[Imports] Making the best use of available data - a usecase without a solution?

Paul Norman penorman at mac.com
Wed Aug 1 02:11:46 BST 2012

I recently encountered a situation where I wanted to make some use of
importable data and wanted to get the thoughts of others on the best way to
make the data easily usable by others.


A lot of the road and water network in Surrey, BC in OSM consists of
imports. The road data is reasonable but the water data is outdated. The
city makes geodata available under PDDL, a compatible license. This includes
an excellent road dataset and a decent water network dataset. The water
network needs some cleanup before use but nothing atypical of external data.
I have developed translations for converting these shapefiles to .osm data.

Additionally, weather makes it difficult to capture off-leaf aerial imagery
in the region.

My scenario:

I was mapping out some landuse when I saw that the alignment of a stream in
OSM was clearly wrong, going through a developed area. I knew that the odds
were high that the data was correct when it was surveyed 30 years ago but
the stream had shifted about 100m to a nearby forested area.

A few thoughts went through my mind

- The city data likely has a much more accurate geometry, better than I
could do based on my on-leaf imagery.

- The city data would consist of a small number of objects, perhaps 2-3

- Connecting an import of the stream to existing data would be simple

- The stream looked large enough to have a name which would be found in the
city data, even though it didn't in the existing imported OSM data

My normal solution to this problem would be to download the latest
shapefile, cut out the region with ogr2ogr, pass the results through
ogr2osm, open the result and merge the appropriate objects to the OSM layer.
Although this is a reasonable course of action for me, it is more
complicated than appropriate for most people.

Does anyone have suggestions for a way to make the data available to users
in a way that they can select an area, bring in appropriate objects and
upload the result? I do not want to go the route of making .osm files
available. The quantity of data involved is too large for this to work well
and the added steps of going to a website, figuring out the area,
downloading it and then cutting the file down to size are complications I do
not want to introduce.

If the tools are not out there to do this yet, what still needs to be

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