[Osmf-talk] google Open Buildings usage request

Craig Allan allan at iafrica.com
Fri Jul 30 21:59:52 UTC 2021

Dear List,
As an African mapper, working mainly in Chad, DRC and Kenya, I am 
perpetually scared that some well-meaning AI professional in a far-off 
wealthy country is going to proudly overwrite Africa with dirty data.

In that regard I note that this latest 'Open Buildings' building 
recognition project seems to be good work, at the current level of AI 
image recognition. That is very cool and the field of work is 
fascinating.  But the quality is not yet good enough for OSM purposes. 
The authors of the paper are open about this and are working hard to 
improve their accuracy.

One day, when AI image recognition consistently produces work that 
cannot be distinguished from the work of an experienced human then we 
should certainly look at using AI to classify features.  Until then I 
vote *NO!!!!* to any overwrite.

An African example of the worst case already happening is Cameroon, 
where an AI enthusiast blanketed the country with bad vegetation 
coverage data that nobody will ever bother to fix, because it looks 
'done', whereas it is not. It is dirty data, which far worse than 
blank.   If the same thing had happened in Germany there would have been 
a riot on this channel.

I also find that if you politely write to mass editors to request 
correction, there is no recourse. The mass editor can't fix the errors 
because that involves hand editing millions of points and ways and they 
don't have the resources to do that. The alternatives are to dump the 
whole import, which is impossible, or fix it yourself.

I would be quite happy with AI produced work being loaded up as a 
digitising aid on another layer, like OpenTopo, and I expect that that 
such limited use as reference-only material would probably be easier to 

Craig Allan
osm: cRaIgalLAn

On 2021/07/30 09:31, Enock Seth Nyamador wrote:
> ...
> In Ghana alone, there is enough of very bad mappings from remote 
> mapping in recent years that we wouldn't want to see more added.

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