joost schouppe has commented on the following diary entries

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New Users 4 days ago

In Belgium, we send a message to every new mapper, as picked up by Pascal Neis CSS feed, archived in a Google Doc. We do check the changesets, and sometimes personalise the welcome message based on that. There is no call to answer us, just an open invitation to join the community. With about 400 messages sent, we had a response in 11% of the cases.

I do have the feeling that personalisation increases chance of feedback, but then again feedback isn't the goal. Maybe it would be more interesting to track link clicking from the message (but that might be off putting tonsome)

BTW our welcome message is available here for copying and improving. (scroll down for Dutch, French and English versions)

Natural language vs. abstract tags 5 days ago

Conifer=forestry is actually entirely logical in the UK. There are few examples of where a coniferous forest was not planted for forestry use, as this does not occur naturally in our climate (or most people don't realize if it doesn't),

So thus is exactly the kind of example you need: people think they know what words mean, but they don't. The same with kiosk : maybe in England kiosks are either newsagents or ice-cream shops, but in other countries they might sell a range of items, and maybe evens specialize in both ice-cream and newspapers.

So both of these examples actually strengthen your point of describing aspects of a thing, not the thing itself. While I would agree that doing this radically might in fact discourage mappers, we will probably have to evolve more and more in this direction, just as we did with woodland tagging.

This will be a gradual evolution though, and not a revolution. That way tools can develop that put a layer of presets over things, in much the way that iD shows a description and JOSM the tags. And that way this necessary complexity is only introduced where it is really necessary.

The most useful thing to do, IMHO, is getting involved in specific discussions about tagging. The theoretical argument may add just the little weight there to tip the scale. But the "simple tagging model" has its worth too, and will not be abandoned just because it's not logically elegant.

On the friture example, as a Belgian this is important to me :) I'm entirely satisfied with the fast food + cuisine=friture that is common practice. It might have the disadvantages of both tagging styles, but it is queriable - and no subset of tags could ever do a friture justice.

Myth of Newbie 5 days ago

I checked one or two hundred newbie changesets in our Belgian simple setup using the neis-one service with a Google spreadsheet. All of them got a welcome message.

I can certainly agree that to speak of newbies as a simple concept isn't useful. The diversity in what they do is enormous : from changing one way streets to remapping entire universities. There is the occasional untagged way and other mistakes, though I haven't got the statistic at hand.

Our little mapper-of-the-month team is planning a series of short interviews, which I hope to extend with some statistics derived from the welcoming project.

Maybe we can think of some kind of survey, I'd be happy to help (setting up surveys is part of my day job and education). The thing is, I don't think it will be possible to get a high enough response rate to be representative. I only have anecdotal evidence of this (insert smiley), such as the 10% response rate to our welcome message (which doesn't actually asks for response ) and the 0% response rate to our "questions for new mappers" after our last Missing Maps mapathon.

What comes first, Map or Database? Should we tell newbies the truth? about 1 month ago

When I explain OSM to newbies, or when I see other people explain it, they always say something like "you might know Openstreetmap as the map on, but it is many many more things than that". So the fact that it is a database is basically the second thing you say. I don't see how that can be controversial, and why anyone would want to hide that from newbies. If you want to avoid the word "database", you could say something like "OSM collects map data".

OpenStreetMap Foundation Chairperson's Report for the Annual General Meeting about 2 months ago

Agree with Davor and Vincent. There should not be a special procedure for special people. They're not special, it's just that their money is worth less when converted to pounds. Membership fee weighted by GDP/capita would be great. Of course, there can still be membership waiver program on top of that.

Data and community in the Belgian regions about 2 months ago

Phillippe, in OSM, data is denser in Flanders too. Most of the above is about community size.

It might just be that in a couple of years Mapillary will have a larger community in Wallonia too, even if the data density stays higher in Wallonia.

And did you just call OSM old technology? I suddenly feel old now, too. :)

The history and completeness of OSM about 2 months ago

I can compare Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Argentina and Chile from driving around there. I would say Argentina and Chile both have great maps, especially when it comes to completeness. But Argentina might be a more interesting case for you, as I think they didn't have a large import. Ecuador is also pretty good. Peru and Bolivia have a lot of work left.

Data and community in the Belgian regions about 2 months ago

Sander, I can understand the fear which might be very reasonable in some cases. The situation in Bolivia comes to mind, where we can make "formal" decisions if we agree among two or three people.

But I don't think there's anything to worry about in this case. This mapper's interest is first and foremost landuse mapping. So yes, his view of landuse mapping will have a serious dominance in Flanders. But in this case, that's a good thing, because he did a terrific job. So while it is a big lot of nodes, it's only a quite narrow theme that he is dominant in.

