[Imports-us] OSM US Import Document Draft

Carol Kraemer cakraemer at northrivergeographic.com
Tue Nov 5 00:03:53 UTC 2013


Frederik,

>> Does OSM want people outside of your current import
>> group circle to do imports?

>Imports are, crucially, not driven by the availability of data but by
>its desirability. So an import that starts with "hey people I have this
>data set here that would look nice on tha OSM map" is bound for a rocky
>ride (not *as* rocky as one where someone just imports without the "hey
>people" part though!), whereas an import that starts with "the OSM
>community in XYZ has been discussing the release of boundary data and
>finally been given green light by the authorities" might have a better
time.

To put this in the proper context, the example that I gave dealt with the
question "* __Is this a dataset that belongs in the OSM database?__"  where
I answered " It might be helpful to provide a list of datasets OSM would
like to have as well as a list of what would not be appropriate for OSM.
This provides a starting point for a discussion like, 'Oh, hey! I have
building footprints. OSM wants those. I'll let them know.'"

I suggested that OSM provide a list of desirable datasets that can guide
contributors. If you aren't clear about what you want, don't be surprised
what people will bring to you. You could also make a list of what OSM
definitely doesn't want. The list doesn't need to be extensive and cover
every dataset possible. For example, it's pretty clear that OSM wants
building footprints.

>> Does OSM want the support of the GIS community
>> to not only help with imports but supply its data?

>I think this cannot be answered wholesale. It is for the OSM community
>to reach out to others - GIS community or elsewhere - and ask for
>specific data sources in specific regions, or maybe even help with
>importing. If the OSM community itself doesn't drive the import, if
>there's no "human anchor" for the data that gets imported, then any
>attempt at driving such an import from the outside will be frowned upon.

This reads as though OSM only wants the GIS community involved if OSM
reaches out to them. I point this out because this is really of great
importance for me to understand about OSM. If OSM does not see GIS as a
community member or potential community member then game over. I've got my
answer and I'll get out of your hair. However, clearly, there are "human
anchors" who happen to be in the GIS profession available to you already.
I'm trying to understand exactly what this implies...that the GIS community
is a stand alone entity that neither belongs to the OSM community or the
local community it is found within? Why is there this assumption that the
only data the GIS community would want to import is for an entire state, or
country, etc?

>I think that the single biggest communication problem between the OSM
>community and the GIS community is that many members of the GIS
>community often don't see the dynamics - they believe that a certain
>data set has a value and that OSM automatically benefits if this is
>imported. Whereas OSM doesn't see the data, OSM sees the process, and
>the process needs to be sustainable.

The GIS community is familiar with and works within many different
situations that require adjusting to various dynamics - platforms, data
formats, environments, people, etc. I don't see this as being unique to
OSM. And just to clarify, GIS considers both the data and the process to be
important which appears to be the same for OSM. Oh, yeah, and we both like
people. No, really, we do! :)

OSM and GIS share a mutual affection/obsession for geospatial stuff. Can't
we just start there and build on that?

>A "data drop" into OSM is just as useless a well-meaning aid
>organisations in the 70s building a school and then leaving the place;
>it creates a non-sustainable situation where people depend on others
>coming in and building them a school. In international aid, this lesson
>has long since been learned; in OSM, we still have a lot of teaching to
>do, and we will certainly piss a few people off in the process ("What,
>you don't wont this FREE GIFT?").

Again, you have this assumption that anyone wanting to do an import is just
going to do it and leave. I wouldn't still be here if I weren't serious
about sticking with it. Why would I go through this? I mean, really? And
here's a cookie. :>

One last thing comes from your email to Alex:

>Then, for someone who is at least *minimally* familiar with OSM, would
>they really "start with a Google search" as you did in your example above?

>I typed "import" in the help.openstreetmap.org search box and *every*
>halfway relevant question (not counting "how do I importd addresses into
>Nominatim" etc) had the right pointers in their answer section.

>Type "import" in the Wiki search box and you get the same. Or look at
>any "import" themed post on the mailing lists or the forums and again,
>the same.

All this focus is on the wiki. Fact is, I knew about OSM years ago, but I
didn't find it in the traditional way of looking for it on the internet. It
found me. Shouldn't OSM be interested in how they were found and not
determining if it was the "right or wrong" way? Better yet, don't care at
all how they found you! Someone found OSM, was interested in it and started
doing something. Could be me, could be anyone. Isn't that kind of how
everyone gets started with most things? The path from A to B is not always
a straight line. So just because someone doesn't find OSM by Googling it,
you think they are a waste of your time?

Tschuess
-Carol


-------------------------------------
Carol Kraemer
North River Geographic Systems, Inc
http://www.northrivergeographic.com
404.431.0125 cakraemer at northrivergeographic.com


On Mon, Nov 4, 2013 at 5:53 PM, Frederik Ramm <frederik at remote.org> wrote:

> Carol,
>
> > Does OSM want people outside of your current import
> > group circle to do imports?
>
> In fact, most people who ever did any imports in OSM were not part of
> any "current import group circle".
>
> Most imports were actually wanted by someone in OSM, often a group of
> people. A potential data source sought and discovered, existing mappers
> thought about whether and how to import it, and went ahead. The
> "existing mappers" were occasionally just a few local people if the
> import was very local, or mappers from all over a country.
>
> The important thing is that the data has some anchor point in OSM. We
> can't use data that is dumped on us by someone who then goes away again
> and doesn't care what happens. If there's a local group who makes the
> import happen then there's at least a hope that they will continue to
> work with the data. Hit-and-run imports, on the other hand, lead to
> bit-rot like the funny quadrupled borders in that other post on talk-us,
> stuff that nobody cares about and that is, frankly, an embarrassment to
> all of OSM.
>
> Imports are, crucially, not driven by the availability of data but by
> its desirability. So an import that starts with "hey people I have this
> data set here that would look nice on tha OSM map" is bound for a rocky
> ride (not *as* rocky as one where someone just imports without the "hey
> people" part though!), whereas an import that starts with "the OSM
> community in XYZ has been discussing the release of boundary data and
> finally been given green light by the authorities" might have a better
> time.
>
> > Does OSM want the support of the GIS community
> > to not only help with imports but supply its data?
>
> I think this cannot be answered wholesale. It is for the OSM community
> to reach out to others - GIS community or elsewhere - and ask for
> specific data sources in specific regions, or maybe even help with
> importing. If the OSM community itself doesn't drive the import, if
> there's no "human anchor" for the data that gets imported, then any
> attempt at driving such an import from the outside will be frowned upon.
>
> I think that the single biggest communication problem between the OSM
> community and the GIS community is that many members of the GIS
> community often don't see the dynamics - they believe that a certain
> data set has a value and that OSM automatically benefits if this is
> imported. Whereas OSM doesn't see the data, OSM sees the process, and
> the process needs to be sustainable.
>
> A "data drop" into OSM is just as useless a well-meaning aid
> organisations in the 70s building a school and then leaving the place;
> it creates a non-sustainable situation where people depend on others
> coming in and building them a school. In international aid, this lesson
> has long since been learned; in OSM, we still have a lot of teaching to
> do, and we will certainly piss a few people off in the process ("What,
> you don't wont this FREE GIFT?").
>
> Bye
> Frederik
>
> --
> Frederik Ramm  ##  eMail frederik at remote.org  ##  N49°00'09" E008°23'33"
>
> _______________________________________________
> Imports-us mailing list
> Imports-us at openstreetmap.org
> https://lists.openstreetmap.org/listinfo/imports-us
>
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