[Talk-GB] Marking landuse and field boundaries

Richard Fairhurst richard at systemed.net
Tue Jan 1 20:33:29 GMT 2013


Tom Chance wrote:
> I also cannot understand comments such as Richard's, which arise 
> every time somebody wants to add additional data that they consider 
> valuable. Compared to the days of just mapping roads, many cities 
> today are a dense mass of addressed buildings, metadata-to-the-
> eyeballs roads and every amenity known to man. Should we pity 
> the poor sod who tries to edit that?

Yes, we should, and I do. To quote Christian Quest on talk@ just a few
minutes ago:

> After trying to contaminate a couple of friends with the OSM 
> virus, the biggest problem I think we have comes from the 
> complexity of the editors (even P2) multiplied by the growing 
> data density. 
>
> The growing amount of data makes editing looking more difficult 
> and newcomers are afraid of breaking existing stuff. 

Already, if you zoom all the way into a densely mapped part of London and
click 'Edit', you will either boggle your browser or wait an unacceptably
long time for the data to load - simply because there is so much stuff
there. Or if you go into a part of the countryside where the roads are
comingled with admin boundaries plus landuse and a hefty sprinkling of
long-distance foot and cycle routes on top, you will be forever tripping
over yourself with shared nodes, accidental junctions, layer ordering and
heaven knows what.

There are possible things that can be done in the editor software to address
these but they are seriously bloody hard (believe me, I've spent a couple of
years worrying about them), and no-one is lining up to code them. In
reality, the majority of editor-developer time in the past few years has
gone towards broadly reimplementing the same tool in a succession of
languages, or to providing ever more advanced features for the advanced
users. 

Which is why I pity the poor sodding newbies. Complex tagging abstractions
and dense data are making OSM editing harder every month, and the tools/API
aren't keeping up. If you don't believe me, hang out in #osm-gb some time
and follow the "newbies' first edit" notifier: people are seriously
floundering right now. The excellent UI work that Mapbox are putting into iD
will go a long way towards addressing this, but it can't solve the entire
problem - no client can.

Personally I'm coming to suspect that something layer-like in API 0.7 is the
only way past this, much though our traditional pride against accepting
anything invented by GIS people might make it hard to swallow. And, as with
editors, we're not exactly swimming in developers in this area.

Until then, the advanced mappers must share in OSM's collective
responsibility to keep the project editable by newbies. That's why I believe
widespread farm landuse mapping in the countryside is an actively harmful
indulgence.

cheers
Richard





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