[HOT] Buildings and HOT's reputation in OSM

Walker Bradley wbradley at worldbank.org
Tue Dec 12 14:40:06 UTC 2017

Dear All,

There has been a lot of back and forth regarding the utility of a specialized building editor in iD editor.  Many have mentioned how they would like it, but lack the skills in designing it.  How much would it cost to hire someone to program this, How would it be integrated with the existing editor and What would the skills required be for the person(s)?



From: john whelan <jwhelan0112 at gmail.com>
Sent: Tuesday, December 12, 2017 09:24
To: Rory McCann
Subject: Re: [HOT] Buildings and HOT's reputation in OSM

A specialised buildings editor idea has a lot of merit.  Less to train, fewer options to go wrong.  Background upload after each building or set time.

The problem with Bjorn's idea is unfortunately anyone can lead a maperthon.  The HOT Training group meets regularly and at least one of the members has a lot of experience leading maperthons.

My perception is the regular ones have fewer problems its the ones being led by well meaning people with no experience in OSM mapping who don't read the instructions first and give incorrect instructions to mappers.

Locally we had one very well meaning person but unfortunately the mappers edited the map and introduced a fairly large number of errors.  It was caught and many changes were reversed but that caused more problems as the students had been given the task as an assignment and some of their edits had disappeared.  It did all get straightened out eventually.

Cheerio John

On 12 December 2017 at 08:31, Rory McCann <rory at technomancy.org<mailto:rory at technomancy.org>> wrote:
It seems like there is a need for a specialized "buildings editor". Yes
JOSM building_tools beats iD now, but how about making a new web based
editor that addresses the problems you highlight:

 * Can only enter buildings
 * Uploads (& downloads) frequently. Potlatch used to upload as soon as
you had deselected an object. OSM changesets can be opened and have many
uploads. Why not upload every X minutes?
 * Rather than free form drawing, you can only draw rectangular buildings
 * Don't allow the user over lap buildings (or auto-merge the rectangles

If you know your users are doing one thing, then it's probably easier to
change the software than the users. 😉

Of course, suggesting things is easier than actually doing them, and I
don't think my JS is good enough to do it.

On 09/12/17 20:59, john whelan wrote:
Recently there has been some discussion of HOT's input into OpenStreetMap in the OSMF mailing list.

Perhaps one of the problem areas is mapping that is less than ideal.

Basically HOT mainly maps highways, landuse=residential and buildings.

These shouldn't be difficult to map correctly.

Buildings appear to be the most problematic.

I think we need to think about why we are mapping them.  Is node good enough?  There would be less room for mistakes.

If we need outlines and there good reasons why an outline is more valuable than a node then we need to define what is acceptable.  Or do we even care?  and its the do we even care part that is perceived to be the case by some within OSM and that perception is something we should care about.

 From a validation point of view does it matter if the building is not square?  Is it acceptable to square a building even though we know this will introduce an element of approximation or error.

What should be done with a building=yes that covers more than one building?  Do we expect the validator to map each building or just invalidate the tile?

What should be done when the building mapped is more than 50% larger than the image?  Invalidate the tile?

We are still mapping buildings twice.  I suspect some mappers are not uploading within two hours.  Getting mappers to upload every 30 minutes max would go a long way to reduce this, extending the tile lock to four hours would almost certainly eliminate it.  Recently on high priority project I've seen in the order of a hundred buildings double mapped.  They have been done within the last two weeks so it is an ongoing problem. There is a new tool that detects these so they aren't the problem they once were but someone has to run the tool.

If HOT could support a few more projects that were from the community on the ground rather than the "We are the professionals we know what is best" which appears to be perceived sometimes from the number of projects for the RED Cross or other northern hemisphere charities that might also help the reputation and relationship.

So two points here on one message first is can HOT's reputation be repaired and I suspect that is longer term problem that will take time and a lot of effort rather than a PR job.

Second would someone care to comment on what is acceptable mapping for a building and what guidelines can we give to validators?

Thanks John

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