Almost every day I'm out and about roaming my surrounding with a GPS device collecting track data.
I've found a ton of roads and ways not already in the map. As I use OSM data for in-car routing, I also find a lot of missing or
erroneous turn restrictions.
Thats cool right?
No, it isn't.
'Cause all this data ends up in a big pile of files either on my GPS or on my computer, never to be uploaded and integrated to OSM.
My memory fading away with time on where those turn restrictions were and what type of way it was I wandered.
I'm quiet sad about this myself. So I wondered, why don't I find the time to incorporate all the data into OSM?
Well I'm actually doing a lot of data uploading, writing descriptions, posting photos, vote on things and so on.
It's just that it is geocaching.com that I'm on, and not openstreetmap.org. So I still wonder why. What makes geocaching so much more
motivating than OSM? (Follow this Wikipedia link if you don know what geocaching is.)
Well I can only speak for myself. But I'm pretty sure this extrapolates to quite a lot other people too.
The basic activities on OSM and geocaching are quite similar. You go out and carry a GPS with you. Either finding things according to coordinates or finding things to record its coordinates.
Then you return home and record what you have done. Either by writing a log description on geocaching.com, or by tracing your GPS track in JOSM.
I admit that using JOSM is slightly more complicated and time consuming than writing some text into a website form. But that's not the point. I'm a geek, I love complicated things. I do them for fun.
What separates OSM and geocaching for me is what you do after you uploaded your data. On OSM all you can do is sit back and marvel at the map, which will show a tiny new way or mostly just an existing way in a slightly new position and maybe render style. That's it. All your work meant that approx. 20 pixels changed its color in a sea of data generated by other users.
Well of course if you are in the top league of contributers you will show up in some lists, or you may manage to bring a complete new village onto the map (I managed to do that myself a long time ago). But for normal day-to-day editing, you won't get anything noteworthy.
With geocaching on the other hand, you are rewarded for every find. Even without any further work on your own, you will be presented with your number of finds and your finds for every type of geocache. With some work you get a massive load of statistics to put on your profile page that you can compare with the ones of your friends. In which countries have I found caches, how often were I the first to find, what difficulties have I found, how far away from home have I found caches, on which day have I had my most finds, whats the eastern-, western-, norther- or southernmost cache I have found, what the farthest away from home, what was the oldest cache I have found? That's to name just a few. With just a little bit more work on your own, you will receive badges you can present on your profile page. Thats like Bronze for finding more than 250 Micro-Caches, Gold for finding a cache above 1500m or Sapphire for finding a cache every day for 70 days in a row.
I may foresee two objections here:
At first you may argue: "But who likes statistics anyway?" Well, although I won't normally admit it: I do. I already mentioned that I'm a tech geek, right? And I'm sure there are many more on OSM. I'm actually German too, which somehow means I like dull things like statistics, bureaucracy and football. And at least one of these things has to be true, hasn't it?
The second argument may be: "But geocaching is just a game, OSM is serious!" Well again, OSM may have serious fields of application, but that doesn't mean that you can't just handle it as a game as well. Actually OSM may benefit from being more of a game. As all crowd sourced projects it lives and dies with its contributors, so it has to keep them happy. You will always keep a core group of activists even if your project is boring as hell, but look where the German wikipedia is heading with this. So keeping the project fun is a core aspect of keeping it alive. And games mean fun like nothing else. You may want to watch this TED-talk on a similar subject.
So, as a conclusion, I would like to propose to come up with some statistics that can motivate people to keep on uploading data. (Length of ways added, number of different POIs, farthest from home... almost all things from geocaching will translate quite well.)
Design some badges, medals, trophies or whatever to present on profile pages for certain milestones reached.
The How did you contribute to OSM Page of Pascal Neis is a really god start.
This would, at least, motivate me to do more work on the map.
So please give me a lot of feedback on this. Do you think this will generate more motivation? Do you think it's bullshit? Are you able to design some badges or do a statistics page?
I would love to hear your thoughts.