[OSM-talk] Why do you use Google Maps instead of OSM? Because of buildings...

Andrew Errington a.errington at lancaster.ac.uk
Fri Nov 6 23:52:39 GMT 2009

On Sat, November 7, 2009 02:08, Ed Avis wrote:
> I asked an NGO based in London why they use Google Maps instead of OSM on
> their 'contact us' page <http://www.bettertransport.org.uk/about_us/map>.
> The equivalent OSM map would be something like
> <http://old-dev.openstreetmap.org/~pafciu17/
> ?module=map&center=-0.09529,51.532&zoom=15&width=700&height=600>.
> Their web person said, we used to use OSM, but when we moved to our new
> office we found the map showed it in the middle of a desolate area.
> Nearby there are
> some buildings, but in our street (Wharf Road in the centre of the map)
> none are shown.  That makes it look like we are in the middle of nowhere.
> Google Maps,
> on the other hand, doesn't show any buildings at all, so it's not
> confusing.

Funnily enough, in my town Google does show buildings- little '3D' blocks
to indicate the general shape, size and position of the building. 
However, what I have noticed is that the buildings shown do not actually
match real-life buildings.  It's as if someone just sprinkled building
seeds on the map to give the impression of a built-up area, but any
similarity between these and real buildings is entirely coincidental.

The OSM map in my town, however, is more accurate (because I made it). 
Most buildings are shown only as nodes, but I am tracing the shapes from
Yahoo! aerial, or walking around the building to get a GPS trace.

What the web person *should* have done is looked at OSM in their new
location and fixed the underlying data (if it was wrong or incomplete) or
made their own map based on the data, but omitting the features they
didn't like.

Of course, we all know this.


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