Smathermather's Weblog

Remote Sensing, GIS, Ecology, and Oddball Techniques

Posts Tagged ‘Open Source’

OpenDroneMap and Uhuru Labs in Kerala, India

Posted by smathermather on February 10, 2018

Training flights

The State of Kerala, India has the International Centre for Free and Open Source Software (ICFOSS) an autonomous institution “mandated with the objectives of co-ordinating FOSS initiatives within Kerala, as well as linking up with FOSS initiatives in other parts of the world in order to push the agenda of promoting democratic access to information and knowledge through equitable models of production and distribution of software and knowledge in general.”


I could not begin to summarize the cool things they are doing. I had the pleasure of visiting, along with Frederick Mbuya of Uhuru Labs, and doing a workshop of mapping with drones — from flying, data collection, and processing data. Arun M was our illustrious host, along with the core drone team, Deepthi, Vaisakh, and Asish.  We trained the core group, plus other ICFOSS staff, members of the Kerala electricity board, Veenus and Manoj from 1074 Vectors, and others. Normally, I just do an OpenDroneMap workshop. This was a deep dive in all aspects of drone program development, and a real joy. I was glad that Frederick was there with his extensive experience with Zanzibar Mapping Initiative, Dar Ramani Huria, and other project.



I was quite impressed with the extant technical proficiency — an aspect which made giving the workshop a real pleasure to give. I am excited to see what this team builds with respect to capacity and datasets to serve better governance.

Also, the food in Kerala is transcendent, and I think I have a new love: Indian Classical Music. Thanks to Juan for hosting me at the concert:


Posted in 3D, OpenDroneMap, Other | Tagged: , , | 2 Comments »

Google Maps won’t help you much in Seoul…

Posted by smathermather on August 29, 2015

That could be my whole blog post. Just a PSA. Google Maps in Seoul is like Apple Maps was when they launched — dangerously inaccurate. *I don’t know what is helpful on iOS. I traveled last year with Android only, and my searches so far on iOS are coming up short.*

So what should you use? Anything OSM-based isn’t too bad. I really like OSMAnd. I haven’t done any deep analyses in this space, but OSMAnd has served me well. Also, you can record tracks, so if you see something wrong or out of date, OSMAnd will help you fix it in OpenStreetMap.

Icon for OSMAnd

I adore Seoul’s subway system. It’s considered one of the largest in the world,  ranks among the best, cleanest, etc.. Many stations are like 5 story malls that happen to have trains at the bottom; it’s really surreal. Oh, and for an English speaker it is not hard at all to navigate. Almost everything is in romanized characters / English + Korean, and the trains play nice sounding music as they approach.

It doesn’t hurt to have a good app, however. Subway Korea, though a little strange in interface is absolutely amazing once you use it. I say the interface is weird — it’s just transit graphic at a single static scale (it doesn’t change appearance as you zoom). But that graphic allows you to route between locations calculating train changes as necessary, let’s you optimize for time vs. number of train changes, and allows you to do routes by way of particular stops you may want to take on the way. It is great in large part because it’s designed with a deep understanding of how transit works and the kinds of questions people who don’t know the system need answers to. That’s a tall task. I can recall my first time navigating public transit in Boston, Cleveland, New York, DC, San Francisco, Portland, and Denver. Each of the above (even Portland!) was a little more difficult than Subway Korea and Seoul’s amazing wayfinding.

Icon for Subway Korea

Posted in Conference, Conferences, FOSS4G, FOSS4G Korea, Other | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »