[OSM-talk] Re. OpenBuildingModels repository

Frederik Ramm frederik at remote.org
Sun Aug 5 22:10:30 BST 2012


On 03.08.2012 18:32, Alexander Zipf wrote:
> Matthias mentioned in his answer that this is not planned yet, but in
> fact I like this idea very much and certainly we would love to welcome
> outside contributions.

I think this is crucial for the success of the project. If this is a 
"you can look but you cannot touch" project then OSM users will have to 
continue looking for something else, or build something else themselves, 
and the OpenBuildingModels repository will remain an academic prototype 
that dies out sooner or later.

I would like to use this opportunity to draw attention to the OSRM 
routing engine which is also an university project; but the source code 
has been released under an open license, and as anybody can see on 
GitHub and associated forums, the project now has a life of its own, 
with many outside people submitting patches and reporting bugs, even 
adding features. OpenStreetMap hasn't yet got around to actually install 
OSRM on one of their own machines but I'm pretty sure that's on the card 
for the future. Not only is this open approach more useful to the 
community as a whole - it also gives potential contributors the 
certainty that they are contributing to something that lasts, and even 
if the original authors were to turn their backs on the project because 
of lack of funding, or interest, the project would live on. In contrast 
to this, the (much older and in some ways pioneering) OpenRouteService 
run at the Heidelberg Uni - by the same people now presenting 
OpenBuildingModels - has been free to use, but closed source; nobody was 
able to install it, run it, improve it, and now it is collecting dust 
and being outshone by more innovative community approaches. This is sad 
because OpenRouteService once was in a position where many could have 
built something innovative on top of it and fed back ideas to make it a 
solid, community-maintained project; instead, it was bottled up and 
worthless to the developer community who were excluded from inspecting 
and re-using the source code.

OpenStreetMap is getting more and more attention and we're having many 
people working on 3D related stuff; having a repository for 3D data that 
is somehow linked with OSM is something that I have heard different 
people talk about, and sooner or later there is likely going to be more 
or less one "suggested approach" for anyone who wants to add 3D building 

If both source code and data of the OpenBuildingModels approach are 
accessible to all, then the OpenBuildingModels database might become 
this database and prosper. If not, then something else will prevail, and 
OpenBuildingMaps will be commited to history as a nice academic showcase 
that somehow didn't catch on.


Frederik Ramm  ##  eMail frederik at remote.org  ##  N49°00'09" E008°23'33"

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