[OSM-talk] Bulk Uploading GPX files on the OSM website

Ben Robbins ben_robbins_ at hotmail.com
Tue Aug 21 17:22:31 BST 2012


A few of my issues with uploading gpx Files to OSM which I'd like to discuss, and put forward some suggestions.  This may have a specific place to be discussed? I'm really not on top of mailing lists.

Each few months I have about 100meg of gpx files to upload which is a very slow process on a slow internet connection.  One option is to bundle them and upload, but they appear as one trace as stated here: http://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Batch_Upload  Likewise if I upload as a batch I then have to find all the files and change all the tags for purpose of organisation.  So I individually and painstakingly upload them and tag them up, with each file taking about 3 mins+, and I currently have a backlog of about 500 files.  So the concept of sitting for 24+ hours of solid uploading/labelling files is unappealing!  So it is always a case of taking a huge amount of time, the current options are just to either take that time up with a different process or compromise the organisation with a more basic process to save time.  So in short, 'save time by not doing it fully', or to put it bluntly, 'cut corners'.  

Part of the issue is also having to move between pages to edit tags (if batched uploaded), or just to upload a new file if manually uploading files individually. Only a few seconds loading each page but it really adds up fast.  This can be partly overcome by having multiple tabs open and setting up the next upload while the other one is underway, however the 3+mins per upload was considering this.  

Then moving files around and finding files is not possible.  Finding files has been addressed and there is a request here: https://trac.openstreetmap.org/ticket/1999 so I'll just +1 that.  For moving files, currently once a file is uploaded it's stuck in that order.  Again depending on your level of organisation you may be able to relate or not, but sometimes it's infuriating to have to delete files you've painfully uploaded to upload another one in the correct place, so that the files are in date order (which is how I have them organised).   It would be a huge time saver to be able to manually move the files up/down the list.  

Also the bulk uploader, and the wiki page is far beyond the ability of the average computer user, of which I am one.  Within this project I will be one of the less computer(code) able people, however within the wider world, I am very able with computers.  So from that perspective it should be common for me to read much I don't understand in this project, however I shouldn't have issues with using something like a bulk uploader, or a commonly needed tool/site etc.

So that is my description of some bottlenecks.

My idea, for simplicity I've stuck into an image form, which I'll give a rough description of, but hopefully the concept is clear.


There would be a bulk upload option in on the upload file page, and you then select a .rar/.zip file etc.  It uploads untagged, or can inherit the file name for description, or put your own in for all of them being the same.  Once all loaded a page opens (editing page) which lists all the files and allows you to add tags in mass.  As for instance the tag 'UK' would likely appear on 100's of files in a row if you live in the UK which may have been uploaded.  Likewise in smaller clumps with country/region/local region/town name etc.  So if you could apply tags to ticked files, or manually type names in on the same page that would be ideal.  Then for the file name a 'replace' function as in Excel would be ideal, as the track name can often be part of the file name.  So if you inherit the file name, then replace, you can extract the necessary section easily as in example.  The replace option would need to be able to look for something such as "File **** - " or "**/**/2012 - " for example.  Then next to each file with it's tick box would be a small up and down arrow, for shifting the file around in the order, and likewise a delete button for quick removal rather than having to shift to a sub page and taking time.  Finally within the current file listings page, a tick box method of getting multiple files into a multiple file editing table as just discribed would be needed.  An advancement on this would be to be able to add to a list, by leaving the page and coming back to it with more selections.  Also being able to remove things from the selections page, rather than just un-selecting.  (Actually in rereading that, it really sounds similar, but a less graphical version, to the facebook bulk photo uploading interface.)

 I have no idea about ease of enabling such a feature/features or the demand that would have on the overall system, but I hope this highlights a few seemingly small inefficiencies which are huge in mass file uploading.  Any one of the listed features would be very much appreciated, mostly in time saved.

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