[OSM-talk] AI With Satellite Images for OpenStreetMap

ajt1047 at gmail.com ajt1047 at gmail.com
Sun Feb 11 13:48:13 UTC 2018

On 10/02/2018 20:52, john whelan wrote:
> My personal reaction is this is frightening.
> Already we have buildings mapped twice and unless the import is done 
> very very carefully I can see problems ahead.

This sort of thing has been tried before, with varying degrees of 
success.  Facebook tried to import some "roads" in Egypt (for a bit of 
background see 
and https://www.openstreetmap.org/user/Chetan_Gowda/diary/39149 , and 
links from those).  Much of it needed to be reverted, because quite a 
lot of "straight lines with colour differences" got interpreted as 
"residential roads" when they were actually walls or drainage ditches.

The import in Thailand is discussed at 
https://forum.openstreetmap.org/viewtopic.php?id=57942 , and there are 
still ongoing issues with the quality there (such as 
https://forum.openstreetmap.org/viewtopic.php?pid=684197#p684197 ). That 
last one https://www.openstreetmap.org/way/556830183 is a particularly 
interesting case because I suspect that many "experienced armchair 
mappers" would make the same mistake there - thinking that the road 
continues and not noticing the fence (visible on only 1 of the 3 
available OSM imagery sources).  I suspect that 99% of relatively 
inexperienced mapathon participants would make the same mistake.

The jury's still out on the overall benefits of the Facebook Thailand 
work - see e.g. 
https://forum.openstreetmap.org/viewtopic.php?pid=684270#p684270 in that 
thread, but it's definitely worth mentioning some of the things that 
they got right there (in some cases, only after a bit of prodding):

  * Imported data clearly marked so that data consumers can process it
    differently if they wish, like JOSM does with raw TIGER data.
  * Engage in a dialogue with the local community in the local
    community's forum.
  * Mappers with OSM user pages that explain who they're working for and
    who (at least sometimes) do respond to changeset discussion comments.

However, before we get carried away it's worth remembering that none of 
the examples on 
https://www.openstreetmap.org/user/jremillard/diary/43294 are actually 
imports - they're things like QA and targetted Maproulette tasks.  It's 
now up to the community to suggest use cases.  If someone tries an 
undiscussed import without following the policy they should rightly be 
stopped as Facebook were in Egypt.

Best Regards,
Andy (from the DWG, but writing in a personal capacity)
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