The Crockford Files – March 2013

The Crockford Files – March 2013
Photo by Symo0 via Flickr Creative Commons

By John Crockford


Apple endured some recent bad press over its mapping software problems, so I thought we would go over some map stuff this month.

OpenStreetMap ( is a free worldwide map created by its users—a free wiki world map. The data is free to download and use under its open license.

OpenStreetMap US ( is the U.S. chapter of OpenStreetMap (OSM), the free, open-source map of the world created by volunteers all over the globe. ( is a resource for users and developers in the open source mapping community, and a home to many open source projects.

MapBox ( is a commercial enterprise that provides software and support services built on the OpenStreetMap platform.

CommunityWalk ( is a Web site that is dedicated to providing a powerful yet simple and easy-to-use interface for creating informational, interactive and engaging maps. CommunityWalk uses Google Maps and provides both free and paid services. The Community Alliance newspaper uses CommunityWalk to map its distribution locations (

If you are interested in trying your hand at mapping using the free, open source OpenStreetMap platform, there is a project under way to map the bus routes in this area. Preliminary work was begun with the smaller Clovis transit system, and help is needed to further the project. If you are interested in helping with this project, please contact me at This is not a commercial endeavor, and it is a good place to show that good city government doesn’t have to be coupled with private enterprise to provide a much needed service.

Local Government Outreach Update

The folks at Fresno Area Express (@fresnobus) obviously don’t read the Community Alliance. Two months ago (in the January issue), I mentioned that FAX was not utilizing its Twitter account to keep its riders aware of what was happening with its bus service. It has been more than two years since FAX implored Fresnans to “ride me” in its first tweet on Nov. 16, 2010. Still nothing. Maybe Fresno’s tweets have been privatized.


John Crockford, a self-described “geek with Luddite sympathies,” is an independent Web site designer and consultant. Contact him at or follow the Crockford Files (@crockfordfiles) with Twitter (


  • Community Alliance

    The Community Alliance is a monthly newspaper that has been published in Fresno, California, since 1996. The purpose of the newspaper is to help build a progressive movement for social and economic justice.

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