[Talk-us] parcel boundaries and associated data in OSM

Ian Dees ian.dees at gmail.com
Thu Feb 14 20:43:48 GMT 2013

Before this discussion moves forward we should define what "parcel data"
is. In my mind it's mostly-abutting polygons representing land ownership.
Usually it comes with metadata about tax information and ownership
information, and sometimes it has address information for buildings built
on that parcel.

On Thu, Feb 14, 2013 at 2:29 PM, Brian Cavagnolo <bcavagnolo at gmail.com>wrote:

> Is parcel data useful to OSM?

Yes! Parcel data can be useful to help find parks, schools, and other
public areas. If it includes addressing information we can extract that to
make it easier to map addresses and/or building footprints.

However, it's my opinion that the parcel polygons themselves should NOT be
imported into OSM. There's simply too much data, it can not be improved by
other OSM mappers, and abutting polygons are one of the trickiest types of
data to get right in the OSM data format.

> Can parcel data possibly be kept up to date?

It's possible, but very very difficult. I don't think anyone in OSM has
created a reliable two-way sync between external and OSM data. Such a thing
has been on lots of people's wishlists for several years.

> Does parcel data meet the "on the ground" verifiability criteria?

No. I'm sure there will be at least a couple people that argue against me,
but I have yet to be convinced. Parcel data is surveyed by professionals,
maintained by the government, and there is very rarely a physical
manifestation of the actual parcel boundary.

> Can tools be adapted to accommodate parcel data density?

Yes, and OSM will have to get there eventually as our data density
increases, but we're not ready for it now.
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