[OSM-talk] Fixing wiki* -> brand:wiki*

Christoph Hormann osm at imagico.de
Wed Sep 27 15:00:57 UTC 2017

On Wednesday 27 September 2017, Frederik Ramm wrote:
> In theory, almost everything we map could be expressed by a Wikidata
> ID. If welcoming a Wikidata link on a city place node means that by
> extension I also have to welcome "amenity:wikidata=Q123456" on
> something that is, say, an ice cream parlour because Q123456 is the
> generic Wikidata category for ice cream parlours, then I think I'd
> rather not have any Wikidata links in OSM at all.

I am inclined to concur.

The basis of accepting wikidata IDs in OSM originally was that it is 
difficult to reference a specific feature from our database from the 
outside and that wikidata provides stable IDs for real world objects 
and that it can be of significant use for OSM data users to be able to 
directly reference features in the OSM database describing the same 
real world objects through this ID.  There are a number of 
prerequisites for this however all of which have been put into question 
in recent discussion:

* There would need to be a 1:1 relationship between OSM features and the 
tagged wikidata ID (which apparently is often not the case for example 
for populated places, island countries etc.).
* The wikidata ID would need to be stable (recent statements that the 
wikidata IDs in the OSM database require constant maintenance to not 
become stale indicate otherwise).
* The wikidata ID would need to be verifiable - a local mapper with 
knowledge of the real world object represented by a certain OSM feature 
would need to be able to falsify the wikidata ID based on information 
readily available from wikidata (which does not always seem to be the 
case either).
* The wikidata IDs are at least for the most part manually added and 
verified by mappers with lokal knowledge - just like any other data in 
OSM (which clearly does not seem to be the case any more - i have no 
solid numbers here but certainly the majority of wikidata tags have 
been added without individual verification by mappers with local 

Everyone remember there is a big cultural difference between OSM and 
wikipedia (and i assume wikidata can be included there).  OSM is 
founded on local knowledge and original research while wikipedia 
rejects original research and values secondary sources of information.  
This fundamental difference also translates into differences in data 
models and different approaches to solving problems.  It is a good idea 
not to try pretending these differences do not exist and that you can 
intermix the two worlds without problems.

Christoph Hormann

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