Users' diaries

Recent diary entries

What, if anything, should I do about this?

Posted by dcp on 12 August 2016 in English (English)

Last year while hiking in the Algarve, Portugal, I added a house with its name. Recently, I received this message from an observant contributor:

This is the pertinent changeset!

by user

This is his/hers only contribution to OSM!

Bearing in mind that the name of the house was visible from the track I was walking on and that the Bing imagery is far more explicit/detailed than my OSM entry and within the definition of public domain data, then I consider "Dreganius" act to be very petty indeed.

So, what should I do?

  • nothing: What for?

  • reverse the said changeset: Dreganius could consequently do more damage than this petty act.

  • report Dreganius: And have him removed as a contributor. What would we gain?

Open road data for map improvement in Flanders, Belgium

Posted by joost schouppe on 12 August 2016 in English (English)

TL;DR: Government road data, processed to help you map roads in Flanders, Belgium. All the tiled layers are available for use in your favorite editing software.

About the data

The Flemish government has a large project to measure most stuff you find in the public domain, the GRB (Dutch). The data is measured to incredible accuracy, but the project is not focused on maximum recency. Update frequency is once or twice a year. When it comes to roads, only those that need an official streetname are included.

That's a bit limited for some purposes, so they started the Wegenregister (Registry of Roads). The idea is that all roads are included, also "slow roads" (paths and tracks), private roads and even future roads. They started of with the centerlines of roads from the GRB and enriched it with National Geographic Institute (NGI) data for smaller roads. It isn't quite finished yet: a lot of local governments must still validate the data, and there is no automatic procedure in place to feed new GRB roads to the database. So you can expect some of the "future roads" to be quite present. The NGI data is also of varying quality: it is quite complete and has generally good geometry, but it can be quite outdated.

The scope of the Wegenregister is to offer a complete road network, not navigable data. It does not include anything like access restrictions, detailed lane info or max speeds. It does contain road surface information. It is divided into segments, which go from one junction to the next. Only if a new road is added, an existing segment will be split. That means segment ID's are relatively stable. If a segment has a change of attribute somewhere, this is dealt with by dynamic segmentation. Basically, that means you have a table saying stuff like "from meter 0 to 100 asphalt, from meter 100 to end concrete".

Finding missing roads

I did some quick visual checks in my own mapping neighbourhood, and I did find a LOT of missing roads. Some forest paths, several small alleys connecting backyards to the street, some graveyard paths, some driveways. I would say 95% of the missing paths/roads still existed, about 75% worth mapping in OSM.

Enough to warrant some closer inspection.

It is open data with an OSM compatible licence, which you can download through a website. First I tried FME, as we have processes in this software at my dayjob to do similar analysis that I could reuse. Alas, it didn't scale well for larger data. QGIS, after some trial and error, did the job no problem. The main processing operations took about 36 hours on my not-fancy-at-all laptop.

First I took the OSM road data (as a shapefile, from Geofabrik), saved it in our local projection and buffered it by 7 meters. Then I used difference to find the parts of the Wegenregister that were outside of that buffer. Next I threw out segments of under 10 meters (unless they were entirely outside of the buffer). I also calculated the percentage outside of the buffer. The result are A LOT of segments (220.000 out of one million) , which are either missing in OSM or have a very different geometry.

Sharing the results

The result is still a shapefile of over 60 megabyte, so nothing you can just put on umap. Luckily, it is quite easy to make a TMS service from a shapefile using Mapbox Studio. These services can be used in a little leaflet map like this one, but can also be added in iD or JOSM.

Make sure you open the layers (button top right): you can use three background maps, see the whole Wegenregister, add Strava and see the OSM road network more clearly overlayed.


Mind you, I DO NOT want you to just get out your editor and start copying these features. There are several reasons why a road might be missing in OSM, some good, some bad:

[EDIT: thanks to tyr_asd you can now copy the URL to share your current view :)]


But you don't need to go out surveying for every single change either. In the map I provided, you can combine the view of missing Wegenregister roads with aerial photgraphy, OSM gpx and Strava gpx layers. If they all point in the same direction, you can be quite sure that OSM is wrong and Wegenregister is right.

