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Vandalism in Vancouver... 29 days ago

For the benefit of anyone not subscribed to talk-us, there's a discussion thread there:

and there is also lots of discussion on this related changeset:

From JOSM search & replace to processing Openstreetmap with your favorite text edition tools about 1 month ago

Seriously, instead of "cursing contributors who neglect correct capitalization" talk to them about it - explain what the problem is politely, and offer to help them fix it. We're likely talking about new and inexperienced mappers here - they need help not silent abuse :)

As the proverb goes "Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day; show him how to catch fish, and you feed him for a lifetime".

Diary spam? about 1 month ago

How often do admins (who are the people who remove diary spam) regularly check ? I ask because I've just noticed that that page has a "Notes with spam content" section. I'm a moderator (DWG member) and am one of the people who can hide problematical notes. I never knew that this page contained that section (it was added in September 2013!) and have been blissfully unaware of any entries that it might have contained.

This problem will go away once the GSoC-supported reporting system is ready, but for now please don't assume that by updating a wiki page that communication has occurred; if you want to make sure that e.g. an offensive note gets removed quickly mention it on IRC or email . Personally I've always reported diary spam directly to the admins in #osm-dev

New road style for the Default map style, the full version - PR, casings on z11 about 2 months ago

Maybe I'm doing something wrong here, but using the GSOC branch of OSM-carto to render a few tiles locally I'm not seeing the difference between motorways and other roads that I'd expect at zoom 7:


That corresponds to


Personally, I'd expect to see the M6, M1, M18 and M60 much clearer than the other roads at that zoom, as is possible now. This isn't a problem from z9 on (the "motorway" red there stands out much better, as seen in your examples above).

New road style for the Default map style - the second version 2 months 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 3 months ago

Are oven gloves available? :)

Who sunk Ireland?? 3 months 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 4 months 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 4 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? 4 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? 4 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? 4 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 5 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 7 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 7 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 8 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! 8 months ago


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


Contributor Statistics 2014 9 months ago

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

Basemap 9 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! 10 months ago

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