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VCTA Detour Wednesday/Omvejsonsdag – new paths for your wheels
Sep 24th, 2020 by miki

The Danish Cyclists’ Federation (Cyklistforbundet) throws a yearly month long event called BIKE TO WORK (“Vi Cykler Til Arbejde” aka. VCTA) nudging employees of Danish workplaces to use their bike for commuting. Teams are formed by the employees and team statistics are available both internally and between workplaces for the teams to compete in the number of kilometres travelled and number of active days. See f.x. the statistics for the two teams of my employer Vestergaard. Of course my outdoor, social, competitive, and sometimes a bit extreme, mindset can’t miss such a chance to commit to an all-in full month bike relay race with myself and some distant (300 km to HQ) colleagues.

As a part of the VCTA month of cycling one day is designated to taking an unknown route to work, dubbed “Detour Wednesday” (“Omvejsonsdag“). This is to inspire the individual to find new routes and get some fresh input on the surroundings. This year it was Wednesday September 23th, and the event even includes a draw of an electric powered bike amongst participants documenting their detour appropriately.

For your enjoyment, below are some visual impressions from my nice detour in the Tjæreborg/Bramming area (of Western Jutland, Denmark). Even though I have been to all these places before by various different means (running, cycling, car, motorcycle), you do sense a place a lot different on the bike than by other means.

All The Maps

Being the dev/hacker/tinkerer/geo person that I am, although not extremely well-versed in HTML/javascript, I have also made a quick throw together of a visualisation on top of Leaflet and OpenStreetMap of the tracks I’ve recorded during VCTA.

Find it at tools.mikini.dk/vcta, and source code at gitlab.com/mikini/vcta.

My VCTA tracks pr. 2020-09-24 visualised by some hackish javascript on tools.mikini.dk/vcta (code).

Out

The start of the Wadden Sea dykes at Roborg near Tjæreborg. National cycle route 1 (N1 – Vestkystruten) runs along here. Location: 55.45083;8.56325

In front of Sneum Sluse, where Sneum Å joins the sea. Location: 55.43321;8.60780

Along the dyke between Sneum Sluse and Darum. Approximate location: 55.42917;8.62244

Home

Crossing Sneum Å again, this time in-land approximately 12 km upstream from Sneum Sluse. Location: 55.49637;8.69648

Following national cycle route 6 (N6 – Esbjerg-København) and regional cycle route 10 heading back towards Ålbæk, Opsneum and Tjæreborg. Location: 55.49874;8.69664

Tracks

The tracks as recorded by Endomondo;

The tracks as recorded by OpenTracks (Application: F-Droid, Github, Google Play, OSM Dashboard: F-Droid, Github, Google Play).

Outgoing track as recorded by OpenTracks.

Homegoing track as recorded by OpenTracks.

GeoNames.org database id becoming a meteorological location reference
Aug 20th, 2020 by miki

Looking at weather forecasts in my native Denmark I have always noticed a location reference used by DMI, Danmarks Meteorologiske Institut (en:Danish Meteorological Institute). Somehow I managed to not look into the details of that before now.

But this morning while scouting for rain showers and trying out the forecast on the new website of Yr (the long time open data weather service from Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation (NRK) and the Norwegian Meteorological institute (MET)), as kindly suggested by the YR main site which uses the old site by default, I saw the same reference included in the URL.

A closer look at different service’s forecast URLs for my usual whereabouts in Tjæreborg, Denmark, Europe, Earth reveals (se summary below) that they all share this reference and that it stems from the GeoNames.org (wikipedia article) database’s integer reference to the location:

This particular piece of data is described as a field in the “geoname” table of the GeoNames.org main database, and referred to as “geonameid” in the documentation:

geonameid         : integer id of record in geonames database

The contents of the GeoNames.org database is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (aka. “CC BY 4.0”, SPDX ID:”CC-BY-4.0″) and available both for your own download and perusal (documentation here) or using web services on geonames.org.

Note, however, that GeoNames.org accumulates a wealth of data sources that according to the OpenStreetMap project might contain copyrighted data. Together with the attribution requirements of its CC BY license this causes OpenStreetMap to not accept data from GeoNames.org into the project’s, ODbL licensed, database.

Fun fact: in Norwegian “yr” actually means drizzle (da:støvregn)
Practical hint: OpenSearch entry for GeoNames.org: http://www.geonames.org/opensearch-description.xml (to add in current browser: go here->find “Plugins”->click “opensearch plugin”)

