Thursday, December 19, 2019

This Map Writes Poetry

OpenStreetMap Haiku is a clever map that can write you a personal poem based on your current location. Share your location with OpenStreetMap Haiku and it will generate a unique ode using data gleaned from OpenStreetMap.

For example I shared my current location in east London with OpenStreetMap Haiku and it wrote this very apt poem for me:

Burford Road 
In this empty place
That's how it is in England!

The poems generated by the map can be a bit hit and miss. Not all of the poems are as good (or as accurate) as the poem generated for me about Burford Road.

The map works by querying the Overpass API to find points of interest on OpenStreetMap near your current location. A poem is then randomly assembled using the information it knows about your shared location. For example if I move the map a little to the east from Burford Rd, near to a local primary school, OpenStreetMap Haiku gives me:

By the school gate
The blur of lifetimes
bid good morning

I've obviously oversimplified how OpenStreetMap Haiku works. If you want more details about how the map generates poems based on different locations then you should read the author's explanation, OpenStreetMap Haiku: Using OSM and Overpass for Generative Poetry.

If you want to find poems about places written by real life human poets then you might also like the Poetry Atlas. The Poetry Atlas is an interactive map of poems written by established poets about locations around the globe.

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