SomeoneElse has commented on the following diary entries

Post When Comment
Switch2osm "Manually building a tile server" page updated 5 days ago

Do you think at this point the whole instruction should be just "docker up wherever/openstreetmap"?

It rather depends on what you're trying to do, I think. If you're already familiar with Docker etc. and "just want to render some tiles", then quite possibly. If you're not, or you want to set up a server to serve custom tiles in an app, or you want to understand more about how everything hangs together, then probably not. The idea behind these guides is that you can follow them with essentially no existing knowledge. The carto docker guide just throws you at this page and expects you to figure out for yourself what you need.

Following the same steps for 4 years seems to be a bit redundant in 2018.

The "obvious bit missing" to me is an equivalent guide for some sort of vector mapping. OpenMapTiles is a whole lot nearer to that than it used to be, but it's not quite a solution to the same problem.

captcha 9 days ago

Something like this? See also this PDF.

Issues with Japan imports 21 days ago

(re tag removal) JOSM, and some other editors, will remove some imported or previously set tags that subsequent discussions have suggested are best removed. See the comments at for example.

How to track and encourage contribution? 24 days ago

I am very surprised that you consider it to be "fairly straightforward" (!!!) to get hundreds of command-line steps working. I mean, I've done a fair bit of Linux development, and I'd schedule several days to get something like that working; for the general mapper, that's clearly a non-starter.

The entire text of the page is only 402 lines long, and most of that is description. Based on my experience if you've done it before I'd estimate it would take about 2-3 hours to cut and paste the commands onto a server and complete the data load (if for a relatively small region) - including the documented tea breaks!

How, exactly, does having ones own map server help with that?

In at least two specific ways:

  1. If there's a group of people working on a lightly mapped area (perhaps a HOT or similar project) then a server that's under their control is capable of rendering whatever tiles they want, at whatever zoom level, whenever they want. This is not currently possible with the tile layers on for all sorts of reasons, including the "long tail" of applications fighting for those same free tiles.
  2. You're not limited to the tile styles currently displayed on the OSM website. OSM's standard style is a compromise designed to cover vast deserts and tightly-packed cities. It's limited to a relatively conservative maximum zoom level which prevents a lot of detail being visible but suppresses what might be important features in some places (paths and tracks, say) when zoomed out.

You say above that the situation is "sad", and I'm trying to help provide a solution. There's always room for improvement of course - an opportunity for someone to create a better mousetrap - but to say "All the ways that used to exist, to get visual or numerical feedback or progress metrics, are gone" isn't remotely true.

How to track and encourage contribution? 30 days ago

Re "Refreshing the map after doing major edits", I wouldn't currently rely on any of the maps available at for this, for the reasons that you describe. For a number of people working in a relatively lightly-mapped area it'd be fairly straightforward to set up a temporary rendering of just that area, and have the tiles as up to date as you like (since you're not fighting for resources with all OSM mappers worldwide). The switch2osm guide would be a good place to start for this, and most countries or regions could be happily rendered by a bit of spare time on an off-the-shelf desktop PC or equivalent.

How are you "supposed" to map landuse? 30 days ago

I also wouldn't assume that all comments on diary entries** are anything other than the contributor's personal view :)

With regard to trees / woodland / forest et al there's been a lot of discussion about the various tags in use and what they "actually mean". This page describes 6 approaches. For trees, the main tags used are landuse=forest with 3 million examples and natural=wood with 4.5 million. By contrast, landcover=trees has 19,000. If it expresses what you want to get across by all means use it as a tag but do be aware that many data consumers will be confused by it.

More generally, I wouldn't worry too much about landuse (at all), especially not about "covering the entire globe". It's far more useful to know that roads and paths are present and correct, and that shops and offices (that people actually visit) are up to date.

** including this one

Surau and parking in building enhancement suggestion 30 days ago

@AkuAnakTimur What gets rendered on OSM maps (including the 4 that are available on doesn't depend what's in the wiki (proposals etc.). It's mostly to do with the tag having a clear meaning and being widely used across the world (see the discussions about new tags at e.g. the standard style's github issues list for more detail).

Of course, if you want to create your own maps that show this tag with a particular icon, you can.

When the World Needs a Map, Give them a Database about 1 month ago

Silly question, but what does "STOM" stand for here? This suggests various possibilities, the only vaguely "geo" one of which is "safe transport of munitions" which seems unlikely...

Priorities about 1 month ago

Also, is there a place for open questions like this?

The help site is great for specific "how do I do X" questions, but for more open questions I'd just suggest a diary entry :)

Network Rail - Sectional Appendix 2 months ago

As an aside:

I don't know why it made some of my text bold from my previous response.

Comments here use Markdown, and sometimes things in "ordinary text" get interpreted as formatting. If you hit "preview" before "save" you should get a chance to review and correct.

Descriptions of OSM tags in any language using Wikidata 2 months ago

@PlaneMad Agreed that we could create wikidata entries for every "OSM tag XYZ" as distinct from "the English concept XYZ"; I'm just not clear what that buys us over and above an existing OSM wiki article that can be translated into other languages? It just makes the whole thing harder to maintain.

How to import open source boundaries -- Like Wards 2 months ago

At the risk of stating the obvious there are a few steps to be carried out before actually doing the import, as described at .