The Weather Services

2611610 on GeoNames.org

“Get”ting from web service

$ wget -q -O- "https://secure.geonames.org/get?geonameId=2611610&username=demo"
<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8" standalone="no"?>
<geoname>
    <toponymName>Tjæreborg</toponymName>
    <name>Tjæreborg</name>
    <lat>55.46457</lat>
    <lng>8.57968</lng>
    <geonameId>2611610</geonameId>
    <countryCode>DK</countryCode>
    <countryName>Denmark</countryName>
    <fcl>P</fcl>
    <fcode>PPL</fcode>
    <fclName>city, village,...</fclName>
    <fcodeName>populated place</fcodeName>
    <population>2146</population>
    <adminCode1 ISO3166-2="83">21</adminCode1>
    <adminName1>South Denmark</adminName1>
    <asciiName>Tjaereborg</asciiName>
    <alternateNames>Tjaereborg,Tjæreborg</alternateNames>
    <elevation/>
    <srtm3>12</srtm3>
    <astergdem>11</astergdem>
    <continentCode>EU</continentCode>
    <adminCode2>561</adminCode2>
    <adminName2>Esbjerg Kommune</adminName2>
    <alternateName lang="post">6731</alternateName>
    <alternateName lang="unlc">DKTJA</alternateName>
    <alternateName lang="link">https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tj%C3%A6reborg%2C_Denmark</alternateName>
    <alternateName>Tjæreborg</alternateName>
    <timezone dstOffset="2.0" gmtOffset="1.0">Europe/Copenhagen</timezone>
    <bbox>
        <west>8.57175</west>
        <north>55.46907</north>
        <east>8.58762</east>
        <south>55.46008</south>
        <accuracyLevel>0</accuracyLevel>
    </bbox>
</geoname>
$

Extracting from “Gazetteer” exports

$ wget -q https://download.geonames.org/export/dump/DK.zip
$ unzip DK.zip 
Archive:  DK.zip
  inflating: readme.txt              
  inflating: DK.txt                  
$ grep ^2611610 DK.txt
2611610	Tjæreborg	Tjaereborg	Tjaereborg,Tjæreborg	55.46457	8.57968	P	PPL	DK\
		21	561			2146		12	Europe/Copenhagen	2017-10-18
$

 

Amending an open OSM changeset on command line (by hand)
Jul 25th, 2020 by miki

WARNING: as OSM user “mmd” wisely points out (in comment to OSM diary for this post) the sort of thing described here is dangerous to do by hand, and should not be done on the main production instances (there are testing instances for playing around with the API, a little documentation here).
He also points out that the feature packed JOSM editor actually supports continuing a changeset regardless of where it has been initiated. So if you just need to continue working on a changeset (but remember the 1 hour idle timeout) be sure to check out the JSOM upload documentation. Thanks mmd, for being the sane voice ;).

During an editing session the Android OpenStreetMap editor Vespucci crashed on me, which made the mapping UI unusable (objects greyed out and unable to select or edit, had to purge all data to recover functionality). Luckly, I could still navigate the menus, upload changes and opt to not close the changeset. Now, I had long wondered whether the OSM API allowed to continue amending changes to an open changeset from some other editor, so the quest began.

I had the intention of adding a tag representing the name of a building in Esbjerg known as “ISC Huset” (ISC is an engineering consultancy, see wikipedia, and more about the construction), which houses a number of healtcare clinics. The building’s address is Borgergade 70, 6700 Esbjerg (current address node).

This blog post willl attempt to actually add the tag by hand on the command line.

References to OSM objects used:

Option summary for GNU wget used to do HTTP requests below:

  • -nv (or –no-verbose): only report errors and basic information
  • -O- (or –output-document=-): write output to standard out (stdout)
  • –user=<user name>: authenticate as <user name> using HTTP Basic authentication
  • –ask-password: ask on command line for HTTP Basic authentication password
  • –post-data=”<data>”: initiate a HTTP POST request with <data> as payload
  • –server-response (or -S): show full HTTP headers of server response

NOTE: I’ve broken some long output lines replicated below to make it fit the blog, but inserted an escape character (\) before the inserted newline to help copy’n’pasting.

Retrieve changeset metadata

Lets start by looking at the changeset’s metadata.

This can be done by issuing an unauthenticated GET request to the “/api/0.6/changeset/<changeset id>” endpoint.

Note that the ‘changeset’ element has the attribute ‘open=”true”‘ required to be able to modify the changeset. The editor used to create the changeset needs to have done this without explicitly closing it (Vespucci & JOSM closes by default but can be configured not to, iD always closes).

$ wget -nv -O- http://api.openstreetmap.org/api/0.6/changeset/88490797
<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<osm version="0.6" generator="CGImap 0.8.3 (802 thorn-02.openstreetmap.org)" copyright="OpenStreetMap and contributors"\
 attribution="http://www.openstreetmap.org/copyright" license="http://opendatacommons.org/licenses/odbl/1-0/">
 <changeset id="88490797" created_at="2020-07-25T09:51:30Z" open="true" user="mikini" uid="2051"\
 min_lat="55.4654072" min_lon="8.4378053" max_lat="55.5258532" max_lon="8.4639026" comments_count="0" changes_count="68">
  <tag k="source" v="survey;research"/>
  <tag k="locale" v="da-DK"/>
  <tag k="created_by" v="Vespucci 14.1.4.0"/>
  <tag k="comment" v="Details at Klevestien &amp; Borgergade in Esbjerg and Tarp."/>
 </changeset>
</osm>
2020-07-25 14:26:52 URL:http://api.openstreetmap.org/api/0.6/changeset/88490797 [709] -> "-" [1]
$

Pinging the changeset with an empty osmChange structure

To test that the changeset is open, and that we can authenticate correctly, lets try amending it with an empty osmChange structure.

This can be done by issuing an authenticated POST request to the “/api/0.6/changeset/<changeset id>/upload” endpoint.

This also seem to reset the 60 minute timer used for auto-closing the changeset (see mention of “idle timeout” in changeset wiki article).

