At Hotovo, we can boast about our employees whose talents exceed their primary profession. However, in the case of Martin Ždila, when we say he goes beyond borders, we mean it literally. Martin is an active member of OZ Freemap Slovakia, and mapping has become his hobby.
OZ Freemap Slovakia is dedicated to popularizing the world project OpenStreetMap, which supports mapping activities in Slovakia and map creation with the so-called free license. It also operates its map portal freemap.sk and associates the mapper community with a passion for cartography. In addition, this year, they have achieved one great success – the association became the official local branch of the OpenStreetMap Foundation in Slovakia.
One of the association members is our colleague Martin, who works at Hotovo as a web developer. In his free time, he enthusiastically participates in the creation of these unique maps. What makes them so special? They are not only created by satellite image redrawing but are also created directly by humans, as they used to do in the past. Compared to the well-known Google maps, they are often much more detailed. However, the main difference is in their openness, as the name of the project suggests.
“Our maps are created by ordinary volunteers; the community – like Wikipedia. OpenStreetMap is not just a map. It’s all together from mapping, rendering different maps or map outputs for different devices, creating map software, routing software, searching. It’s also about documentation, discussions and the community itself,” explains Martin.
Thanks to a free license, anyone can use them for their own software project, which requires maps, navigation, geocoding, or the creation of various statistics from maps. One of the examples is the community project oma.sk. OZ Freemap Slovakia is also dedicated to education and training in the field of cartography – it organizes training and courses for the public and legal persons. Therefore, if you enjoy maps, you can learn something new or become a community member. How does the community work?
“Everyone at OpenStreetMap is dedicated to the tasks they most enjoy. For me, it is mapping in the field, and mapping according to aerial images and from the data of laser scanning of Slovakia. I also program the www.freemap.sk portal, create Freemap styles for the outdoor map, program the engine that renders it, and also manage the Facebook page or do email support,” says Martin.
The interesting aspect is, that it is possible to capture almost every object into this map data and describe a number of its attributes. “We depict the world around us in detail. We also map, for example, benches, dustbins, lamps, traffic signs, springs, and restaurants. When we describe a bench, we can describe whether it has a backrest, how many seats it has, what color it is or what material it is made of. When we describe a restaurant, we give info about its opening hours, what kind of cuisine it offers, whether it has a Wi-Fi connection or whether it is wheelchair accessible,” explains Martin.
In addition to the usual roads, they also document forest and hiking trails and bike paths. They combine the pleasant with the practical – tourism and exploring the country with mapping. They document the terrain in detail and mark each important landmark so that nothing will surprise any tourist or cyclist. Even in Hotovo, we sometimes go hiking or cycling together, so we are always grateful for better orientation in the field. 🙂
If you are on the same wavelength with us, you have a talent, and not afraid to show it, come work for us! We are currently looking for new skilled colleagues for several job positions.