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Walking Papers

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An uploaded scan of the St Pancras, London area with shop/hotel location annotations. source

Walking Papers enables users to print OpenStreetMap maps, draw on them and scan them back in to a computer. These can then be used as a background for the Potlatch editor, effictively allowing users to create or edit OSM data from hand drawn maps.



Walking Papers provides users with OpenStreetMap maps with a QR code present which can then be printed out in either landscape or portrait format. Users are then able to write on new mapping data and then scan it in and upload back to Walking Papers. The QR code allows the map to be geo-coded and it can then form a background in Potlatch, the OSM editor, for the relevant map area. This can then be traced over using the regular Potlatch map editor tools to create new map data.

Each scanned map is reverse-geocoded using Flickr's flickr.places.findByLatLon API feature, which give a meaningful local name for a given geographical area. All prints and scan are available on the website for viewing and use by all users.

Each print and scan action is also backed by a promise to post printed maps to users, and to accept mailed annotated maps in return. This effectively means users can contribute to OpenStreetMap without the requirement of a GPS, personal computer or printer.

The code is freely available for download on Github. Map data is from OpenStreetMap under a CC-BY-SA license and web and print cartography are produced by Cloudmade.


Walking Papers was created by Michal Migurski at Stamen Design. It launched on the 4th June 2009.[1] Two weeks after launch Migurski reported most activity consisted of printing maps with a smaller number of scans but that responses were positive. User feedback has resulted in new features being implimented such as the option to print maps in landscape or portrait format.[2]

Future development

External links


  1. walking papers lives - accessdate=2009.06.23
  2. walking papers: end of week two - accessdate=2009.06.23
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