One of the initiatives Grow Bradford has is to map Bradford. You might say why? Surely Bradford is already mapped already.

What is important about the mapping we are doing is the context. We are focusing on Growing Projects in Bradford. This is key to meet our aim of information sharing and places depict on a map are rich with information.

One of the important principles underlying the way we map for Grow Bradford is to whom the data is accessible, that is everyone. For that reason we have chosen to contribute data to openstreetmap.org. They aim to “create and distribute free geographic data for the world”. This is unique because a lot of mapping data is restricted in some way by copyright or other onerous restrictions.”

Openstreetmap is a collaborative platform, and because of this new features not previously available on a map can be proposed, discussed and the implemented. For example, allotments are not a distinct feature on Google Maps beyond a simple label. However as a future post will explain we have put forward a proposal (which goes through stages of voting to ratify it) to properly map allotments and their plots so that information about how they are cultivated, and who runs them is available. The community that contribute this data is huge and it includes amateurs and professionals alike who are all passionate about the richness and the quality of the data that goes into Openstreetmap.

We are also fortunate to be pursuing this initiative whilst Bradford council take the first tentative steps to join other local authorities in making their mapping data open and accessible (Warickshire Council; Greater London Authority). With the launch of BradMaps, Grow Bradford will work in a strategic partnership with Bradford Council to exchange data captured as part of our mapping initiative, so that we can enrich both OpenStreetMap and BradMaps.

On top of the rich layer of mapping data is the presentation of the map. WordPress and the latest web standards give us a wide range of ways to present data on a map. We are not limited to a simple pictoral map and we will be able to show heat-maps to illustrate the concentration on Growing projects by area, augmented-reality maps that allow you to experience the urban growing in Bradford in a 3d map on your smart phone, and much more.

Watch this space for more mapping themed post and for announcements about new mapping features that are part of the Grow Bradford Mapping initiative.