[Imports] edit import guideline wiki page

Andy Allan gravitystorm at gmail.com
Thu Nov 7 09:27:59 UTC 2013


On 6 November 2013 23:56, Daniel O'Connor <daniel.oconnor at gmail.com> wrote:

> I understand the problem we are trying to solve is preventing harmful
> imports, so the map data is of high quality.

Indeed

> I think it's fair to say
> everyone on this list is here to help and uplift a user to the point they
> can import

Well, this is where I disagree. My belief is that we're still
approaching this from the wrong angle, and in fact with our "import
guidelines" and "imports" mailing list, we're pre-supposing that
"importing"[1] is the correct answer to the given problem.

So taking a step back, I believe the given problem is "I have an
external dataset, and I want to use it to improve OpenStreetMap". But
usually that rapidly becomes "I have an external dataset, and I want
to copy that information into the OpenStreetMap database" when there
are, in fact, many other possible approaches.

* Use the dataset to power QA tools, c.f. Ordnance Survey Locator Gazetteer[2]
* Use the dataset as a visual reference, c.f. GPX tracks which we
thankfully have never imported as nodes
* Use the dataset as a vector reference, c.f. Snapshot Server[3]
* Use the dataset as an import source, c.f. Tiger, AND, etc.

So no, I don't agree that I want to uplift every user to the point
they can import - but I do want to uplift the user to the point that
they can make the best use of their external dataset. As time goes by
I expect few and fewer datasets will be imported under any sensible
meaning of the term, but those datasets will still of course be useful
to us.

I ask that you and others bear that in mind when rewriting import
guidelines - to us it might seem obvious that an import is only one
approach, but we should ensure that anyone who approaches OSM with an
external dataset is clearly guided to the different possible
approaches.

Cheers,
Andy

[1] For everyone who approaches OSM from the outside, to "import" is
the wholesale copying of external data into our database through a
process driven by themselves. The other approaches are rarely obvious
to them.
[2] https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Ordnance_Survey_Opendata#OS_Locator
[3] https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Snapshot_Server



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