[OSM-dev] Simple app for "making contributions" (not to display maps)

Bjoern Hassler bjohas+mw at gmail.com
Wed Jun 29 15:54:28 UTC 2016

Hi Simon, Rory, Guillaume, Frederik, Martin, Mikael,

Thank you for your input - that's very helpful and appreciated. Let me try
a digest reply. Overall, I'm thinking of something much simpler than
displaying maps. Overall, there's (at least) two different areas:
(1) Traces
(2) Tags / resolving bugs

** On traces **

> On 29 June 2016 at 13:41, Simon Poole wrote: In general I'm not convinced
that raw GPS tracks are of a lot of use without additional information in
areas that might not have a well established road network, ...

It may not be without additional information - see next answer.

> Who is "we" in this context?

E.g. I'm working with teachers in Ghana, where mentors travel to
schools/colleges to give support. They do have tablets/smart phones with
GPS. GPS Logger probably comes closest to what we could use (
http://code.mendhak.com/gpslogger/), mainly because it offers to auto
upload a trace. So for us, that could work, because we have a set of known
users (and can receive traces via dropbox/email/etc). We tried OSMAnd
previously, but because GPX cannot be sent automatically, it was too
tricky. (Similarly for OSMTracker.) We're yet to try GPS Logger. But
suppose we were to work with users less well known to us:

*Scenario A ("friends of friends" contributions): *For other users, GPS
Logger can also upload to OSM. Suppose we'd ask friends in certain towns to
use the tool, as a "semi-anonymous" mapping campaign in that town, we'd
then have to find those traces on OSM (or at least be notified that a
relevant trace has come in). *How would you do this? It doesn't seem as if
you can search for traces in particular areas?*

*Scenario B (crowd contributions): *Something similar to OSM Logger, but
that could switch on automatically (e.g. when people are driving with GPS
enabled). "We're short of maps in this area? Do you want to help?" If the
users taps yes, then a trace is recorded and submitted (anonymously). This
could be stand alone, or (to provide an incentive to the user) be
integrated into OSMAnd/map.me etc.

Perhaps (if integrated into an app) the data would not be that useful
anyway (as Simon suggested), as you don't know what kind of track the user
is on. Stand-alone, you could ask the user some questions afterwards: Major
road yes/no, tarmac yes/no, etc.

On 29 June 2016 at 13:43, Frederik Ramm wrote:

> Your user's contributions would be immensely more

valuable if there was a way for them to at least record the information

whether they're currently on a path or travelling cross-terrain.
> (Sometimes this can be guessed from the speed of movement but not always.)


On 29 June 2016 at 13:34, Guillaume AMAT wrote:

> You're searching something I plan to implement in MapContrib (but I don't
> know when...), see https://github.com/MapContrib/MapContrib/issues/148.
> Is that issue the exact need of yours?

Yes, I think the issue above is similar to the way GPS Logger works. I'll
have a look at the app, and will comment if I have a suggestion. Also see
point about 'tags' below.

Rory, maps.me seems to be more aimed at using maps - certainly the site
doesn't foreground contributions. It's similar with OSMAnd - it can
display/add bugs/notes, and e.g. display the 'fixme' tag, but the main
purpose is to use maps.

** On tags * *

Apart from traces, it may also be helpful to fix tags / collect other
information. Here are some thoughts:

*(A) Location validation / resolving issues. *We've got a list of education
institutions, which we think is accurate on the whole. However, there are
also some errors. It would be great for us to have an app that could
validate locations (as a "friend sourcing" or "crowd sourcing" exercise).
You upload a set of locations into the app, and (over time, as a user
travels to a location) the app asks: "Are you now near XYZ school? Yes/no".
Over time, that would allow us to validate a large data set.

Similarly, extra information about map issues could be collected. E.g.
Vespucci also notifies you about nearby map issues, which is great.
However, on the whole the app has a different audience from what I have in
mind. So just the notification part of Vespucci, with the ability for the
user to respond.

*(B) Street names (and other POIs).* In some places there are roads, but
they don't have names (when the local roads do have street signs). Users
may be willing to contribute street names. Similarly, POIs could be added
in this way. E.g. the POI contribution in OSMAnd is useful, but ideally an
app would only have the "POI submission" feature.

Either the app shows the OSM tile or perhaps just a list of local POIs
(with geo-intent to visualise in other app). The user types name and POI
type, and data is submitted (with GPS accuracy). Optionally, the user might
answer some more questions, depending on the POI type (like opening hours,
etc). Also, perhaps the data is not added to OSM automatically, but perhaps
to a "crowd layer", where map editors then transfer the data onto OSM.

The last suggestion is perhaps similar to
https://github.com/hotosm/Geo-Data-Collect. That app can of course work
with any ODK server, and one could set up a server to collect data for OSM.
It may be possible to construct a comprehensive ODK form to cover a range
of POIs, though for the general purpose of POI collection, a dedicated app
may be simpler and more user friendly. (C.f. Martin's suggestion.)

Mikael - thanks, I'll have a look!

Just some more thoughts - thanks for the responses so far!!
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