URLs for mapping

These URLs can be added in JOSM, iD and OsmAND. In iD, click the layers button (righthandside of the screen), then click on the magnifying glass next to Custom or 'Aangepast' to insert one of the URLs. To use this in Osmand, check my previous diary entry on Strava (only works for layers containg .png). If you use JOSM, you know things like this :)

Complete Wegenregister:{z}/{x}/{y}?access_token=pk.eyJ1Ijoiam9vc3RzY2hvdXBwZSIsImEiOiJjaWh2djF1c2owMmJrdDNtMWV2c2Rld3QwIn0.9zXJJWZ4rOcspyFIdEC3Rw

Wegenregister, missing roads only:{z}/{x}/{y}?access_token=pk.eyJ1Ijoiam9vc3RzY2hvdXBwZSIsImEiOiJjaWh2djF1c2owMmJrdDNtMWV2c2Rld3QwIn0.9zXJJWZ4rOcspyFIdEC3Rw

Strava, all data:{z}/{x}/{y}.png

Strava, recent data only (seems to be hard to re-use){z}/{x}/{y}.png?y=2015&v=6


You can download the entire dataset from the AGIV website. And here is the entire dataset of missing Wegenregister roads as a shapefile. Use QGIS to extract your local area of interest. Save as GPX to add it to Osmand and go out mapping. Of course, you already have the Strava layer enabled in Osmand :)

I can also provide just the bits of Wegenregister that are outside of the buffer, just ask.

Better mapping practices

Now imagine you've checked your whole mapping neighborhood. The map will stay red, at least till the next update of the process. But what about the roads that you surveyed and concluded were invalid Wegenregister roads. They should be removed too. I'm not quite sure how to go about that.

  • We could tell the government. And they might actually listen, but by the time the road is removed from the dataset, three more mappers might have analysed the same segment.
  • We could build a list of "untrue" Wegenregister roads and remove these from analysis. There are quite stable unique identifiers available, but it would mean everybody should refer to the same list when marking something in Wegenregister as untrue.
  • We could map non-existing roads in OSM (ooh, taboo!), analogous to the not:name tag that was used in the UK to mark that the official name for a road was wrong. I was tempted into something similar in this case, where a path is indefinitely closed off, but still quite existent (as seen from the street and aerial photography)

Seizing an opportunity

I know the Belgian heavy mappers like to work on stuff, but I think this might be a nice opportunity for expanding the community a little more. I've noticed how small paths and local trails are really something that can still attract new mappers. The Flemish Trage Wegen organisation is behind that for a large part, and I sense we could work together with them on a project like this. It is also very similar to the local "inventarisations" they do.

It is a very well defined task, it is repeatable, all the tools and pitfalls can be explained quite easily. Moreover, local governments could be contacted with a very clear proposal - to help them solve a problem they would have to solve themselves pretty soon anyway.

I see two main options, which are possible conflicting.

  • Option one: a maproulette challenge or Canadian style crowdsourcing tool. It's nice and easy, but it might be a little too simplistic for this task. The Canadian style tool would probably allow to generate a vast error report for the Flemish government, which is quite cool. Microtasking like this is not compatible with the extensive local surveying which we need when the reality isn't very clear though. But it might make the job a little lighter for those working on Option Two.

  • Option two: we set up a Belgian tasking manager (as in an instance of and divide the job. It allows for very specific instructions, providing the analysed Wegenregister as imagery to people who have never used iD before and makes it really easy to track progress. Time-out for the tile you picked should probably changed from two hours to a couple of days though :)

One thing I've learned from working on Missing Maps, is that you need to use an existing network to recruit new mappers. You need an easy, repeatable task to make the work easier on OSM supporting volunteers. And you have an opportunity to take their passion (in this case "helping poor people") and try to channel it into a passion for OpenStreetMap. Change MSF for local government, mapping buildings with mapping roads, and a passion for doing good with a passion for local paths, and there you are.

Working on it

To make such a project possible, we should probably set up an online service doing something similar to my analysis. So newly mapped roads in OSM are removed from the "to map" list, as well as invalidated Wegenregister roads.

My analysis is more a proof of concept than anything else. It would be interesting to go further. For example, one could make a map with just roads that have a different name in OSM than the official name. Or just focus on the planned roads. Or suggest surfacing information for inclusion.

