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Maptime So Far

As Maptime Chicago’s 2015 season really starts to swing into gear, I thought it might be nice to take a quick snapshot of where we’ve been and where we’re going.


Maptime Chicago got its start at State of The Map 2014 in DC. I read about all the great talks Lyzi, Alan, Beth and many others had been giving and asked if anyone from Chicago had considered starting something up. Someone recommended I talk to Ian and Nick from the Chicago OpenStreetMap community, so I did! They were both interested in working together, but, unfortunately for me, they both moved out of the city within a few months of the conference.

I got started anyway, planning Chicago’s first Maptime event with Steve Vance. We talked about OpenStreetMap at Thoughtworks and had to run a pretty serious audible when OSM’s email servers went down, preventing our attendees from registering new OSM accounts. Everyone still seemed to have a great time and we’ve heard from a handful of folks who still contribute to OSM many months later.


I tried to keep the ball rolling on my own, but quickly realized that:

So, I started going to Open Gov Hack Night as often as I could, in search of others to help out. I recruited Justin, Adam and Louise, but, admittedly, have not done a great job of engaging their talent and energy. We’ve put together a little organizing doc and will hopefully be able to dig into it more this year.

On the outreach front, I set up a MaptimeChi Twitter account (@maptimeCHI), website, email list, and eventbrite account to help organize outreach and keep our materials in one place. Steve Vance has done a great job of promoting MaptimeChi at Open Gov Hack Night and Smart Chicago, our new host, has been amazing at getting the word out and providing fantastic meeting space and food. Smart Chicago has also suggested we book several months in advance, which has been a surprsingly useful motivator for getting workshops planned ahead of time.

Workshops and sort-of-workshops

Sometimes the best way to see where you’re going is to look back at where you’ve been. So here is a list of all the Maptime and Maptime-adjacent talks I’ve given or contributed to since getting started in 2014:

  1. OSM 101 - Steve Vance presented at Thoughtworks
    • Materials: We did a quick intro and Steve worked off of the classic version of OSM 101
  2. Learn Leaflet for Maptober - I presented at Thoughtworks
  3. In November, I talked to a friend’s Computer Science class about Geodata
    • Materials: I adapted Lyzi’s Let’s Talk About Geodata presentation into these slides.
  4. Also in November, I gave a talk I called ‘Demystifying GIS’ to the staff at the Delta Institute, where I work.
    • Materials: I mashed up a bunch of things from the above Geodata presentation as well as Lyzi’s Wild World of Geodesy presentation. There’s some other random stuff thrown in, but here are the slides.
  5. OSM Part II. In December, Steve and I got the band back together for another OSM workshop, this time with an emphasis on using advanced editing tools. There were no slides or takeaway materials, but I did write a blog post!
  6. Anatomy of a Webmap. In February, I adapted the Anatomy of a Webmap and MaptimeSea’s Intro to Webpages & Webmapspresentations. Smart Chicago also livestreamed the event, which was awesome!
  7. Make a Map with QGIS. Most recently, I gave a presentation on QGIS. It was coincident with the AAG2015 conference, so we got a great, diverse croud. It was a ton of fun.

Coming up

Beyond the monthly (hopefully this year!) drumbeat of meetups, there are lots of things bubbling right now, none of which are really finalized enough to post, but all of which would be amazing if they come to fruition. The next two Maptimes are already on the books, although they don’t have topics yet.

Really looking forward to Maptime Chicago’s second season!