[OSM-talk] Fwd: Re: Beware Pokemon users

David Kewley david.t.kewley at gmail.com
Tue Dec 27 08:15:39 UTC 2016

I thought this might be a big problem at first, but now I think it's
probably a net good thing.

In Southern California, I saw about 40 users join in the first 24-48 hours
after the video was posted (Dec 22), who immediately started mapping
footways and similar. A few were bad, most improved the map incrementally,
if not with great skill, completeness, or accuracy. The rate of new people
joining and adding footways and similar has gone way down since the first
24 hours.

I just now used Overpass-Turbo to check for new footways in the past ~2
days in all the western U.S. (to just west of San Antonio, not including
Alaska and Hawaii), zoomed in briefly on each locality in turn, and found
with this quick ad hoc eyeball survey only two users who were obviously
gaming OSM for Pokemon Go in an unhelpful way. I'll address them or send
them to DWG. All the others looked reasonable upon a first pass, although I
might have missed a few. Some I didn't see may already have been cleaned
up, of course.

So the potential problem is big, but I think the actual problem is not too
big, and can probably be contained with our current level of effort.
Meanwhile there are tons of incremental additions that are probably net
improvements to the map, and a few of these folks will continue to improve
the map over time. I've already seen a few of these new users branch out
into non-Pokemon-related improvements. Plus it gives OSM wider awareness.

One other thing to look out for, which most people are doing well, but a
few are doing inappropriately, is changing school grounds from
amenity=school to =college or =university. See
I had to change one secondary school back to =school after an apparent
Pokemon user changed it to =college. I also changed one community college
from =school to =college when I noticed it was mistagged while looking at
new footways drawn there. Hope it helps them have fun with their game. :)

I've also seen fake parks, piers, lakes, and similar area objects get added
in an apparent attempt to help Pokemon. Footways may be the most common
manifestation of this wave of activity, but not the only one.

Fun fact: On 12/22 I actually stumbled across a deletion of the footway
added in the video, before I was aware of the existence of the video and
the Pokemon-related editing. That issue is since resolved. The videographer
is pretty local to me, and in the video he hikes in hills I know. A brush
with a weird kind of notoriety, I guess.


On Mon, Dec 26, 2016 at 3:44 PM, Rod Bera <rod at goarem.org> wrote:

> -------- Forwarded Message --------
> Subject: Re: [OSM-talk] Beware Pokemon users
> Date: Tue, 27 Dec 2016 00:40:18 +0100
> From: Rod Bera <rod at goarem.org>
> To: Andy Mabbett <andy at pigsonthewing.org.uk>
> Hi Andy,
> I get what you mean,
> and I acknowledge that though I consider OSM should be put first this is
> not the case for everyone, and this is fine.
> But here things are going one step further: it's about deliberately
> putting non-existing features and/or mis-tagging features, which amounts
> to vandalism.
> A new kind of vandalism, as we could be overwhelmed by the number of
> "users" doing it in various places for a coinciding purpose.
> To me this is quite new.
> I hope this won't happen.
> And I won't comment your appreciation over "geographical practices".
> Every one is welcome to practice geography their own way...
> As long as we are talking about geography, i.e. depicting what is
> (really is, not what Pokemon hunter wish were) on or around the surface
> of Earth.
> Regards,
> Rod
> On 26/12/16 13:19, Andy Mabbett wrote:
> > On 26 December 2016 at 11:36, Rod Bera <rod at goarem.org> wrote:
> >
> >> Systematic bias put into the OSM base towards maximising benefits for a
> >> minority of users is a threat.
> >> Especially when the primary interest of these users is not OSM in
> itself.
> >
> > Most edits to OSM benefit only a minority of users
> >
> > Most editors of OSM - including me - do so because we have a primary
> > interest which is not OSM itself.
> >
> > Shall those of us who edit OSM because we have an interest in a
> > locality, or a use-case, all stop editing, and leave OSM only to those
> > for whom it is some form of geographical masturbation?
> >
> --
> Rod Béra,  MCF Géomatique                /   Lecturer, Geomatics
>            et SIG pour l'Environnement  /    and Environmental GIS
> Agrocampus-Ouest|65 r.Saint-Brieuc|CS84215|35042 Rennes cedex|France
> +33 (0) 223 48 5553 - roderic.bera at agrocampus-ouest.fr
> _______________________________________________
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