OpenStreetMap

Another happy customer

Posted by Chaos99 on 15 February 2012 in English (English)

Geocaching.com, the biggest and most 'official; geocaching website has just announced that they will switch to OSM maps.

They state that they have been contacted by Google and would have to pay for their map usage in the future. Probably they didn't like that idea very much.

As a geocacher myself, I'm quite happy about the move. Their premium account already costs some money, and I wouldn't want that price to increase because of google.

Until now, OSM maps were an option on their main map display. lately they switched their static map thumbnails to OSM, now they moved the main map too.
They say they are using leaflet, user report that for know the tile source is MapQuest. But future plans seem to point to an own server, as they already talk about the new features they can implement with OSM, that weren't possible before.

Just do yourself a favor and don't dive into the comment section of that original blog post. A particular 'unhappy' customer is flaming heavily against OSM.

http://blog.geocaching.com/2012/02/new-geocaching-com-maps/

Comment from Hendric Stattmann on 15 February 2012 at 11:47

Good news!
I am positive that the added awareness of OSM amongst people who specifically spend time with a GPS will bring us a number of new contributors.

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Comment from CraigRat on 15 February 2012 at 11:50

It's a pity that thread has been disrupted by a troll.

I don't think he understands the OSM concept at all.

I run a geocaching listing site myself, based in Australia, and we have OSM as a map type (admittedly we use GMaps as the primary one). We still have a fair few users using the OSM layer though.

Kind of funny to see all my mapping data on my main rivals website :-)

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Comment from GEOMSG on 15 February 2012 at 14:36

I have been geocaching for over a year, I live on the caching maps at work, looking at places I want to visit and caches to find. I absolutely love these OSM maps. I just created a account and have already started contributing to my small town, adding locations and basic stuff. very cool. Although I am still learning, I have added two supermarkets, a liquer store, and our fire station moved and I updated that. But I've only seen one update show up, I am guessing it takes time to catch up.

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Comment from Chaos99 on 15 February 2012 at 14:57

@GEOMSG

Hey, thanks for contributing! Editing maps will soon be as much fun as geocaching. You will see ;) The updates on the actual maps take a while, as these need to be re-rendered first. Depending on the server load it may take less than a minute or up to a day. Higher zoom levels tend to update faster than those far away.

@Hendric I think GEOMSG just proved your point to be valid.

@CraigRat Yes, a pity that this troll spoiled this rather prominent thread. But the commenters just keep feeding him..
Here in Germany we have rivaling geocaching sites too, but they only have rather poor user- (and cache-) numbers. I hope your site does better. (You didn't name it by the way.) Geocaching.com has a lot of things to improve, but as long as they still do enough things right, the majority of users will stay there. But if you keep an eye on their policy regarding API, restriction of basic users and tightening of cache placing rules, we might see a change there in the future...

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Comment from GEOMSG on 15 February 2012 at 15:07

thanks for commenting so quickly, I noticed a very large lake in my area does not show up on the map, I have already marked out small ponds in my area that are not on the map either, some have already showed up! when I zoom in on this large lack, it has borders for islands and stuff, maybe you can look at it for me and give me a suggestion on how to mark it correctly. it is Lake Murray in Columbia, South Carolina. It is north west of columbia. Thanks for replying to me!

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Comment from GEOMSG on 15 February 2012 at 15:08

lack = lake lol

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Comment from Chaos99 on 15 February 2012 at 16:17

@GEOMSG
Hey,

the lake showed up fine first, but then vanished. Seems that I had a good version in my browser cache which is gone now. I'll take a look into it.

The lake itself is not tagged as the small ones are. Because lines have a maximum number of nodes, a lake as big as this can not be described by a single line along its shore.

So the tags like natural=water and name=Murray Lake are actually on a so called mutipolygon relation, a virtual element which lists all the separate pieces of shore line.

You might want to read up on this on these sites:
http://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Relation
http://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Relation:multipolygon

Maybe some small part of the shore line was deleted or removed from the multipolygon list. I will see if I can find out.

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Comment from GEOMSG on 15 February 2012 at 16:23

Thanks for commenting, I have been reading the wiki, seems like alot to learn.

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Comment from Chaos99 on 15 February 2012 at 16:49

Found the bug. I used this tool to find the spot:
http://tools.geofabrik.de/osmi/?view=multipolygon&lon=-81.38484&lat=34.02844&zoom=18&opacity=0.76&overlays=invalid_geometry_hull,duplicate_ways,intersections,intersection_lines,ring_not_closed_hull,ring_not_closed,unconnected_end_nodes,touching_inner_rings_hull,touching_inner_rings,role_mismatch_hull,role_mismatch,duplicate_tags_hull,duplicate_tags,multipolygons_type_is_boundary,type_is_boundary,ways,role_markers,way_end_nodes,way_nodes

(sorry for the mess, don't know if I can use html syntax here to shorten the link)

There were some un-aligned endpoints along the southern shore line. I fixed that. Let's wait if the map will re-render.

Just remember that OSM has a lot of communication channels: this blog, the offical osm blog, the wiki, the wiki-discussions, the zillion mailing lists, a forum and some bugtracker-like system at help.osm.org and statistical sites like taginfo. You might get help on all of these, but none of them is ultimatively right about anything. But you will get a good overview while browsing the wiki.

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Comment from GEOMSG on 15 February 2012 at 17:32

Awesome thank you! It is amazing how many roads are not correct in my little town, mostly alot of new development. I am having alot of fun. Sorry to hijack your diary.

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Comment from Chaos99 on 15 February 2012 at 18:10

You don't hijack anything. Actually, the more fun you have, the more advertisement for OSM it generates.

So just keep on going. You can contact me directly through the OSM messaging system if you need any help. Just remember only to use 'legal' sources for your mapping. Don't use google maps to look up anything. Local knowledge and the bing image background in the editor are fine though.

Have fun!

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Comment from Rovastar on 16 February 2012 at 00:51

A busy site embracing openstreetmap that can only be good.

But I don't see any copyright notices at all to openstreetmap

http://www.geocaching.com/map/

I thought they are meant to do that. They have cloudmade and mapquest but no openstreetmap.

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Comment from Rovastar on 16 February 2012 at 01:13

and in the openstreetmap view of the map they use tiles straight from the tile.openstreetmap.org server

That isn't allowed either is it?!?

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Comment from Chaos99 on 16 February 2012 at 06:53

@Rovastar

Good point. The attribution for the new MapQuest map is clearly missing (the display it for the other map types).

Usage of the osm.org tiles is not strictly forbidden. It's just a fair use policy you should act according to. Osm.org will block tile usage if this is overused.

I'll see if I can get someone from the foundation to take a look at it. It's no good if everyone writes a mail or comment on its own and they get flooded with this. It's probably just a mistake. That's only their second day after all.

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Comment from Rovastar on 16 February 2012 at 22:13

Yeah i expect a mistake/oversight too. I was a little worried OSM might cut them off from the tile server in fair use as they will have a lot of traffic.
It is early days for them and but a huge site to get onboard for OSM and one were a reasonable percentage might join OSM to make the map better.

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Comment from Chaos99 on 16 February 2012 at 22:35

I've contacted them and mentioned the missing attribution. I also thanked them for choosing OSM and described the mutual benefits we may achieve.

I've also documented the missing attribution and the contact in the wiki, so that hopefully they don't get spammed by angry osm users.

I haven't talked about the usage policy though. They have that openstreetmap layer for a long time now and if they didn't hit the tile cut before, they likely won't hit it now. Also I don't remember seeing geocaching.com at top places in the usage statistics last time I took a look.

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