The other thing about landuse is that it's pretty stable. Mapping a few 100 square kilometers takes many many hours. But keeping it up to date is a completely different job, and a lot let labour intensive.

Should we teach JOSM to first-time mapathon attendees? 2 months ago

Hi Martin,

This is a slightly more elaborate answer than what I expected :)

Here's some thoughts: - the longer term retention is worth keeping an eye on as numbers increase, keeping in mind selection and social effects of course - are you sure the difference in labour hours at the events is real and not an artifact of the way JOSM and iD save information to the database? For example, if you take the difference between first and last object saved as labour time, that might affect JOSM negatively. Did you (or could you try) look at the last save during an event minus the start time of the event? Probably difficult on a larger scale, but might be worth a check at a single event. - you filtered away the people who used both editors. It might be interesting to see if they started off using JOSM and gave up to fall back to iD or if they took the other way around. If it looks like the former, one can imagine more people giving up before having anything worth saving.

Thanks again. We'll think about how we can experiment more at our events in Belgium.

The history and completeness of OSM 2 months ago

Link kaput, and you can't edit your comments. Hope this works:

The history and completeness of OSM 2 months ago

From what I understand, you look at the shape of the growth curve of the road network. The visual inspection is just a crosscheck. Here's an example of the curve I'm guessing you use, from Flanders, Belgium.


As you see growth flatten out over the years, you can make the assumption that the road network is "complete" in the sense of having the geometry of almost all roads.

A couple of things to keep in mind:

  • this only holds true if the community is large enough. Growth will also peter out if there are not enough good sat pics left to map or no more people willing to map. I just wrote in my diary about how even in a large community like Flanders, 44% of all nodes were mapped by just one guy. Now imagine how things might go in a place like Bolivia. It might show up in the data as a certain shakiness of the graph, but you do have a number for all countries.

  • as you can see in my example, one road isn't the other. in Flanders, the growth curve for main roads (tertiary and up) is quite similar to the minor roads (road, unclassified, residential, living street). But that might not always hold. For example, in Africa, a correction of tagging might distort numbers when a lot of tracks suddenly become main roads.

  • I used the Chile map in real life. I don't think I found any road at all that was missing there. But that brings me to something else: imports (as Chile did). They obviously distort the curve. I would imagine that the road network in the US also looks quite "complete" since many years, as the huge Tiger cleaning operation won't have much effect on overal network length. Completeness does no necessarily implicate quality; making the measure most useful in countries without a large import.

I'd be very interested to hear more on how you went about this analysis.

How large are our national contributor communities and how are they developing? 2 months ago

I just did some calculations for Belgium based on the history files. I have 8900 contributors by january 2015 (I know, I should get some fresh data). You got to 7622 on more recent data. I think that's pretty decent, a similar order of difference you get in these comparisons, like I checked here for Brasilia.

Dealing with incorrect tags in Africa 2 months ago

So to second Warin: don't just "correct wrong tagging", but get involved in local road tagging discussions. Otherwise you run the risk of getting your work reverted.

Dealing with incorrect tags in Africa 2 months ago

The Highway Tag Africa is highly relevant, however it does not talk about freeways. If there is any type of road we could agree on at a global level, it should be freeways. There is a simple list of physical properties that you can use to decide if it is a freeway or not.

For all other road levels this is much more complex. The African scheme takes into account only economic/practical importance measures, but in countries like Peru and Argentina the government classification has final say.

How new HOT mappers can help with the validation process 3 months ago

That makes a lot of sense. I too learned how to map things mostly by looking at how other people mapped similar things, long before I knew my way to places like wiki and mailing lists.

Thanks for sharing.

Día 3 3 months ago

Segun esta pagina wiki, el "name" es para el nombre oficial. El nombre tradicional, se sugiere ponerlo en name_alt.

A Mapper in the Spotlight: Clifford Snow 3 months ago

So Seattle has a 3.5 million population and 400 Meetup members. Belgium has 10 million and 133. Do you have an especially thriving local community or is the cliché of the USA not having many mappers simply not true?

Mapillary on the road 3 months ago

@StephaneP j'ai répondu sur ton blog, en englais.

My wife had a good laugh with your comment :)

Mapillary on the road 3 months ago

@phillippec , true, I might increase picture frequency in the future. And of course wider angle would be better. Do you have any experience with dashcam footage for mapillary? I wonder what it looks like within their platform.

Mapillary on the road 3 months ago

Nope, just a group of hobbyists. The one in front had the accident. As they were stuck waiting for police they covered their cars to protect from the fresh salt on the road.