[OSM-dev] Cloudmade routing for OSM rails_port site.

Nick Black nickblack1 at gmail.com
Wed Apr 29 10:57:27 BST 2009

Tom + list,

It'd good to have the discussion about whether we want routing, geocoding,
geosearch and so on the OSM homepage.  My view on this is that
OpenStreetMap.org is there to help OpenStreetMappers map the world in the
most fun and efficient way possible.  The services the site provides should
support this aim.  Tools like the namefinder, the no-names map and map lint
and the data layer are great ways to help mappers create better data.  But
to date there is no way for mappers to test the accuracy of roads for
routing that they have added to the map.  I think there's a big difference
between becoming a 'Google clone' and offering ways for mappers to validate
the correctness of routing data.  Integrating routing has nothing to do with
presentation, its about making a better map.
Using a closed source service for anything is always going to be contentious
in an open source project.  I think we need to take a pragmatic stand point
here.  We want to create the best open source map possible.  To do so we use
a variety of tools - many are open source, but many are not.  The pragmatic
argument would be to use routing generated from non-open source server
software along side other open source alternatives and let the user base
choose which best meets their needs.

I don't totally follow the argument about this specific example being more
risky because its provided by CloudMade because a lot of people who work for
CloudMade are deeply involved with OSM. Again, we need to take a pragmatic
standpoint and figure out what's more important for OSM.

To your point about integrating other people's services, I think its clear.
 Whatever the best service available is should be used.  If there's a
routing service that is better at highlighting the problems with OSM data
than CloudMade's, we should use that.  Anyone who has a better service could
do exactly the same as Marat did and offer a patch against the OSM codebase.
 The issues here would be around the user experience - its not great for the
user of a service like OpenStreetMap.org to have frequent UI changes, but
I'm sure we could find a way to change the backend routing server without
changing the UI too much.

OSM should actually be encouraging a situation like this as it would
increase competition within third party developers within the OSM community
and encourage the development of new services using OSM data.

2009/4/29 Tom Hughes <tom at compton.nu>

> Nick Black wrote:
>  On Mon, Apr 27, 2009 at 12:58 PM, Tom Hughes <tom at compton.nu <mailto:
>> tom at compton.nu>> wrote:
>>    Chris-Hein Lunkhusen wrote:
>>     > Марат Хасанов schrieb:
>>     >
>>     >> http://mkhasanov.sandbox.cloudmade.com/directions (only view and
>>    routing
>>     >> tabs works)
>>     >
>>     > Hi,
>>     > is it planned to integrate this on the openstreetmap.org
>>    <http://openstreetmap.org> site ?
>>    I think it's highly unlikely.
>> Why's that?
> Well there are several reasons which would make me disinclined to integrate
> it, so I at least would need some persuasion.
> First up is the general question of whether we want a routing function on
> the site - it has been said repeatedly in the past that our aim is to
>  provide the data and let other people innovate with it. This sort of things
> is just another step to making the site a full featured Google Maps clone
> where doing all the data presentation as well as the production. This is a
> position which I believe Steve has advocated on a number of occasions in the
> past.
> On top of that is the policy question of whether, if we decided we wanted a
> routing function, we would want that to be based on a closed source service
> from a commercial organisation. Obviously that is a policy decision for the
> Foundation but on the face of it I would tend to be opposed.
> Finally, even if we decided such a closed source commercial service was
> acceptable there are obviously specific questions when the source of that
> service is Cloudmade - the risk of such a decision being viewed in an
> unfavourable light by others when Cloudmade in general, and you and Steve in
> particular, are so closely linked to the project in general and the
> Foundation in particular is obviously quite large.
> Look at it this way - if we integrate this, what do we do when Frederik and
> Jochen come calling asking us to give their (hypothetical as far as I know)
> routing service equal space/prominence?
> At the end of the day, these are policy matters for the Foundation, but as
> things stand my advice to them would be along the lines described above.
> Tom
> --
> Tom Hughes (tom at compton.nu)
> http://www.compton.nu/

Nick Black
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