$ wget -nv -O- --user=mikini --ask-password https://api.openstreetmap.org/api/0.6/changeset/88490797/upload --post-data="<osmChange></osmChange>"
Password for user ‘mikini’: 
Authentication selected: Basic realm="Web Password", charset="UTF-8"
<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<diffResult version="0.6" generator="CGImap 0.8.3 (8531 thorn-03.openstreetmap.org)" copyright="OpenStreetMap and contributors"\
 attribution="http://www.openstreetmap.org/copyright" license="http://opendatacommons.org/licenses/odbl/1-0/"/>
2020-07-25 14:27:20 URL:https://api.openstreetmap.org/api/0.6/changeset/88490797/upload [278] -> "-" [1]
$

Procedure to change the building

The API’s “changeset/<changeset id>/upload” method supports only modifications encoded in the osmChange format which requires changes to be described as complete way/node/relation objects. That is, you can not ask the API to “add this tag to this way”, you need instead to describe the modified way completely saying “this way now looks like this”, including anything (like node references or existing tags) that was not modified. So to make a modificatino to the building’s way we need to retrieve the current version, modify it as needed and upload the complete new way.

Thus the procedure contains these steps;

  1. Retrieve current building (GET /way/*)
  2. Modify building data (locally)
  3. Amend changeset (POST /changeset/*/upload)

Retrieving current building (GET /way/*)

This can be done by issuing an unauthenticated GET request to the “/api/0.6/way/<way id>” endpoint.

The stdin splitter ‘tee’ is used here to both show the result in terminal and put it into file 185369466_v3.osc that we can use for amending the way with the wanted modifications.

$ wget -nv -O- http://api.openstreetmap.org/api/0.6/way/185369466|tee 185369466_v3.osc
<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<osm version="0.6" generator="CGImap 0.8.3 (28697 thorn-01.openstreetmap.org)" copyright="OpenStreetMap and contributors"\
 attribution="http://www.openstreetmap.org/copyright" license="http://opendatacommons.org/licenses/odbl/1-0/">
 <way id="185369466" visible="true" version="3" changeset="84400254" timestamp="2020-04-30T09:35:21Z" user="mikini" uid="2051">
  <nd ref="1959614623"/>
  <nd ref="1959614727"/>
  <nd ref="6299449794"/>
  <nd ref="1959614650"/>
  <nd ref="1959614630"/>
  <nd ref="6299449793"/>
  <nd ref="1959614765"/>
  <nd ref="7466482063"/>
  <nd ref="7466482064"/>
  <nd ref="7466482065"/>
  <nd ref="7466482062"/>
  <nd ref="1959614729"/>
  <nd ref="1959614623"/>
  <tag k="building" v="yes"/>
 </way>
</osm>
2020-07-25 14:54:30 URL:http://api.openstreetmap.org/api/0.6/way/185369466 [769] -> "-" [1]
$

Modify building data (locally)

Now we need to build an osmChange file out of the existing <way>…</way> element from the output above describing the wanted building. This involves;

  1. removing the <xml> tag (maybe not needed, but it is not mentioned at all in the osmChange documentation)
  2. replacing <osm> with <osmChange>
  3. adding a <modify> element to the <osmChange> element, containing the existing <way>
  4. update the “changeset” attribute to the changeset we’re amending
  5. amending the contents of <way> with the wanted <tag>s

Use your favorite editor (emacs would be my preference) to load the 185369466_v3.osm file, make the modifications and save it as 185369466_v4.osc. OSM tags are a XML empty-element tags containing the OSM tag’s key and value in the “k” and “v” attributes, thus the “name” tag of the building I needed to add would be ‘<tag k=”name” v=”ISC Huset”/>’, I also added some other related tags (“source:name” and “website”).

The finished .osc file now looks like this;

$ cat 185369466_v4.osc
<osmChange>
  <modify>
    <way id="185369466" visible="true" version="3" changeset="88490797" timestamp="2020-04-30T09:35:21Z" user="mikini" uid="2051">
      <nd ref="1959614623"/>
      <nd ref="1959614727"/>
      <nd ref="6299449794"/>
      <nd ref="1959614650"/>
      <nd ref="1959614630"/>
      <nd ref="6299449793"/>
      <nd ref="1959614765"/>
      <nd ref="7466482063"/>
      <nd ref="7466482064"/>
      <nd ref="7466482065"/>
      <nd ref="7466482062"/>
      <nd ref="1959614729"/>
      <nd ref="1959614623"/>
      <tag k="building" v="yes"/>
      <tag k="name" v="ISC Huset"/>
      <tag k="source:name" v="sign;website"/>
      <tag k="website" v="https://www.isc.dk/isc-huset-esbjerg/"/>
    </way>
  </modify>
</osmChange>
$

Wdiff’ing against the .osm source shows exactly what changed (additions between “{+” & “+}”, removals between “[-” & “-]”);

