[OSM-talk] Tools for a better tomorrow

Lester Caine lester at lsces.co.uk
Tue Feb 22 08:01:32 GMT 2011

Serge Wroclawski wrote:
> Idea 4: Better comparison tools.
> A common concern by those wanting to do imports is we lack good
> comparison tools.

While the problem is several orders of magnitude greater, the facilities 
provided by VCS systems would seem to be an obvious base to work from. I look at 
the methods I am using to manage my various code bases in a cooperative manor 
with other OS contributors and can accept or roll back parts of changes other 
people contribute.

Taking this a step further, with the current vogue for DVCS, there seems to be 
an ideal solution to a number of problems. Distributed version control systems 
provide a local copy of the data and the change information, and allow local 
information to be added and maintained in parallel with other copies of the same 

Personally I am finding that the tools provided with the newer DVCS systems are 
not as flexible as the older CVS and SVN approaches. These provide me with a 
'diff' of all of the information that has changed between my current view and 
the current 'master', while the DVCS systems still need work to get to that 
level. However the basic principles should still be able to be applied to OSM!

The 'tool' that I think would be useful is a means of 'checking out' an area 
ultimately the whole world, but more practically one's local area, or perhaps as 
big as your country. Probably 'sliced' in line with a particular level of zoom 
tile? One should then be able to render that section locally, and ones own local 
'overlays' of information, and finally 'commit' changes to the base master. 
'Pulling' newer changes from the master should be able to display them in a 
'diff' window, so that individual change sets can be accepted complete, or 
broken down so that changes can be 'cherry picked' and obvious errors stripped 
from more complex useful edits.

Ultimately we should be able to provide many distributed copies of the master 
database spreading the load and permitting local specialist information to be 
managed in parallel ... using the same tools?

Lester Caine - G8HFL
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