Descriptions of OSM tags in any language using Wikidata 2 months ago

Or you could just translate the text of the OSM wiki page using an online translation tool? The problem with using wikipedia / wikidata for this is that the words that OSM uses to describe things often don't match the dictionary definition (in any language, even British English) of those things, even for basic things like "city".

Obviously online translation quality varies by language, and not all languages have available online translations but by using the OSM wiki text rather than source data from wikipedia (which is where 99% of wikidata came from) it'll at least describe OSM, rather than something that might appear the same but actually is subtly different.

Linear barriers 3 months ago

@LivingWithDragons Personally, I don't tend to map cattle grids (or gates for that matter) as ways, but some people do, so it made sense to me to try and render them.

The wiki has a bit of a dual personality - to "describe how people map" and to "tell people how to map" . I tend to think that the former is what it should be doing more of, but there are certainly people who think it should be for the latter. In this particular case I don't really understand why the wiki thinks that a cattle grid is never a linear feature whereas for example a gate can be. They're often right next to each other and exactly the same width!

Linear barriers 3 months ago

@imagico the latitude problem is one I hadn't thought about - as I understand it you're going to get about a factor of 2 between the north of Scotland and the equator. That's a problem for runways, but not so much for hedges (an individual hedge anywhere in the world can vary by more than that anyway).

The "crossable things being stronger than non-crossable things" issue I did think about, but realistically fences are a really common long barrier, and having them dominate the map because they're stronger than gates and stiles would look pretty horrible. The idea of doing it this way was to have a bit that looked "obviously different" in a fence line. See partial map key here.

@warin by "width" I mean perpendicular to the cattle grid way, i.e. parallel to the road (so north-south in the example). The length of the cattle grid way is the "width" of the cattle grid as viewed by a road user, and is as long as it was drawn in OSM.

Frustration about iD editor's inability to easily draw rectangular buildings 3 months ago

@Polyglot Re the "JOSM vs iD" thing, I remember reading something recently (probably another diary entry?) where people did a cost-benefit analysis of iD vs JOSM (answer - it depends how long they're in the room for and a few other variables - if you have people for an hour you don't want to waste most of that struggling to install and learn JOSM). With a DWG hat and a finger in the air I reckon I see just as high a proportion of "new user issues" with JOSM as with iD; they're just different sorts of issues (dragging a whole town 100km to the east instead of failing to square a building). JOSM's great, and it's the best tool for many jobs in OSM, but it's not the best tool for every job (in fact I don't use it in what might be called my "normal" mapping because it doesn't do some of the things that I rely on that other editors do).

Frustration about iD editor's inability to easily draw rectangular buildings 3 months ago

@Polyglot Without wishing to channel Dale Carnegie here, what are you actually hoping to achieve by this diary entry?

The list post that provoked the tweet was very broad and attacked one small part of a large problem (lack of training and lack of retention of remote mappers at organised events - see the thread from just before the offending list post on the HOT list).

Whether or not it's an actual problem or not (do NGOs really think "that building isn't square on OSM so I won't include it when drawing up my humanitarian relief / malaria extinction / whatever plans"?) you seem to be do all you can to prevent progress in your desired direction.

Imagine if , instead of being full of relatively polite comments contained comments saying that people hated your work, or that you shouldn't X but instead do Y, and that somehow not doing Y was somehow a moral failing on your part and that you "owe it to" people to do Y. Would you start doing Y instead of X immediately? I'm guessing that like the majority of humans on the planet you probably wouldn't.

If you actually want to change the way iD works, start at the "Participate!" section of the readme at . The prerequisites aren't major (though the challenges of contributing to any large JS codebase will likely take a bit of learning).

If that's not a something you're able to do then the wider issue (HOT new mapper retention and training) surely is. How can that process be improved so that people know that squaring buildings is even a thing, and instead of being only 30% likely to return to mapping are much more likely to do so? Instead of saying "there is a problem, X should do Y" ask "how can I help?".

Best Regards, Andy

Full disclaimer - I'm a DWG member but this is just my personal view. With a DWG hat on I've handled complaints both ways about HOT mapping ("X's mapping in $place wasn't very good" and "Y deleted all the stuff I added there").

Planned rendering changes of protected areas 4 months ago

That rendering is mostly just what OSM Carto did in 2014 - I've reduced the roads that appear at that zoom level, but don't think I've changed nature reserve / national park rendering. See for how it normally looks in the UK.

The internal borders actually are present in a very light dashed green, but it's light enough to not be visually a problem.

Planned rendering changes of protected areas 4 months ago

Isn't the main problem here the way that the data's being presented raher than the fact that all or these nature reserves / protected areas are being shown? At zoom 8 does it really make sense to show the outline of each area, which when they're contiguous or nearly contiguous (see e.g. ) just means that at zoom 8 you get lots of green squiggly lines?

As an example consider OSM Carto from a few years ago - it would render nature reserves a bit like this:

dashed lines between reserves

Ignore the blue motorways and the fact that there's probably too many names there - but perhaps at z8 there's no need for the exaggerated reserve border for each sub-area?

Memory hog? 4 months ago

Maybe there are a very large number of things in the area - try zooming in as much as you can before you click "edit". Does that help?