$ wdiff 185369466_v3.osm 185369466_v4.osc
[-<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<osm version="0.6" generator="CGImap 0.8.3 (28697 thorn-01.openstreetmap.org)" copyright="OpenStreetMap and contributors"\
 attribution="http://www.openstreetmap.org/copyright" license="http://opendatacommons.org/licenses/odbl/1-0/">-]{+<osmChange>
  <modify>+}
    <way id="185369466" visible="true" version="3" [-changeset="84400254"-] {+changeset="88490797"+} timestamp="2020-04-30T09:35:21Z" user="mikini" uid="2051">
      <nd ref="1959614623"/>
      <nd ref="1959614727"/>
      <nd ref="6299449794"/>
      <nd ref="1959614650"/>
      <nd ref="1959614630"/>
      <nd ref="6299449793"/>
      <nd ref="1959614765"/>
      <nd ref="7466482063"/>
      <nd ref="7466482064"/>
      <nd ref="7466482065"/>
      <nd ref="7466482062"/>
      <nd ref="1959614729"/>
      <nd ref="1959614623"/>
      <tag k="building" v="yes"/>
      {+<tag k="name" v="ISC Huset"/>
      <tag k="source:name" v="sign;website"/>
      <tag k="website" v="https://www.isc.dk/isc-huset-esbjerg/"/>+}
    </way>
[-</osm>-]
  {+</modify>
</osmChange>+}
$

Amend changeset (POST /changeset/*/upload)

Now, we’ll again use the changeset upload method but this time supplying our actual osmChange elemet in the .osc file.

The output is a bit elaborate, because I had enabled full output from wget while debugging what changes to the <way> element was needed for the server to accept the upload (only the “changeset” attribute needs to match the open changeset as outlined in the “Modify building data” above). I’ve highligted the actual server response telling that the changes were accepted and way #185369466 is now at v4.

$ wget -S -O- --user=mikini --ask-password https://api.openstreetmap.org/api/0.6/changeset/88490797/upload --post-file=185369466_v4.osc
Password for user ‘mikini’: 
--2020-07-25 15:44:41--  https://api.openstreetmap.org/api/0.6/changeset/88490797/upload
Resolving api.openstreetmap.org (api.openstreetmap.org)... 130.117.76.12, 130.117.76.13, 130.117.76.11, ...
Connecting to api.openstreetmap.org (api.openstreetmap.org)|130.117.76.12|:443... connected.
HTTP request sent, awaiting response... 
  HTTP/1.1 401 Unauthorized
  Date: Sat, 25 Jul 2020 13:44:41 GMT
  Server: Apache/2.4.29 (Ubuntu)
  Strict-Transport-Security: max-age=31536000; includeSubDomains; preload
  Expect-CT: max-age=0, report-uri="https://openstreetmap.report-uri.com/r/d/ct/reportOnly"
  WWW-Authenticate: Basic realm="Web Password", charset="UTF-8"
  Cache-Control: no-cache
  Strict-Transport-Security: max-age=31536000; includeSubDomains; preload
  Expect-CT: max-age=0, report-uri="https://openstreetmap.report-uri.com/r/d/ct/reportOnly"
  Content-Length: 22
  Content-Type: text/plain; charset=utf-8
  Keep-Alive: timeout=5, max=100
  Connection: Keep-Alive
Authentication selected: Basic realm="Web Password", charset="UTF-8"
Reusing existing connection to api.openstreetmap.org:443.
HTTP request sent, awaiting response... 
  HTTP/1.1 200 OK
  Date: Sat, 25 Jul 2020 13:44:42 GMT
  Server: Apache/2.4.29 (Ubuntu)
  Strict-Transport-Security: max-age=31536000; includeSubDomains; preload
  Expect-CT: max-age=0, report-uri="https://openstreetmap.report-uri.com/r/d/ct/reportOnly"
  Content-Encoding: identity
  Cache-Control: private, max-age=0, must-revalidate
  Strict-Transport-Security: max-age=31536000; includeSubDomains; preload
  Expect-CT: max-age=0, report-uri="https://openstreetmap.report-uri.com/r/d/ct/reportOnly"
  Vary: Accept-Encoding
  Content-Type: application/xml; charset=utf-8
  Keep-Alive: timeout=5, max=99
  Connection: Keep-Alive
  Transfer-Encoding: chunked
Length: unspecified [application/xml]
Saving to: ‘STDOUT’
- [<=> ] 0 --.-KB/s
<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<diffResult version="0.6" generator="CGImap 0.8.3 (8537 thorn-03.openstreetmap.org)" copyright="OpenStreetMap and contributors"\
 attribution="http://www.openstreetmap.org/copyright" license="http://opendatacommons.org/licenses/odbl/1-0/">
 <way old_id="185369466" new_id="185369466" new_version="4"/>
</diffResult>
- [ <=> ] 353 --.-KB/s in 0s

2020-07-25 15:44:42 (20,3 MB/s) - written to stdout [353]

$

Result

That was it, the building is now named in OSM, in a changset amended by hand.

Take a look at https://www.openstreetmap.org/way/185369466/.

A havfrue stopping by?: Deep Energy pipelay vessel in Esbjerg
Oct 2nd, 2019 by miki

Came by Esbjerg Harbour on September 24th 2019 and saw what was obviously a cable ship docked at the quay. A giant ship and I immediately thought that the mermaid might be closing in on Jutland. Some quick drive-by pictures and vessel details below:

 

New sighting on 2019-11-03:
image
image

JV article about ship and ongoing upgrades causing noise.

