[Talk-us] Address improvement through imports?

Martijn van Exel m at rtijn.org
Wed Nov 2 22:52:50 GMT 2011


On Wed, Nov 2, 2011 at 4:12 PM, Frederik Ramm <frederik at remote.org> wrote:
> Hi,
> On Tue, 1 Nov 2011 17:14:03 -0600
> Martijn van Exel <m at rtijn.org> wrote:
>> But let's discuss: are
>> address imports useful (I say yes, for geocoding and routing they're
>> indispensable), necessary (I say yes, potential OSM data users will
>> want to be able to do these things) and feasible (I say yes, if
>> there's local mappers to oversee it)? Best,
> They are useful if you want OSM to be your quick fix to some itch you
> want to scratch. If you cannot be bothered to process the freely
> available hosue number datasets properly yourself but would rather
> abuse OSM as your free data processor where you dump in whatever you
> have and whoopsie, magically it becomes useful in MapQuest's Nominatim,
> then yeah, sure, go ahead, import until the shit comes out of
> everyone's ears - why learn from past mistakes. You probably think
> that OSM in the US is so broken, it cannot get worse no matter how
> much additional data sources you dump onto OSM. You know as well as I do
> that your "local mappers to oversee it" is a fig leaf!

It's hardly a quick fix and you know that's not what we are setting
out to achieve here. A quick fix would be for me to just take those
shapefiles and dump them right into OSM. What we're doing instead here
is considering if and how existing sources can be useful and how we
can work together to get the best possible result from them. If the
conclusion is that we should leave these data sources well alone, I'd
love for that to be the outcome of a discussion among mappers with
local knowledge, which is exactly what is happening here.

> Importing more and more data will not make OSM strong. It might make
> OSM look useful in the short term but that's cheap usefulness - the
> same usefulness could be produced by just importing all your free
> sources into some other consolidated data set, something that is not
> unique to OSM, something that anyone can do at any time in their
> basement without the help of a crowd-sourced project. And for this
> cheap usefulness you are ruining the chances of there ever being a
> strong community - instead you'll have a few people acting as funnels
> for data dumped in from whatever sources. This is not the way to
> achieve a community that owns the map. And you know that and *still*
> you're happy to do it. OSM will never get anywhere in the States if
> people think like this. And that from someone who only just moved over!

I am very careful considering any import but also don't dismiss them
offhand. Imports can be beneficial when the community can get their
hands dirty and work with the data. This is what has been happening
with TIGER - for all the mistakes that may have been made importing
that data - and I can see that happening here. What I learn from the
discussion in this thread is that there is a lot of willingness and
creativity to engage with external address data in a way that would
make the community own it. I think it could even go a step further: if
we manage to create some microtasking platform - as we are discussing
right now - we could engage more casual contributors - quite likely
some of those 2/3 of OpenStreetMap account holders who signed up but
never edited one node. If I can be part of that solution, yes please.

martijn van exel
geospatial omnivore
1109 1st ave #2
salt lake city, ut 84103

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