just check the name of that point of interest is the same as what’s on OpenStreetMap and the opening hours haven’t changed in the last six months, compared to adding stuff in for the first time.

I think anything which is being used and being useful will end up being maintained. I find it super massively useful when I’m away from home using OpenStreetMap and seeing points of interest, and what the opening hours are for this bakery in a small village somewhere is super useful and so I have the motivation to fix that when they’re wrong

Not necessarily the motivation to go and survey an entire town, but the individual things that I’m using, I’ll keep up to date, but it is a big challenge. And I think the thing that will work best is relentlessly increasing the number of people who are editing OpenStreetMap and who are interested in editing OpenStreetMap.

Because you might not be able to find people who are doing, like, six hours a day, both days of the weekend, going and doing surveying. That was super common 18 years ago, but not so much anymore. But many hands make light work, so it’s making sure that we get all the different people involved.

Ed: Yes, that’s a good point.

I mean, I know there have been some efforts to do things like get involved with schools and organizations like the boy scouts or the scouts or whatever, where you continually have a new stream of new people and and thus for them they have the excitement of kind of seeing it for the first time and thus they maintain their area and things like that.

Getting Started Today

Ed: What would be your advice for someone maybe listening right now, who has just joined OpenStreetMap or who’s younger and they’re just getting into it? Any thoughts? What would you, what message would you leave them with?

Andy: So the first message is, sign up, click edit, and start editing. It’s… I come across more and more people who are slightly daunted by the whole project and the concept of, are we really allowed to just make changes?

Ed: Isn’t that perverse, Andy? Because it’s actually easier than ever to edit. It’s easier than ever.

Andy: Yeah, yeah, definitely. But I think as the overall quality of OpenStreetMap goes up, people are slightly afraid of making mistakes. So I would say step one, definitely just, just click edit, get going, press save, and keep doing it. Don’t stand on ceremony or worry about it too much.

And the second thing is, to focus on the stuff that’s important to you. That’s what you’ll find the most enjoyment from. So, if your local park is important to you, then go and add the drinking water fountains, go and add the playground equipment, and things like that. If access for wheelchair users is important for you, then go and add the wheelchair mapping tags to your local shops. So focus on the things that are important to you, and the things that you are seeing benefit from yourself. Like, if you are using one of the alternative layers on OpenStreetMap or an app that shows particular things, then focus on that.

Then when you’re into it, expand your horizons to try and complete your local area or take on a bigger challenge like sorting out the addressing for your town, or things like that. But the first steps are definitely dive in, and then focus on things that you’re interested in

Ed: All right, very wise words. Thanks.

OpenStreetMap in 20 years from now

Ed: Where, where do you think, I mean this year was the 19th birthday, so we’re almost turning 20 with the project, where do you think OpenStreetMap will be in 20 years time?

Andy: I think it will be everywhere. It took a few years when I was trying to figure out where OpenStreetMap would sit alongside all the other sources of map data. And we’ve just about got to the point now where everyone’s happy that it’s OpenStreetMap. There’s always some question marks as to whether or not there’ll be other free datasets, like the machine generated data that people could be using as an alternative to OpenStreetMap. But I don’t think that will be the case.

I think OpenStreetMap has got a few things ahead of itself over the next 20 years on quality assurance and ensuring mistakes or any deliberate vandalism gets caught before it goes into the main database, because there’s a few big organizations who still want to keep their own data, like local councils or national organizations who have their own datasets, and they mostly want to put these into OpenStreetMap, but they’re always just a little bit concerned about people messing around with it, with the data and whether or not they can rely on it 24/7.

So I think that’s one part of the story that OpenStreetMap needs to focus on, is making sure that these data issues are caught ahead of time. For the last 18 years, it’s been very quickly cleaned up afterwards, but that doesn’t suit everyone. And I think when those bits are taken care of, that’ll be the last few use cases where people aren’t willing to use OpenStreetMap for their data. And, when it turns out that every local council, every organisation, every commercial company is one way or another using OpenStreetMap for their maps, then that will also help with a lot of the maintenance challenges because these companies and organisations themselves will be 100% invested in keeping their data up to date.

Ed: We do see that with some of our geocoding customers, you know, they have that aha moment of realizing, they find a bug and then we explain to them, they can fix the bug and then not all, but some of them do then start to start fixing the bugs and actually clean things up and whatever.

One question, Andy, I mean, the same way you mentioned people are, you see that some people are scared to edit because,they see that OpenStreetMap is not so good and they’re worried about making a mistake, one worry that I have is that, you know, big fundamental changes, are we as a community scared to make big fundamental changes anymore because we have a thing that’s kind of halfway working, right?