It would of course be nice if it were easy to take the Wegenregister geometry and apply it to the OSM data, but that might be a little too much of a challenge right now.

If you feel like working on such a project, get in touch, start on your own, or come to the SOTM Hackathon in Brussels.


Posted by Juan Mt on 11 August 2016 in Spanish (Español)

La bicicleta se ha convertido en mi medio de transporte preferido para usar en la ciudad. Anteriormente, mientras vivía en la ciudad de Puebla, utilizaba la bici como vehículo para ir a la escuela o al trabajo. Mucha gente me decía que Puebla era fácil de conducir pues se extiende sobre una superficie principalmente plana. Y la verdad es que estaban en lo correcto.

Hace pocos días me mudé a la ciudad de Xalapa para continuar con mis estudios y comencé a recorrerla con ayuda de mi bicicleta y de OruxMaps. Me di cuenta de que su nivel de dificultad radica en que se establece en un lugar bastante irregular, con subidas y bajadas constantes.

Me dispuse a recorrer algunos sitios, y pude notar que hay muchos puntos que necesitan ser editados y verificados para tener rutas actualizadas, tanto para ciclistas como para peatones y también los automovilistas.

"Bienvenido a Xalapa" me dije a mi mismo la noche de ayer cuando entré en un callejón sin salida en la Cerrada de Honduras, con un animoso perro persiguiéndome. Entonces decidí que era momento de volver a integrarme al mapeo de la ciudad.

Saludos a todos

Juan Mt

Location: Emiliano Zapata, Xalapa-Enríquez, Xalapa, Veracruz de Ignacio de la Llave, 91090, México

Land of the Giant Polygons

Posted by mtc on 11 August 2016 in English (English)

map Consider the blank region. Nothingness. Terra Incognita.

It may make you feel uneasy, with strong urges to know this unknown space.

It makes me want to explore and to discover. I want to find out the best parts, and share these places online.

Now consider this same space, under a the cover of a giant polygon. This polygon says the land is defined as a parking lot or perhaps it is a wetland? The OSM notes say that the data comes from a governmental organization of those particular area types. They are the authoritative information source. Do we conclude this map location is finished ...?

On one hand, I can see how filling a map with information is a good thing, especially when none exists. But I question the methods used on these massive polygon imports, specifically creating data that appears certainly correct. In contrast, the TIGER data was imported with an expectation that the road data was certainly incorrect. Indeed, my time is spent verifying roads and correcting the street names. A tag was even created verified=no emphasizing the questionable accuracy of the data.

But on my way to survey the TIGER roads, I pass many terrain types that are head-shakingly incorrect. In the OSM database, they appear as a mass import, from some government agency that focuses on that land type. Yes, I understand these geometries can and should be adjusted, but there is no way to know how accurate it is presently. Has it been checked through satellite imagery, does it overlap another terrain type, or has anyone surveyed? None of these things are specified in the polygon tags, so we assume it is correct. Worse, would-be mappers are now discouraged from exploring the area, because it seems to be already defined, so the incorrect data remains unchecked.

I sympathize with mappers who want to cover up all the uncomfortable blank spaces on the map. It drives my OSM involvement, too. But don't trade incompleteness for inaccuracy.

  • Take ownership of the verification of imports.
  • Limit the import scope until verification is managable.
  • Consider using a node for your area data instead of a polygon.

There is still something beautiful and special about the unexplored places. Let's not cover it all in polygons.

Public domain image credit: Il designo del discoperto della Nova Franza by Paolo Forlani, ca. 1566

Derbyshire Civil Parishes - names for unnamed areas

Posted by alexkemp on 11 August 2016 in English (English)

(see also Nottinghamshire Civil Parishes - names for unnamed areas)

I'm in the middle of “Walking the Bounds” for Rushcliffe and need to find which Derbyshire ‘unnamed_shape’ (aka “non-civil parish”) is the one for Long Eaton (it is on the Rushcliffe border). That means ploughing through all those ‘unnamed_shapes’ in the list of Parish gpx. Whilst I do that I may as well document all the shapes:—


See Also:

