[Talk-GB] Adding a further 250, 000 UK roads quickly using a Bot?

Andy Robinson ajrlists at gmail.com
Thu Feb 3 16:53:34 GMT 2011

Having read through most of the responses to date it is clear that there are
arguments for and against your suggestion. Time to put my view.
I'm not in favour, perhaps though not a surprise from the way I have mapped
I think imports generally receive mixed interest partly because of the
information they hold. For instance I was happy to see bus stops added
because they included a lot of additional data which is not always easy to
collect on the ground, I was also happy to have the transport data "silent"
in OSM in our area (the Brum import did not include the bus_stop tag) so
that the data was there as a reference but not as a definitive attribute. I
view data from any other source the same way. OS products are just that,
they are products of the OS, there is nothing definitive (in our terms)
about any of them.  We map what is there in the real world. I'm sure the OS
would argue they do exactly the same, but we each produce our own "product".
The OS might refer to OSM and send out a surveyor to check something if they
find a discrepancy, they might do the same with a Local Authority if a query
comes in from a member of the public. OSM should work the same way, we use
these data sources (and I include imagery and other data sets) as a
reference to assist our work, they should not replace our work.
Having said that, if a user wishes to add all the data for an area from an
OS product (manually or automatically) and then go out and check it on the
ground that's fine, that's just a method of mapping, but to blindly import
because we can is not in my view helpful at all.
At a recent midlands social I mentioned that Penkridge was not mapped, a
local mapper took that as a challenge and mapped it. As Andy Allan says, its
motivating mappers (and the general public) to go out and collect and update
data that will help maintain OSM at the forefront, not automated imports.
From: Peter Miller [mailto:peter.miller at itoworld.com] 
Sent: 02 February 2011 21:11
To: Talk-GB at openstreetmap.org
Subject: [Talk-GB] Adding a further 250,000 UK roads quickly using a Bot?
ITO have been offering a service to compare osm road names with os locator
road names for a while now[1]  which has encouraged a lot of activity - and
has even led to Andy to obsession.[2] I have also suffered from a bout of
urgent mapping myself while completing all of Suffolk to 95% in the past few
weeks! Can I suggest that for our sanity we should consider developing a bot
to do some of this work for us? This would also allow us to get the rest of
the 250,000 remaining roads in place in less than the 13 months Andy
estimates will be required?

This bot would do a number of repetitive tasks for us within the bounding
box in which it was authorised to operate by a contributor.

It could do the following:

1) Add names to existing roads in osm where there is a single un-named ways
in osm with a bounding box which matches that of a single entry in os

2) In addition...  it might be able to also add roads to osm from os vector
district, snapping them into existing roads as required where the existing
roads align neatly with os streetview. It would only do this if there were
no ways close by on either side.

Complex situations will be left to humans. Humans could also sometimes
prepare an area for analysis by the bot, splitting ways as appropriate,
adjusting alignment of existing roads and dealing in advance with situations
we know the bot will have difficulties with.

Edits would be made as individual changesets, referenced to the mapper
operating of the bot. Each edit would be 'signed off' by the mapper who
would be able to see the proposed changes visual prior to accepting them.

Any thoughts?


[1] http://www.itoworld.com/product/data/osm_analysis/summary

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