[OSM-dev] OpenStreeetMap and X-Plane for collecting GIS data

Ben Supnik bsupnik at xsquawkbox.net
Thu Oct 30 13:51:35 GMT 2008

Hi Y'all,

(Please forgive if this is a rerun of an email I sent a while ago...I 
honestly can't remember if I have pitched this idea before.  If I have, 
well, we're a lot closer to action now.)

I work on the scenery for X-Plane, a cross-platform flight simulator. 
The scenery simulator is derived from GIS data, mostly free US 
government data (SRTM, TIGER, VMAP0, OGE2, etc.) right now.

For "obstacles" (that is, tall things that pilots want to know about, 
like radio antennas, smoke stacks, etc.) we currently get US data from 
an extract published by the FAA.  We don't have equivalent data for the 
rest of the world - in some cases, the data is not published, in others 
we simply haven't had time to track down data per country.

Our users would like to help improve our scenery, and some have already 
offered us lists of obstacles.  But one user had another idea: use OSM 
as a repository for such information.

Under this scheme, our users would enter point features into OSM for 
real-world obstacles.  They would try to be as accurate as possible in 
both location and metadata (type, height of the obstacle).  They would 
hopefully use a consistent schema with tags that would let this data be 
extracted in bulk, and they would have to comply with appropriate OSM 

When it comes time for us to cut new scenery for X-Plane, we would then 
pull the obstacles from an OSM database dump to build a world-wide list 
of all obstacles in a unified format.  The derived scenery would have 
appropriate OSM-compatible copyright.

X-Plane would benefit from the existing shared data collection 
infrastructure of OSM.  OSM would benefit from a group of user's data 
collection efforts increasing the fidelity of the map.

 From what I have seen so far, the OSM community is fairly tolerant of 
groups growing OSM with new types of data, but I wanted to bring this up 
with OSM before instructing our users to "go for it".  So some basic 

- Is this an appropriate idea?
- Is there a process for proposing/validating a schema?

Please shout at me loudly if I am way out of line or proposing something 
bad...I would like X-Plane to be a good guest in the OSM house!


Scenery Home Page: http://scenery.x-plane.com/
Scenery blog: http://xplanescenery.blogspot.com/
Plugin SDK: http://www.xsquawkbox.net/xpsdk/
X-Plane Wiki: http://wiki.x-plane.com/
Scenery mailing list: x-plane-scenery at yahoogroups.com
Developer mailing list: x-plane-dev at yahoogroups.com

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