[Imports-us] Geopolitical divisions in Ohio

Serge Wroclawski emacsen at gmail.com
Tue Feb 25 20:42:37 UTC 2014

On Tue, Feb 25, 2014 at 12:50 PM, David Days <david.c.days at gmail.com> wrote:

> Greetings, all.
> I am a new user to OpenStreetMap, but a long-time software developer.
>  Currently, I'm working on a project that would benefit from having
> political subdivisions in the state of Ohio represented on a map.

>  A quick run through of the import history page doesn't show any similar
> data sets, so it appears that the results could be a worthwhile
> contribution.
> To clarify, "political subdivisions" means not only the standard mapping
> features (city, village, county), but also township, voting wards and
> precincts, congressional districts, etc.  Some of these divisions are
> atomic (don't cross other jurisdictional lines), while others can cross
> several larger groups.
> Voting wards, congressional distrincts, etc. aren't really things that
we've had in OSM. Political boundaries even for towns are somewhat
controversial, and difficult to maintain- I certainly have a lot of
reservations about adding new data sources.

I understand that you need this data for your map- but since you seem to
already have this data in another format- why can't you simply mix the data
for your particular map?

> The intent is to start with one county at first, then expand as the
> project grows.  That translates into roughly 100 subdivisions, of which 75+
> are non-city/town/village in the first data set.
> I'm planning on getting local experts within the areas described to
> manually create the mapping features at first, but eventually I would like
> to take other public domain data that's coming available and import it on a
> large scale.
> (As for licensing and reuse--the political divisions themselves are public
> domain, and I'm the owner of the project; even though the primary purpose
> is narrow, I thought that OSM and everyone else could benefit from having
> this map available).
> With all of that in mind:
>    1. Good idea, ok, or really, really bad idea?
I think it's not a good fit for the project, personally.

>    1. Reuse of existing datapoints is probably important (these divisions
>    usually follow clear boundaries, so finding existing boundary or markers
>    would cut down on the import size).  Pointers or gotchas?
> Would be very complex not only to import, but to maintain.

>    1. Import scale:  Ohio has 88 counties, with probably 100 of these
>    subdivisions on average.  If the entire idea is acceptable, would
>    per-county imports work better for the community, or would it be better to
>    get it all together and push it all at once?
> This is a technical detail that would be better discussed if you decide to
go through with the import proposal, but I don't think it would be well
received by the general OSM community.

>    1. Maintenance:  Most of these areas are pretty stable--about 100 out
>    of the whole state get reworked every 10 years.  Is this a factor, and how
>    much commitment to maintenance should I factor in?
Yes, it's a factor.

IMHO this is similar to the discussion we've had in the past about land
plots, which is something that some people would like to import. Generally
these are centralized in terms of a source, and they're not something the
OSM community can improve upon. Clearly the data is useful to some people,
but it's not a good match for the kind of general purpose resource that OSM
exists to serve.

That doesn't mean it's not good data, or not particularly useful, or that
you couldn't mix the datasources together on your own- but that it doesn't
belong in this dataset.

That's MHO.

- Serge
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