[OSM-talk] MEP - pipelines

Frederik Ramm frederik at remote.org
Tue Jan 6 11:52:20 UTC 2015


On 01/03/2015 06:22 PM, Chris Hill wrote:
> What about the maps I produce for my client? You're not likely to know
> about it as it is a private project. If you make a mechanical edit that
> breaks my render, should I send the bill for the changes to you rather
> than ask my client to pay?

That is an interesting question and far, far broader than a mechanical edit.

For example, it is very likely that with API 0.7 we'll be introducing an
incompatible change to how areas are mapped. We (as in the OSM project)
will probably make the effort to update the stock software - major
editors, osm2pgsql, osmosis and so on, and popular open source software
like OSRM will be easily upgraded, but we are meanwhile so popular that
there will be tons of OSM-based applications out there somewhere that
will just fail (and the developers have meanwhile moved on). There will
be an outcry (cf. the "maturity" discussion in another thread): "How can
you be so irresponsible to make this change, don't you see how this
ruins the application, now who's going to pay for it, we expect that you
provide at least one year's notice and keep a compatible API for at
least another year to give us time" etc.etc.

Personally - while I am very adverse to mechanical edits for other
reasons - I believe that OSM always comes under a "take it or leave it"
policy, and we cannot (and should not strive to) offer any guarantees
that something you build today still works tomorrow.

This doesn't mean that we should randomly switch around tagging just to
make life more difficult for people, but if there is a good reason for a
change, I think "data consumers might have a problem with the change"
should not be an reason we consider or else we're close to total stagnation.

Of course that doesn't mean that we should make life hard for data
consumers *unnecessarily*. But at the same time our current tagging
scheme is always a draft and subject to change at any time. Or perhaps
more precisely - subject to evolution. And that brings me back to
mechanical edits; those are usually not evolutionary and therefore I
tend to dislike them.

A good technical solution to this whole affair could be a system where
you could "subscribe" to tags. Some of you may have noticed that Taginfo
now supports a list of which-project-uses-which tags here:
http://taginfo.openstreetmap.org/projects -- Suppose you could do
something like this but non-public, for example Chris could register his
interest in pipeline tagging somewhere, and would get an automatic
notification if there is any major mechanical edit or tagging change
that affects pipelines. Now it wouldn't be important for Chris since
he's following what happens on the lists anyway, but there might be 20
other people who have set up something that regularly processes pipeline
information and who haven't told anyone and aren't reading here.


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

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