2 weeks ago a street mapping party used Infoseed as a base, to go out and record GPS traces to add to Open Street Map. I like this project creating more open distributable free information. I have not got a GPS device myself. I might get one at start of next year, after looking into which ones of best use.
In UK the official maps from Ordnance Survey are not freely distributable. Which is the subject of the Free Our Data campaign.
Open Street Map only details down to street level of detail. But the some of technology behind it along with other developments could go further down to same level as that of OS Mastermap which shows buildings, walls and kerbs, and other feature boundaries. I am still getting my head round the possibilities and how they might be implemented. Tech tools include FeatureServer and GeoServer.
An interesting source of maps is the Maps done by USSR of whole world including Britain.
Utilities keeps record of pipes or cables managed often kept on a mapping system (GIS). When someone wants a new connection they send in scale plans if a new build, which merged with existing records which recorded on mapbase from ordnance survey. The new connection is then designed on top of the merged image to give a quote based on lengths, size and type of materials needed. An ‘Aslaid Template’ of the combined map is also produced so contractor can record what they actually put in the ground, and this is in turn used to update the GIS record with the pipes or cables and any new build building, roads and pavements.
Generally get scaled plans are still submitted as paper maps. But sometimes as PDF, or DWG or DXF. In an area I know PDFs are converted to raster png files with PDFcreator which has option to save a png. DWG is able to be opened in Autodesk Trueview 2007 and then turn off layers we done need and that often create congestion in route of new service. The new build image is merged with existing mapbase with pipe routes using the GNU Image Manipulation Program. It seems a pity to convert vector information into raster information for this then to be recorded back in vector format on mapping system.
But in case I know of with gas pipes the output of GIS system is only in raster format. And as the complete route of pipe is hand drawn onto the aslaid, the new build details are added from it at same time as aslaid route of new pipe. I wonder if the new build could be added to mapbase at first and then template created. In fact it would be good if architects could add there plans to open mapbase that was used, so the same activity of adding there plans to OS mapbase done in each utility is saved. One could have a distributed system which pulling in distributed data based on web of trust.
The future of recording under ground assets if being looked into by linked projects:
Another MTU website
Digital Framework (for swapping map data)