[OSM-talk] Ongoing bulk uploads of GPS traces?

Richard Weait richard at weait.com
Wed Oct 13 18:35:09 BST 2010

On Wed, Oct 13, 2010 at 3:50 AM, Sam Wilson <sam at archives.org.au> wrote:
>  Hi,
> I work for a company in Western Australia that has a dozen or so vehicles
> traveling all over regional WA and all equipped with GPS trackers, taking
> waypoints at 30s intervals.  I am going to be allowed to upload the data to
> OSM.  I'm just wondering what issues I'm facing...

Thank you for taking the initiative arrange this with your company.
If you get the opportunity to change your data acquisition to one
track point per second you'll find the traces much nicer for creating
junctions, ramps, exits, fuel stations etc.

Are you really taking waypoints every 30 second or track points?  I've
always worked with tracks / track points.

> 1. We use OSM maps for navigation, and so management are quite able to see
> the value that could arise from our giving this data to OSM, because it
> would make the maps better.  But there is a bit of a gap between
> lots-of-GPS-traces and lots-of-well-tagged-roads!  What can I do to bridge
> this gap? (I mean, trace over the GPS trace, I know, but that's going to
> leave a lot of 'highway=road' tags; is that okay?)

This is typical for mapping new areas.  You'll make improvements with
each pass.  Highway=road first, perhaps junctions as you add crossing
traces next, a new amenity=fuel when you stop at a new place...
Improved road classifications as driver observations and memory allow.

> 3. Is a single daily trace suitable?  I mean, all vehicles' traces put
> together in one file and uploaded (under, I guess, a separate account -- but
> still owned by me)? Or is there some automatic way of doing this?

Individual traces seems a better approach to me.  I've used combined
traces but recall that some tools did not handle the split between
traces very well.  One left a connection between the end one one trace
and the start of the next.  Another ignored traces after the first
trace.  I don't recall which tools these were; it was some time ago.

> But really: is this worthwhile?  Will my company benefit?  Will OSM benefit?

Is this worthwhile?  It seems to be exactly what OSM is for.
Additional contributors, participating in OpenStreetMap by telling us
more about their part of the World.  Perfect.  Tell some of your
trusted colleagues how much fun it is too.

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