OpenStreetMap makes Mindland mapping possible

One of the biggest beneficiaries of OpenStreetMap is Microsoft letting OSM use their BING sattellite imagery as a backdrop for tracing objects for inclusion into OSM. One of my side projects is to make a decent map of the island where my father was born. The name of the island is Mindland. It is around 300 kms north of Trondheim, as the crow flies.

I started the project using driving an old motorcycle around the island with my iPhone in my backpack. This way I was able to make GPX-tracks for the major roads. However interesting it was to drive the trike around the island it would not be possible to go all the way. The buildings would end up being points, the fields would go uncharted and driving a motorcycle around all the minor roads might be a bit intrusive.

During the recent update of the OSM Bing backdrop from Microsoft they also updated the imagery for “my” parts of Nordland county. Tracing all of them would necessitate a much more structured and massive effort than one person would be able to contribute. It is well beyond the point as well. Norway has a well developed spatial data infrastructure, and the data registered by hundreds of employees in the municipalities around our country are much better than what is possible to on off hours.

There is one thing though… most of the official data are not openly available.  To be able to entertain my plan on making a map of Mindland for my fellow islanders, for open distribution, the government owned data sets are out of reach. This is more about legal issues than practical issues.

The map below is the Mindland map in it’s current phase. I have traced most of the buildings. I might have missed out on a couple of garages, sheds and cabins. The roads are mostly done. The fields as well. Substantial edits have been made to the coastline, but the map rendering engine at OpenStreetMap seems to update this layer very seldom.

I have now started registering streams, rivers and forests. Scrub land and rocks (svaberg) remains. And I will also have to get up to speed on OSM object coding as well as inner rings and other complex objects to make this work. I believe I have done a decent job on infrastructure topology.

[osm_map lat=”65.777″ long=”12.455″ zoom=”13″ width=”600″ height=”450″ type=”Mapnik”]

As said the goal is to make a map. These are the working principles:

  • Tracing is done based on the backdrop available through OpenStreetMap
  • Infrastructure topology should be established
  • All surfaces should be mapped
  • I will register:
    • Roads, tracks, paths
    • Buildings
    • Gardens and grass
    • Fields (meadows)
    • Grazing areas
    • Coastline (including some nearby islands)
    • Piers
    • Rivers and ponds
    • Rock
    • Names

With the above data my goal is to establish the basis for an illustrative map which at some point can hang on the wall in the kitchen of our summer house on Mindland.

Revising this article now in July 2013 I have traced most features and buildings. I have distributed a draft version of the map and I am in the process of revising the place names. In the processs I have borrowed the Norwegian Mapping authorities elevation model to be able to produce a decent shadow effect. For wider distribution I will need an open licensed elevation model. So I am looking for it. OpenCycleMap seems to have a decent one and I am hoping I can use it for this map.

3 thoughts on “OpenStreetMap makes Mindland mapping possible

  1. Beth (Lindenmeyer) Dhuse

    During WW2 or shortly after, my name was sent with a Jr. Red Cross box of gifts to a family on Mindland Island, Norway. If I remember correctly, their last name was Norberg. There were three children, Turid, Gunnar, and Anny Margaret. We corresponded for a while, then lost touch with them. I am wondering if any of them might be still living there. Is it possible to find out? Thank you

    1. Viktor Gjersvold

      Hi, Beth Dhuse.

      I am Viktor Gjersvold, son of Anny Margrethe. We are still living on Mindland.
      Gunnar and Turid, my uncle and aunt lives not very far from Mindland.

      Best regards,

      1. Beth (Lindenmeyer) Dhuse

        I would like to send you the “Norway letters” and pictures that we saved from your family in the 40’s. My sister has them now, but I’ll send them as soon as I get them back. I’ll need an address. Thank you – Beth


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