[Talk-GB] Amazon Logistics edits

Andy Robinson ajrlists at gmail.com
Wed Jul 31 16:17:28 UTC 2019

Thanks Andy, that provides some useful context. As others have also pointed out new data is generally good for OSM and we can't expect all users to ever get all the tags right on a first pass. I'll be keeping a closer eye in my area and will make direct contact with mappers who seem to be routinely missing the important point. My biggest concern was your noted "adding connectivity where there isn't any public connectivity" point. It's almost impossible to see if a service road (especially private driveways) has any access rights without being on the ground and even then it might not say. Even a gps trace doesn’t confirm that there was permission to travel, just that they did. The question is whether it's better to have connectivity implied within the OSM database or to leave it out of OSM until you have a better understanding on the ground.


-----Original Message-----
From: ajt1047 at gmail.com [mailto:ajt1047 at gmail.com] 
Sent: 31 July 2019 15:53
To: talk-gb at openstreetmap.org
Subject: Re: [Talk-GB] Amazon Logistics edits

On 29/07/2019 09:35, Andy Robinson wrote:
> I've just looked at a number of Amazon Logistics in my local area....

Just to give everyone a bit of a heads-up about the DWG's involvement 
here - we got a number of messages about Amazon's mapping.  The biggest 
immediate problem was their use of "motor_vehicle=yes" on 
"highway=track" regardless of the actual legal access status.  To cut a 
long story short, they have removed this where they've blanket added it, 
and have since asked exactly how to map sort of thing (at 
https://www.openstreetmap.org/user/jguthula/diary/390322 and elsewhere).

The list of Amazon editors is quite long - 
https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Amazon_Logistics#Editors - and not 
all are active in the UK.  I used overpass queries like 
https://overpass-turbo.eu/s/Lea to check the edits.  With regard to the 
"motor_vehicle=yes" issue, I contacted each of the Amazon mappers active 
in the UK individually rather than going through a "manager" to try and 
get them talking to the local community.  In order to get from edits 
there to changeset discussion comments, click on an object on that map, 
then on the changeset, then "changeset XML" and copy the "uid=" value 
and use it in a URL such as 
resultmaps.neis-one.org/osm-discussion-comments?uid=9310279 .

One other issue that people have raised with these edits have been 
"adding connectivity where there isn't any public connectivity" (i.e. 
adding a "highway=service" or "highway=track" that is in reality a 
private farm track, that connects two public roads).  Personally I 
wouldn't assume that either of these had public access in England and 
Wales* (Scotland has a different legal system), and I don't think that 
we can blame Amazon for adding missing geometry but only some missing 
tags.  Local mappers will still be needed to add these.  Amazon editors 
tend to have their own "local area" so a variation of the overpass query 
above can be used to identify newly added objects - I'm sure that some 
people will be able to use local knowledge to say "well obviously way 
XYZ should be access=private" and similar.

While looking at these issues I did notice quite a few other tracks and 
rural service roads (driveways etc.) where the access tags looked a bit 
unlikely - and there are of course many examples were designations 
haven't been added (where that isn't open data, that needs survey).  I 
notice that someone from the National Trust has written a diary entry 
https://www.openstreetmap.org/user/AJW92/diary/390378 to discuss how to 
tag England and Wales "rights of way" designations.

Best Regards,

Andy (from the DWG)

* I'd suggest that it's also not correct to tag "access=private" on 
newly traced farm etc. tracks - if the example above 
https://www.openstreetmap.org/way/120277748 is a "byway open to all 
traffic" then access=yes or motor_vehicle=yes on there will be correct, 
and "private" would be wrong (TROs notwithstanding).

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