News — 17 March, 2017
Next Generation HOT Export Tool - Version 3
The HOT Export Tool allows users to create custom OpenStreetMap (OSM) exports for various regions, by specifying an area of interest and a list of features. Within minutes, up-to-date OSM data is extracted for the area and filtered based on the selected features before it is converted from the native PBF file into other data formats. The Export Tool is currently undergoing renewed development to provide the OSM community with a tool to meet their data extraction needs. Numerous feature enhancements have been requested and an overall update to the software will improve its performance.
The HOT Export Tool allows users to create custom OpenStreetMap (OSM) exports for various regions, by specifying an area of interest and a list of features. Within minutes, up-to-date OSM data is extracted for the area and filtered based on the selected features before it is converted from the native PBF file into other data formats. Redevelopment of the original Export Tool took place in 2015 to create Version 2, which went live on the 5th of October and saw great improvements to the overall functionality. This included greater flexibility in selecting the export area of interest with the ability to type in coordinates, the addition of the OSMAnd file format .obf and addressing key bugs. The biggest overhaul however, was the frontend refactor which focused on making the interface more modern, intuitive and user friendly.
Just like any other application, bugs have appeared since its release and issues need to be addressed. Numerous feature enhancements have been requested and an overall update to the software will greatly improve performance. Therefore the Export Tool is currently undergoing renewed development to provide the OSM community with a streamlined tool to meet their data extraction needs. HOT has hired two experienced developers to lead the way; Brandon Liu and Seth Fitzsimmons. Brandon is a web and geospatial developer involved in OSM since 2012 and built Cadmapper, a tool that transforms data from public sources such as OSM, NASA, and USGS into neatly organized CAD files. Seth was the Director of Technology at Stamen and has worked on several tools including OpenAerialMap and Portable OSM. They will be making sure that Version 3 of the Export Tool is delivered as scheduled by the end of June 2017.
The main deliverables for Version 3 of the Export Tool include addressing all the bugs listed in the GitHub repository, like the critical issue #129 about Shapefiles being exported with no attribute information. If you’re an avid user of the tool, you probably have noticed that this has already been fixed. The way that the extracted OSM data is filtered for requested features will be reviewed and improved. More file formats such as Maps.me and potentially Geopackage will be added. Opening up the tool to all regions so that it is no longer restricted to the Southern hemisphere for exports. Refactoring the frontend to make it more consistent with the rest of the HOT tools and making local installation streamlined for easier code contributions in the future from the greater community.
Another key component of this development is the integration of the Export Tool with the Humanitarian Data Exchange (HDX) platform. This will see the tool push customised OSM extractions through to the HDX website at specified intervals as suggested in issue #126. An admin interface for the HDX team is being created so that they can select and control the exports that are automated to their site. A lot of key infrastructure data used as exposure information during humanitarian responses is mapped in OSM, and the integration between these two platforms will make the process of getting the appropriate data to responders much easier and quicker.
HOT will be hosting a community chat regarding the development work on March 30th, at 15:00 UTC. This will be a text chat on the Slack #export-tool channel where most of the discussion surrounding the current development occurs. Please join to learn more about the tool, plans for enhancements and share personal insights, whether these are frustrations and/or improvements you would like to see in Version 3. Sign up here and we will add you to the HOTOSM Slack channel for the community chat, but if you can’t make it please follow the work on the dedicated GitHub repository. We can’t promise anything as we have set deliverables that need to be met, but we will definitely do our best to incorporate the needs of everyone where possible.