[Danish] Stallman til Danmark i Maj 2019!
Apr 7th, 2019 by miki

Update: Jeg mødte Richard i Odense, fik lov at sponsorere FSF og fik en GNU med hjem!

Mikkel & RMS (og GNU)
SDU, Odense

Rygterne har lydt noget tid, men nu er det officielt at formand for og stifter af Free Software Foundation, den ideologiske ophavsmand til GNU-projektet og højlydt fortaler for softwarebrugeres frihed og privatliv i den digitale verden, Richard Stallman besøger Danmark med en række åbne og gratis foredrag dette forår.

Det er Stallmans dedikerede arbejde med fri software og GNU-projektet fra starten af 1980’erne, herunder udformning af softwarelicenser som GNU GPL og udviklingsværktøjer som GNU Compiler Collection (GCC) og GNU Emacs, der er grundlaget for en stor del af det der i offentligheden i dag bedst kendes som “open source”. I Stallmans og GNUs terminologi benævnes det dog retteligt “fri software” (på engelsk: “free software”) for at fremhæve at etablering og bevarelse af softwarens, og slutbrugeren af dens, frihed er det egentlige rationale for at give kildekoden fri.

Kernen Linux er frigivet under GNU GPL og er både inspireret af og anvender GNU-projektets arbejde direkte, og er en vigtig del af et komplet GNU-system (også kendt som GNU/Linux eller en “Linux-distribution”).

Stallman kommer på en veritabel Danmarksturne med start i Aalborg mandag d. 6. maj 2019 og ender i København fredag d. 10.  maj 2019. Foredragsrækken er arrangeret af innovationsnetværket for IT, InfiniIT, som inkluderer de store IT-universiteter i Danmark.

Den samlede foredragsrække er som følger:

Tidspunkt Lokation Begivenhed hos FSF Begivenhed hos InfinIT Anden omtale
Mandag d. 6. maj 2019

16:00-19:00

Aalborg Universitet
Auditoriet, Lokale 1.12
Niels Jernes Vej 8A
9220 Aalborg SØVejviser:

Richard Stallman – “Free software and your freedom” Free Software, Free Society – Richard Stallman og den frie software-bevægelse (AAU)
Tirsdag d. 7. maj 2019

16:00-19:00

Syddansk Universitet
Lokale U170
Bygning 44
Campusvej 55
5230 OdenseVejviser:

Richard Stallman – “The dangers of mass surveillance” A Free Digital Society – Richard Stallman og den frie software-bevægelse
Onsdag d. 8. maj 2019

16:00-19:00

IT-Universitetet i København
Rued Langgaards Vej 7
2300 København SVejviser:

Richard Stallman – “Free software and your freedom in computing” A Free Digital Society – Richard Stallman og den frie software-bevægelse
Torsdag d. 9. maj 2019

16:00-18:00

Københavns Universitet
Københavns Biocenter
Lundbeckfond Auditorium Ole Maaløes Vej 5
2200 København NVejviser

Richard Stallman – “Computing, freedom, and privacy” Free Software, Free Society – Richard Stallman og den frie software-bevægelse (KU)
Fredag d. 10. maj 2019

16:00-18:00

Danmarks Tekniske Universitet
Auditorium 116/81 (bygning 116)
Ved Bygningstorvet på Knuth-Wintherfeldts Allé
2800 Kongens LyngbyVejviser:

Richard Stallman – “Copyright vs Community”

(ændrede lokationsoplysninger ikke opdaterede her)

Copyright vs Community Richard Stallman og den frie software-bevægelse

Kilder: FSF: Where in the world is Richard Stallman?, InfinIT-arrangementer, IDA-søgning, PROSA-arrangementer

Begivenhederne er også tilføjet den åbne kalender GriCal: grical.org/s/?query=%40DK.

Information om Richard/GNU/FSF

De primære kilder er hovedsageligt på engelsk:

Kilder på dansk

Andre

Anden omtale

Havfrue: A Googol-sized Mermaid Facing the Book
Oct 5th, 2018 by miki

2019-06-04 add details of Bulk data center in Esbjerg and infrastructure, add local news items about construction start
2019-05-08
add system summary from FCC application, elaborate on landing point discrepancies between FCC/cablemap, link to docs describing seg. 5 cable lay schedule
2019-03-06
fix links to submarinecablemap.com and some press, add info from TE Subcom experience doc., some general touch ups
2019-01-22
change “Danish Press Coverage” to “National Press”, add “International Press”, add some National about datacenter prospects & International Press items about contractors choosen
2018-10-05 initial commit

Europe, Denmark and my local neighbourhood of Western Jutland is going to get its connectivity boosted by the Havfrue transatlantic cable system being built by a consortium consisting of Google, Facebook, Aqua Comms and Bulk Infrastructure. To quote the announcement done by Google;

To increase capacity and resiliency in our North Atlantic systems, we’re working with Facebook, Aqua Comms and Bulk Infrastructure to build a direct submarine cable system connecting the U.S. to Denmark and Ireland. This cable, called Havfrue (Danish for “mermaid”), will be built by TE SubCom and is expected to come online by the end of 2019.
Google blog post, 2018-01-16

Digging into the details first reveals the projected trench as illustrated in below by some of the stakeholders;

Havfrue cable, cloud.google.com

Projected trench of the Havfrue cable as illustrated by cloud.google.com.

