[OSM-talk] [Tag-Proposal] Freifunk/Mesh nodes + links

Sven Rautenberg sven at rtbg.de
Thu Jan 29 10:34:03 GMT 2009

Linus Lüssing schrieb:
> In my opinion Freifunk and OpenStreetMap are both very good and valuable
> public services run by eager indivuals. However, I'm wondering, if these
> public services shouldn't be interconnected with each other a bit more.

While I am not against working together, I doubt it would be useful to
dump your database into OSM.

> So far, most Freifunk-communities are mostly using Google for
> visualising the nodes and connections between these nodes on a map,
> which does not really suite the Freifunk ideology in my opinion.

Then you are free to use OSM as an alternative background layer for your
visualisations. That's fine - if you can accept the usual hiccups of the
OSM servers. OSM is not Google, it cannot deliver 24/7 service, although
we would all like it to be so.

> Therefore I propose the following new tags for a mesh-node in general
> and the connections between mesh-nodes in OSM.

We had an import of "Fon" nodes about a year ago, which resulted in a
discussion about the usefulness of such data in OSM. The import itself
was questioned because of a unclear database license at the source (so
it should not have happened in the first place), but also the usability
was questioned because OSM data is rather static, and the availability
of WLAN nodes is quite dynamic. In the end it turned out that nobody
felt responsible for the data, neither for keeping them current and
correct them nor for removing them from the OSM database again.

In my opinion OSM should stick to map physical objects which can be seen
by humans, not try to integrate the more obscure world of radio waves.
That is not to tell you your data is useless, but to distinguish between
your special interest group and the public. What is good for the public
in terms of map rendering might not be good for you, and vice versa.

Currently we see the development of several special-interest-maps which
highlight certain parts of the OSM data (such as the cycle map, the
hiking map, the public transport map, as well as some validator maps to
spot data problems). I can imagine that there will be some kind of
"general background map", which can be used together with a separate map
layer that contains special interest data from a different source, e.g.
Freifunk node locations.

One comment on your proposal:

> Tags for connections between nodes:
> highway - "data"
> type - "wireless"
> oneway - "yes", "no" (omitting this tag implies "no")


"highway" is for mapping roads - patches of earth surface used by
vehicles for ground transport. "highway=data" is an abuse.

> PPS: So far, the idea is, that every person who is running a node and
> wants to publish this will have to do this manually in OSM first. But I
> could also imagine an implementation in the firmwares themselves for
> adding parts of the details automatically. The connections between the
> nodes could be probed, measured and uploaded to OSM in certain periods
> of time. (Transmitting the link details every hour wouldn't harm the
> database, would it? The big advantage of this would also be, to be able
> to visualise the growth of a mesh-network over time.)

I think OSM is the wrong place for your ideas. Yes, they are nice and
sound good, but I think you'd be better off if you use a separate
database for stuff like this.


More information about the talk mailing list