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

Kai Krueger kakrueger at gmail.com
Fri Feb 4 00:27:24 GMT 2011

Matt Amos wrote:
> as andy pointed out, i think we're addressing the wrong problem and
> trying to fix it technically. maybe the best way forward is to address
> the social problem: what can we do to grow the community?
I wouldn't say it is addressing the wrong problem but an orthogonal problem.
Imho we need to actively try to grow the UK community anyway,
whether we partially import OS data as a first pass, or not. Data
maintanance needs a much bigger community than the one-time initial survey
(My guess, looking at the German community would be that the UK community
should grow by at least about 3 - 6 times)  Also I don't see
the decision necessarily hindering or helping an active recruitment drive.
It might effect the strategy though. (If we have loads of vast empty spaces,
we might for example want to aim to recruit geo-cachers who treat OSM as
another GPS game that happens to produce a map. On the other hand if the
data has a good base coverage by importing OS data, we might want to aim to
recruit for example sat-nav users who are prepared to add the odd missing
name or POI in order to get a good, up-to-date cheap sat nav.)

Matt Amos wrote:
>  is it just
> me, or did we used to have more mapping parties? (maybe it's just the
> winter) do we need to try and reach out to cycling / youth /
> technology SIGs and hope that some of them find this as addictive as
> we do?
Yes, I think we do need to actively reach out to various groups and
magazines to get the word of OSM out onto the streets.

One of the biggest jumps in the rate of new mappers (
http://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/File:Osmdbstats4.png ) was in May 2008,
corresponded to whole slew of OSM stories in main stream media in Germany (
http://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/DE:OpenStreetMap_in_the_media#Mai_2008 )
and another jump in March/April 2009 (
), when both techpress, national daily press and TV stations picked up
reporting on OSM, which seems to have been followed by a number of local and
regional media picking it up too. 

I have no idea how that was achieved or what triggered it, but trying to
repeat something like that in the UK by reaching out to the press might help
grow the community quite a bit. Perhaps sending out press releases or
contacting editors if they are interested in covering OSM might help?

Furthermore, in the German community people seem to be organising OSM booths
with large banners on all of the relevant (international) Tradefairs such as
for example CeBIT or Linux Tag or the boating and cycling traidfairs, to
actively try and spread the word and engage with various special interest
groups who might benefit from or have interest in it. Again this has the
potential to reach quite a lot of people with comparatively little effort.

It might not need to be quite as grand at first, but perhaps offering to
write an article in the local cycling magazine, or your university newspaper
or your local newspaper, who often are looking for good articles to fill
their magazines, might be a great start.

Some of this might need some support from a OSMF-gb chapter, in order to
organise and pay for banners and promotional material e.g. to use at
tradefairs and other relevant events, but it should be possible to do these
kind of events in the UK too.

At the same time, an active recruitment drive might also allow us to get
more in touch with newbies again. Ask them what are the things that would
stop them from contributing. What would they expect, what would they need?
With live demos at booths, you could also immediately do some usability
studies at the same time, to see where the problems really are.

For example the events at UCL (
) seems to have straight off triggered a bunch of technical improvements to
make it easier for newbies, which was great to see. We just need more of

In the end, it doesn't matter if we have roads imported or a blank canvas if
people simply have never heard of OSM.

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