(council pdf) Districts + Parishes
Derbyshire Civil Parishes (wikipedia)
(note that a Civil Parish (CP) has zero connection with an Ecumenical Parish)
OSM Wiki: What is a Relation
OSM Wiki: Relations for BoundaryLines
OSM Wiki: HowTo Add a New Member to a Relation
Proposal for UK Admin Boundaries
Parish Codes (2015)

Admin Tags for Derbyshire:

boundary=administrative: (on the relation grouping those ways)

admin_level=1: n/a
admin_level=2: (Border, external (with Irish Republic))
admin_level=3: n/a
admin_level=4: (Border, internal (with Wales/Scotland))
admin_level=5: Region is “East Midlands”
admin_level=6: County/Unitary_Authority is “Derbyshire, City of Derby”
admin_level=7: n/a
admin_level=8: Borough/District (eg Amber Valley District)
admin_level=9: n/a
admin_level=10: Parish (eg Alfreton CP)



Extra Tags:

designation=non-civil_parish (OS designation for Unparished areas)
is_in:region=East Midlands
is_in:district=Amber Valley District
name:old=Hucknall Torkard CP
old_name=Hucknall Torkard CP
ref:gss=E04002838 (Government Statistical Service codes; this is Sawley; obtained from within the Parish GPX)

Unnamed Shapes Named:

Q: When is a Civil Parish not a Parish?
A1: When it is a Non-Civil Parish
A2: When it is a Municipal Borough or an Urban District

In short, there are 8 areas in Derbyshire that, if it were drawn as a map of CPs, would have 8 holes within it, each of which is given the generic classification of being “unparished”. Whatever that means.

  1. Unnamed_shape_691.gpx
    This is Buxton (Unparished).
  2. Unnamed_shape_692.gpx
    This is Glossop (Unparished). It is notable for having about 5/6 of a perfect circle in it's border.
  3. Unnamed_shape_724.gpx
    This is Swadlincote (Unparished).
  4. Unnamed_shape_766.gpx
    This is Ilkeston (Unparished).
  5. Unnamed_shape_767.gpx
    This is Long Eaton (Unparished).
    2016 August 13: Entered as just “Long Eaton” (no ‘(unparished)’, as some folks seem to dislike the suffix, even though that is how the Council refers to it; also, no ‘CP’, since it is not a Civil Parish) (make your own joke here).
  6. Unnamed_shape_836.gpx
    This is Riddings (Unparished).
  7. Unnamed_shape_967.gpx
    This is Chesterfield (Unparished).
  8. Unnamed_shape_9340.gpx
    This is the City of Derby (a Unitary Authority, but is also completely Unparished).
Location: New Zealand, Allestree, Derby, East Midlands, England, DE22, United Kingdom

Mapping exit numbers and destinations in Canada

Posted by poornibadrinath on 11 August 2016 in English (English)


Exit numbers and destinations on highways are an important aspect of navigation since they guide the user where do they have to exit the freeway in order to reach their destination and which other cities or towns or areas the highway interlinks. Making any map more navigable or any routing machine more accurate includes all the minute details and improvements. In an effort to broaden the reach of OpenStreetMap to the people and make it better in routing and guidance, we are adding exit and destination tags for highways in five priority cities of Canada.

The Approach:

We are concentrating on five major cities of Canada: Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, Vancouver and Calgary to add the exit and destination tags and the method we intend to follow 👇🏻

  • We are using tasking manager for loading the highways as a separate task and open it directly onto checkautopista2. Checkautopista2 by k1wi is a neat tool that highlights all the highways and their exits which makes it easier to add the exit and destination tags. taskmanager_checkautopista4

  • You can get involved with the project and know about adding exits and destinations from the detailed workflow.

