[HOT] Database, OSM & HOT (Was: Request for information about common set of tags for HOT)

Springfield Harrison stellargps at gmail.com
Fri May 22 06:02:25 UTC 2015

Hello althio,

Thanks for your remarks, sorry for the slow reply.

Thanks for pointing out the difference between 
OSM and H OSM team.  Wasn't really aware of that.

I see that the open, flexible nature of the tag 
approach has its merits I suppose.  The enduring 
mystery for me is how is this information used in 
a query?  But maybe I am barking up the wrong 
tree here, perhaps this concept is only used for 
labeling features, and querying to select the data subset is not a common task.

I only suggest changes in the anticipation that 
they would spawn improvement.  If that is not 
achievable then change for its own sake is not useful.

                 Thanks for your patience, Cheers . . . . . . . . Spring

At 20-05-2015 08:32 Wednesday, althio wrote:
>Sorry for the partial answer and I don't mean to be harsh because I
>know things around here are not easy to find and understand. We all
>need pointers and FAQ or homepages and portals...
>My point is... I do think that you are somehow confused between
>OpenStreetMap and HOT:
>OSM aka OpenStreetMap, the project, its database, its goals, its community
>   - [http://www.openstreetmap.org/welcome] OpenStreetMap, the free
>and editable map of the world
>   - [http://www.openstreetmap.org/about] OpenStreetMap is built by a
>community of mappers that contribute and maintain data about roads,
>trails, cafés, railway stations, and much more (note: also video
>games, hairdresser, gymnastics, karate and volleyball...) (note2: also
>boundaries, hospitals, schools), all over the world.
>see also OSM Foundation, the entity to support the project
>   - http://wiki.osmfoundation.org/wiki/Main_Page
>HOT aka Humanitarian OSM Team is using a subset of OSM database and
>building on it, its own goals (some overlap with OSM), its own
>community (some overlap with OSM)
>   - [http://hotosm.org/] The Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team [HOT]
>applies the principles of open source and open data sharing for
>humanitarian response and economic development.
>   - [http://hotosm.org/about]
>   - [https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Humanitarian_OSM_Team]
>Back to OSM and "tag soup" database. This is a rather hard and
>technical topic, and not really related to HOT and this list. You will
>not find the answer here, nor the most interested or skilled people.
>HOT uses and contributes to the database, HOT does not control it.
>A few more words anyway? ("I am not a lawyer" 
>and "I am not a database expert").
>OSM database is open, free, public, iterative and rather rich.
>OSM database is not fixed, not complete, not comprehensive, not
>homogeneous (spatially at least).
>The philosophy and structure have their own advantages and
>disadvantages compared to existing datasets.
>Please appreciate the uniqueness, value and potential of OSM database
>before you try to make it a clone of something existing.
>All the best,
>  - althio
>On 19 May 2015 at 21:38, Springfield Harrison <stellargps at gmail.com> wrote:
> > Hello Stefan & Blake,
> >
> > I concur with the comments about the "tag soup" mess. As I have mentioned
> > before, I am new to this OSM environment but 
> have some years experience with
> > GPS and GIS mapping and database design.
> >
> > To be honest, I was appalled when I discovered that the OSM database design
> > looked like a glorified scratchpad. I just downloaded and inspected 366,017
> > OSM database records. There were 18 Key Terms and scores of values. I
> > extracted the unique combinations of keys/values and ended up with 388
> > records of those.
> >
> > It is difficult to describe the results in detail as patterns are very hard
> > to see with this system. Suffice it to say, there is an abundance of
> > overlap, redundancy, ambiguity and a 
> confusing intermingling of features and
> > attributes. Using traditional methods of querying a database, it would be
> > impossible to definitively extract a 
> meaningful subset of any of the 366,000
> > records. Generally speaking, the problem is that one feature may be
> > described in many different ways that are not consistent.
> >
> > Having said all that, since I frequently hear how well all this mapping
> > information is received in the field, I must conclude that this mishmash of
> > tagging somehow creates a usable end product. It may well be that I am not
> > aware of magic techniques that bring order to all this chaotic tagging.
> > However, if it works, it is good. However I do believe that it will work
> > better with a more robust database.
> >
> > Sorry to offer this harsh critique, but in decades of looking at database
> > structures for both geographical and administrative applications, I have
> > never seen such a jumble of terminology.
> >
> > Anyway, I have put together what I believe is a more appropriate Data
> > Dictionary that generally parallels the best practices in database design.
> > I have found this approach to be very useful, and also useful in the field,
> > since being introduced to it by Trimble Navigation in the early 90s.
> >
> > I am impressed with the enthusiasm that permeates the crowd GIS initiative
> > but concerned that the geographical and database underpinnings may be less
> > than ideal. My observation from creating a few software applications, is
> > that the lesser trained are the users, the much greater investment there
> > needs to be in the user interface and training. GIS and GPS data collection
> > is not particularly intuitive.
> >
> > My approach in projects of this kind is always to start at the far end with
> > the users - what information are they wanting for whatever it is that they
> > do? Then I look at the reporting requirements and finally design the data
> > collection process to feed into that.
> >
> > In the case of this emergency relief operation, I'm hard-pressed to see the
> > value in mapping video games, hairdresser, gymnastics, karate and
> > volleyball. To be fair, many of the other attributes could have value in
> > providing relief services but in the record set that I downloaded, there
> > seems to be little information related to the emergency relief effort. In
> > over 366,000 records there are only 19 marked as aeroway = helipad.
> >
> > I'm not sure just how thorough you intend to be with the "updating,
> > streamlining and regularizing" but I would be happy to help where possible.
> >
> > It would probably not be overly difficult to substitute a new
> > feature/attribute catalogue into the OSM database. Translating the existing
> > mass of keys and values to their new equivalent might be more challenging.
> > Databases succeed because they conform to standard pattern sets.
> >
> > Again, sorry to be less than enthusiastic but perhaps things can be
> > improved.
> >
> >        Thanks for your patience, Cheers . . . . . . . . Spring Harrison

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