[OSM-talk] stop deleting abandoned railroads

Serge Wroclawski emacsen at gmail.com
Fri Aug 14 08:48:56 UTC 2015


Instead of replying to every individual point, I'm going to address your
email as a whole, which is around the idea that deletion is different from

These discussions are nuanced. Are there going to be things one person can
identify that another can't- yes. But at the same time, I still think that
as a project, we've collectively made a decision here that we don't require
any special external knowledge or equipment to modify data.

Let me give you an example that's not about roads, but about power lines.

We have mappers that map a ton of detail about not only the locations but
the details of the power lines.

But they also explain their process online. They show how to read the
signs, what each symbol means, etc.

If I came across a power line, I should be able to use the knowledge from
the wiki page to build an understanding of the ground truth and compare
that to OSM. Then I can correct OSM as necessary.

If it's possible to document these abandoned railways in the same way, then
we can discuss an on the ground feature and compare what we see on the
ground with what's on the map.

But what we can't (or at least shouldn't) do is have only certain community
members be the source for certain features. I shouldn't have to email Alice
or Bob just because I want to edit a feature that Alice entered, or that
Bob modified.

The minute we do that, we are telling certain people that there's no way to
update or improve upon their updates, and at that point, why have the data
in OSM at all?

Improving the map can and sometimes does include the idea of removing a
feature that's no longer present, and I'm not comfortable with the idea
that we have certain special features or special members where the data
can't be modified.

And Russ, I don't think that's what you want either, ultimately. So why not
just update the wiki page to be more complete and focus on educating people
on what to look for?

- Serge
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