Here's how you can get involved:

Adding exit and destination tags is based on good sources: Mapillary, local knowledge and official documents. You can contribute to this project of making one of Canada's most detailed maps by contributing to:

  • Mapillary coverage of the higways that would aid us in adding right destination tags.
  • Adding exit and destinations to highways. Community participation has already ensured that around 1500 destination tags are added across Canada 👏🏻 🎉
  • Validation of our edits. You being local mappers have more knowledge on the highways than us and it would be great to have your eyes on what we add.
  • Refer to any other verifiable source like official documents, secondary sources which would help us in adding the missing tags.
  • Suggesting on how better to improve our existing workflow

A few questions:

After an initial groundwork into the already mapped exit numbers and destinations, some observations are:

  • We noticed that destination (places, cities) and destination:ref (highways) tags are being added to the nodes of exits as name tags.
  • Few exit nodes have destinations given in the ref tag, instead of ways
  • The destination:street ( for ways that lead towards streets, avenues, boulevard, rue) tags are not being used.

Our questions are:

  • Is the usage of name=* instead of destination=* on the exit nodes the usual protocol?
  • Is it acceptable if we change the name=* tag to the appropriate destination tags and move the tags from the Exit nodes to the correspoding ways?

---> A full breakdown of the observations and here's the OSMWiki for adding destination tags.

We would like to hear from the community about the agreed method of mapping exit numbers and destinations in Canada to take this further.

The turn restriction sprint in Canada was met with an immense support from the OpenStreetMap Community who guided us in all stages by improving our workflow, keeping an eye on the errors and contributing to adding turn restrictions and also Mapillary. It would be great to have you working with us in adding exit and destinations in all the five priority cities of Canada and making sure all the gaps are filled :)

भोपाल वार्ड नक्शा

Posted by pratikyadav on 11 August 2016 in English (English)

screen shot 2016-08-11 at 4 16 52 pm

नगर पालिका भोपाल द्वारा प्रकाशित नक्शा जो के सारे वार्डस को दिखता है.

OSM पर यह जानकारी अभी नहीं है.

English version

Published by Bhopal Municipal Corporation, the map shows all admin-wards.

The information is not yet in OSM and could be a good addition.

Location: Idgah hills, Bairagarh, Bhopal, Bhopāl, Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, 462001, India

Shiny Windows!

Posted by Zabot on 11 August 2016 in English (English)

Its finally coming together, here's a look at the building windows, now with reflections. This first image is using a high resolution for the reflections, 1000px, while the second reflection only has a resolution of 100px. High Res

While intended to allow the user to modify the performance and memory necessary to handle reflections, I actually think that the blur produced by the lower resolution reflection is quite interesting. Low Res

Quando usar túnel e ponte/viaduto juntos

Posted by naoliv on 10 August 2016 in Brazilian Portuguese (Português do Brasil)

Resposta rápida é "quase nunca".

Sempre vejo as pessoas mapeando uma ponte/viaduto em uma rodovia e colocando o trecho que passa debaixo desse viaduto como "túnel", de forma errada.

Exemplos (pontes com uma borda azul e túneis com uma borda alaranjada):

Nesses casos não é para utilizar um túnel passando debaixo da ponte/viaduto.
Ou se utiliza um túnel ou uma ponte, mas não os dois (e nesses exemplo o correto é, se não na maioria das vezes, sempre utilizar uma ponte)

Como já tenho um banco SpatiaLite com SP + MG eu pensei numa forma de detectar isso:

        'w' || a.osm_id || ' w' || b.osm_id AS 'ways',
        Intersection(a.GEOMETRY, b.GEOMETRY) AS 'geometria'
        lines AS a,
        lines AS b
        a.ROWID IN (SELECT ROWID FROM SpatialIndex WHERE f_table_name = 'lines' AND search_frame = b.Geometry) AND
        a.highway IS NOT NULL AND
        b.highway IS NOT NULL AND
        a.other_tags LIKE '%"bridge"=>%' AND
        b.other_tags LIKE '%"tunnel"=>%' AND
        Crosses(a.GEOMETRY, b.GEOMETRY)

E dá certo! (alguns dos exemplos são as imagens do começo).

Ele retorna uma coluna contendo o id dos dois caminhos que se interceptam (uma ponte e um túnel) e uma geometria da interseção (caso queira adicionar um nó de fixme para verificar)

Mais uma Gambiarra que funciona™ para a minha lista de coisas para verificar.

Então ao ver um caminho passando debaixo de uma ponte, não é para transformá-lo em túnel. Essas passagens debaixo de uma ponte não são túneis (em geral).

