Free geographical data

I found OpenStreetMap – project aiming to collect geographical data (like city plans) and provide them on CC license. It is volunteer project, gathering data via GPS log files upload.

It looks like area coverage is mainly in UK, but as service will grow, it will cover much more areas. It is free service, and I wonder how they plan to cover cost of hosting. GIS data can be quite large, and fees for storage and bandwidth will be increasing over time, when database will grow. Bigger database means much more useful, and more users.

Any way, nice idea, I wish I had some GPS unit, I would provide some data from Warsaw…

How to create shapes for Google Maps?

I’m using Google Maps API and currently need to draw some shapes on it. Of course GPolygon is right for me, but I need data for it. Like countries shapes. So I wrote simple tool in JavaScript to draw shape on map, and get corresponding data – array with vertexes latitude and longitude.

As for now version 0.1 was tested in Firefox, there are some quirks with my IE, which I will iron out in next releases. Data can be presented as array of arrays with latitude and longitude or array with GLatLng objects – both are suitable to copy and paste to JavaScript code. I plan also output in SQL format.

And my tool is available under http://nhw.pl/download/points.html.