[OSM-talk] Facebook mapping highways using AI in collaboration with OpenStreetMap

Arun Ganesh arun.planemad at gmail.com
Fri Jul 26 19:58:49 UTC 2019

Well put stevea!
Lets not forget what originally brought many of us here together (at least
from my interactions with many of you in real life), a dream that humans
could create the most accurate representation of the world through open
collaboration.The support of FB massively increases the surface area of the
OSM project to touch more humans through a single window than any other
mediums we can currently imagine.

Most of the world is still under represented in the hobby/craftmapper group
that is the dominant voice of this list and forum. More people from smaller
cities and towns have gotten involved in OSM in India/South Asia from FB
groups than other channels simply because its more easily accessible and
has a greater reach to a largely phone based internet population.

This is an opportunity to figure out a meaningful way to collaborate
constructively, and if its not happening in the way it should be, the
priority is to figure out how to facilitate that conversation in a
productive way. Making this a hobbyist vs corporate battle will just close
the door on a lot of the world which deserves to benefit from this project
and our collective work, and this is a world very different from what is
represented today on this list. How many know that as you read this, over
11 million people (thats the population of Belgium) are displaced in active
floods in India at this moment? FB/Whatsapp are what most people are using
to communicate and coordinate on the ground, they wouldn't care if it was a
corporate pariah or not as long as it works and can be used to help each

If theres any place where volunteers who take pains to survey their
neighborhoods in great detail and make maps should be talking to first
responders in natural disasters and figure out best ways to collaborate
this is the place. Sure, corporates may be driven by profit, but behind
those layers and PR and AI, its still humans who sweat it out and
ultimately trying to build a better world using technology.

Full disclosure that i grew and managed one of the first organized
corporate mapping teams on OSM. You can call me a wonk or a paid agent and
thats fine, it wont stop me from tracing glaciers from satellite imagery in
the Himalayas in my free time and figuring out how it can help more people
on the ground. And yes, those glaciers have probably melted away and theres
no practical way to ground truth them, hopefully no one is annoyed at me
for that.
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