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

Andy Robinson (blackadder-lists) ajrlists at googlemail.com
Thu Apr 30 11:44:43 BST 2009

Nick Black wrote:
>Sent: 30 April 2009 9:04 AM
>To: Frederik Ramm
>Cc: dev at openstreetmap.org; Chris-Hein Lunkhusen; Tom Hughes
>Subject: Re: [OSM-dev] Cloudmade routing for OSM rails_port site.
>On Wed, Apr 29, 2009 at 9:45 PM, Frederik Ramm <frederik at remote.org> wrote:
>	Hi,
>	Dermot McNally wrote:
>		Clearly every potential user of OSM is different, but for
me, a
>		benefit when I discovered the project what "hey, vector
>that can
>		be used for routing!". If we think that others discovering
>		would thing likewise then a prominent path from project home
>page to a
>		routing engine (and I really couldn't care less whose) would
>a Good
>		Thing. As long as it works acceptably well, of course...
>	But isn't this angle one where the open/closed distinction gains
>weight again? Currently, you can (and I've done this a number of times)
>tell potential OSM users: "Everything on openstreetmap.org is free software
>and free data - you can build the exact same site for yourself with all its
>functionality from our database and our svn" *). With non-free routing or
>geocoding services that would stop.
>If we want OSM to grow and become more successful than it is then we have
>to get over the idea that the only people who matter are software
>developers.  There are around 12 - 17 million software developers in the
>world.  How many of those developers know how to use SVN?  Maybe 1%.  How
>many are FLOSS developers?  How many care enough about OSM to learn how to
>use it?  If 1% of software developers care about OSM, which is very
>optimistic estimate, then we have a total pool of people who could do as
>you suggest of around 170,000 people.  Not very many.
>How do people discover OSM?  Their friend tells them or they find it
>through a Google search.  They take a look at the front page of the site
>and within 2-5 seconds they make their minds up about it.  I don't have the
>numbers, but I'd guess that we have between a less than 1% conversion rate
>from unique visitors to OSM to people who sign-up for an account.  Imagine
>if we could increase that rate by 5x.  5x more people sign up for an
>account, 5x more people mapping, 5x more people submitting patches to JOSM
>and Potlatch.  5x more people at SOTM, 5x more Foundation members.
>We really need to think about what is more important to OSM.  The most
>important thing in my view is creating the best free map of  the world.  To
>do that we need to encourage more people to join OSM - people who do not
>know or care what SVN is or why a routing algorithm does its thing.
>Surely the biggest victory for any open source project is to squash its
>competitors and completely change the game?  Few open source projects have
>achieved this.  In 5 years time, the entire concept of proprietary maps
>created by guys in vans could be a thing of the past.  OpenStreetMap and
>our way of doing things will have completely wiped the floor with our
>competitors.  We can only get to this point if we stop thinking of
>ourselves as a small, specialist community and start to think of ourselves
>as a mainstream movement that caters for the needs of everyone - not just
>the free software world.

I feel this somewhat misses the point. Openstreetmap is about the data and
nothing else. No data, no interest in OSM, huge data, huge interest in OSM.
That interest will come automatically if we have the best data set bar none.
>From that point of view it doesn’t matter at all what software is used to
make use of the data, but as an open source project we should at least
encourage and promote any open source software that is found to be useful
and relevant. On the other side of the equation I don’t see it as OSM's
place to go promoting commercial products, even if they are good. We can
list them on the wiki etc, but surely it is for those commercial companies
to do their own promotion of OSM related products, not OSM.

As for thinking we are a small specialised community I stopped thinking that
way many months ago. We are THE big player here, but is in data, not
software. OSM is not a software development project. Too many eggs in the
basket if we were. Lets stick to what we know, which is collecting and
maintaining a great dataset.



>	Bye
>	Frederik
>	*) And add in fine print "if you're willing to devote a few man-
>months to get to grips with the finer details of Ruby, PHP, Python,
>PostGIS, Mapnik and others"
>	--
>	Frederik Ramm  ##  eMail frederik at remote.org  ##  N49°00'09"
>Nick Black

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