How to take advantage of crowd sourcing and contribute too:
I'm looking forward to my vacation starting two days from now. My wife and I are happy to see southern Spain.
We will rent a car in the airport and drive the approximately 100 km to the house in the small village called Gualchos.
As always when preparing a vacation where I need to find my way around by myself I start looking for maps. Years ago that was printed maps. Who remembers the good old fashioned maps from Michelin? Today that is digital maps on the internet. Like Google, Bing or OpenStreetMap.
About a month ago I started looking for maps and found that the area was pretty bad covered on both Google, Bing and OSM. Bad luck.
I then invested about two saturday afternoons mapping the village and the close surroundings from air photos. Most of the world is covered by images taken from airplanes.
You can see the result here: http://tools.geofabrik.de/mc/?lon=-3.3897&lat=36.74396&zoom=16&num=2&mt0=mapnik&mt1=google-map
Yesterday I downloaded the resulting data as a Garmin navigation file from http://garmin.openstreetmap.nl/ and installed it on my own Garmin device. It works like a charm.
So could I have done the same thing with Google Maps? Perhaps I could. But not for my Garmin device or any other device exept for devices that Google chooses to support. The reason for this is that Google owns and control the data behind their maps and they don't give me access to the core data. They only gives me access to the services that Google wants me to use. I'm not the customer so I'm part of the product.
From OpenStreetMap nobody owns or controls the data. The data belongs to you and me and we can do with them what we want. Without any restrictions exept for respecting the license.
When I get back from my vacation I will bring local knowledge and notes about further observations. I will also bring the trip log from my Garmin navigator. I will then update the map with corrections and additional information.
I hope other tourists or locals will take advantage of my improvements and I also hope that other tourists in Spain, Denmark and other places will do the same and add details to the map.
Note: When you map areas that you don't know your self you must be very carefull. Don't make up details and remember that its pretty difficukt to interpret air photos from a landscape that you don't know your self. So don't map anything that you are not 100% certain is what you think it is.