[OSM-talk] Zero tolerance on imports

Peter Wendorff wendorff at uni-paderborn.de
Mon Feb 21 10:44:35 GMT 2011


Why we discuss the goodness or badness of imports here with the argument 
of a complete map?

Of course that argument is a good one - but if we look towards the 
future there will be a time - partly that's already in the present, 
where an area is mapped already with high detail by mappers not active 
any more.

A new mapper, I believe, will not distinct between a (relatively good) 
import and years of manpower of ground-survey-mapping done in the 
previous two decades etc.

We see a growing complexity in many tagging schemes, use of more and 
more sophisticated relations to model facts, and the discussion is only 
about "ban imports".

I agree, that imports should not lead to automatic or semi-automatic 
deletion of mappers work.
I agree that imports have to be done carefully and with inclusion of the 
local community/s.

But I think, we need mechanism to generally cope with the "problem" of 
existing data.
We should put more effort in developing mechanisms to check, proofe and 
control existing data - not caring about import or "simply old" data.
And finally we should work on reduction of the fear to make things 
wrong, as I think, that fear is growing with growing complexity of 
existant data.

Banning import is a easy mantra to push out today as it avoids the 
bigger problem - but in future we will have the same problem with a bad 
connotation: in future the existent "old" mappers are human parts of the 
community, whose data probably has to be deleted whereas today we speak 
about technical data and single importers.
These importers are often people who want to discuss and work on their 
We should take this as a chance, not as an affront.


Am 21.02.2011 01:03, schrieb Felix Hartmann:
> 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.
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