[OSM-talk] talk Digest, Vol 78, Issue 79

Hillsman, Edward hillsman at cutr.usf.edu
Mon Feb 21 18:52:48 GMT 2011

Date: Mon, 21 Feb 2011 10:18:24 -0800 (PST)
From: Mikel Maron <mikel_maron at yahoo.com>
To: Mike N <niceman at att.net>, talk at openstreetmap.org
Subject: Re: [OSM-talk] Mapping 'risky areas'
Message-ID: <238196.90955.qm at web161608.mail.bf1.yahoo.com>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset="us-ascii"

On 2/21/2011 10:18:24 -0800 (PST), Mikel Maron <mikel_maron at yahoo.com> wrote:
>>and safer to map there. I recall seeing a piece of research noting that areas 
>>with high 
>> crime rates tend not to get mapped in OSM, so these would be exceptions to the 
>>older-area trend, but support for the hypothesis that walkability matters a lot 
>>(high crime means not safe means no mapping on foot).
>The typical approach has been technological mediation, as you're suggesting ... 
>use satellite imagery or other technologies to "safely" get into such places. It 
>works just ok in my opinion.
>OSM has always been about inviting people to make the maps of their own 
>neighborhoods themselves. They're going to have the most interest and best 
>knowledge. They're going to be comfortable in areas you may not be. What it 
>takes is reaching out beyond our normal networks, and finding interested and 
>willing partners in new communities. This was our approach to mapping slums in 
>Nairobi with Map Kibera. No way I was going to be mapping Kibera!
>The same is true in the US. The Atlanta Mapathon organized by Thea Clay included 
>tougher neighborhoods of that city.

But I'm starting to regret mentioning crime in my earlier post. The point I was trying to make focused on the physical environment, and the fact that a lot of suburbia in the US is not conducive to walking. In addition, its design and heavy levels of car traffic make some areas unsafe for walking. I think this makes suburbia harder to map than older, gridded areas. I've mapped in both. I live in a suburban setting (because it's close to where I work), but I much prefer to map in areas that are safer to walk around in.

I've also managed imports of bus stops into several cities where almost none had been mapped (after trying to contact everyone who had mapped any of them). So I think technological mediation has value. But there are lots of things that don't show up on imagery or in public-domain files, and things that don't, such as stores, bicycle parking, and speed limits, contribute to quality of life. So my concern was about walkability and suburbia, not about crime.

Ed Hillsman

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