Havfrue cable, te.com

Projected trench of the Havfrue cable as illustrated by TE SubCom.

Projected layout of the Havfru cable.

Projected trench of the Havfrue cable as illustrated by submarinecablemap.com.

 

System Details

More digging into the Danish parts reveals that most sources mention Blåbjerg (Blaabjerg) as the Danish landing point for Havfrue (just as TAT-14), although ComputerWorld DK (see National Press below) relays the information that it will land at Endrup (where COBRAcable is terminated). However, a FCC application dated 2018-05-25 SCL-00214S (pdf) refers to it as the “Havfrue system” and specifically states that a new cable landing station will be constructed in Blaabjerg (as well as in Leckanvy, Ireland and Kristiansand, Norway);

The Havfrue system will consist of three segments. (1) The Main Trunk will connect the existing cable landing station at Wall, New Jersey with a new cable landing station to be constructed at Blaabjerg, Denmark. (2) The Ireland Branch will connect a new cable landing station to be constructed at Old Head Beach, Leckanvy, Ireland with a branching unit on the Main Trunk. (3) The Norway Branch will connect a new cable landing station at Kristiansand, Norway with a branching unit on the Main Trunk.
The application also reveals the following distribution of ownership and control of the main trunk (US<->DK);
  1. each 33.333% ownership

    • AEC2
    • Facebook (via Edge USA/Edge Network Services Limited)
  2. each 16.667% ownership

    • Google (via GU Holdings/Google Infrastructure Bermuda Ltd/affiliate)
    • Optibulk
Ownership of the Blaabjerg landing station will be jointly between the above via the corporations America Europe Connect 2 Denmark ApS (for AEC2) and Edge Denmark (for Facebook) but it will be operated by AEC2.
Other facts from the FCC application:
  • Name: Havfrue (maybe “Havfrue system”?)
  • Design capacity per fiber pair: 18 Tbps
  • Main trunk
    • Fiber pairs: 6
    • Capacity: 108 Tbps
    • Length: 7’211 km
  • Ireland branch
    • Fiber pairs: 6
    • Capacity: 108 Tbps
    • Length: 315 km
  •  Norway branch
    • Fiber pairs: 2
    • Capacity: 12 Tbps
    • Length: 199 km
  • Intended commercial operation: 2019-Q4
  • Landing points:
    • Wall, New Jersey
    • Blaabjerg, Denmark
    • Old Head Beach, Leckanvy, Ireland
    • Kristiansand, Norway
As a spin off of Aqua Comms’ involvment in the Havfrue system they are also connecting Esbjerg to the UK via a new cabled dubbed North Sea Connect.

Google is currently also projecting its own private subsea cables, some of the rationale behind their mixed private/consortium/lease approach are disclosed in blog post from 2018-07-17 announcing the Dunant cable, which is the first Google private transatlantic subsea cable projected to connect Virginia Beach and France.

Bulk Infrastructure

Data Center

Bulk has announced that the Esbjerg data center location will be referred to as DK01 Campus which is described on the about page as follows:

Bulk’s DK01 Campus, Esbjerg, southwest Denmark, will be a scalable Carrier Neutral Colocation data center ready for customers Q4 2019. Esbjerg is becoming a highly strategic data center location with several subsea fiber systems terminating within or nearby. These include Havfrue (US, Ireland, Norway, Denmark), Havhingsten (Ireland, Denmark), Cobra (Holland, Denmark), Skagerrak 4 (Norway Denmark), DANICE (Iceland, Denmark) and TAT-14 (United Kingdom, France, the Netherlands, Germany, and Denmark). Combined with excellent terrestrial connectivity, this will make Esbjerg the main international entry point to the Nordics and enable the Bulk DK01 campus to be the natural traffic exchange point.

An article (translated) in the local newspaper JydskeVestkysten first revealed the exact location of the center and renderings of its visual appearence and construction. The location is in Kjersing industrial area North of Esbjerg.

Infrastructure

A further map of the Bulk connections between Norway, Denmark and Ireland has been revealed in an article of Capacitymedia and on Bulk’s own fiber networks page. Also a partnership with Amazon about delivering both connectivity and datacenter infrastructure for AWS has been announced.

Further Information

News / Press releases

From Stakeholders

Construction Documentation

At Cable Map Sites

National Press

International Press

Other

Project Ember: name of a data center
Aug 20th, 2018 by miki

Taking a deeper look into the meta data of the document containing the Environmental Assessment (Danish: “miljøvurdering” shortened “MV”) and Environmental Impact Assessment (Danish: “miljøkonsekvensvurdering” or “vurdering af virkningerne på miljøet” shortened “VVM”) of the announced data center in Esbjerg reveals an interesting embedded title of the document which has not been carried out into other publicly used references.

The embedded PDF title of the document uses the “Project Ember” term which has not been indicated by other sources than articles in the JydskeVestkysten newspaper. The paper cite municipal sources but the municipality has not used the name directly in any of their communications.

