[Imports] Importing Beirut building data

Jo winfixit at gmail.com
Fri Apr 28 16:30:28 UTC 2017

Hi Majd,

I see a big issue with the license of the data, so you'll most likely hit a
brick wall as far as importing into OSM goes.

Do you have time for a hangout or a Skype call? I want to show you how easy
it would be to create buildings using JOSM. If you can get a group together
and do weekly or monthly mapathons, you can draw them from the imagery and
the data will simply be odbl licensed.


2017-04-28 15:35 GMT+02:00 Majd Al-shihabi <majd.al at gmail.com>:

> Hi folks,
> I have been working with an organisation called Public Works Studio to
> create a map of housing evictions in Beirut over the past couple of years.
> As a part of it, we need a good base map containing buildings in the city,
> but unfortunately, OSM doesn't have that yet.
> Through our network, we found out that a group at the American University
> of Beirut called The Neighbourhood Initiative (AUB-NI) has done a survey of
> all of the buildings in the city. The data can be viewed here
> <https://scholarworks.aub.edu.lb/handle/10938/10283?show=full>. As far as
> I understand (and of course i'm not a legal expert), the license on the
> data from the AUB-NI is not incompatible with the Open Database License. In
> any case, my understanding is that they got the data freely from the
> municipality.
> Unfortunately, the Lebanon OSM mailing list has been inactive since 2012,
> but at a recent HOT training, and through my work, I have met a few people
> who are interested in activating the community again.
> What we would like to do is to start importing all 20k+ building polygons
> into OSM, but do that in a special way. We would like to run a series of
> mapathons where people enter the buildings one by one. We would create a
> simple tool with the following workflow:
>    1. Display to the mapper a random building from the available 20k+
>    buildings
>    2. Overlay the building on the mapbox satellite images (Mapbox is
>    clearer than Bing)
>    3. If
>       - the building already exists in OSM, discard the new polygon
>       (maybe we can avoid this option by doing some cleaning of the data using
>       QGIS)
>       - the building does not exist on OSM, and the polygon matches the
>       satellite image, then add as many tags as we know, and upload it to OSM
>       - the building does not exist on OSM, and the polygon does NOT
>       match the satellite image, then modify the polygon so it matches, add as
>       many tags as possible, then upload to OSM
> This process serves an important function: to verify the accuracy of the
> data from the AUB-NI, especially since the dataset is from 2004, and the
> city has changed A LOT since that date.
> From a technical point of view, I can see three options to do this:
> 1. The simplest way is to find a way to pass the polygons to the iD editor
> (through GET or POST parameters) and have it preselected for the user to
> make any modifications to it.
> 2. Alternatively, we could build an interface that would save the polygon
> to OSM *and then* ask the user to verify it.
> 3. Otherwise (and least desirable option) is to build an entire javascript
> app that would implement the workflow.
> I've done a bit of research and option 2 seems like it's the most feasible
> one, but I'd like to hear some more thoughts from the community about this.
> Many thanks for your advice, in advance :)
> /majd
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