[OSM-talk] Actually using OpenStreetMap and the usability of the current maps

Frederik Ramm frederik at remote.org
Mon Jul 28 14:37:01 BST 2008


>  * The Logo in the upper left of openstreetmap.org said "The Free Wiki World 
> Map" (not "Geodata Collection").
>  * The first sentence of the text under the logo said "OpenStreetMap is a free 
> editable map of the whole world.", not "...is a free collection of geo data"
> It's easy to get fooled from that, you know. ;-)

Yes, it should be clarified, but then how does one do that whithout 
sounding like an academic?

> Two things.  First: YES, please make it easier to create suitable adapted 
> maps.  Second: My point wasn't to make it perfect for *me*, but to make the 
> default maps more usable for its intended purpose. That purpose is not stated 
> anywhere -- that I could find.

So you made some assumptions about the intended purpose, and I tried to 
tell you that what you believe to be the intended purpose is not what I 
believe to be the intended purpose.

> Richard Fairhurst wrote in another mail  that ""Showing off our coverage and 
> completeness" is another use of the default map. That's a very good purpose, 
> but it doesn't conflict with making it more usable for normal people. 

And what a conflict it is. A standard Mapnik tile on zoom level 4 
doesn't show anything we have in our database. Which makes a lot of 
sense for the user of such a map - he will usually want to zoom in to 
his area of interest. However for demonstrating our 
completeness/coverage, it's useless. Same for lots of other features, 
e.g. forest; if you want to show how much data we have, you usually 
bring them in at much coarser zooms, while for actually using the map 
for navigation or route planning it should be less cluttered.

 > so the idea with the current maps could even be to make them
> more difficult to use in real life. I can understand that, but in that case 
> it should perhaps be explained somewhere.

I think we are too busy with enough other things to have time to 
actively pursue the creation of un-usable maps. There was a presentation 
of squirming, moving, pulsating maps at last year's SOTM which I sorely 
missed this year, maybe that could be said to be difficult to use... but 
I'd trade them for some engineered stuff any time ;-)


Frederik Ramm  ##  eMail frederik at remote.org  ##  N49°00'09" E008°23'33"

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