The report authored by consultants COWI contains the following naming:

  • Official in text: “MILJØVURDERING (MV) OG MILJØKONSEKVENSVURDERING (VVM) – ERHVERVSOMRÅDE VED ESBJERG, AFGRÆNSNINGSRAPPORT
  • Filename of distributed PDF: “MV-VVM_afgrænsning.pdf
  • PDF meta data title: “Microsoft Word – Project_Ember_MV-VVM_afgrænsning_v.4.0.docx

Below a dump of the full meta data:

$ pdfinfo MV-VVM_afgr%c3%a6nsning.pdf
Title:          Microsoft Word – Project_Ember_MV-VVM_afgrænsning_v.4.0.docx
Author:         lojo
Creator:        PScript5.dll Version 5.2.2
Producer:       Acrobat Distiller 15.0 (Windows)
CreationDate:   Fri May 25 15:49:44 2018
ModDate:        Fri May 25 15:49:44 2018
Tagged:         no
UserProperties: no
Suspects:       no
Form:           none
JavaScript:     no
Pages:          25
Encrypted:      no
Page size:      595.22 x 842 pts (A4)
Page rot:       0
File size:      234728 bytes
Optimized:      yes
PDF version:    1.5

Hyperscale data center coming to Esbjerg
Jun 13th, 2018 by miki

2019-06-03 add (local|national) press items about bulk data center (follow this in post about Havfrue, no further updates here), minor text fixes
2019-03-07
add local and national press items announcing cancellation of project
2019-02-27
add local press item about property value, environmentalist opposition and local educational initiatives
2019-02-21
add local press item about unsatisfied land owners
2019-01-22 add official approval of plans, fix original chronology of Official Documentation items, add (local|national|international) press items about a.o. announcement of Bulk Infrastructure datacenter
2018-12-19 add documentation and local press items about postponed permit decision from municipality
2018-11-30 add a bunch of local press items, and archaeological section to documentation
2018-10-04 add local and national press item about Amsterdam trip and announcing Facebook as the developer
2018-09-06 add local press item about downscaling and older national press, reorder press items (top=latest)
2018-08-19 add local press item and Official Documentation section about housing abandonment
2018-08-01 add local press item with letter to editor
2018-06-13 updated with 1 new local + 1 new national press, rewrite first paragraphs, mention project name, mention DDI trade association, mention investindk & havfrue cable
2018-06-12 initial commit

Project Ember?

The local media of Western Jutland, JydskeVestkysten, has spearheaded the coverage of an interesting technology related story over the last weeks. The Esbjerg municipality planning departments has started to reveal details of the preparations for the development of an industrial site on a large swath of land just outside of Esbjerg seemingly for the purpose of a hyperscale data center of the proportions employed by FANG sized (Facebook, Amazon, Netflix, Google) organizations. According to the media the project is by some municipal sources referred to as “Project Ember“. I have been unable to confirm this name from official documentation yet released or any other sources.

Neither the newly formed trade association named Danish Data Center Industry (DDI/DanishDCI) (in Danish: “Datacenter Industrien“) or the state’s Invest in Denmark office has brought any more light to the issue. The former has, however, tweeted a couple of times about it when it hit the national media and the latter has brought forward a vague hint that Western Denmark is an “attractive data centre hub“. I’m not in any doubt that this is partly driven by the announcement of the “HAVFRUE consortium“, which includes Facebook, that they intend to install a 108 Tb/s transatlantic cable crossing from New Jersey to Ireland and Esbjerg, as also announced by Invest in Denmark in January.

Below is an outline of the area in question (on an OpenStreetMap based map using the umap project) that I have drawn from the only geographical details yet leaked which is contained in the meeting agenda mentioned below. See also a visualisation of the area on a photo taken by local photographer Christer Holte.

I have collected links to all official documentation I have been able to locate and to press coverage below, and intend to keep updating this post as details is being revealed.