Mapping pedestrian crossings

Posted by mvexel on 10 August 2016 in English (English)

I am on a roll mapping pedestrian crossings (or 'crosswalks' as Americans tend to call them.

First I download a sliver of the map that covers a major road in JOSM:


I think you could also use 'download along way' in JOSM if the road is not nice and straight, but around here they usually are.

Then I pan along the way and add crossing nodes using Shift-R to quickly copy pedestrian crossing tags from the previous node.


This way I can add about 15 pedestrian crossings a minute.

Bicycle Mapping

Posted by mtc on 10 August 2016 in English (English)

I have been following (and enjoying!) the diary entries through my RSS news reader, and so I am encouraged to share my own thoughts here, as well.

When I first got into the openstreetmap project, I was verifying on-foot. I took a six-year break (how time flies!), and now I have a bicycle and a cheap smartphone at my disposal. The increased mobility is quite an improvement!

While I still encourage new mappers to print a paper with a couple blocks to verify, using the wonderful Field Papers web service, I myself have moved to verifying miles of road in a single outting. I am knocking out big chunks of town, each week, where previously it would take me the entire Summer.

I have not totally figured out all the details, but my typical outting looks like this: Print a few blocks using JOSM and the US Forestry Service layer for a while background. I use the Ubuntu operating system, so I capture the JOSM display using the Screenshot application. I jump on my bicycle and activate OSMAnd+ trip logging, with the one second logging interval. With my printout, phone, and golf pencil, I head out to my target area. So fun is being on this secret mission!

Using the bicycle is socially better, too. When I walked, I often got strange glares from people, who were uncomfortable seeing strangers on their less-travelled road. It is my understanding that outside the USA, people are more accepting to pedestrians traversing their property. We do not have the idea of Right-of-Way here. What we do have are many property owners who enforce their No Trespassing signs. But with a bicycle, I am not lingering long enough for people to notice or work themselves up for being concerned. With a bicycle, I enter roads that say "Private Road, Residents Only" when before I would skip these areas.

When I am back home again, I copy the GPX track to my laptop, fire up JOSM, remove a few TIGER verified=no tags, and improve the road data. I look forward to verifying the remainder of my town, soon, then moving onward to other towns, next. Verifying OSM data gets me excited to get outside and moving, and now I am using my bicycle so much more, too.

If you see a bicycle on the road with a smartphone strapped to his back, be sure to slow down, drive safely, and smile. It might be me out there collecting OSM data!

Someone is trying to steal the information of people

Posted by Olga1 on 10 August 2016 in Abkhazian (Аҧсуа)

Be careful, someone are used openstreetmap with and send messages to whom are working with opens free. This person offer to you 3.5 millon he or she deposit this money in your account. Don't open or send any back this .

This person says that she works with Red Cross. I want someones to know about computer system block this class of people.

our work is important.

Alguien esta mandado mensajes atraves de openstreetmap dice atraves de Esta tratando de robar su personal identificacion. Dice que confia en Usted y Te deposita 3.5 millones en su cuenta , dice ser miembro de la Cruz roja y supuestamente militar. Cualquier ingeniero de sistema que pueda bloquear a Estas Clase de personas les agradecemos o reporte Esto a la autoridad competente, queremos trabajar voluntariamente y ayudar a la comunidad, nuestro tiempo Es importante.



Endereços do Distrito Federal

Posted by wille on 9 August 2016 in Brazilian Portuguese (Português do Brasil)

Recentemente, o IBGE publicou os dados das Faces de Logradouros de todo o Brasil em formato vetorial. Esse dataset traz basicamente os dados dos nomes de ruas separados por quarteirão e está disponível no servidor FTP do IBGE. O Distrito Federal, porém, não tem nomes de ruas, mas sim uma identificação de endereços por quadras, blocos, conjuntos e/ou lotes.

Boa parte desses dados já estão nas camadas de TMS IBGE Setores Urbanos e Rurais gerada há alguns anos pelo Thiago Santos a partir dos PDFs que o IBGE havia disponibilizado. Entretanto esta camada tem alguns problemas, como alinhamento errado em alguns locais e algumas áreas faltantes, o que impede que alguns elementos sejam mapeados.

