Putting The Berry Theatre on the map

I don’t go to the theatre that often but this week was slightly unusual: two different theatres, two nights in a row, one of which is brand new. It was The Berry Theatre‘s gala opening evening tonight, which was excellent, but that’s not exactly what this post is about.

Being brand new, I was hoping that it would provide an opportunity to do something I’ve been meaning to try for a while and, sure enough, the theatre wasn’t in OpenStreetMap yet! So, armed with a dangerous amount of knowledge gained during Nick‘s enthusiastic OSM presentations yesterday, I fired up JOSM and contributed my first node.

Update: and as if by magic, The Berry Theatre appeared on the rendered map! (10 April 2011)

Updated: added link to Nick’s presentations. (9 July 2011)


Blustering Politicians

Earlier this week I spotted an article about a very entertaining protest against the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The basic idea is to bring a little of the world cup atmosphere to BP to remind them about what’s happening in the Gulf of Mexico. Or to put it another way, use the formidable power of the Vuvuzela to annoy BP into submission. I think it’s a brilliant idea, but I do wonder what it’s intended to achieve.

I agree with Nigel – there’s a lot of less than constructive criticism. It’s hard to be sure given the amount of political and media spin, but it does seem that BP are well aware of the pain they are causing, and they do seem to be taking reasonable steps to do something about it. How can you complain about BP spending money to put it’s side of the story forward when it’s facing an onslaught of negative publicity? One thing that appears to have been somewhat overlooked in the clamour of blame-storming is that people have tragically died as a result of this accident. They barely seem to get a mention.

As for the environmental impact of the accident, I would be interested to find out how it compares to the damage done across America, and around the world, every single day. Of course, it is hard to ignore something so large and unpleasant right on your doorstep. No wonder Barack is so upset, except that it’s a little late now. I have no idea how strict the regulation and monitoring of the oil industry is in the US, but I have to admit I’ve been speculating about how it compares to the building control inspection process in the UK. A friend of mine is building a small extension on his house, and it seems like the inspector is there more often than the builders! Surely it would make sense for inspectors to have the power to stop drilling when issues are found, before they turn into problems, rather than drag someone in for a telling off when it’s too late. (The clips of Tony Hayward’s questioning I saw just annoyed me as well. What exactly did it achieve? I’m also not surprised by the accusations of double standards.)

Essentially it seems to me that it’s very easy to blame BP for something which we should all be taking responsibility for. There will always be accidents, but the likelihood and impact of those accidents must surely increase when our demand for oil means it’s even viable to extract it from oil sands. Carbon footprints might be all the rage, but what about our oily hands? Just think about how much oil we all use in our daily lives. How big will the oil handprint be for the Vuvuzela protest? Aren’t Vuvuzelas made from oil in the first place?!

Yes, it’s a terrible accident. Yes, BP should do everything they can to put it right. And yes, the Vuvuzela protest is pure genius, but they should be blowing those Vuvuzelas at all of us.

(Thanks to Marie M for making the handprints available under a creative commons license.)

Updated: added link to BP oil spill disaster: Clean-up efforts in the Gulf of Mexico IET article. (5 July 2010)

Updated: added link to The 10 worst forms of pollution. (8 July 2010)

Hot Chocolate Anniversary

This weekend was our six month wedding anniversary, unfortunately Schott’s Almanac was no help at all working out what the traditional six month wedding anniversary symbol is, only starting after a whole year with cotton. Since there doesn’t seem to be an agreed upon six month symbol, I choose hot chocolate after we enjoyed one at the end of a very relaxing afternoon retracing part of our wedding tour of Hampshire. If you’re in the area, I thoroughly recommend The Old House Hotel and the Marriott Meon Valley; they were both superb on our wedding day.

(I was pretty pleased with the results of tinkering with Open Street Map for our wedding invitations although, after stories of some of the detours our guests took, it may not have been worth it!!)

It’s been a mad six months which seem to have flown past with a brilliant honeymoon in Canada, (unsuccessfully) trying to move house and playing in the snow!

Niagara Falls

Looking forward to the next six months!

Location, location, location

I discovered a very nice alternative to Rightmove for finding houses on the web this weekend. As the saying goes, the three most important things to take in to account when looking for a house are location, location and location, so using a map to find properties for sale seems like an obvious choice:


I like maps anyway, so I’m hooked. It also beats Rightmove with support for RSS feeds. How can Rightmove not have a feed? Maybe I’m just missing it. Still, there is one tiny problem with OnOneMap: it doesn’t have as many properties on it. Even our house isn’t on there, although I’m planning to pester the estate agent on Monday to see if I can persuade them to give it a try.