I've contributed data to OSM but now "in a different world" I am doing research on a battle in World War I around the village of Méricourt in France. The battlefield geolocation data I am collecting would not be appropriate for uploading to the OSM map of the area as it would be irrelevant for modern-day users and simply clutter up the general map. However, I am wondering whether there is some way to create a separate private OSM map layer to store my battlefield waypoints and landmarks in such a way that I could overlay my data on the general map to see their relationships to the modern-day roads and centres of population.

Also, knowing the vibrance of the OSM community I'll bet that there are other WWI mappers out there but I'm not sure how to find them. Is there some kind of forum devoted to this aspect of OSM-apping ?

Paddy

asked 02 May '13, 19:27

pacman's gravatar image

pacman
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Many thanks to both of you for these excellent leads which I will now be following up.

Re. the "...I imagine there may be a lot of historical documents which you could also use in the mapping (old military maps come to mind)...." as a newcomer to this area I've been surprised at the amount of material which is still in existence, including tactical battlefield maps prepared and issued to the troops for a specific engagement (see, for example, the map prepared for the battle of Amiens advance on 08-Aug-1918 at http://lt1.mcmaster.ca/ww1/wrz4mp.php?grid=62d ). I would have expected these maps to have been trodden into the battlefield mud and thus lost but, at least in the sector I am investigating, the battlefield seems to have had teams of conscientious garbage collectors who rescued them for the archives.

(04 May '13, 11:12) pacman

There is a recent initiative called 'Open Historical Map' (OHM), devoted to the whole field of historical mapping. They have a mailing list http://lists.openstreetmap.org/listinfo/historic which you can subscribe to, a wiki area http://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/OSM-Historic, and their own server running OSM software but against a separate database.

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answered 02 May '13, 19:56

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sdoerr
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accept rate: 9%

There is an ad hoc grouping OSM Historical interested in exactly the type of mapping problem you describe.

Determining the best way of mapping historical data is still open, let alone the complexities of developing a tool chain to support it. However, your approach is perfectly practical. You do need to be careful that the editor you use does not try and load the data to OSM!

You may also need to think about how features changed even in the period of WWI (movement of trench lines etc.), so you may want to use some tag which indicates the period of time when objects existed. Then you could map the state at say mid-1915 and mid-1917 separately. I imagine there may be a lot of historical documents which you could also use in the mapping (old military maps come to mind).

Probably the most practical approach would be to import your WWI data into a PostGIS database using osm2pgsql & render it as transparent tiles with mapnik (a good example of this approach is Lonvia's hiking map).

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answered 02 May '13, 19:55

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SK53 ♦
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question asked: 02 May '13, 19:27

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last updated: 04 May '13, 14:01

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