I’m done.

Holy crap, I’M DONE!

Outside of the comic, I have been working on an OpenStreetMaps project for three and a half years, mapping every county road in Nebraska. So much TIGER data that was imported in as placeholders and just left there for years because rural NE wasn’t seen as a priority. Monitoring all the bridges destroyed in the flood and making sure roads in flood areas were labeled for emergency services. And on and on.

I can’t name another project I’ve worked on since my Eagle Scout that has taken this much time and passion. In reality, I’ve been working on this since 2012. It started when my first batch of seniors graduated at J-B, and I couldn’t find their graduation parties because the county roads weren’t labeled on almost any digital map, and I wanted to fix that. I learned how to use Google Map Maker and used that for 16,000 edits until they kicked everyone out. But I wasn’t nearly as methodical then, nor did I have the goal of EVERY county until almost four years ago after I transitioned to OpenStreetMaps. I now have 5,848 uploads to OSM. It doesn’t track individual edits, but I know I upload around 100 edits at a time on average, so that puts me around the half-million mark. (By the way, that’s the first time I ever calculated that. HOLY CRAP that’s huge!)

I won’t be done with mapping, not by a long shot. Next project is making sure all of the Game and Parks land is properly tagged (wildlife management areas tend to be particularly neglected), and I wouldn’t mind reviewing the railroads and rivers. But nothing on this scale.

It is satisfying to know my work is out there for people to use and benefit from. Every once in a while, I come across maps where I can recognize my work in unexpected places, from the interactive displays in Schramm Education Center to the decorative art of Lincoln that I got for Christmas. I’ve found my work yoinked by other map programs like Apple and Google. And yes, I even found my edits on Pokémon GO (although it’s been over three years since they’ve updated their maps…).

I’m sure there are still errors out there, and there’s virtually infinite edits I could make still, but I challenge you to find any Nebraska map that is better than what OSM has right now.