See full screen

Official Documentation

  • 2019-01-21: Notitia Networks ApS was assigned a permit for construction by city council as documented in minutes of the city council meeting at 2019-01-21, item 11, p. 28-35
    • Changes to municipal plan approved with minor changes
      • Addition of passage detailing that an ecological corridor planned in the area should be moved accordingly
      • Explicitly state that land reserved for E20 (European highway) is being removed from plan (I understand this as being used for this project instead of E20, but not quite sure)
      • Corrections to various erroneous references, quoted noise limits and uniformity of maps
    • Area planning
      • National Road Department (Danish: Vejdirektoratet) asked for clarification that signs and other marketing in the open land is prohibited, and that supervision authority for signs that are erected near roads is awarded to the department
      • Clarification of unclear maps showing road outline
      • By citizen request a visualization of the visual consequences from the viewpoint of Nørregårdsparken has been produced and amended to the appendixes
      • Allowed area of buildings for the security facilities at entrance/exit increased from 50 m2 to 75 m2
      • Various references and minor clarifications added
    • Plan & Environment Committee: approved on meeting 2019-01-08 (item 5, p. 11-17)
    • Financial Committe: approved the recommendation from Plan & Environment Comittee on meeting 2019-01-14 (item 13, p. 27-33)
    • Administration recommendation to city council: approve
    • City Council: approved the recommendation from Plan & Environment Comittee and Financial Committe
  • 2018-12-18: An extensive trove of documents totalling 12 appendixes to “case 04” (“sag 04”) pertaining to the municipality hearing has been released as a part of the agenda for 2018-12-18 meeting in Municipal Planning & Environment committee (Plan & Miljø-udvalg), the final decision postponed for January meeting
    • minutes: “Resolution Plan & Environment Committee on 18-12-2018: Postponed for meeting on 8 January 2019 for further investigation.
    • appendix 03: complete environmental assessment
    • appendix 04: supplemental visualisations
    • appendix 06: updated map of area
    • appendix 12: 158 pages of citizen comments and the municipal department’s comments to those
  • 2018-10-11: Sydvestjyske Museer (Museum of Southwest Jutland) has released an article about their preliminary findings (Google Translate’d) of the excavations done in the area.
    • Large parts is old heath without archaeological interest
    • In the eastern part remnants from Stone Age, Iron Age and WWII has been found
    • A complete predecessor of Andrup from around 0-200 AC has been found, parts of a later settlement from 200-800 AC has also been found, these are pending further investigations in 2019
  • 2018-08-07: Area mentioned in agenda/minutes for 2018-08-07 meeting in Municipal Planning & Environment committee (Plan & Miljø-udvalg)
    • Details in item 9 “Demolition of housing – Nordre Tovrupvej 21 and 26, Esbjerg” (Danish: “Nedlæggelse af boliger – Nordre Tovrupvej 21 og 26, Esbjerg”), p. 21-22 (case referred to as “Dok.nr.: 11768”, “Sagsid.: 18/20401”)
    • Requests that the committee approve liquidation and demolition of two current municipality owned rental houses in the area for the possible sale of the area for commercial purposes
    • Current inhabitants are willing to agree to voluntarily leave the rentals, but such formal agreements have not yet been established
    • Technical & Construction Committee assesses that the liquidation and subsequent sale of the aree will have a positive impact and is not outside current statutes
    • Approved by the committee
  • 2018-06-01: Public hearing announced (Google Translate’d) (original) about changed use of the area
    • Hearing closes 2018-06-15 (14 day period)
    • Accompanying report about environmental impact (VVM) discloses even more details
      • Area referred to as used for “establishing of extraordinary space consuming commercial entity near Esbjerg in the form of a data center” (ch. 2, p. 8)
      • Total area: 250 ha = 2’500’000 m2 (1 hectare = 10’000 m2) (ch. 2.2, p. 8)
      • Building area: “Current project entails approx. 250’000 m2 under roof with 200’000 m2 data warehouses and 50’000 m2 administration, logistics and service buildings, in addition to one or two 150 kV high voltage substations, each of approx. 30’000 m2 and diesel emergency power facilities of 6’500 m2” (ch. 2.3, p. 9)
      • Heat surplus: “Planning will leave open the possibility of reusing surplus heat produced at the facility, however no such plan exist at the moment” (ch. 2.3, p. 9)
  • 2018-05-28: Area mentioned in agenda/minutes for 2018-06-01 meeting in Municipal Technical & Construction committee (Teknik & Bygge-udvalg)
    • Details in item 7 “Closure of public and private roads in Andrup” (Danish: “Nedlæggelse af offentlige og private fællesveje ved Andrup”), p. 14-16 (case referred to as “Dok.nr.: 11186”, “Sagsid.: 18/12587”)
    • Area is referred to as “a contiguous area laid out for commercial purposes
    • Includes map with outline of area
    • Suggests public roads being closed for cars, new cycling paths being constructed passing North of area
    • Approved by the committee

Local Press

National Press

International Press

Stallman in 2012: Denmark supposedly a free country, still valid
Mar 3rd, 2017 by miki

Stumbled upon this slightly dated talk by Richard M. Stallman (aka. RMS) of GNU and FSF fame, in which my home country of Denmark is sadly referenced as only a “supposedly free country”.

Transcript

“But censorship is wrong, of course, whether it is done on the internet or not. We used to think that the internet would protect us from censorship because it was too hard to censor the internet. But thanks to the effort of various companies in the US, The UK, France and so on, it is now possible for governments to censor the internet and also surveil it completely, they just need to put enough effort in. And this is not limited to obvious tyrannies such as China and Iran. We see a lot of supposedly free countries imposing censorship on the internet.

For instance, Denmark several years ago imposed filtering on the internet blocking a secret list of sites. The list was leaked and posted on WikiLeaks. Hooray for WikiLeaks! Whereupon Denmark blocked access to that page too. So everyone else could know what internet users in Denmark were blocked from seeing except those people.”

Sadly since this time it has not gotten any better. Most of the points RMS makes (the whole talk is worth a listen) are still valid and a grave concern from my perspective. The Danish internet (really DNS) blocking system has been broadened and the slippage that was feared has become a reality. Even though this issue has gotten some attention in the IT and rights communities the general public just doesn’t care.

The actual block is technically done through DNS blacklists that Danish ISP are legally required to implement. The list of blocked sites is available from the telecom trade organization “Telekommunikationsindustrien i Danmark” (English: Telecommunication’s Industry Association in Denmark) at teleindu.dk/brancheholdninger/blokeringer-pa-nettet/ and currently has 111 sites (csv) on active block.

As it being DNS based if you are impacted, workarounds do exist. However, my guess is that they will soon be able to actively shut down services physically located in Denmark.

Full talk

(starting at point of above transcript)

 

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