OpenStreetMap

Mysterious Data Disappearance

Posted by Amaroussi on 12 April 2013 in English (English)

I am nearly reaching six months with OpenStreetMap. In over 1,250 changesets, I have:

  1. Introduced street light and sidewalk data to London
  2. Added the London Congestion Charge
  3. Rebuilt junctions such as the one at Bricklayers Arms
  4. Restored missing roads in Greece and repaired the "refs" that give them the road numbers.
  5. Improved London bus routes such as Route 38

While we have different styles of editing, it has come to my attention that some of such data are mysteriously disappearing, not because of a very short-lived error with ITO's maps, but some users are confused about how to do certain tasks. Our editors have put a herculean effort to get this far, and my fear is that some good-faith edits may be confused for malicious editing, and it still happens occasionally.

Issue 1: No explanation

Firstly, please provide an explanation for every changeset if you are replacing or deleting data, otherwise other users may mistaken the changeset for malicious editing. Malicious editing still occurs occasionally, and I have recently reported one.

Issue 2: "Too much data!"

Next, some users have been deleting or curtailing attributes from ways because they think that there is too much data. On OpenStreetMap, however, there is no such thing as too much attributes (practically). Therefore, please do not delete attributes unless you are certain that they are obvious vandalism, completely unused (e.g. an untagged way with no visual purpose), out of date (e.g. bus stop relocated), clearly illogical (speed limits on a footpath) or erroneous (e.g. I recently dealt with a building that was accidentally uploaded over 9,000 times larger than its original size). Again, please provide an explanation for every changeset.

Issue 3: Modifying ways for relation routing

Some users have been deleting or curtailing ways because they think that doing so is the only way to create a new way to fix an issue, such as routing a relation. If you want to split a way for that, it is easy and it preserves the attributes for both parts.

  1. In Potlatch, select the way, the select the desired node, then press X or click the "scissors" icon.
  2. In JOSM, select the way, shift-select the desired node, then press P (P presumably stands for "partition").

Issue 4: Potlatch 2 hides complex data in simple mode

Finally, some users are unaware of complex data on ways in Potlatch 2's simple mode (we could do with adding a notice to the editor's window). The fact is that some tags such as street lighting and bus lanes are not visible in Potlatch 2 simple mode, but I am aware they are planning to replace it with something called iD. Again, the best way to split a way is the workaround under the subsection "Issue 3".

I hope this helps new users get used to editing on OpenStreetMap. We could do with improving the interface, though, and we are working on that.

Location: South Kensington, Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, London, Greater London, England, United Kingdom

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