[Imports-us] OSM US Import Document Draft

Frederik Ramm frederik at remote.org
Tue Nov 5 07:42:17 UTC 2013


  I should maybe say, since I might not be well known on this mailing
list, that while I am a member of both the board of directors of the OSM
Foundation and the OSMF's data working group, what I'm saying here is my
personal opinion (and largely an opinion that was copiously published
long before my appointment to any of these posts), and not the official
take of either of these bodies.

This is especially true for my pet idea of imports requiring an "anchor"
in the community, people who are likely to care, to curate, to work on
the data. If it were for me, then anyone who wants to make an import
would have to be able to show a couple of active mappers who want to
work with the data about to be imported, and anyone who wants to import
something just so that it looks nice on the map would be sent away. This
isn't a DWG rule however; if an import proposal goes through the proper
consultation process and isn't shown to be buggy then the data will be
allowed in even if it is likely to bit-rot for lack of active community.

The main reason for this is that nobody ever managed to prove the
conjecture that mass-imported data actually hinders the forming of a
lively community. I, personally, am convinced that this is true and that
any import in an area where no local mapping community exists will
actually make OSM's success in that area less likely. I am convinced
that such imports sacrifice the long-term health of the project for a
short-term "window dressing" on the map. But there's another, equally
valid, theory that goes "If we import enough data into an area to make
the map at least a little usable, the map will then be used more, and
have more visibility, and therefore more people will come in contact
with OSM, and if only a fraction of those contribute to OSM then a
mapping community will form." - I think the problem with that theory is
that the OSM that gets more visibility here is bound to be a patchwork
of lifeless imported data rather than the living, breathing, soulful
project that we are, and that this misrepresentation will not attract
the people who are interested in being part of a mapping community. But
hey, I can't prove that.


Frederik Ramm  ##  eMail frederik at remote.org  ##  N49°00'09" E008°23'33"

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