Our view on 'open'

Ben Abelshausen

OpenStreetMap Belgium is  a working group @

Open Knowledge Belgium


And we map Belgium!

'State of the Map' in Belgium

- Excellent basemap.

- Excellent state of transport-related data

  - Good quality road network.

  - Good quality transit data.

- Reasonable landuse.

- Basic address coverage

OpenStreetMap is now 13 years old!

That's an eternity in the tech-universe, how are we still relevant?


Do we even have to care about this?

Let's have a look at the 'competion'


- open-data

- commercial data

- sensors, big data and AI

What about open data?

Is OSM still relevant with all this open-data?

Usually open-data is collected by and for the government and you are not part of that process!



What about open data?

Is OSM still relevant with all this open-data?

- Government open-data is local, try to find a source for the country, europe or the world?

- Also, ever tried to merge this data into one dataset?

- Government data is (sometimes) OK, but very hard to correct at the source.

- Government data is probably not collected with your usecase in mind and hard to augment.



Commercially available data?

Is OSM still relevant when we have sensors, AI and all that 'big' data?

What do we do at OSM Belgium?

Mapping, Community Building, Quality Checking, Changeset monitoring, Data Validation

OSM Welcome Tool

- Welcoming new users in the community

- Monitoring new edits

- Integrate newcomers into our community faster.

- Educate newcomers faster on OSM best practices

Road Completion Project

- Change detection, spot changes faster

- Completeness & quality assurances.

Response to Open Data

We try to use the trend of opening up data to improve our own data

At the same time we try to keep our 'chaos' and openness alive

Response to AI/sensors/bigdata

We should try to use the trend of AI-driven solutions to generate data/quality check data to improve our own data

At the same time we should try to keep our 'chaos' and openness alive

open data, AI/bigdata are opportunities not 'competion'

open data, AI/bigdata

... can enable OSM to guarantee a degree of quality and completeness

open data, AI/bigdata

... can make OSM to be the best database of the physical world

We get smarter every day!

Mid-term goals

  • Verify OSM data in different ways.
  • Generate quality metrics about OSM in Belgium.



Do this is in the open, use open-source tools and open-data so everyone can run their own!


  • A costless (or very cheap) datasource.
  • Quality checked and verified.
  • Almost always up-to-date.



Who can compete with this?

(almost) nobody




Our community:





We  need help!

(and we need sponsors!)

I am:

Ben Abelshausen, Board Member @ OpenKnowledge Belgium

Working group lead of OpenStreetMap Belgium

Routing and mobility expert:

Our next events:

- Meetup @ Louvain-la-Neuve

- National Mapathon, 25th of March