[Talk-ca] COMS2200 Ottawa, Carleton University

john whelan jwhelan0112 at gmail.com
Wed Oct 11 12:22:23 UTC 2017

This is primarily to Tracey ca-talk has been cced.

There are a number of issues here.

First OSM is growing up.  No longer is it a bunch of mappers who use the
edit tools or web page to view the map.  The data is live and snapshots are
taken by various players including OSMAND at points in time.  This can be
once a month so if there are a small number of mistakes not a big deal.  If
there are a large number in the snapshot then OSMAND users are stuck with
them until the next off line map is made available.  Because of bandwidth
costs both to the end user and to OSMAND it can be two or three months
before the errors are cleared.

Second the email over Frederick's signature is extremely polite for
Frederick.  He wrote the book on OSM and is part of the group currently
looking at whether we need a formal policy for handling edits by groups of
organised mappers.  The DWG working group is the highest central authority
within OSM and is concerned with data quality or vandalism.  I think the
Carlton students edits show there is a very definite need.  A number of
mappers including myself were hoping there wouldn't be a need for something
quite so formal.  Note to Frederick if you read this change my response to
the survey.

Third OpenStreetMap is very rich in what can be mapped.  In an urban area
it can be very complex to map.  For example currently there is a push
within OpenStreetMap to add more information for the disabled.
http://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Disabilities but exactly how one adds
tactile_paving = yes correctly is something I still have to work out.  The
City of Ottawa is currently adding  tactile_paving at many road junctions
and for blind people it is very useful as many junctions now have slopes
rather than curb stones which makes it difficult to know where the edge of
the sidewalk is for a blind person.

In general I'd start students mapping either on a test server or on a HOT
project but it would need thinking about which one to map.  Adding
information for the disabled would also work in that it adds value and is a
small subset of mapping.  The HOT projects have a validation process so the
mapping can be verified and is used to large numbers of students mapping in
a small area.  Typically they restrict what is requested to be mapped.
http://tasks.hotosm.org/project/2657 is an example but it would not be
ideal for 150 mappers at once.  I'd need to discuss with someone such as
Pete Masters what would be ideal.  It's armchair mapping but that reduces
the number of variables.  OSM can be edited in many ways.  Unfortunately
some which use smartphones and GPS are not especially accurate and near
tall buildings they can be a hundred meters out. I assume
http://learnosm.org/ was brought to the attention of the students?
http://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Map_Features and taginfo.

It's also interesting in the context of the Statistics Canada building
project, data quality is important to Stats Canada and one reason I felt
the original project was at risk of not being a success was the possibility
that a large number of new mappers would be difficult to train.  Just
adding tags onto imported buildings was much simpler and much less error

I can probably make myself available to brief the students about
OpenStreetMap unfortunately I have some domestic issues at the moment which
rules out the next couple of days.  Bug me if this would be of use.

Cheerio John

On 10 October 2017 at 23:08, Steve Singer <steve at ssinger.info> wrote:

> On Tue, 10 Oct 2017, Tracey P. Lauriault wrote:
> Greetings OSM mappers;
> For the benefit of background to others on the list
> http://www.openstreetmap.org/user_blocks/1560
> Is an example of the block message that was sent to a bunch of users.
> (I wasn't involved in asking for or implementing the blocks or have
> anything to do with the assignment).
> I haven't looked at the edits in any details but I will make a few general
> comments
> 1. If one user comes into OSM and makes a few changes with issues because
> of misunderstandings or inexperience fixing those changes isn't a big deal.
> Most of the time someone will just fix them without saying anything.
> However if 30 or 300 users make lots of changes in a short amount of time
> with the same types of errors the volume present challenges.  Large scale
> edits by a bunch who are doing it as part of a course, or who are employed
> by a company to make the changes, or who are doing so as part of a
> coordinated humanitarian effort have the potential to cause problems if
> they aren't coordinated  carefully.
> 2. A big part of working in any open-source project particularly with OSM
> is that you need to communicate with the other contributors. Communication
> is a two way street, some people are better at it then others and it
> doesn't come naturally to everyone.  I would hope that a course that
> covered the contributing to open source projects (including open data
> contributions) covered interacting with the community. If the course only
> wanted to give students experience with the tools then editing against a
> test or development instance of OSM would be better.
> The advise I would give to people new to the open source communities(and
> at times remind veterans) is believe that most people who are contributing
> are coming from a place of good intentions and to give them the benefit of
> the doubt and try to understand where they are coming from.
> When contributing to an open sourced project you need to take
> responsibility (as an individual) for your contributions but that doesn't
> mean they need to be, or will be perfect. No edits are perfect but people
> need to be willing to listen to and learn from feedback from other members
> of the community.
> Steve
>> I understand that students for COMS2200 have been blocked from posting to
>> OSM.
>> There was also an unfortunate email sent to Carleton University by one of
>> your members that is circulating
>> through the administration from (james2432 at gmail.com).
>> The data are being contributed as part of an assignment described here -
>> https://github.com/TraceyLauriault/COMS2200A
>> I understand that the students are making some small and some large
>> mistakes that may not meet your OSM
>> data quality standards.  The students are restricted to only be mapping
>> the Carleton University Campus.
>> I wonder if it might be possible to unlock the restriction to let them
>> finish the assignment.  They should
>> be done by next week. There are 150 students.  Once the assignment is
>> complete I would gladly work with you
>> to salvage the data, delete some data, repair some data or wipe all of
>> the data.
>> We apologize for this inconvenience and hope that you can be empathetic
>> and allow for the assignment to be
>> completed so that the students can be assessed.
>> Also, perhaps there are a number of common errors and if you identify
>> them we may be able to fix them.
>> Sincerely
>> Tracey
>> --
>> Tracey P. Lauriault
>> Assistant Professor Critical Media Studies and Big Data
>> Communication Studies
>> School of Journalism and Communication
>> Suite 4110, River Building
>> Carleton University
>> 1125 Colonel By Drive
>> Ottawa (ON) K1S 5B6
>> 1-613-520-2600 x7443
>> Tracey.Lauriault at Carleton.ca
>> @TraceyLauriault
>> Skype: Tracey.P.Lauriault
>> https://carleton.ca/sjc/people-archives/lauriault-tracey/
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