[OSM-talk] Using OpenStreetMap on a daily basis

Serge Wroclawski emacsen at gmail.com
Wed Jul 10 13:50:41 UTC 2013

On Wed, Jul 10, 2013 at 9:31 AM, Kathleen Danielson
<kathleen.danielson at gmail.com> wrote:

> This raises a larger issue of figuring out how we as a community move
> forward when good ideas are put forth. I think it's natural for a project
> like this to adopt change (large or small) slowly, and to some extent,
> that's really beneficial (we wouldn't want rash decisions to grossly alter
> the course of the project without thinking through consequences). However, I
> think there's risk of becoming both risk- and change-averse, which can be
> really detrimental.

OSM is a largely (though not entirely) a do-ocracy, which means that
the way to look at something like this is to say "I will ____", and
that will bring forth the change I want, or if not the exact change I
want, then at least make it a possibility.

And some of these things you will be able to do, and some you won't be able to.

Let's take a two examples: 1) Routing on the main site.  2) Addressing
missing from OSM

These are both often cited as reasons why OSM isn't usable on a daily basis.

1. Routing on osm.org

Routing on the main site is something that's been worked on for at
least a year, but I think it's been closer to two years.

It's a problem that requires some amount of developer time, as well as
sys-admin time, as well as computing resources to support.

If you felt especially strongly about wanting it on osm.org (and not
on your own site), you could work on it. Or if you didn't have the
skill, you could pay for it, or if you didn't have the money, you
could fundraise to pay for it.

Or you're welcome to run for a position in something like the OSMF and
convince your colleagues that this is worth spending organizational
resources on.

2. Missing Addresses

One of the other reasons that is often cited for why OSM is not usable
by people is the lack of good geocoding, which is in part due to the
lack of complete addressing in even some of our most mapped cities.

There's a lot you can do here. The first, and most immediate thing
would be to collect addresses. I suggest everyone do that if they can,
if not of addresses in general, then at least of POIs they care about.

But if that's not enough (and even I don't think that will be enough),
then you could try to get address data from your local government
office and work with the US Import Committee (because you're in the
US) and create a process for importing that data. That process is
non-trivial, and requires a lot of work in terms of data analysis,
refinement of the data, multiple iterations of the data source,
learning new software (since we have awesome address conflation
software written by community members), coming up with an update plan,

In other words, if you, or anyone else, has an itch that they feel
needs scratching, that they feel is a real barrier to their either
personal or professional adoption of OSM, then the path is clear. And
if your solution  is useful, people will get behind it.

- Serge

The question isn't "What will we do", but rather "What will you do?"

> Anyway, with my diatribe over, I'd like to return to the question of: now
> what?
> Cheers,
> Kathleen
> On Wed, Jul 10, 2013 at 8:43 AM, Martin Koppenhoefer
> <dieterdreist at gmail.com> wrote:
>> 2013/7/9 Michael Buege <michael at buegehome.de>:
>> >
>> > Something like this?
>> > <http://osmtools.de/osmlinks/?page=main&lang=en>
>> great tool, would be cool to have a variant of this implemented on the
>> main map.
>> cheers,
>> Martin
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