[HOT] The status of iD in HOT contexts/projects

Will Skora skorasaurus at gmail.com
Tue Sep 24 02:59:15 UTC 2013

Robert Soden mentioned the interest of using iD for OSM-related
trainings during today's HOT tech chat. While in Northern Haiti for
the CAP103 project in May-June 2013, a handful of the advanced mappers
in Northern Haiti had learned about iD and wanted to learn how to use
it, and I attempted to give 2-3 informal brief walkthroughs.
afterwards, I wrote my experiences about it and then forgot to share
them with the HOT community until now and thought it would be useful
to share since we haven't discussed the use of iD in HOT contexts.

First off, I truly admire the work done for iD. Its development has
been rapid, the developers are very friendly, humble, and responsive,
they set an example for the OSM developers' community. I understand
that iD developers have other competiting priorities to help improve
the editor but there's several issues that I've experienced and as a
result, would really hesitate to use iD in HOT contexts where these
issues would be appear.

- Lack of a GPS layer
 - you can currently upload a single GPS track to display in the
background, but you are not yet able to load the entire background of
GPS traces from OSM of a given area.
 Although the quantity and quality of imagery sources available has
increased in recent years, there's still a handful of areas in the
world where there's no traceable imagery available, often in areas
where HOT has operated . In these instances, mappers still have to
rely solely on GPX points and GPS layers to map.

- Lack of waypoint support in GPX traces
 As we often take waypoints as we often take GPS traces and write down
information that describes the area associated with the corresponding

 - In some areas, bing imagery is 'offset' - a road traced with bing,
for example, may be 30 or 50 meters away from where it is on the
ground. To fix this, 'offsetting the imagery' is necessary. At the
moment, iD has the capability to adjust imagery, but the adjustment
must be manually done each time a user opens iD to edit OSM.
Secondly, without a GPS trace layer (mentioned above), a user does not
know whether the data already mapped to OSM are currently offset or
not. This is a bit problematic to newer OSM users who may move data,
believing that it should match up with bing imagery.

 - conflict detection
  - no way to detect conflicts. This is problematic when there are
mapping parties and mappers are editing in areas very close to each
and you may be editing the same ways as your fellow users.

At the moment, iD is a great editor but the above issues can be quite
problematic in some HOT contexts (that don't have great imagery for
example) and would be considered dealbreakers in these HOT

Given the rapid development of iD, we may even have to reasses it in
just a few months. Until then, we should keep iD on the back burner.


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