Between before and after

Announcing the beta release of the Baato OSM before-after tool.

Reminiscing the days that have passed is truly fulfilling. Looking at pictures from your childhood, noticing the changes (slight or drastic) and savoring the tremendous growth and experience you’ve gathered is wonderful. It’s comforting to look back at those innocent times.

Reflecting and looking back from a point in the past isn’t only a nice way of recollecting and reminiscing memories of your journey but is an insightful practice to determine your progress. It helps you compare the situation in the past and helps you place your efforts relative to that time.

Visualizing OSM mapping contribution between two time periods

Before-after maps are a good way to demonstrate an organization’s mapping contribution over time. They provide a visual way to demonstrate concretely the roads, buildings, rivers, etc. they have contributed to OSM through their organized mapping efforts. With this application, we (Baato) hope that generating such maps and showcasing impact will be a little more easier for the hundreds of small organizations and/or volunteer groups working in mapping.

In our own work here at Kathmandu Living Labs, we frequently find ourselves using Before-After maps to sensitize new mappers to the power of crowdsourcing, or to showcase the extent of mapping that has occurred following a mapathon or a long mapping project.

You can now provision and share before-after maps in minutes!

Before-after maps (https://beforeafter.baato.io) is an online tool that shows map data of the same place at two different times. It allows users to visually compare how a particular area looked at two different years, side by side. These maps show the amount of effort put in between “before” and “after” a particular time period.

We wanted to make the process of generating before-after maps simple and accessible for everyone. Normally, it is a manual process, can be time-consuming and may require technical knowledge of things such as — but not limited to — Maperitive, OSM data formats, tile hosting, etc. In our eight years of experience working on the ground and interacting with multiple mapping organizations all over the world, we have learned that most organizations working in mapping lack the technical capacity to create in-house before-after maps as an output. A mapping team with in-house tech-teams are usually an exception rather than the norm. Just because not everyone is able to do this doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be able to.

The tool is an amalgamation of some pre-existing open source initiatives which you can find more about in the About section. The map style for the generated before-after maps is provided by Baato (https://baato.io).

At present, the tool allows you to search for a geographical location and make comparisons of past years against current OSM data. One the user has entered their details, they will receive an email with a link to their map.

We are still in the early phases of development of the tool and eagerly seeking feedback as well as contributors to improve it. For your valuable suggestions, please do not hesitate to reach out to us at support@baato.io

Baato delivers precise maps and location data for developers and businesses in Nepal. Power your next app using Baato. Learn more at https://baato.io