[OSM-dev] Announcing: Simple Map Editor (GSoC 2010)

Andy Allan gravitystorm at gmail.com
Mon Aug 16 12:59:18 BST 2010

On Mon, Aug 16, 2010 at 11:46 AM, Mike N. <niceman at att.net> wrote:
>> I'd like to announce my GSoC 2010 project which is nearing completion, a
>> simplified editor for OSM aimed at beginner users.
>  Looks great - I hope we can apply the concepts here to create simple
> editors to encourage new users to participate.

Ah, something we need to clear up here: there's a difference between
"simple editor/application" and "simple UI". There is no such thing as
a simple editor. It's just not possible to be both "simple" and
"working". The OSM data model is complex and sophisticated, and any
attempts at a 'simple' editor will simply mess up other peoples work.
Especially when you start touching relations, which seeing as
relations themselves involve nodes and ways that's pretty much any
editor. I say this as someone who wrote the "split way but preserve
the order of route relations" code in P2.

But even the simple "rename a pub" editor is more complex than most
people realise. Naive implementations of a point-of-interest editor
break down as soon as they realise that all POIs can also be
represented by a closed way, and that these ways - both closed and
unclosed - can be part of multipolygons. It's complicated. POI != node
and Road != way.

However, we can certainly do much, much better at making simple
user-interfaces for these complex editors. In some cases we can hide
the complexity - like making pub-as-area have an icon and be just as
easily re-nameable as pub-as-point. But we should also split out the
ideas of "simple user-interface" from "hardly any features" interface.

An improvement I'd suggest straight away is to make road
classifications a drop-down. But if we want to have editors with
simple user interfaces (and I reckon we want that quite a lot) we need
to realise that they will be built on top of complex, sophisticated

>  One minor tagging note:  It uses the tag phone= for the phone number, but
> that is officially a rejected tag according to the Wiki.  The recommended
> tag is contact:phone=  .

Oh dear god, the wiki. How exactly something that is widely used and
supported can be called "rejected" is beyond me.  Never mind that it's
apparently been "rejected" by a self-appointed group in favour of
something that hasn't even been "approved"!


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