[Talk-us] Brainstorming an Import Tool

Alan Millar amillar503 at gmail.com
Wed Aug 18 21:15:35 BST 2010

Disclaimer:  Don your asbestos, because I'm on a flaming rant right

> On Tue, Aug 17, 2010 at 9:42 AM, Lord-Castillo, Brett
> <BLord-Castillo at stlouisco.com> wrote:

>  I'm going to have to make a choice whether our public maps will
> continue to use OSM. If significant barriers are made to our agency
> being able to upload or edit, that will be an easy choice. ESRI and
> Google are both actively recruiting data uploads with offered support.
> I don't think it is wise to go the opposite extreme with actively
> refusing uploads.

Speaking as an OSM mapper and user, please, please, PLEASE keep going
and don't let the few vocal naysayers shoot it down!

On Tue, 2010-08-17 at 09:58 -0500, Ian Dees wrote:
> We are not refusing edits, but Frederik makes a good point: we've seen
> that imports stifle community mapping in other areas.

You can say it over and over again, but I'm sorry, I'm still not buying
it.  Yes, I looked at the Monte-Carlo simulation write-up, and I thought
it was long on graphs and conclusions but short on numbers and
explication of assumptions.  

It's all subjective anecdotal information, for which there is plenty of
subjective counter anecdotal information.  ALL the local mappers that I
have met in my area (and including myself) are OVERWHELMED with the
thought of starting from a blank map.  

In my completely biased opinion, you need to start taking MY demographic
section of the already-fragile mapper community a little more seriously.

>  One of the groups of people OSM is trying to attract are regular,
> non-GIS folks that usually are passionate enough about getting their
> area correct that we end up with data that is more complete than
> anything a paid GIS analyst can do.

Sure, sounds great.  Cough some up for Kansas City, OK?  

I'm on a 2000-mile road trip right now, and I'm valiantly trying to make
use of OSM with mkgmap on my Garmin nuvi GPS.  I've fixed plenty of
things that I've driven through on this trip.  But map everything from
scratch?  Not a chance.  I have a life, and OSM just is a little fun on
the side that takes up too much spare time already.

You know how many local mappers have fixed up KC?  None. Zip. Zero.
Zilch. Nada.  I checked the itoworld analyzer.  All the edits are from
Tiger load and global bot or name normalizer efforts.  There just isn't
anybody else here working on it.

You can make up any story you want about why that is, like somebody
looked at the map and said "Awww, it's all done, there's nothing for me
to do..."  Baloney.  I look at the map and see it is quite obvious that
there is PLENTY to do.  But start from scratch?  We'll be waiting
FOREVER for a usable cross-country map with city details, let alone
showing me Preston Idaho or Vernal Utah.

There just isn't anyone working on it locally here.  Would it be nice to
have them?  Of course.  But I can't start a local mapping club, since
I'm only here for a few days and then I'll be gone.  In the mean time, I
need a map to navigate around while I'm here.

My federal tax dollars already paid to map all 9.8 million square
kilometers, and me and my fellow citizens continue to pay our local
governments to maintain our roads, and they by necessity have to manage
the data as part of that.  Not taking advantage of that, especially when
they WANT to participate, is just plain ridiculous.

Unfortunately my trip doesn't include St Louis :-(

>  but the bottom line is that we don't want this new data to harm our
> already-fragile community in the US.

Of course that is the goal.  But I completely disagree on the likely
paths and causes of potential harm.

Bad imports of crappy data = harm.  Duh, we all get that.

But the solution is not to ban imports.  Tracing?  Give me a break.
Oops, I left my crayons in the car next to my garmin and they melted on
the dashboard.  

The solution is to fix up the import and syncronization tools and
processes, so that when we have GOOD data to load, it is easy.  Not to
impede it.

OK, thanks for letting me rant! :-)

- Alan

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