Mikel Maron: Misconceptions and Objections to Gaza Mapping: My Response

January 2009:

Over the past week, the response to OpenStreetMap in Gaza has been overwhelmingly supportive. There have been a few exceptional objections, and some common misconceptions, and I want to respond to from my perspective, and perhaps the “OpenStreetMap perspective”. Some of these objections have come from people familiar with operations in Gaza, so I take their perspectives very seriously. Please consider this part of a discussion .. I’m very interested to hear from your perspective.

Brain Off » Misconceptions and Objections to Gaza Mapping: My Response :: Mikel Maron :: Building Digital Technology for Our Planet.

Amazon s3 storage search interface

I use Amazon S3 for backup, and find that it’s hard to use because there’s no search function, so I can’t see what I’ve backed up.

So, I extended s3cmd.rb (comes with the WONDERFUL s3cmd.rb rsync clone for Amazon S3) with a search command.

Now I can use s3sync.rb to rsync my files up, then type:

s3sync.rb search bucket_name:path/to/restrict/search search_term

and I get, for example:

you just spent 6.0e-05 cents

The last line is because the price of making a list request in s3 is $0.01 per 1000 requests in the US; so I thought it’d be a good idea to tell people how much they’re spending.

I’ll try to commit this to the main s3sync.net codebase, but for now you can just download it here: s3sync

Elliott Madison arrested by FBI for organizing Pittsburgh G20 protest with Twitter

A New York-based anarchist has been arrested by the FBI and charged with hindering prosecution after he allegedly used the social networking site Twitter to help protesters at the G20 summit in Pittsburgh evade the police.

Elliot Madison, 41, from Queens, had his home raided and was put on $30,000 (£19,000) bail after he and Michael Wallschlaeger, 46, were tracked to the Carefree Inn motel in Pittsburgh during the summit on 24 and 25 September.

The pair were found sitting in front of a bank of laptops and emergency frequency radio scanners. They were wearing headphones and microphones and had many maps and contact numbers in the room.

Official police documents allege the two men used Twitter messages to contact protesters at the summit “and to inform the protesters and groups of the movements and actions of law enforcement”.

In all, almost 200 protesters were arrested during the two-day summit, which brought world leaders to Pittsburgh to discuss the global economic meltdown and other matters of common financial interest.


Composition of a typical OpenStreetMap API response

I’ve been wondering how much of the data transferred by the OpenStreetMap API is actual geometric data as opposed to timestamp and author data. I ran some rough numbers on a typical API response (in JSON, not XML, though these are relative measurements, so it shouldn’t matter too much). The file I examined is here: dr5ru0.json but my count is by number of characters and I did include formatting.