So, so a change like what you’re talking about, of some sort of, you know, catching the errors before they go live, or whatever, have some sort of staging process, whatever, however it would be solved, right? I mean, this is a complex problem, right? That will require complex technology, but also, a change to the current workflow and a change to how people are just interacting with things and, are we even as a group able to make those big complex changes anymore?

Andy: Yeah, it’s definitely difficult to make these big changes now. I remember being in a hack weekend in the CloudMade offices in Putney, when we had the developers of all the editors, and all the tools that use the data from the database. And you could get everybody involved into one room and say, we’re going to change the API this weekend.Who wants to write the SQL migration code for that?

Those days aren’t repeatable anymore. Far too many people involved in far, far too many systems.

Ed: Yeah, that’s long gone.

Andy: And so things haven’t changed, and I would say it’s because it’s more than halfway useful. It’s like 95% of everything that we need. So I don’t think there are big fundamental changes that are needed. There’s definitely a coordination problem. But most of the effort over the last few years have been going into this kind of horizontal expansion of OpenStreetMap, of dealing with so many people involved in so many different parts of the world and the tools needed for adding all these different things in.

So, I know a lot of people are of the opinion OpenStreetMap hasn’t changed just because the API is the same version as it has been for years, or the website hasn’t had to redesign for a while. But it’s an order of magnitude different in activity. I think, I think that is probably reaching its peak now. OpenStreetMap is thoroughly active everywhere around the world. I no longer have people asking me, when is it going to be useful in France, for example. So I think now the development can refocus on that last 5% of a few small changes we can make here and there to optimize it further.

Final Memories

Ed: Well, alright. I guess we, I mean, obviously we could reminisce for quite some time, Andy, but I guess we should probably wrap it up there with that optimistic look towards the future, but, unless you have any final memories back from the glory days that you want to share with the audience? Did you ever accidentally delete the whole world or anything like that, or that you now want to admit to, or you want to…?

Andy: Well, there was a problem when I got put in charge of the redaction bot when we changed the license and someone had to run the tool that was going to remove all the data that we couldn’t use under the new ODbL license. And there was a point where, unfortunately, some wires have been crossed about what could be preserved in Poland. And so vast chunks of Poland were accidentally deleted at the start of this license bot. So that’s definitely one memory.

Another memory, was… I did some work with the hardware guys, Tom and Grant, many years ago. And one day we were moving the OpenStreetMap database server, like THE OpenStreetMap database server, from a PhD office in the University College London to a proper data centre at Imperial College London.

And so we switched off OpenStreetMap, like all of OpenStreetMap got switched off. We took the Database out and we put it in the back of the van and then we had to try and use our local knowledge to figure out which route had the fewest speed bumps so that we were least likely to break any of the hard drives. So planning a route across and down Park Lane instead of through the middle of Hyde Park just to avoid the speed bumps and then the nervousness and the pressure knowing that all of OpenStreetMap was offline and was waiting on the two of us getting this database server from one place to another. That’s quite an abiding memory as well.

Ed: You had the whole world in your hands there, Andy. That you could… Those were fun days. Those were fun days.

Wrapping Up

Ed: The other point, the other seed I want to plant in your head, Andy, is we gotta figure out what we’re gonna do for next year for the 20th birthday. I’m trying to get it going that we have some kind of a big event in London. So all I need is for other people to organize it and I’m happy to show up. So if you can get working on that…!

Very fun conversation to reminisce about the good old days, and the many good days to come.

I mean, one of the thing that’s great about OpenStreetMap, I have to say that I enjoy is, it truly is a hobby. First of all, that’s global. I mean, you can meet people from all over the world, anywhere you go, you can participate in it. And there are local communities now, but also it’s a hobby that young and old can do, right?

So, you know, now my son is 12 and, you know, so we start, when we go for a hike and, we pull up the app and we do a little bit of mapping or whatever. So, kids can do it all the way up through, it’s a hobby we’ll be able to do the rest of our lives. I look forward to many happy mapping events to come, and perhaps also the occasional beer after the mapping event.

So, on that cheery note, thanks for coming on the show. Ah, one final point, Andy, if anyone wants to get in touch, how should they contact you? If they want to correct your memory about some of those events from back in the day?

Andy: Yeah, there’s definitely some corrections might be needed for some of the anecdotes!

I am on Mastodon. And if you want any other contacts, then has the full list.

Ed: Fantastic. We’ll get that in the show notes, of course. Great talking with you, Andy. And I will see you at the next Geomob in London. Bye.

Andy: Great. Thanks again.

Ed: Thanks for joining us today and listening to the Geomob podcast. We hope you enjoyed the discussion. Please get in touch with us if you have any feedback or suggestions for topics we should cover. You can get the show notes over on the website, which is at While you’re there, you can sign up for our monthly mailing list where we keep you informed about upcoming events.

You can of course also follow us on Twitter where our handle is Geomob. Thanks for listening and hope to see you at a Geomob event soon.