[HOT] Getting Familiar With OSM (Was: Level of user experience to focus on)

Russell Deffner russell.deffner at hotosm.org
Fri May 29 14:20:43 UTC 2015

Hello everyone,

Here are some snippets from this conversation I would like to address:

* I would actually like a test/mentoring system, then at least I would know if I'm rubbish or not! 
* When I came on board, I wondered why there weren't learning materials I had to study, and then a test to be sure I was ready to map. 
* I also wondered why I was able to contribute to any task instead to being routed to tasks meant especially for newcomers, with a mentoring team watching over my work, giving me suggestions for improvements.
* Required reading and a mapping test? 

These are common 'misunderstanding' with OpenStreetMap.  When I first found OSM it was a basemap in another software, but what really caught my attention was how horribly mapped my home town was.  So I went searching on the internet, learned a tiny bit about the project itself - but also found a local OSM group.  So what did I do, I basically approached them with the mentality that 'they would fix this for me, right?' - totally wrong - what they did was empower me to fix it myself.  Not exactly what I had hoped, but in the long-run; the much better solution.

And that leads to answering a few of those questions above - why is there 'no one watching your work' - actually there are, millions of them.  Maybe not specifically looking at that last thing you traced and providing direct feedback; but eventually everything in OSM will get 'peer reviewed', and reviewed again - and ran through a dozen QA tools - and further edited; and so on and so forth.  There are NO barriers to entry in OSM; that is probably one thing that is quite confusing to anyone unfamiliar with the Open Source concept.  Much like Wikipedia, you don't need to be a published author or go through some vetting system in order to contribute; that's the point - we want everyone in the world to be able to contribute.

All that said, we built LearnOSM.org to provide those learning materials - sure, much like OSM, it isn't complete; and we continue to work on improvements.  And originally the Tasking Manager did not have a validation system; no it does, and problems have been pointed out, and we're working to improve it.

There were also some comments around 'volunteer satisfaction' - not that I want to take you away from HOT - but back to my 'intro to OSM' story - nothing is more satisfying than getting your local neighborhood onto OSM and showing where 'the big time map providers' are way behind: http://tools.geofabrik.de/mc/#15/39.3681/-104.8825&num=4&mt0=mapnik&mt1=cyclemap&mt2=bing-map&mt3=google-map 

Happy Mapping,

Russell Deffner
Russell.Deffner at hotosm.org
Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team (HOT)

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