[Talk-us] OSM-US tasking manager

stevea steveaOSM at softworkers.com
Sun Sep 14 08:09:03 UTC 2014

Paul Johnson wrote:
>I'm not necessarily talking just about the the Maui import, but for 
>anyone who has a well organized idea of something relatively large 
>that needs cleanup or editing.  The US spans 5 timezones without 
>including the overseas territories and commonwealths, with an 
>estimated median block length of about 1-2 miles, of which I would 
>be very surprised if we've broken double digits on what's been 
>touched since the TIGER import.  Having a general access tasker 
>(maybe with some heavy hitters in each state being given access to 
>generate new tasks) seems like it's going to be the way to go. 
> Especially on getting things up to speed on relations, waterways, 
>and nonmotorized facilities...

This is entirely possible, and my experiences in OSM serve as one or 
more existence proofs.

I still do envision this ("something relatively large that needs 
cleanup or editing") turning into coordinated activities (note, 
plural).  Listed, coordinated activities.  Ranked, "up for grabs" 
coordinated activities.  Even as only roughly-sketched out ideas that 
might sound a little pie-in-the-sky at first.  Let's make more places 
in this project, mailing list and wiki (if it makes sense to do so, 
as a WikiProject, for example) where such activity communicates, 
grows, flourishes and ideas cross-pollinate.

There are many who "want to volunteer in a more organized way."  This 
might be where local grows into county coordination, where county 
turns into statewide or regional coordination, or multiple states 
turn into "sub-continental" (or regional in the larger sense) 
coordination.  This energy is something OSM needs to better channel, 
and it needs to become a dynamo that hums.  Depending on density, 
participation, enthusiasm, passion, how many answer and how much time 
is available, this is a bit like having a Mapping Party, but without 
meeting in person.  (Local groups meeting in person is an excellent 
thing to do, but much can also be done via missives, mailing list, 
email exchange and wiki page explanation).

We might think about a concept I mentioned earlier (and got at least 
one +1) of "look along the shelf at projects (like this, or that) in 
areas A, B and C..." where somebody can see what they might like and 
hence just go and grab responsibility for something and start 
tap-tap-tapping away.  Not a lot of explanation required, just good 
clear goals stated, then careful coordinated editing to bring higher 
quality data into the map.  Checkerboard fashion:  you do some here, 
I'll to some there and when we meet in the middle it will look like a 
lot of people have done something together even though it was only 
two, three or four of us."  This is one way we build community.  I 
know, I have done this in OSM.  It is doable, it is wonderful when it 

Relations, waterways, nonmotorized facilities...these are all good 
but are just beginnings.  Start some interest, get some interested 
parties talking to each other, one willing to take a piece of things 
if the other will complement with a bit of effort on their end.  Good 
community like this builds our map stronger.

Use the wiki.  Use the mailing lists.  Use the messaging system built 
into OSM to find contributors near you and reach out and make friends 
with your neighbors.  Communicate.  Say what you'd be willing to do. 
Ask others if they would be willing to do D, E and F if A, B and C 
look like they have other folks signing up to do them, too.  Get 
balls rolling.  It's a neat thing when it happens.


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