[Talk-us] Yet more about USA Rail: now, wiki

OSM Volunteer stevea steveaOSM at softworkers.com
Tue Sep 18 17:23:38 UTC 2018


Yes, I've been beating the drums rather loudly about USA Rail recently, yet there is so much that OSM can (and should, imo) do about this.  OSM's actual rail data (imported from TIGER a decade ago) do slowly improve, and for that I am grateful, even as a lot of the work is both mine and many others.

However, our wiki regarding rail is, um, "messy" for reasons that are largely historical.  In short, there is a distinct trend towards "statewide" rail pages that rather comprehensively describe both freight/industrial rail (in terms of major Class I and smaller railroads), then as things cleave from freight to passenger, link to our Amtrak page (which remains quite respectable) where applicable, AND describe the rapidly growing passenger rail networks/systems in cities large, medium and small in the USA.  (Suburban/commuter trains, light rail systems, trams, monorails around airports, tourism/heritage/historic/museum rail, etc.)

Unfortunately, there are also many rail wiki (most written by the banned-from-OSM-years-ago infamous NE2) which, while seemingly well-intentioned, are mere "dead end" histories of defunct rail from a century ago, rather than the becoming-more-vibrant-daily rail network that I (and others) want to see both properly mapped in OSM and documented in our wiki in a sane, comprehensive way.

For example, (precede all of these with https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/) here are some of these "defunct" pages I'd like to see "re-purposed" and eventually go away:

Southern_Pacific_Transportation_Company
Missouri_Pacific_Railroad
Atchison,_Topeka_and_Santa_Fe_Railway
Southern_Railway_(U.S.)
Illinois_Central_Railroad_(pre-1972)

and I'm sure that isn't a complete list.  These railroads haven't existed for decades and while I have great respect for how disused and abandoned railroads both are and should be "in" OSM (and "properly" documented in our wiki), this really isn't "today's" way to do it.  There are "cross-links" with Wikipedia which likely make sense here, I'd like to focus OSM's wikis on useful structure/organization of an entire states rail networks and providing links to the actual underlying relation data that make our data so useful. Wikipedia isn't going to do that, but it can (and should) capture centuries-old history where we shouldn't.

Of course, there are wiki pages about USA Rail which must remain, including the worldwide https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/WikiProject_Metro_systems which has a USA section that is "fair to good" and more than one absolutely charming wiki like https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Walt_Disney_World_Monorail_System which I find delightful and shouldn't change a byte (unless they need updates).

In short, I'm asking this talk-us list if "rail wiki cleanup in the USA" is on the right track (so, chime in with your consensus additions, please).  Is the "trend" towards statewide rail wikis correct?  (It seems so to me).  Can the NE2-authored "old stuff" (many of these wiki haven't been touched in 7+ years) be repurposed and then deleted?

Please contact me on-list or off if you want to see rail data and rail wiki continue to improve in OSM and we can talk about how — there is a great deal to do!

SteveA
California


More information about the Talk-us mailing list