[OSM-talk] Streetcomplete and Geographically Large Changesets

Justin Tracey j3tracey at gmail.com
Fri Jul 23 21:09:39 UTC 2021

On 2021-07-23 4:40 p.m., Mike Thompson wrote:
> I recently started using OSMCHA to monitor changesets in my local area.  
> There have been a number of cases where a changeset from Streetcomplete 
> has shown up in my feed, not because an edit was actually made in my 
> local area, but because the changeset spanned a large area (.e.g. half 
> the US).  When I have commented on these changesets and I get a reply, 
> the mapper has informed me that this is an issue with Streetcomplete and 
> they (the mapper) cannot do anything about it.
> 1)  Is this really a characteristic of Streetcomplete, or are people 
> just misusing it?

Somewhere in between. The default behavior of StreetComplete is to 
upload any completed quests within a pretty short time, while you're 
still out and about. There is a setting to change that so it only 
uploads on connection to WiFi, or only uploading when manually 
requesting it (presumably for handling heavily metered connections and 
privacy concerns). Some possible reasons for large bounding boxes is if 
someone forgets to manually push their edits, or if they lost 
connectivity on their device. I haven't noticed these large bounding 
boxes from StreetComplete (most of the ones I see in my area are 
wheelmap.org), so I'm not sure what the case is here.

> 2) Is there a work around?

Uploading solved quests manually before solving a geographically distant 
quest, it's a pretty prominent button in the upper right of the main 
screen. Once another quest (of the same type) has been solved, then no, 
there's no way to split them geographically, aside from undoing, 
pushing, then redoing.

> 3) What can we do to convince the developers of Streetcomplete to 
> address this (if this is really an error in Streetcomplete)?

IIRC this is intentional behavior: people who solve quests in large, 
disparate geographic areas on StretComplete should have attention drawn 
to them, specifically because of your 4th point.

> 4) Does anyone really believe the mappers using Streetcomplete are 
> "surveying" the changes as the changesets state?  That would mean that 
> (in the examples I saw today) they made some edits in one part of the 
> country, drove for ~13 hours to another location (ok, they could have 
> taken a flight, but we are still talking many hours if one includes the 
> drive to the airport, security, the flight, and getting some sort of 
> ground transportation on the other end), made some more edits, and only 
> then did Streetcomplete decide to upload their changes (actually making 
> several changesets but grouping by type of change rather than the time 
> they were made or the geographic area in which they were made)?

As I say above, it's a possible honest mistake from spotty connectivity 
(something entirely plausible when hopping on a plane). It requires some 
context really; is it a bunch of quests local to one area, a few quests 
with a massive bounding box in two areas, then a bunch of local quests 
in a new area? Then they probably made the above mistake, not a huge 
deal, it happens. Are they constantly darting all around the country or 
world at warp speed? Probably a good idea to check in and figure out 
what's going on.

  - Justin

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