Living in Australia? Local Group organisers in the region are organising an all-day hackathon on Saturday, January 5th 2013 from 10 am onwards to create an OpenStreetMap-based bicycle map of Melbourne, and they want you to get involved.

The OKFN Australia Local Group will need data geeks, cartographers, programmers, graphic designers, sysadmins and most importantly Melburnians to help design and produce a beautiful paper map useful for the city’s cyclists, so now is your chance to get involved if you’re in the area!

The OKFN Australia Local Group has a few reasons for wanting to make this map. In their own words:

  1. “Melbourne has been a-changing (and will continue to change, a good thing) – we just need all those changes from the past year put down in single piece of paper
  2. There is lots of great open data in OpenStreetMap we can use to create a rider friendly map.
  3. This effort is the first of a dozen ‘Open Knowledge’ projects that the Melbourne chapter of the Open Knowledge Foundation is undertaking this year, e.g. one for each month in 2013 (subscribe to this blog for more).
  4. We like maps and we like data and getting together with a community of like-minded Melburnians who want to share their knowledge about Melbourne is great fun
  5. We think this map expertise will be the base of several other ‘Open Knowledge’ projects will do around adding data to maps, e.g. historical walk map through Melbourne, culinary food trails, etc…!”

The tasks of the day are simple:

  • a) To identify the tools needed to create a map from OpenStreetMap data
  • b) To design a beautiful map style, and to make the cartography as professional as possible
  • c) To display the most useful parts of the map into a compelling, two-sided design
  • d) To assemble the tool pipeline to produce an image ready to go to printers

The final aim of the day? Each participant will be able to print themselves a map of the best cycle routes in Melbourne!

Hackathon organisers encourage everyone who would like to know more about Melbourne and how to map data onto a map to join. As head organiser David Flanders notes, “We don’t know what will come of the day, but if enough of us get together we are confident that by the end of the day we’ll have a map that we can all use in our day-to-day – or at least all have a much better understanding of Melbourne and what cycle routes go through it!”

For more details and to RSVP for this event, go to its Meetup page – and do be sure to say hello on the public OKFN AU discussion list. Announcements will also be posted via the #OKFNau tag on Twitter.

Image thanks to Andrew Robinson.

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Kat is Mozilla's Hacking Popular Culture Liaison. As part of the Open Knowledge Foundation's community team from 2011-2013, Kat coordinated OKFestival Helsinki and led the Local Groups network. She is a co-founder of the Open Design + Hardware working group and editor of The Open Book. Tweet @kat_braybrooke.