[Imports] U.S.-Mexico border fence update
mcorey at revealnews.org
Tue Jan 24 19:55:41 UTC 2017
Hi all, thanks for your thoughts!
A little more background: When I was doing this the first time, I was
using OSM as my canonical version, drawing what I was finding in JOSM,
then downloading it back out of OSM with Overpass to get a local
version. My main reasons for doing that were to A) encourage other
contributions, especially in areas I couldn't easily get to in person to
check and B) to ensure that any work we did was public already in case
the government tried to shut us down because they regarded the location
of the fence as secret. (They never did, but I still think it's a risk,
even though we're talking about a 20-foot-tall fence that's pretty
visible in Google Earth.)
This did lead to some issues, though. For one thing, I don't think I
really ever saw any large-scale contributions from other users -- in
fact, most changes that got made seemed to be people mistakenly moving
segments, probably because the fence is so close to the actual border
line and runs along so many roads.
And it was also harder for me to tell other news organizations that I
was confident in the data coming out of OSM -- it was pretty
buyer-beware, which of course is always something to be aware of with
OSM data. I was also worried someone might delete my custom tags that
didn't have specific meaning in OSM, but were important for designating
government IDs and things like that.
And finally, when I was doing the update this time, it seemed easier to
use QGIS to quickly bring in all the data sources I needed -- lots of
georeferenced PDFs, many shapefile layers etc.
Another issue that I will start to have is when we start dealing with
historical and future fence/wall plans -- the place for that is probably
None of these are complaints, just some explanations of how my thought
process is working. And at the same time, I certainly want OSM to
reflect the updated work.
In terms of things that have changed, some segments will have been
deleted and recreated, some, with way IDs intact, will have changed in
size and may be duplicates of other ways.
Hope this is helpful.
Senior News Applications Developer
On 01/24/2017 07:23 AM, Max Erickson wrote:
> Hi Michael-
> Can you move in the direction of treating OSM as your canonical
> source? Overpass API/Overpass Turbo offers a convenient way to
> retrieve the data from OSM:
> If you click "export" there, you can get geojson. Understandable that
> there might be some difficulties organizationally, but not having to
> do merges is a big win.
> As far as getting your current changes added to OSM, if you are
> familiar with JOSM, the OpenData plugin and the "Replace Geometry"
> tool from utilsplugin2 might at least remove some of the pain of
> updating the features that are in OSM. I would guess that lots of
> manual work is going to be the best way to sync the data up.
> On Mon, Jan 23, 2017 at 5:12 PM, Michael Corey <mcorey at revealnews.org> wrote:
>> (Also posted in talk-us)
>> Several years ago I did a lot of work adding sections of the U.S.-Mexico
>> border fence to OSM. In light of the new U.S. president's intention to
>> expand the fence/wall system, I have been updating that work for our
>> news organization. We have now mapped the entire existing fence with
>> significantly more official data and more information about individual
>> I would like to share this work back into OpenStreetMap, but it may be
>> difficult to modify or sync up with my old work, since I have
>> changed/added/subtracted significant features.
>> Does anyone have thoughts on how to do this most efficiently and without
>> causing major headaches? I would like to share the maps on both OSM and
>> on Github, so I will need some kind of workflow to keep everything
>> synced up.
>> The current fence is captured by this relation:
>> Any advice people have from past experience would be most welcome.
>> Thanks much,
>> Michael Corey
>> Senior News Applications Developer
>> o: 510.809.3178
>> twitter: @mikejcorey
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>> Imports at openstreetmap.org
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