[Talk-us] Facts about the world

Tod Fitch tod at fitchdesign.com
Fri Apr 3 14:08:17 UTC 2015

> On Apr 3, 2015, at 5:18 AM, Frederik Ramm <frederik at remote.org> wrote:
> . . .
> It seems to me that in the USA, what people think about OSM is one of
> these two:
> (a) A project for hackers and couch potatoes who trawl their county web
> pages and other sources to look for stuff they could "upload" to OSM
> (because it's such a big country and nobody could possibly, yadda yadda
> yadda)
> (b) A project for people who roll up their sleeves, travel to places of
> humanitarian crises, and help those in need by creating maps where the
> government hasn't done their job well.
> The idea that you could also roll up your sleeves and map your own
> backyeard, village, town, or city quarter, instead of copying from
> official bicycle route publications, official railway brochures, or
> stuff that the administration has done, seems to occur to very few
> people, and others will say: "OpenStreetMap is cool, but I don't think
> that actually going out and doing a survey is a good use of my time".
> I'm really sad that time and time again we have to fight about whether
> or not a specific source is permitted to be used in OSM, when we could
> just collect the facts ourselves and therefore be completely free of any
> legal implications (and also free of errors that others may have made).

I spent pretty much every day of the first 6 or 8 months of my retirement walking all the public and some of the private roads in my area collecting GPS traces, confirming street names and recording addresses. Once back a home I used Bing imagery to put in most of the building outlines in the areas I walked. Basically a full time job for 1/2 a year. But that was only a fraction of the small city I live in and even smaller fraction of the county I live in.

When I visit somewhere I will also walk at least a few roads collecting addresses and confirming street names. I have probably walked 50 miles of roads near where some close relatives live over the last couple of years.

So I really take offense to your characterization of the OSM mappers in the USA falling into two categories neither of which “roll up your sleeves and map your own backyard, village, town or city quarter”.

But I’ve come to realize that I can’t map my entire city, much less county and state in my lifetime. And I am not great at recruiting new mappers.

It appears that the GIS department of the county has good address data, at least as good as what I’ve collected walking, that by law should be public domain. Once I confirm that, why shouldn’t I do a careful import so it be available to everyone who uses OSM?

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