[Talk-us] USBRS WikiProject seeks volunteer mappers

stevea steveaOSM at softworkers.com
Sat May 31 22:43:13 UTC 2014


Frederick:  I very much appreciate the time the DWG took to offer me 
friendly advice.  My understanding was that advice was about putting 
PROPOSED routes (USBRs) into OSM, and I was VERY careful to NOT do 
that with my recent request.  These are ACTUAL routes which are 
approved by AASHTO, which essentially equates them with USA 
Interstate Highways, a "highest class" object in OSM.  They do not 
have signs on them because they were approved/announced YESTERDAY! 
The "ribbons have just been cut."

I do my utmost to tread lightly as I continue this discussion, as I 
don't want to be blocked, banned, nor see further development of 
USBRs into OSM diminished.  (You'll note that no new proposed USBRs 
have been added since the DWG decision, showing my respect for you, 
Serge, the DWG and its decision).  However, I do wish to defend my 
position as being blind-sided here, as you actually did "change the 
rules mid-stream" on me (us, all of OSM) by making changes to the 
"Proposed" wiki page.  Nevertheless, that is not the issue here.

It seems to me we already have "community buy-in:"  not only has the 
process of USBRs been going on for years, but it was I who untangled 
the NE2 mess before he was banned, and I recently spoke about how 
careful and conservative was the approach we took for the better part 
of all of 2013 and early 2014.  There has appeared to me and many 
others virtually nothing but accolades and thanks for getting this 
done and putting the USBRS into OSM.  It really does seem as 
important as Interstate highways, but for bicyclists.

As I read Serge's suggestion that "this is an import and should be 
following the import guidelines" I am now reading the Import 
Guidelines and discover that I have already followed many of the 
steps in there:  out of the five steps, 1) Prerequisites and 2) 
Community Buy-in, and a substantial portion of 3) Documentation have 
already been followed.  Even most of step 5) Uploading has been 
followed.  It appears that what is substantially lacking on my part 
(should we agree that "this is an import" and Import Guidelines MUST 
be followed) is step 4) Import Review.  I am certainly ready, willing 
and able to complete these steps.  Perhaps I should even apologize 
for not doing so.  Because I did not characterize this (in my mind) 
as "an import," that is my only excuse.  But as I have now been told 
it is (it is?) I do hereby apologize for not following Guidelines.

As for the wider discussion about "not verifiable on the ground" 
(USBRs are "verifiable" but not always "verifiable ON THE GROUND" 
because they may or may not be signed).  In the USA, there are 
THOUSANDS of county roads which are also unsigned, but because a 
county Public Works Department or state DOT authority SAYS they exist 
with a particular name and/or number, they are widely known by the 
public as such.  Hence, not only OUGHT they be in OpenSTREETMap 
(STREET is our middle name!) THEY ARE in OSM!  Would it be correct to 
delete these thousands of roads simply because they are poorly-signed 
or unsigned?  What about the miles and miles of Interstate highway 
concrete that roll by without a red-white-and-blue Interstate shield? 
Should relation members where there is no sign be removed from OSM's 
Interstate relations?  I think not.  The threat of massive data like 
this disappearing in OSM should make all of us think twice about a 
strict requirement of "on the ground verifiability."

We also made a similar "exception" for boundaries/borders:  these are 
not verifiable "on the ground" but we still do allow them in our map, 
as in today's world of this-country, that-state and county-whatever, 
the map would be much less useful without them.  For what it is 
worth, I feel the same way about (actual) USBRs.

I agree with you that proposals can get messy and ambiguous and so I 
have toned down the volume on new ones to zero.  We reached an 
understanding about those, and that understanding includes agreement.

I did not think that my solicitation for volunteers (of ACTUAL routes 
only, not proposed ones) would have results like this -- I didn't 
wish to "tug on Superman's cape" if I thought it would.  And I 
certainly do not wish any downside to my own efforts in OSM, like 
being banned or blocked, as I have been an enthusiastic and 
ridiculously passionate OSM contributor and volunteer for over five 

But now that it has, I do thank you for a civil and hopefully 
fruitful discussion about these topics in a wider forum.

Most sincerely,


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