[OSM-talk] Zero tolerance on imports

Josh Doe josh at joshdoe.com
Mon Feb 21 18:35:17 GMT 2011

I believe imports can be great, but of course can be dangerous. Better
tools are needed, and maybe someday I'll have the skills and know-how
to help with them.

There's one thing that hasn't explicitly been mentioned. Some say we
don't want to import because it will demotivate people to start
contributing in that area. I can understand that, however, if we
_KNOW_ the data is good, and we're careful to maintain the
contributions already in existence, I'd much rather import the entire
road network for an area, and have interested contributors not just
FIX the data, but actually improve OSM by adding additional tags, map
nearby paths, add intersections, etc.

It is a terrible waste of human effort to reproduce verified
high-quality data that is available and properly licensed. Their time
is much better spent adding value to the map by improving the tags,
adding unmapped paths, etc. The big problem with imports now is the
lack of good tools, though I'm not complaining because I know they
take a lot of effort to design and create.


On Mon, Feb 21, 2011 at 10:03 AM, Peter Budny <peterb at gatech.edu> wrote:
> I find this discussion very distasteful.
> I really like OSM's goals: a complete map of the Earth with more-or-less
> unlimited detail.  But I don't understand why people think that this
> 500+ GIGABYTE map should be managed using 19th-century methods,
> i.e. manual labor.
> Waze is a much newer project than OSM.  I don't really care for its data
> model, because I think it's much too limited in the amount of detail
> it's capable of capturing; OSM's model is much better IMO.  BUT, Waze
> has captured traces of a much larger portion of the US than OSM has.
> Waze has both average and real-time speed data, whereas OSM has no
> provision for this whatsoever.
> At some point, OSM will reach a size -- either size of database, or
> number of users/contributors -- where it will become totally infeasible
> to manage with the tools we have (or rather, the tools we don't have).
> Those of you who think all automated or semi-automated data
> contributions are harmful to OSM are dooming this project to never be
> able to grow to become a leading source of mapping data.
> Do you think that when MapQuest started using OSM data to generate their
> maps, they performed all the necessary data transformations BY HAND?
> Last year, as part of a school project, I built a robot that will
> automatically create route relations for all the state highways in the
> US, being careful not to change or duplicate existing data.  I haven't
> shared it with the community because a handful of users were so
> terrified of the prospect of automated edits, they insisted I do a
> large-scale trial run on a local copy of the database, and I haven't had
> the time to compile the results of those trial runs for review.  The
> code would be in use already if not for a few people running around
> panicking about my devil-robot and its witchcraft.
> ... I don't even know how to end this e-mail.  I'm so distressed by what
> I'm reading that it makes me want to just walk away from the whole
> project.
> --
> Peter Budny  \
> Georgia Tech  \
> CS MS student  \
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