[OSM-talk] Wikipedia article

Christoph Hormann chris_hormann at gmx.de
Sat Oct 26 12:25:37 UTC 2013

On Saturday 26 October 2013, Simon Poole wrote:
> But then on the other hand it is a
> fairly mature project and the easy stuff simply has been done, we
> probably can show similar trends in extremely well mapped areas.

I think this is an important point - OSM does and will for the 
forseeable future contain both extremely well and extremely sparsely 
mapped areas ('areas' being meant here both spatially and 
thematically).  One of the major tasks will be to keep both the well 
mapped parts up-to-date and improve the sparsely mapped parts.

Although this is difficult to back up with numbers i have the impression 
the gap between well mapped and badly mapped areas in Openstreetmap is 
widening even though you would think it is much easier to improve a 
badly mapped area than a well mapped one.  When during use of 
Openstreetmap i look at some area (because i read about it in a news 
report or whatever reason) i am frequently amazed by the detailed 
information i find there but i am equally often appalled by the lack of 
data.  One of the motivations in Wikipedia for having notability rules 
certainly is to address exactly this kind of problem and to focus 
efforts on those parts considered important.  Openstreetmap obviously 
should not follow a similar path, especially considering how it proved 
damaging in Wikipedia but just attracting additional contributors is 
not enough. In my opinion there is need for a more active discourse on 
gaps and uniform quality of the data.

Another important difference between Wikipedia and Openstreetmap is that 
OSM does not have a no-original-research-rule.  In fact original 
research both in-the-field and from the armchair are preferred in 
comparison to second hand information (a.k.a. imports).  This makes OSM 
potentially much more suited for professional contributors who in 
Wikipedia always risk being accused of lacking neutrality.  There are 
however other barriers that discourage such people to become active 

Christoph Hormann

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