Interview: OpenStreetMap in Mexico: Miriam Gonzales
12 Mar 2018
Today our interview series with OpenStreetMap communities around the world returns to Latin America with a conversation with Miriam Gonzalez about OpenStreetMap in Mexico.
1. Who are you and what do you do? What got you into OpenStreetMap?
My OSM Id is Mapanauta, my name is Miriam Gonzalez and I participate in the OSM Latam community. I got involved in OpenStreetMap around four years ago when the company I work for, Telenav, acquired Skobbler, a company using open maps in Europe to provide GPS navigation. I didn’t know what Open Maps were so I start reading about the project and it was love at first sight ;) then connect with local mappers in Mexico City in ConDatos event in 2015 and then I participate in the Administrative boundaries import project fron INEGI data. From that moment until today I keep participating in coordinating events in different parts of Mexico.
2. What would you say is the current state of OSM and the OSM community in Mexico?
I consider there is still a lot to do, along with 8-10 mappers we have been organizing mapathons and workshops events over the last 3 years but there are many regions in the ones there is no community yet so there is an important lack of data.
3. What are the unique challenges and pleasures of OpenStreetMap in Mexico? What aspects of the projects should the rest of the world be aware of?
One of the challenges I would consider is keeping an active community, sometimes in the mapathons we try to keep the people involved but it is not easy to keep them active over the next months.
4. What is the best way to get involved? Are there events, mapping parties, etc? Where does the community meet online?
We organize events every 3-4 months, specially Mapathons with Universities or Open Data organizations. On line we are active in Twitter and Facebook, and a few of us are in Telegram groups such as OSM Latam, Geochicas and TerremotoMXmapping.
5. What steps could the global OpenStreetMap community take to help support OSM in Mexico?
It will be great to have online courses and having people apply the tools they had developed in local regions so we collaborate more and keep improving the map together.
6. In 2014 OSM celebrated its 10th birthday. Where do you think the project will be in 10 years time, both globally and in Mexico specifically?
I believe we are in a very relevant stage in the one we will be seeing companies and volunteers adding machine learning algorithms to improve the map, I am aware not everybody in the community will like that step but the benefits for improving the map will be incredible and more and more people in different regions will be able to use accurate maps for their own needs. Mexico will be part of that and the local authorities such as INEGI are aware and respect all the advances OpenStreetMap Mexico is doing so the next step will be having INEGI use our data in regions in the ones they have limitations.
Many thanks, Miriam. For the interview, but also for your efforts to get the local community started in Mexico. All good wishes to you and the other members of the community as you fill in the map. It is especially good to read that your relationship with the goverment mapping agency is collaborative. Good luck!
Please let us know if your community would like to be part of our interview series here on our blog. If you are or know of someone we should interview, please get in touch, we’re always looking to promote people doing interesting things with open geo data.