[Talk-us] Brainstorming an Import Tool

Ian Dees ian.dees at gmail.com
Tue Aug 17 04:13:53 BST 2010

I got the impression after SotM US that there was a huge interest in doing
imports correctly. For me, correctly means the following:

1. Get permission
2. Convert to OSM format
3. Compare to existing data
4. Upload to the data

I think a tool could be made that automated most of these steps (or at least
made them easier). It might go something like this:

1. E-mail/FTP/etc. the data to a server in shapefile format. (Are there
other formats out there? Can we push and prod ESRI to release the GDB format
specification like they did for SHP?). Do something to confirm that we have
permission to upload it. A click-through "release" form? A simple
2. Through some web app, set up the conversion rules to create the OSM data.
3. Use the newly-created OSM data to offer different methods of comparing
existing OSM data and the new data. This is where most of the thinking is
needed: what's the best way to show differences across the different pieces
of OSM? Topology changes, geographic changes, metadata changes, etc. Some
   - Render tiles on the fly to place under or over existing OSM data so
that changes to ways are visible.
   - Use existing GIS tools to do conflation
   - In cases where the location of data has not changed, the color of ways
could indicate change in tagging
   - Any other ideas?
4. Upload the data to OSM via the API and provide the ability to store the
uploaded data to ease future updates.

I think step 3 here probably needs the most thought. The other parts aren't
too bad. Each of these steps could be used independently, too. So if you
wanted to compare two OSM files or an OSM file and the corresponding chunk
of the planet, you could use the tool in step 3. Step 2 could be an online
version of one of the shp > osm converters, etc.

Any ideas?
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