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Truth in Mapping

By Eric Richardson
Published: Wednesday, February 03, 2010, at 09:17PM
OpenStreetMap OpenStreetMap [osm.org]

OpenStreetMap is a free, editable map to which anyone can contribute. It's very much the Wikipedia of the mapping world, and suffers many of the same issues -- a lot of the data is very good, but look close and some of it just isn't quite right.

When it comes to the site of the old state building at 1st and Broadway, though, I think OSM's data just about nails it. The description on the big rectangular site reads "A big hole where the building used to be."

During the development boom, we used to have a lot of fun with a series called Bad Maps, highlighting some of the liberties that ad agencies took with Downtown's streets and landmarks. Doing a similar thing for the Point of Interest data in OSM wouldn't really be worthwhile -- there are issues everywhere.

But when it comes to that state building site (which you can see on the OSM site here), I think "big hole where the building used to be" looks a lot more true that "Future Federal Courthouse."

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