[Talk-us] Moving historic railroad ways from OSM to OpenHistoricalMap

Minh Nguyen minh at nguyen.cincinnati.oh.us
Sat Apr 4 18:11:36 UTC 2015

On 2015-04-04 05:23, Serge Wroclawski wrote:
> On Sat, Apr 4, 2015 at 12:31 AM, Russ Nelson <nelson at crynwr.com> wrote:
>> Brad Neuhauser writes:
>> If you want to know how serious abandonfans are, I've see people go
>> looking in farmer's fields with a metal detector looking for spikes,
>> and dig down 12" to find one. I've seen people go into a farmer's field
>> looking for chunks of coal that fell off coal trains. I've knocked on
>> people's doors to ask them if they know anything about the railroad in
>> their backyard.
> That shows an incredible level of dedication, but in OSM we generally
> don't require specialized equipment to contribute, including
> validation.
>> The evidence of dismantled railroads is out there, and it should be in
>> OSM to help people find it.
> What would you do about someone who was cleverly adding tracks that
> didn't exist?
> Imagine if there was a vandal who was clever. We'll call this vandal
> User V. User V decides to have a bit of fun and makes dismantled
> railroad ways.
> How do you propose we, as a community, handle User V? My normal way of
> handling such a matter, in or out of a DWG context, would be to go to
> the place and see if I see what they see. But my understanding from
> your mail (and you can correct me if I'm wrong) is that I personally
> have the expertise to make that determination?
> Who does? What makes one mapper more qualified than another mapper?
> This question gets to the heart of this project, which is that we
> don't make people take tests to map in OSM. This is such a generalist
> project that anyone can contribute. Now you're saying that, in
> essence, some features can only be evaluated by certain users.
> I don't think that's really what you mean, but that's what I'm hearing.
> Let me reframe the question. Instead of "Yes they should be in OSM" or
> "No they shouldn't be in OSM", here's the new question:
> If a user deleted an object that a layperson can't see in OSM, what do
> you think the process be for evaluating that edit should be?

I appreciate your emphasis on verification. The community necessarily 
puts in a lot of effort into data integrity, but we don't really promote 
the more manual side of QA. As OSM grows in profile, our defenses 
against vandalism will increasingly be tested. Personally, I don't find 
ground verification to be nearly as fun as mapping, but if someone's 
going to volunteer to do that work, we shouldn't throw needless 
obstacles in their way.

We should assume that verifiers are every bit as diverse as the OSM 
community at large, rather than a lowest common denominator group of 
laypeople. I'd be much better at verifying administrative boundaries 
than mountain biking trails. You shouldn't trust me to make good calls 
on mtb:scale= values, but don't stop a skilled cyclist from using that 
important tag and another skilled cyclist from verifying it.

On the other hand, mappers who feel the need to rely on detective work 
should document that work, for example by adding a note= tag or 
accompanying that railway=abandoned with some additional clues. If it 
really comes down to spikes you've dug out of the ground, an OSM diary 
post with photos can go a long way. We all love a good story!

minh at nguyen.cincinnati.oh.us

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