SomeoneElse has commented on the following diary entries

Post When Comment
New road style for the Default map style - the second version 11 days ago

I'm really not convinced that comparing with Google Maps is helpful. Google's web maps mostly show only roads, since that's all the information that Google has (compare for example with,-1.5174463,15z ).

In Google's world bright orange makes sense, since thery're showing relatively few classes of features, and a largely four-colour map makes sense. A cynic might suggest that Google's target market is largely Americans who never walk or cycle anywhere; though they're happy tell tell European public transport users which bus to get, just not where it goes.

However, OSM's world is not Google's world. That doesn't mean that OSM's standard style is perfect - far from it. Green trunks the same colour as woodland really don't work at all. On an OSM map there are many, many different classes of feature and so moving roads towards one colour space does have advantages, but the bright orange struggles (in your initial London example) because there's too much of it.

However the bigger problem is that the OSM Standard Style tries to be both "a nice map" and "part of the mapper feedback loop" - given the level of detail that's being mapped in some places now I don't see how it can do both. From reading (1) I guess that you're limited by what would work technically as a style on now (i.e. no use of hstore and no use of lua to make the SQL sane). Would transparent overlays be in or out on that basis? You can go "too far" with them (the UK Met Office's forecast maps show what goes wrong when you do) but perhaps a "political" background and a "natural" background overlaid with features for different consumers might work.


(2) e.g.

Unknown Pleasures 30 days ago

Are oven gloves available? :)

Who sunk Ireland?? about 1 month ago

It was fixed yesterday I believe. No errors showing here currently:,coastline_error_lines,line_not_a_ring,line_overlap,line_invalid,line_direction,questionable,coastline_error_points,unconnected,intersections,not_a_ring,double_node,tagged_node

Don't know what to think of it of this research about 1 month ago

The tricky thing here is detecting the problems. Of course, there are lots of QA tools around, and they are very useful at detecting "geometrically unfeasible" data (that in most cases is created by new users getting the hang of the editing tools, not vandals). The problem is that the only thing that will spot something like this as an error:

is someone who's familiar with the area and knows that "that does not exist". So we need to encourage the new editors (the same ones making the mistakes now!) to continue mapping and become the OSM users familiar with an area spotting any deliberate vandalism in the future.

The DWG can help with blocks etc. as needed, but if problems aren't spotted due to a lack of local OSMers, no-one (including the DWG) will know that there's a problem. Even when some changes do look "unlikely" (as has happened recently with some changes in both North and South America) the lack of OSMers on the ground means that "yes, those changes do look wrong, but we can't say for sure".

  • Andy (a DWG member but not writing on behalf of it here)
To all recklessly editing newbies about 2 months ago

What @davespod said is absolutely spot-on. For example, it's completely out of order to "Welcome" new editors with changeset discussion comments like on this one:

(which in case it gets hidden, says just "WTF is this?"). The new user's "crime" in this case was to add a name (and address information!) but to omit a tag such as "amenity=school" or whatever else would have been relevant. They've made exactly three edits to OpenStreetMap.

Imagine if you walked into a new town and within three minutes of arriving someone pointed at you and said "WTF is this.". Not nice.

Did somebody delete Hyderabad, India? about 2 months ago

Re "detecting when someone deletes a city", it's not quite as straightforward as just reading the minutely updates or looking at changesets within a bounding box, because the XML itself doesn't contain details of a node being deleted - just the fact that a node was. It might be the corner of a bulldozed building, or it might be a city of 7 million people.

Querying every deleted node for every changeset (even from something like Overpass) is unlikely to be practical. More of an option might be some kind of database trigger - even a rendering database should have enough information in it to tell when a city's been deleted.

Did somebody delete Hyderabad, India? about 2 months ago

Was the previous one perhaps ? It was at least a previous one, I presume. The changeset that deleted it just looked like normal mapping, so it might just have been an accidental deletion. However this was 2 years ago, so maybe there's been a more recent one since? City nodes accidentally disappearing isn't that unusual; it has happened to the nearest city to me (Sheffield) a couple of times recently.

