[OSM-dev] Map of nearby users

Martijn van Exel m at rtijn.org
Sat Oct 29 20:11:11 BST 2011


On Sat, Oct 29, 2011 at 12:47 PM, Frederik Ramm <frederik at remote.org> wrote:
> Martijn,
> On 10/29/2011 08:14 PM, Martijn van Exel wrote:
>> * http://trac.openstreetmap.org/ticket/1852 suggests the sending of
>> 'GeoMessage' (basically what I was talking about too). There is no
>> discussion whatsoever on this ticket so if it is a contentious issue,
>> that is not reflected here.
> I certainly remember that I discussed this with a number of people at
> different occasions and most were of the opinion that under no circumstances
> should people receive automated emails about local events without first
> having "opted in".

That makes a lot of sense, but I don't believe sending a message
through the OSM message system also sends out an email to the
validated email address of that user. In my development setup it does
not. I believe receiving a message through the OSM messaging system is
a lot less intrusive than receiving an email - the only thing that
happens is that the inbox counter in the top right increases. I think
we can be a bit more relaxed with opting in to receiving OSM messages
if this is really the extent of it.

> This means that you's have to offer a checkbox in the user preferences
> saying "I would like information about local OSM events"; of course you
> would then first have to find a way to convince local mappers to tick that
> box in their user preferences ;) I guess it could perhaps be acceptable to
> send an email to everyone telling them that this new checkbox exists and
> would they please check it if they want to receive information about local
> events or so - but that already is contentious, there are people who say
> that this must not be done.

I don't think that would be the right course of action either. If a
user action would be needed, a request for it could be sent out in the
form of an OSM message. People who don't use the OSM message system
would not consider a message about opting in to local event info
useful information, but then again if they don't use the OSM message
system they wouldn't read the message in the first place.

> A more technical issue is probably the fact that the area of residence may
> not alway be the area of mapper interest, and the question how exactly the
> software would determine the list of recipients - could the sender of the
> message specify a bbox or a center point and radius, or could they just
> specify the center point and everything else is done automatically?

Ideally there would be a map interface where the user could draw a
bounding box. This would be limited to a maximum area and possibly
also a maximum number of users; for less densely populated areas you
may want a larger area, but for more densely populated areas you would
probably not want to send out your message to thousands of OSMers, or
at least be made aware that you're about to do that.

> Personally I think it might be a good idea to let mappers specify precisely:
> "I want to receive information about events in this rectangle" (or even:
> "these rectangles"). That would automatically give you the opt-in, plus the
> flexibility for the mapper to choose his hometown as well as that of, say,
> his parents where he goes twice a month or so.

That would be an excellent implementation for the receiver's perspective.

martijn van exel
geospatial omnivore
1109 1st ave #2
salt lake city, ut 84103

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