[OSM-talk] "The Future of Free and Open-Source Maps" Slashdot.org , Saturday February 17, 2018

Nicolás Alvarez nicolas.alvarez at gmail.com
Sat Feb 17 16:50:03 UTC 2018

El 17 feb. 2018, a la(s) 06:56, Oleksiy Muzalyev <oleksiy.muzalyev at bluewin.ch> escribió:

> This article is on the front page of the Slashdot today:
> Fri 16 February 2018 "Why OpenStreetMap is in Serious Trouble"
> https://blog.emacsen.net/blog/2018/02/16/osm-is-in-trouble/
> "The Future of Free and Open-Source Maps"
> https://news.slashdot.org/story/18/02/16/2216228/the-future-of-free-and-open-source-maps
> I actually read the article, and though it has got insightful information and interesting ideas, I have doubts about some suggestions.
> For instance, reviews. I hope it will not come to what there is at some commercial maps, when one adds say a building and then has to wait for a month that an almighty moderator approves it, so that it appears on the map.

There is a big technical problem with reviews too, which is conflicts. Currently you get an edit conflict if someone makes another change to the same objects after you download map data and before you upload your changes; but usually that's a short period of time.

If changes are held for review and only "merged" back to the main database after they were reviewed, conflicts can happen if there is an edit between downloading the original data and someone approving your change, which could happen days or weeks later. Thus, such conflicts will be a lot more frequent. Who will resolve the conflict? The editor or the reviewer? And will we need some very smart software to try to auto-resolve some kinds of merge conflicts?

The other obvious problem is: do we have enough experienced and motivated people to do the reviews and keep up with the rate of incoming changes?

Finally, will this need tiering of users? If experienced users can make changes bypassing the review process and/or only experienced users can review other people's changes, who decides when you get the "experienced" flag and under what criteria?

All this also makes me think that the individual points of the blog post may need to be discussed separately. It's not a single all-or-nothing proposal, it's a list of mostly-independent identified problems, and some are more feasible to solve than others.


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