[Talk-ca] What we dont know from GeoBase

Dale Atkin datkin at ibycus.com
Thu Jan 1 07:50:29 GMT 2009

After that last message I sent, I thought it might be a good time to
reiterate my one point of view here. 


My impression is that the goal of the OSM project is to create the most
useful Free (capital F Free) map of the world possible. 


For a long time, the only real way to do this was to gather data from
various user contributed sources. Tracklogs, POIs etc., and so the project
grew. Much data was contributed, and many man hours went in to the maps. 


The result of all that effort was very good coverage in some areas.
(specifically areas where those involved in the project had interest). 


Enter the government.. 


Of course all of this data already existed in various forms in various
places. No one who makes a street map these days goes out and surveys all
the streets involved. The data was slowly amalgamated in to larger and
larger sets by governmental agencies (municipal feeding provincial, feeding
federal, with additions made at each level, and data agreements allowing
various attributes to be shared or not).  With new technologies, and public
demand, it became possible (and economically feasible) to make this data
available on a national level, and to make it Free (capital F Free), which
is really cool. 


But where does this leave projects like OSM? Do they pack up and say "oh
well, I guess our job is done now. We can all pack up and go home."?  No.
There is still much to be added to the governmental datasets that the 'man
on the street' can do faster than the government. 


Heck, the Quebec roadset in the Geobase dataset is 6 years old!


So where do we go? 


What we need, is a way to take advantage of the government datasets (it
would be foolish to ignore them), in a way that promotes future additions to
the dataset from users (in the form of filling in missing data, adding
attributes, etc, etc, etc).  


Fortunately, the data contains a built in method for keeping track of whats
what. We just need to keep the NIDs intact. Then any future releases of the
government datasets can be integrated with the 'live' dataset in a way that
doesn't compromise the user contributed edits (totally new roads will
unfortunately have to be manually dealt with, but given that these should
mostly be in areas of high interest, its unlikely that they will go
unnoticed for long). 


Who does the above not make sense to? What problems can people point to in
the above (one obvious one, is the problem of what to do with the existing
data. My feeling is we need to filter out all road data with 'additional
attributes', back it up, and then hope to manually add it back in (note,
this would only be a major issue in areas where an effort had been made to
name streets in a province that currently has no street names on geobase). 


Anyways, I'm off to bed. Happy new year everyone.



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