It might be worth mentioning it in the "users: India" section of the OSM Forum, or perhaps the talk-in list (both relatively low volume, but active) to see if anyone knows more of the story (or I can, if you'd prefer). Thanks too to Alex for the notification.

  • Andy Townsend (SomeoneElse) on behalf of the DWG

PS: In case you're wondering how I found that old node it was finding a local suburb node and then finding a changeset that modified lots of place names, and looking for the name "Hyderabad".

shops as closed-Way building outlines, but also as Nodes in the center? about 2 months ago

As you've said, except in very special cases, there shouldn't be two things in OSM for one thing in the real world (you've already linked to,_one_OSM_element on the changeset discussion).

It sounds like they're trying to use some database representation of OSM data (" the problem with that approach is if you need to use a derivative of the polygon dataset for other purposes") but it's not clear which one, or for what. If they're assuming that all objects in OSM have a duplicate node representing them then they are (thankfully) sadly mistaken.

That said, there's nothing wrong with having "shop" node POIs within a non-shop "building" way. As Stalfur said, it does have some advantages - although a downside can be when you want to show the relationship of different shops to each other.

Details about iD editor users get publicly, permanently and silently logged with every edit – a privacy breach 3 months ago

As someone who occasionally contacts mappers new to an area, I find JOSM's language tags on the changeset really useful (e.g. when deciding what language to use when contacting them). Having the same information logged by iD will be similarly useful.

What you do on the Internet is essentially public (especially when you're updating a public map!). Lots of browser information is logged by every other internet site out there, and glossing over that fact doesn't "help privacy" in any way at all. According to the browser that I'm typing this into right now is unique among those that site has tested - there are real privacy concerns about what we do on the Internet, but storing the browser and language against iD edits in OSM isn't one of them.

OS Street View Copyright Easter Egg 5 months ago

It's not the first and it won't be the last "comedy misspelling" (1) in the OS's data (which, let's not forget, came originally from some rather lowly local council employee). Rather than a deliberate "Copyright Easter Egg" I suspect they've just made a mistake. As Bernard Ingham said in another context, it's much more likely to be a cock-up than a conspiracy.


It's not because you have accurate data that you have to upload all of them in OSM 5 months ago

Given the plate tectonics that's active in the area

I just hope that he's going to keep it up to date in the future :)

Go home coastline data, you are drunk 6 months ago

Let me guess - Slartibartfast wanted to go somewhere wamer where he could get a nice South African Red?

West Lothian is 100% complete! 6 months ago


Now, about those hedges... and litter bins... and bus routes... and addresses...


Contributor Statistics 2014 7 months ago

Re 2012 - perhaps lots of press coverage about the licence change? Maybe we ought to do that more often :)

Basemap 7 months ago

It's also worth mentioning which Garmin device - some can display images, some only vector maps (see for example and the links from it for info about non-vector data).

The help site has lots of Garmin questions - it's worth searching there with one of:

1111 Changesets! 8 months ago

So did you do that last changeset hopping on one leg?


Welcome message for new users in Brazil 8 months ago

Interesting - do you have any plans to look at what impact sending a message (or not sending a message) might have?

Last year I had a look at the effect on mapper retention of the new mapper messages sent in Poland:

(and see links from there for two other months' analysis). Essentially, it didn't find a measurable difference in retention - but didn't look at edit quality or any other possible effects.

Also you might find this previous study interesting:



OpenStreetMap - yours to cut out and keep 9 months ago

I wonder if that photograph would make a suitable "Image of the Week"?

(it would need to be released under an open licence though as per that link)

Can anyone explain this? 9 months ago

Have you contacted the mapper concerned?

In cases such as this I'd normally suggest the dev API to them (if they're testing stuff) or (if they're just creating a fantasy map, which looks to be the case here).

Note that they've also modified the border of Egypt to exclude this as an enclave:

Thank you for your trust! 9 months ago

It seems odd to thank someone for running an organisation that I've never actually joined, but - thank you!

Whilst OSMF might be "a tiny speck somewhere off centre" it's often the public face of OSM. Like a drunken uncle at a family party, when they start behaving oddly, it gets noticed. Your OSMF chairmanship brought a dose of much-needed sanity to the board and the organisation; it'll be sorely missed.