[OSM-talk] Facebook mapping highways using AI in collaboration with OpenStreetMap
ajt1047 at gmail.com
Fri Jul 26 14:52:44 UTC 2019
On 26/07/2019 11:54, Mike N wrote:
> On 7/26/2019 4:34 AM, Christoph Hormann wrote:
>> The corporate appropriation of OpenStreetMap
> I'm not a corporate wonk, but I'll note that in my region, "Amazon
> Logistics" is effectively solving the Last Mile Mapping problem: how
> to include driveways into routing.
> [ I'm well aware that the Amazon mappers are not perfect and have
> made newbie errors in other regions ]
That's an excellent comparison to make. One key difference is that
Amazon's mappers have been very reactive when it was made clear to them
that the way that they were mapping things with (in the UK) incorrect
access tags, and have since tried to ensure that they're doing it right
(see e.g. https://www.openstreetmap.org/user/jguthula/diary/390322 ).
There will still be issues - Amazon's mappers are working with GPS
traces and imagery, but no local knowledge, so they will get things
wrong, but if everyone works together the combination of local mappers'
local knowledge and Amazon's mappers' willingness to spend hours adding
otherwise boring service roads and farm tracks should be to everyone's
This is in stark contrast to Facebook's approach. Again and again
they've been told what their licence of OSM data requires them to do,
and again and again they have not done it. Again and again they were
told that their mapping was garbage, and while they have improved the
data quality of later additions (in Thailand) they have done nothing to
clean up the existing mess - it was left for the community and/or the
DWG to tidy up.
Unless you've been living under a rock, you'll be aware of Facebook's
other corporate actions over the last year or so and the reputational
damage that it has caused them (see e.g.
). That doesn't mean that individual people working for Facebook can't
be nice people and some of the tools they create can't be useful, but it
does mean that OSM needs to be careful that it's reputation isn't
tarnished by being associated with a corporate pariah* such as Facebook.
A statement from the board (or the LWG, if the LWG is looking at it
rather than the board) about the issues raised here by Nuno over the
last few months would be a start - either "we believe that Facebook's
OSM data usage is in compliance with the licence" or "we believe it
isn't and are trying to change it". The OSMF has made a decision to
have Facebook as one of 6 gold corporate members listed at
https://wiki.osmfoundation.org/wiki/Corporate_Members , so without any
clarification an outside observer would think that the OSMF fully
supports Facebook both in terms of data use and their "contributions" in
e.g. Egypt and Thailand, and approves of the use of OSM's brand to
bolster Facebook's excremental reputation.
(writing, as is usual on this list, in an entirely personal capacity)
* far from the only example, of course, and even some organisations set
up "purely to do good" have struggled with reputational management
recently - see e.g.
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