[HOT] OSM humanitarian mapping and its learning curve

Romain Bousson romainbousson at gmail.com
Wed Oct 12 19:35:20 UTC 2016

I noticed the same issues recently. All along the week, as the media
coverage increased, the way that the projects and tasks were completing
themselves changed. From large tiles completed by several users turn by
turn, we came to big tiles directly divided into tiny tasks, being
completed by only one user in a few minutes. The peer review process,
making the quality of the work, was botched.
I personnaly found many tasks checked green as "validated" by newcomers,
and "completed" by newcomers.

For example, here is an extract from a message I sent to Dale Kunce (admin
of many Haïti projects), where I was pointing to the fact that many
newcomers did not see the instructions tab and so did not use the new
Digital Globe imagery, and stayed using Bing (that was before today's post
disaster imagery). But I unfortunately received no answer. I am not here to
complain about that: I understand that there may be a lot of other things
to do during these days.

> I just saw 4 tiles on the #2223 - Hurricane Matthew: Grand Anse coast
> project and all were wrong according to me (but maybe I am wrong and
> somebody have to tell me): - task #53 was checked "complete" by
> @michaelcraven, but many buildings were missing. - and the 3 main tasks of
> ANSE D'HAINAULT town : #232, #233 and #13. All 3 were clearly not done
> using Digital Globe imagery so it missed a lot of things.

I think some more warnings and advices written in the instructions tabs
would be very simple and quite effective.

Romain Bousson (mapping as Romainbou)

2016-10-12 19:34 GMT+02:00 Severin Menard <severin.menard at gmail.com>:

> The edits on hotosm.org job #2228 <http://tasks.hotosm.org/project/2228>
> have started and now happens what I feared. There is no mention of what are
> the necessary skills and newbies are coming with a lot of enthusiasm but
> with almost no OSM experience. A quick analysis of the first 29
> contributors shows that 20 of them have created their OSM account less than
> one month ago. Some did it yesterday or today. Wow.
> The result of that : obviously, crappy edits are coming, spoiling what we
> have been doing over the last few days : now we have building as nodes
> where shapes are totally visible, un-squared bad shaped buildings and the
> main landuse area is self-cutting in various places (see there
> <https://leslibresgeographes.org/jirafeau/f.php?h=26gWjHki&p=1>).
> Nothing new under the sun : it was already the case for Haiti EarthQuake
> 2010. Quite a pity that six years after, despite the OSM tools have
> improved a lot, it remains the same. It is though quite simple to fix the
> most part of it: do-not-invite-newcomers-to-map
> -over-complex-crisis-contexts.
> I guess some will argue that the OSM newcomers are people of good will and
> that they just want to help and that they my feel offended/discouraged. Of
> course their intentions are high and yes they may feel a bit hurt. But this
> is really a classic in humanitarian response: people with the best
> intentions in the world may not fit for it, just because they are not
> experienced yet.
> Mapping in OSM in crisis response is not an exciting one-shot hobby : it
> does have its learning curve and it is key to learn how to map correctly
> before being dropped over complex humanitarian contexts. This is why I
> mentioned three sets of necessary skills for the jobs I created these last
> days on http://taches.francophonelibre.org. And the beginner mappers who
> joined the job that fitted for beginners are people that already have a few
> months of OSM experience, not newcomers. Newcomers should be driven over
> non urgent fields.
> If someone is not interested to learn first in not a mass media covered
> crisis context : this is not a problem, it is actually a good way to see
> real motivations. I personally prefer to get one mapper that will become a
> huge, excellent contributor, 3-4 more occasional but still producing neat
> data, than to lose 10 that would create crappy objects and just leave
> forever afterwards anyway.
> I guess the resulting need of duplicating the number of necessary edits
> (crappy ones then corrections) to get a clean data is a rather a good way
> to grow the number of total contributors and the number of total edits
> created through the # of the HOT TM instance that seems to be so important
> for the board of HOT US Inc (two current directors have contacted me for
> this purpose) to make communication and raise funds from the figures. But
> what is at stake here is to provide good baseline data for humanitarian
> response, not distorted metrics.
> Séverin
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