[OSM-dev] Best way to validate user input

Ben Supnik bsupnik at xsquawkbox.net
Fri Oct 31 15:11:31 GMT 2008


I have been discussing OSM + X-Plane off list; we believe we could 
extend the existing tag schemes in logical ways (e.g. similar to the 
current antenna proposal) to provide our users with a way to enter data 
that helps OSM too.

Now I am looking at the problem of error detection.  In particular, from 
the time a user enters a point of interest with a possible typo to the 
time we render our scenery, skip the POI, and the user discovers his 
work did not help, it's a long cycle.

What is the best way to provide users with more immediate validation of 
input?  My goal is to help users catch mistakes fast, not intrude on 
OSM's processes in a negative way, and minimize development time.

I can imagine a few ways to go:

- Somehow add visual feedback to the final map renders to validate user 
data.  Since our data is appropriate to aeronautical maps this wouldn't 
necessarily fit well with existing infrastructure.

- Put validation features into the existing editors (JOSM), etc.  Is 
there existing infrastructure for this?  For example, I saw that one 
site culls the whole-earth export for unofficial tags...does JOSM "know" 
the approved schema and tell users when they haven't done what they 
should?  Would adding this capability be appropriate?

- Add OSM I/O support to our own editing tools.  We already have a 
map-editing tool ("WorldEditor") that could be extended to have an OSM 
download layer.  This would give us a place to put in validation rules 
if it wasn't appropriate to the existing editors.  The win here is that 
we can code within our own tools quickly and without intruding on 
existing projects; the disadvantage is no leverage for the existing toolset.


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