Maggie Cawley joins as a guest in this episode. Maggie is the Executive Director for OpenStreetMap, a nonprofit collaborative project to create an editable geographic database of the world. Anyone with an email address can edit this map. The goal is to try and build the best, most comprehensive map of the world.
OpenStreetMap has become a resource for people all over the world for analysis, to inform decision making, and allowing local participants to show the important features of where they live. Over 20,000 companies like Craigslist, Amazon, and Uber use OpenStreetMap.
About a year before recording this podcast episode, Maggie was contacted by park rangers concerned about the use and overuse of specific paths that were being perceived as trails based on information provided by OpenStreetMap. She used this opportunity to start a wider discussion on bringing awareness to this issue.
Maggie now has a working group with land managers, mappers, outdoor enthusiasts, and soil experts who are volunteering their time to work together and find a solution. This situation has highlighted the emphasis for adding the necessary metadata—for example, not just that there is a trail, but the features of the trail. As they work towards a solution, Maggie hopes educational resources will be available moving forward.