[talk-au] Tracing items.

Andrew Loughhead andrew at incanberra.com.au
Fri Jun 6 14:34:12 BST 2008

info at 4x4falcon.com wrote:
>> And if someone enjoys tracing roads or some other feature exclusively
>> are we to tell them to go away because it's not our idea of the best
>> way to spend their time on OSM?
> Missed the point of my suggestion totally didn't you.  I am not saying
> don't do it just that if you want to improve the whole map in osm then
> here are some things that will help to do that.
Good grief.  Can we please all calm down?  Really there is no need for 
such aggressive emails here.

OSM is somewhat like a wiki. In a wiki people will contribute in 
different ways, basically scratching their own itch.

I did most of the inner north Canberra suburbs with GPS.  When the yahoo 
imagery became available I was able to compare the two.  Yahoo was fine 
enough for positional accuracy, certainly within the error margin of an 
average consumer GPS in stream mode. 

We had a baby. At that point my ability to find time to ride or drive 
around getting GPS traces vanished. But I felt I could still contribute, 
using Yahoo imagery.

I traced quite a bit of inner Canberra from Yahoo.  I am confident that 
the georeference of the imagery around here is fine, and I am familiar 
enough with the areas traced that I doubt I made any more errors than 
gps mapping would make.  I am also confident that my tracing has 
produced better *shape* in the roads than most mapping in OSM, some of 
which looks a bit like join-the-dots.

And thats the thing.  I liked tracing, and I liked getting the circles 
and curves of older Canberra to be just right. Yahoo was a great way to 
do it, and I think arguably much better than GPS, for shape.  Yahoo 
imagery is a little out of date sometimes, where roads have been 
realigned, but I live here, and drive through these areas, and I doubt I 
have traced any errors.  Overall, I got to scratch my itch.

Then I found some of my local co-mappers writing negative emails and 
diary entries, somewhat like the opening of this thread, containing 
similar statements about Yahoo, and others frankly I don't understand, 
to the effect that "it all has to be re-done anyway".  I *think* that 
was because those areas needed to be visited again to get names and 
other features.  The time consuming phase of doing really nice shape 
didn't need to be done again, but that wasn't *their* itch, so they I 
guess they didn't value that.  Their itch was having many names and many 

So while I think I understand and value the contributions of my local 
fellow mappers, who have done a fantastic job of collecting other parts 
of Canberra, and of filling in many more feature types and names than I 
would ever have been bothered to do, I don't feel like my own 
contribution was valued.  My enthusiasm dried up and I don't invest time 
in OSM now. 

I think Darrin made a perfectly fair point: "Let those who want to 
contribute in their own way do it."  Unless people do things that are 
substantively damaging to OSM, then whatever they want to contribute 
should be valued.  Otherwise contributors are just driven away by those 
who think they understand everything and that their view is the only 
valid one. 

I think that not understanding that someone elses motivation or itch, is 
different from your own, is missing the point.


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