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Walking to Birmingham: An E2 long-distance challenge for 2013
The organizers of OpenStreetMap’s 7th global annual conference have issued an E2 challenge to walkers who want to join hundreds of volunteer digital mappers from around the world descending on Birmingham in September for State of the Map 2013 at Aston University from 6-8 September 2013.
In the UK there are two variants of the E2 European long distance route: it is the Western section passes close to the east of Birmingham along the Heart of England Way. The E2 is 4,850 kilometres (3,010 mi) from end to end. Anyone who arrives in Birmingham for the Conference having started at Stranraer or Dover will be given free entry to the Conference. If anyone is brave enough or has time enough to start from Nice at the southern end of the GR5* the organizers will dig into conference funds to reward them with a special award!
Once there a vibrant community of map makers will celebrate succesful completions of the challenge, and will no doubt want to help in making the best detailed onlinemap of the route.
In the UK the western E2 starts in the North from Stanraer and follows the Southern Upland Way and St Cuthbert’s Way. Once in England it follows the Pennine Way, the Gritstone Trail, the Staffordshire Way and the Heart of England Way.
Approaching Birmingham from the South, the E2 starts in Dover and follows the North Downs Way, the Wey South Path, the Thames Path, the Oxford Canal , the Oxfordshire Way, and the Heart of England Way.
OpenStreetMap is transforming the way maps are made and used. Collecting, editing and publishing geographical data with a global army of over 1 million volunteers creates maps with levels of detail and dynamism unachievable by other means. Volunteers collect lots of data that is of specific interest to their communities, which might not otherwise be collected. Commercial processes can proceed very slowly in the world of digital maps, whereas being volunteer-based OpenStreetMap data is very responsive to changes. All of the data collected is published under an open license so anyone may use the data freely.
“Adding data to OpenStreetMap from surveys adds new interest and motivation for country walking. You are no longer reliant on the style or content of OS maps. Walking to our conference will provide a rich set of data to produce a detailed map of the route and an even richer set of tales. I'm sure local mappers along the route will be only too glad to assist.” says Brian Prangle, local organizer for State of the Map 2013.