Assim, gerei uma camada TMS utilizando o Mapbox Studio com todos os dados do Distrito Federal para facilitar o mapeamento desses locais.

Esplanada dos Ministérios em Brasília

Super quadra da Asa Norte

Para utilizar a camada, utilize a seguinte URL:{z}/{x}/{y}?access_token=pk.eyJ1Ijoid2lsbGUiLCJhIjoicFNVWk5VWSJ9.hluCd0YGvYHNlFi_utWe2g

Location: SHN, Brasília, Região Integrada de Desenvolvimento do Distrito Federal e Entorno, Distrito Federal, Região Centro-Oeste, 70716901, Brasil

Adding columns to a non-updatable import.

Posted by Marcos Dione on 9 August 2016 in English (English)

I reimported Europe lately, but I forgot a column. Because I had several space problems which I had to solve by hand (and also because it takes a lot of time), I simply sat down and reprocessed the extract with pysomium, adding the missing data to the rendering database. More details in my glob

Nothing personal, just GPS tracks

Posted by BushmanK on 9 August 2016 in English (English)

GPS tracks, contributed by OSM members still are sometimes very important source of information for mapping. However, built-in OSM database has certain issues, such as inability to delete obviously harmful data, such as airborne tracks, huge wandering spots, created by receivers in standing cars, etc. Currently, all responsibility for GPS data quality is on contributors, since they have to take care of getting rid of wandering spots, super-generalized tracks, tracks with high GDOP and so on before uploading it. While only a few people actually know about all these aspects and care about it. Complexity of track contribution process (at least, it's not a"one click procedure") makes fresh tracks more and more rare.

Strava heat map is another (often - way more dense) source of GPS tracks. But it's limited by running and cycling activities.

For a long time, I've been saying, that any more or less popular mobile map/navigation application, which uses OSM data, can help to improve GPS tracks coverage. And being properly developed, it will not require any actions from its user, except giving his permission to record and upload tracks anonymously. It's an ideal case, where valuable contribution could be fully automated and independent of user's skills or knowledge. Set of simple filters (GDOP, top speed, geolocation source provider) can reduce consumed traffic and improve data quality.

And here is an example of tracks, collected for only a week by Yandex (major Russian web/mobile company) commercial applications. Note, how dense their point cloud is. Yandex GPS point cloud This screenshot was taken by OSM member luiswoo using Bing satellite imagery and Yandex GPS point cloud, which can't be used for OSM mapping.

So, keeping in mind all that recent controversy about contributions, made by untrained users of popular application, based on OSM data, I'd like to mention again, that voluntary GPS data contribution does not require any training, if track recording application is properly developed.

Gehen OSM die Mapper aus?

Posted by w-j-s on 9 August 2016 in German (Deutsch)

Wenn man so sieht, wer wo im Schwarzwald, dem Elsass oder dem Raum Basel editiert: es ist mittlerweile da ziemlich mau aus. Recht wenige Leute - und es wird da gebaut wie noch nie in den letzten 10 Jahren: Häuser, Straßen, Kreisverkehre. Man kommt da gar nicht nach, die Karte aktuell zu halten,

Da stellt sich mir als mittlerweile recht wenig aktivem Wikipedianer und Heise-Foren-Troll die Frage, ob OSM die Mapper ausgehen. (Was ja jemandem in den USA, der die "Craft-Mapper" eh nicht mag, gefallen dürfte, siehe

So nebenbei: zeigt uns einen offenkundigen Silicon-Valley-Nerd, der wohl nicht gerade oft im Wald Mountainbike fährt, oder das Rad als Transportmittel benutzt. Recht mager, die Beiträge zu OSM bisher, wenn man so austeilt wie er.)

Aber zurück zu OSM: Viele Leute scheinen die Lust wieder verloren zu haben, die da mal aktiv waren. C'est la vie, offenbar. (und von diesem Account wird man auch nichts erwarten dürfen, vielleicht Fehlermeldungen in OSM setzen und lösen oder vielleicht Blogposts ;-).

Und Neulinge? Vielleicht sind kommerzielle Karten wie Google den Leuten gut genug, weil sie eh Luftbilder bevorzugen. Karten setzen ja ein gewisses Maß an Abstraktionsvermögen voraus - und das dürfte vielen Leuten einfach fehlen. Wer war in Erdkunde etwa in der Schule wirklich gut?

