[OSM-talk] Data primitives (was: The segments vs ways vs superways question again...)
richard at systemeD.net
Wed Jan 3 13:33:02 GMT 2007
Jochen Topf <jochen at remote.org> wrote:
> [illuminating and sensible post snipped]
> Thinking further about what I have written above,
> we could probably come up with a way to represent all this in a coherent
> data model, but that would probably be unusable for everyone but experts,
> and thats not what we want.
That last point is worth emphasising.
To speed our aim of mapping the whole world, OSM should be as easy to
edit as Wikipedia. At present the nodes/segments/ways distinction is
quite complex for a new user to grasp, as several posts to the mailing
list have demonstrated - and that's just the 2% of users who've got
beyond the initial screen to discover the mailing list. In contrast,
on Wikipedia, you can click 'edit' and immediately correct any errors
you find, using a paradigm you understand.
As Jochen suggests, we could maybe come up with a beautiful idealised
data model that represents all known geographic features in a tidy
database schema. But only GIS professionals would have the knowledge
to edit the map. Abstract concepts of superways and groups may create
serious confusion when the user comes to OSM with the sole thought "I
just want to add my street".
Let's aim for 100% usability and 90% database neatness, not the other
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