[Osmf-talk] Linking University Research and OSM: Academic Working Group?

Richard Weait richard at weait.com
Wed Sep 26 12:50:51 UTC 2012

On Wed, Sep 26, 2012 at 7:59 AM, Mark Iliffe <mark at markiliffe.co.uk> wrote:
> Hello All,
> As is the nature of long threads on mailing lists that many ideas get spun
> off. One of the many things that has cropped up when I "OSM" (as a verb), is
> the usability of our project's tools and processes;
> On 24 Sep 2012, at 18:55, Richard Weait <richard at weait.com> wrote:
> Evaluating user experience on editors is out of scope for what I
> envision for WWWG[1].
> The Welcome Wagon suggestion I think provides a way to partly solve this and
> drive adoption by new members, however I think there is also a way to go on
> the usability of the tools. This I believe is distinct from a "Welcome
> Wagon" group as this effects all of us, not just those who are learning OSM.
> There is an extensive list of publications on the wiki
> (http://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Research) and research on the usability
> of data and tools has raised a special issue of Transactions in GIS here:
> http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/tgis.2012.16.issue-4/issuetoc. I
> think this is a small amount of work in the corpus of research on GI
> Usability and where OSM is used in a research setting.
> When asking questions on how to evaluate tools surely that is something
> which is done by academic institutions ("ie. the stuff that they're good
> at"), while we get on with our thing. I'm not discounting the many academic
> researchers in the OSM(F) who wear two or more hats in representing their
> respective interests, however co-ordination and collaboration are core to
> our project and the academic world. In effect I believe a forum where these
> worlds can meet should exist. Be it as a working group with clear goals,
> tasks or a more informal grouping on a mailing list.
> "So, let's hear it.  What do you think?"


I was frustrated by two similar surveys arriving on talk@ (iirc) in
the same week and saw them as intrusive, irrelevant and unlikely to
assist us in any way.  That snap impression may have been unfair.  If,
on the other hand, research were coordinated from within, and the raw
data available to us as well as the results?  We could actually
benefit from the research.  The Research Working Group could manage
access to mappers to reduce selection bias[1] and survey fatigue[2],
as well as vet areas of study.

Universities could also make a donation to OpenStreetMap, via
http://donate.openstreetmap.org naturally, as a nice gesture.

[1], [2], or, you know, "smart survey stuff".

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