Oder liegt es auch daran, dass das das Smartphone den PC in der Internetnutzung abgelöst hat? Das Smartphone taugt nicht viel zum Editieren, vielleicht außer den - allerdings sehr wichtigen - POIs, dem Salz in der Suppe sozusagen.

Aber die Suppe selbst? Diese undankbare Kiloarbeit, aus Luftbildern, Mapillary-Bildern, Maps4bw und natürlich selber, am besten eigenen GPS-Traces vor Ort erkunden, eine Karte* zu erstellen, das ist vielleicht nur etwas für Leute mit Asperger. Das macht 1% der Bevölkerung, überwiegend auch noch Männer, und die müssen dann auch noch Karten statt Wikipedia mögen. (Das war jetzt nicht alles ganz ernst gemeint).

Manchmal gibt es allerdings auch Lichtblicke: Da kümmert man sich etwa in Schopfheim nach fünf Jahren der Abstinenz dort mal wieder um die Suppe und kurze Zeit später fängt jemand anders damit an, diese zu auch gut würzen.

In Neuenburg bleibt die Suppe dagegen offenbar fad, auch wenn sie gerade heiß gemacht wird. ;-)

*zur Karte: Ja, OSM ist keine Karte, es ist eine Geodatenbank, aus der man u.a. auch unterschiedlichste Karten herstellen kann - aber etwa auch Navigationslösungen. Das macht es aber alles nicht einfacher.

Fixing split buildings in LA

Posted by manings on 9 August 2016 in English (English)

Last time, we talked about how we imported over 1 million buildings in LA. Watch this video from our SOTM-US talk. In this post, we'll talk about our ongoing cleanup.

No data is perfect, the quality of what we imported in OpenStreetMap was generally good, but in all things data, there will always be unexpected cases.

During the import trials, we discovered that the LA City data was split to the parcel boundaries resulting to small polygons that should be part of the larger building (see: #71). We fix this during the import by using the Auto-tools plugin in JOSM but there were cases when it wasn't fixed.

screen shot 2016-07-21 at 11 47 25

Detecting split buildings

We ran a detection for split buildings by analyzing size and shapes of buildings using OSM-QA-tiles, turf and tilereduce. A sample output looks like this:

screen shot 2016-08-04 at 15 07 21

The general idea is that:

  • small buildings are more compact (low area, high shape value);
  • large buildings are complex and wiggly (high area, low shape value).

The reverse is true for invalid/split buildings.

After several trials, we came up with an acceptable threshold for split buildings in LA.

Here are some examples of valid detection:


valid_large_splitThin/narrow rectangles


valid_diagonalDiagonal cuts

Fixing with Maproulette

The script detected ~4K buildings and is available as a task in Maproulette:

Workflow for JOSM

  1. Go to and login with your OpenStreetMap account.
  2. Open JOSM and activate Remote Control tool.
  3. Download the Auto-tools plugin.
  4. Start fixing by merging the split building to the adjacent larger building using Auto-tools.


For ideas how to do this in iD, let me know.

We are continuously improving how we detect split buildings, if you have ideas, comment here or directly in the ticket.

Thank you for fixing!

Location: Nevin, Jefferson, Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, California, 90011, United States of America

Added Houses in my Neighborhood

Posted by jbchurchill on 9 August 2016 in English (English)

I added my house and then decided to add several of my neighbor's houses. While here I noticed a couple of non-existent roads and fixed the location of one of the main roads in the neighborhood. I'm sort of enjoying this!

Location: Parkersburg Road Northwest, Morantown, Allegany County, Maryland, 21532, United States of America

Barra Mansa Rio de Janeiro Brazil

Posted by Gabriel Vilela on 8 August 2016 in Brazilian Portuguese (Português do Brasil)

Melhor cidade do Sul Fluminense

Location: Bairro Jardim Alice, Barra Mansa, Microrregião Vale do Paraíba Fluminense, Mesorregião Sul Fluminense, Rio de Janeiro, Região Sudeste, Brasil


Posted by Cartixa on 8 August 2016 in Portuguese (Português)


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