Top OSM Rank: Who are these crazy, amazing people?

Posted by bdiscoe on 3 May 2015 in English (English)

It's now been around 2 years since I started editing OSM seriously. I've used Pascal's HDYC and YOSMHM to track my progress, with the goal of making a real contribution to OSM worldwide. One thing I always wondered about, as my OSM node rank went up. It would reach, for example, 300, and I would think, wow, I have been editing so much... who are these 299 people around the world who actually edit even more??

Recently, I set out to answer this question. I started looking at HDYC for well-known accounts, as well as their heatmaps, and gathering the results in a spreadsheet. When that got tedious, I wrote a C++ app on Osmium and ran it on the Planet.osm file, to find out the complete list of top-ranked accounts.

And the answer is... most of them are not actually people; a few are bots, and many are "import accounts", or user accounts that have been used for a large import at some point. (...but not all of them! Some are actual, live humans manually editing OSM longer and more extensively than me). Along the way, I learned some OSM history, and the diverse patterns in OSM in different countries.

Here is a link to the spreadsheet, sortable by rank, with my own notes on the where/what of around 400 accounts, including the top 100 in node and way ranks. The data is approximate... it's not auto-refreshed by a script (yet), so some ranks may be a little out of date.

In my next diary entry I'll share some of the stories and realizations I've had while gathering this data.

Comment from ViriatoLusitano on 3 May 2015 at 01:41

Katpatuka is up there in the god tier level of contributors. Very nice and hardworking.

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Comment from naoliv on 3 May 2015 at 01:56

What is the BlendPoints column, please?

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Comment from Skippern on 3 May 2015 at 01:56

I don't know if I should be proud or embarrassed getting on the list.....

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Comment from bdiscoe on 3 May 2015 at 02:31

@ViriatoLusitano, that's one of the first things I found, Katpatuka is truly a superhuman :) I think he almost-singlehanded put the countries of Turkey and China on the map :)

@naoliv, BlendPoints was just an experiment to combine node rank and way rank (weighted equally) into a single value, on a scale of 1-1000. I think it actually tells less than looking at the node and way ranks separately.

@Skippern, you can be proud of the extensive work you've done along the coast above Rio de Janeiro! You can sort by the "Where, What" column to see all the other main contributors to Brazil.

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Comment from Stalfur on 3 May 2015 at 03:25

Very nice. Also nice to see the ! at my entry!

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Comment from bdiscoe on 3 May 2015 at 03:55

@Stalfur, there should be an award for "most disparate places", I cannot imagine two countries less alike than Iceland and Botswana! There is user "ulil" who has done a lot of work in exactly two countries: Paraguay and Georgia, and "mindedie" Lithuania and Hokkaido.

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Comment from PurpleMustang on 3 May 2015 at 15:46

48 Million Nodes, and I've barely made a dent, Oh well I just keep plodding along :-( aka CanvecImports

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Comment from joost schouppe on 3 May 2015 at 20:42

I believe Katpatuka has done some imports too, admin areas. Nice to see lodde1949 here, human number we if I counted right. He's almost singlehandedly mapping the entire landuse of Flanders. A lot of work, as our zoning laws are a mess and land ownership incredibly scattered.

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Comment from flaimo on 6 May 2015 at 17:51

i'm in that list and i am definitely not a bot :-)

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Comment from DaCor on 6 May 2015 at 20:10

aww, thought I would have made the list at #379, dang must be just outside the rankings

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Comment from bdiscoe on 6 May 2015 at 21:23

@PurpleMustang I would say that CanvecImports has made more than "a dent" with noderank #3 :) and your main account is also impressive.

@joost schouppe Thanks for the props to lodde1949, I've added that note.

@DaCor I've added you now :) I would have found you sooner if you showed up as recently active on (not sure why not).

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Comment from DaCor on 6 May 2015 at 21:28

ah yeah, been busy lately,

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Comment from gecho111 on 8 May 2015 at 18:48

Top 50! If I had taken the time to read the wiki more I would have created a separate import account for the canvec imports I was doing. I spent a lot of time completing the rural road network in southern Saskatchewan. But further north, less roads and more vegetation, which is when the node count started to explode. After my account got locked for 24 hours I reevaluated whether it was beneficial to upload massive amounts of data for the sparsely populated north. I'm back to doing small edits in my local are using gps traces collected while cycling.

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Comment from pschonmann on 9 May 2015 at 09:00

Petr1868 is Czech user that is mapping with tracer. Tracer Using RUIAN and LPIS. They contains buildings and farmlands. Its easy to draw complicated shapes. Just click and magic happens ;) These travers were developed by Marian Kyral and contributors (sorry i dont know names ;) ) and using servers where backend od tracer is. Where to click ? Use TMS RUIAN and LPIS layers in JOSM.

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Comment from Dotevo on 11 May 2015 at 06:32

Did you know that destroyed Wrocław?

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Comment from joakimfors on 11 May 2015 at 20:16

Pro-tip: Don't clone yourself (have kids), it really lowers your mapping productivity. ;P

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Comment from bdiscoe on 30 May 2015 at 03:45

Thanks @EdLoach, I've noted that you are not a bot :) That's great details on your wiki user page!

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Comment from Minh Nguyen on 30 May 2015 at 22:33

Matt Toups is the real deal. He used a separate account for the NOLA building import.

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Comment from Minh Nguyen on 30 May 2015 at 22:37

lrhill may look like an importer, but they’re actually a very methodical building mapper doing it all by hand in iD. (That’s no exaggeration: every single edit is via iD.)

It may be worth double-checking each of the accounts listed in the spreadsheet against the “Used OSM Editors/Programs” section of HWYC. It’s unlikely that iD, Potlatch, or Potlatch 2 is being used for large-scale imports.

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