Sunday 23 March 2008

Easter Eggs

Over the past couple of weeks we have had little forays into Hull to add the streets and amenities to the map. My aim is to add streets, with their names, and such amenities as are obvious, especially churches, pubs, schools, petrol stations and any obvious landmark such as a large building. Any extras such as restaurants are added if we notice them. I've also been also been trying to add land areas, such as school fields, allotments, parks and sports pitches. All of this makes a much richer map.

Open Street Map is an open map. Anyone can add to it and anyone can use it free of charge, subject to a simple licence. Not so most other maps either on paper or t'interweb. The commercial maps are prone to being copied so the companies sometimes put extras or tweaks into their maps, so that if they are copied they can point to the extras and prove that it must have come from their map, because they don't exist anywhere else. This can be little stubs of roads, small names changes or other little things that don't really exist on the ground. Today I've found two (they could be simple mistakes). Spring Gardens have an old sign showing its name, A Famous Web Search Engine's mapping page shows it as Spring Gardens South, East and West. Similarly Plantation Drive has a two parallel(ish) roads which FWSE map shows Plantation Drive East and Plantation Drive West. To make it even stranger, the most easterly of the two roads is actually called Plantation Drive West (!?)

These little tweaks are important tools to maintain a company's intellectual property. So what are these subtle and small changes called? They're known, appropriately enough, as Easter Eggs - today is Easter Sunday.

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