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

Tobias Zwick osm at westnordost.de
Sun Feb 18 15:44:04 UTC 2018

I also read this article and I found it identifies some areas in which
(the central infrastructure of) OpenStreetMap could improve.

What I do not like about this article is the deeply pessimistic and
resigned tone of it, like clickbait. It reads like "OSM needs to change
from the core up or else it will be doomed!".

Yeah, I don't think so.

And I do not think that this mode of appeal is that productive. It's
good if it sparks discussions about what we can and want to improve, but
I do not think that it is going to inspire anyone to "save" OSM by
innovating things. This is not how it works in FOSS, and not how
innovation works. AI detections of features from pictures/drone videos
for example is not going to happen because someone writes that we
_really_ need this now to keep up, but because someone is enthused about
the concept (and is able to capture others with that).
Also, Serge maybe doesn't know

That there might be a conflict of interest regarding pulling more
technology and services into the core OSM toolset is an interesting
thought that did not cross my mind before and that may very well be
true. Though on the other hand, I consider the fact that OSM runs on a
"shoestring budget" as something that contributes to OSM's
sustainability: I.e. I observe with concern that Wikimedia apparently
requires more and more money every year to survive.
OSM's minimalistic organizational structure is simply a different
concept than WP.

Regarding the "area" type, I agree that it would be a good improvement
to introduce a more fixed notion of areas in OSM data. To introduce
another data type has quite the ramifications on backward compatibility
but there may be other options. Right now, every single piece of
software needs to maintain an area detection based on tags like this:
Naturally, it is different, thus inconsistent, for any piece of software
- and needs to be updated for any tagging scheme that comes up.

If I were to name the biggest challenge for us, it would be the
maintainability of the map data, a topic that he never mentions directly.


On 17.2.2018 10:56 AM, Oleksiy Muzalyev wrote:
> 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.
> I also skeptical of massive imports from governments' databases. These
> databases were created in the last century, with outdated tools,
> sometimes by disinterested underpaid clerks, probably in a climate of
> secrecy of that era. And such an import may replace the quality data
> from modern satellite imagery, GPS traces, surveys, etc.
> Best regards,
> O.
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