[Talk-in] Fwd: [Imports] Introducing OSMLY - a simple browser based importer for OpenStreetMap

Yogi yogesh at kalike.org
Fri Sep 20 12:24:07 UTC 2013

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: 	[Imports] Introducing OSMLY
Date: 	Thu, 19 Sep 2013 17:24:31 -0700
From: 	Aaron Lidman <aaronlidman at gmail.com>
To: 	talk-us at openstreetmap.org, imports at openstreetmap.org

The following post is best viewed at http://osmly.com 
<http://osmly.com/> full text is posted below for posterity.


OSMLY is a simple browser based importer for OpenStreetMap. It makes 
importing easy by presenting each feature one at a time, allowing users 
to manually review the item, make any needed adjustments to positions or 
tags, and upload directly to OSM. It also allows for reporting problems 
that other users can look over and a quality assurance mode where 
administrative users can confirm everything that has been uploaded. The 
aim is to make simple imports easier, more cooperative, and less error 


Try the demo: http://osmly.com/la-parks.html

OSMLY was born out of a frustration with the way imports are organized. 
I was preparing some imports for Los Angeles County, reading up on past 
imports and organized things according to how I see they are being done 
today (wiki, spreadsheets, many .osm files, JOSM). I wasn't into it. The 
organization and tools involved seems too complicated and clunky for 
getting more than a small number of people involved.

Even with very simple data we would have to deal with many .osm files 
each containing many features themselves, a central spreadsheet for 
tracking who is doing what and the status of each group of items, and 
everyone would have to use JOSM. Then editing involves managing multiple 
layers in JOSM, downloading the area around each feature, looking around 
and resolving any conflicts, uploading in a small batch, and making sure 
to tag changesets correctly. Ideally, someone would then go back, search 
for the changesets and confirm everything was done correctly.


That's too complicated for my liking and the pool of users who know how 
to do all this without making mistakes is too small. On the other hand, 
most of that complexity is necessary for organizing the people involved 
and maintaining some quality to the data going into OSM. I want a 
simpler and more automated way of handling the most manual and 
repetitive parts for really basic imports. I just want a simple way for 
someone with OSM experience and knowledge but not necessarily a GIS data 
or programming background to help out with basic tasks and share their 
knowledge to get more data on the map.


I built OSMLY to reduce the complexity of doing simple imports with many 
people and many features. It's just the essentials: editing geometry, 
fixing tags, displaying relevant nearby features from OSM, flagging 
problems and uploading to OSM. Features are served from a simple 
database to keep track of everything/everyone and different actions are 
allowed based on an feature's status. Once an item is submitted it's 
available for Quality Assurance where other users can confirm everything 
was done correctly and flagged results can get attention from more 
experienced users in JOSM.


Technically, OSMLY takes in GeoJSON data and makes sure geometry is 
valid, simplifies, flags obviously difficult items, adds bounds for each 
item, and converts everything to a sqlite database ready to be served up 
to the world. A simple server takes care of routing requests from the 
browser to database queries and returning results. Once the user has 
received a new feature the surrounding area is download from an OSM 
server and those results are filtered for relevant geometry. Then it's 
all displayed on the map. From there it gets a bit more complex 
depending on the user's actions.


Some key features:

     * Context - nearby relevant features that may conflict are shown 
alongside the item being edited along with complete tags. Context 
filtering can be set using regular OSM tags. 

     * Quality Assurance - administrative users, specified in the 
settings, can review everything that has been submitted and confirm each 
item has been done correctly

     * Edit in JSOM - every item can be remotely opened and completed in 
JOSM if you prefer. http://osmly.com/screenshots/inJOSM.png

     * Tag Manipulation - depending on your data source, you might not 
have to do any tag manipulation before OSMLY. Tag keys can be renamed, 
added, and removed.

     * User Whitelist - specify exactly which users are allowed on an 
import or allow everyone (default)


Currently OSMLY only works with polygons. Eventually, time allowing, I'd 
like to expand to other GeoJSON feature types (points and linestrings). 
OSMLY is only ment for simple imports so there aren't plans for 
implementing multipolygons or anything else too complex. Some of this is 
technical but mostly it comes down to ease of use. Right now if a 
complex item is found OSMLY pushes the user to edit in JOSM.


OSMLY has been working great on the OSM development server for the past 
month. You can see my test edits here: 

Source code @ https://github.com/aaronlidman/osmly

Technical bugs @ https://github.com/aaronlidman/osmly/issues

I'd love to hear your thoughts/concerns/questions. Just to make it 
clear, this isn't live but currently works on the OSM dev server and I'd 
like to flush out a discussion here with the eventual goal of doing real 
imports. I have a couple imports with ready proposals I'd like to 
complete with OSMLY but only after I work through concerns you may have 
here. Thanks for your time.

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