[OSM-talk] Zero tolerance on imports

Daniel Sabo danielsabo at gmail.com
Mon Feb 21 00:32:52 GMT 2011

On Feb 20, 2011, at 4:03 PM, Felix Hartmann wrote:

> On 21.02.2011 00:47, Daniel Sabo wrote:
>> On Feb 20, 2011, at 3:16 PM, Felix Hartmann wrote:
>>> Couldn't agree more to it. Imports kill community and scare novices away.
>>> ...
>>> Most important things for OSM are good aerial photos coupled with large community. Worst are imports. The United States are so bad, I don't think OSM will ever become important there. The biggest thing to remember is that "creating" something is much more fun than correcting it. Imports make OSM a chore and no fun.
>> As a former novice I completely disagree with you here. If the TIGER import hadn't happened I would have had zero interest in OSM, a vast empty map is not very inspiring.
>> But really, no one here has hard data, whenever we say "it destroys the community" or "it helps the community"  we're just throwing anecdotes at each other. What we need are better tools to build a community like Serge and Kevin are talking about, a dozen of us arguing on a mailing list about what 360k people "really want" isn't going to accomplish much.
>> - Daniel
> Well we have no hard data, but evidence. Basically no users and editors in the US but loads in Europe. And loads of countries without imports flourishing as communities start to grow (like Slovakia, Czech Republic, Italy, Switzerland, Germany, Denmark) but less involvement in countries with imports. A vast empty map is no fun, but neither is a complete map. The worst is a seemingly complete map, with crap data (like plan.at data in Austria, that was in general off by around 20-100m).
> Just show me some neighboring countries where the one with imports some time ago (minimum 1 year) are doing better than neighboring countries/regions where no imports took place.
> I think imports are good for stuff we cannot easily record ourselves (like borders) - but no good for stuff we can get ourselves.
> And if you see tracing from aerial imagery as a chore, you're making a mistake. I think we should wait till local people do it. That way it gets better quality and is not much work for anyone. We should not strive to be complete, but offer more or different data than commercial map providers, because that's where we are good at. Striving to get a map with best use for carnavigation will not happen - our structure and means are really inferior here. Getting speciality maps noone can compete with large communities.

I disagree with your logic. The reason OSM took off in Europe and not the US isn't because TIGER got imported, but simply that TIGER existed. The UK had no free source of maps, so people had to make their own in OSM. If OSM hadn't imported TIGER everyone who needed a US road map would still be using the raw TIGER data instead because as weak as it often is it would be infinitely more complete than OSM.

OSM is great for specialty maps, but that doesn't need to conflict with building a great alternative to commercial map sources too.

With regards to the "seemingly complete map", if the data is that bad, we should probably discuss just deleting it. But I suspect the majority of data it isn't actually that bad, and we're better off just letting people delete it as they have time to replace it (at least that's my experience with funky imports in the US).

- Daniel

More information about the talk mailing list