[OSM-talk] mapping outside Europe

Mario Frasca mario at anche.no
Wed Jan 8 16:33:53 UTC 2020

Hi Maarten, Mateusz, Marc, Pierre, everybody:

On 08/01/2020 01:32, Maarten Deen wrote:
> If they don't use the wiki, then who complains about missing local 
> information in the wiki? 

these are chained questions: who complains? who complains about missing 
local information (in the wiki)?

I'm not sure it is of any relevance, so I don't expect followup on this, 
but it will help you understand my experience:


speaking about Panama: apart from me trying to correct bad practices, 
establishing a Telegram group, inviting people to it, trying to engage 
editors in discussions, contacting organizations sponsoring massive 
edits, commenting on changesets, writing personal messages to the 
author's OSM account, looking them up on Facebook, documenting or 
proposing in the Wiki, requesting a block for people who keep adding 
information that always needs the same kind of correction…, there has 
been so little response that I can't generalize, I can briefly mention 
the few major incidents:

- on the Telegram group (https://t.me/Comunidad_OSM_Panama) we had a 
representative of a GIS-group in the second largest town in the country, 
periodically doing massive exports to the database, sponsored by Unachi 
(Universidad de Chiriquí), organizing GIS courses ending with these 
collectively signed exports, using accounts that are only active in 
these occasions.  He announced one activity they would organize.  two of 
us (both Europeans) tried to make two points clear: no data from Google, 
and please consider the organized edits directives.  the guy left the 
group because of our bureaucratic/dictatorial attitude.  I don't know 
how their activity developed, it did not (yet) reflect on the OSM database.

- I recently removed some fifty thousand relations "no-u-turn", added by 
people working for MiBus (Panama City), needed for their navigation 
software, but not corresponding to anything on the ground.  I had tried 
to reach for the authors, but only after removing the objects they 
reacted.  the reaction was in private email exchange, not on my 
changesets, until I invited one of the guys to do so 
(https://openstreetmap.org/changeset/77387510). according to me, there 
never was any discussion.  one of the guys joined the Panama Telegram 
group, but never reacted to the invitations to discuss the issue.

- occasionally, people write funny changesets comments, like here: 

- some time ago the Telegram group received an invitation to an ESRI 
meeting.  I participated, and volunteered my summary of the meeting, and 
the story ended there, I have no idea what happened next.  I met 
personally three of the editors, but that did not establish a 
communication line with any of them.

my very personal impression: I think there is a cultural difficulty 
here, preventing people from expressing one's opinions in public, 
offering it for criticism.  I do not know how they do, to reach a 
consensus, and again my personal impression is that they don't even try, 
each does their stuff, try not to stand in the way of others, expect 
others to do the same.  my (again very personal) conclusion is to drop 
trying myself (I even left the Telegram group I had founded, for I 
thinks it serves no purpose) and to keep documenting things publicly, 
either in Spanish or in English, in the wiki, but again without 
expecting feedback from local mappers.


more constructively:
On 08/01/2020 02:54, Mateusz Konieczny wrote:
> Is a new photo differing in content (confusing for Europeans in the 
> similar way as original
> was confusing for people from Panama)? Then both should be present, 
> one in the infobox,
> one in the article text.

I like this one.  :-)

we could invite people from different areas to contribute relevant pictures.

I can do Panama, and look up in my archives for other regions I 
visited.  I can't obviously cover the rest of the world, but we as OSM 
editors surely can.

On 08/01/2020 04:29, Marc Gemis wrote:

> What I meant with "write the wiki page you want to see" is: create a
> new wiki page "Highways in Panama" or "Highways in South America",
> preferable in Spanish and Portuguese and link to that page from one of
> the existing pages.

Panama is such a small country!  and South America is much larger than 
my personal experience.  The only correct title for a page I can author 
would be "Highways in developing countries I know", but most of it would 
be similar or equal to the Highway_Tag_Africa.

point is: would locals like being told "use the African guidelines"?

please nobody from Africa takes offense, please, but telling Southern 
Americans that they should apply African logic for their situation is 
very likely to sound as an offense to them, however correct the case 
might be (and actually, things here can be quite worse than the pictures 
in the Africa page).

On 07/01/2020 17:22, Pierre Béland wrote:
> We then collectively decided to rename it to highway_tag_africa. 

according to me, it shows very closely how things look like here too.

I don't know if we should have an extra page for Southern America (and 
rural Canada), practically repeating the same content as your page, or 
rename the page again?  what's your thoughts?



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