Trying to improve the commitment of new mappers and to help them overcome the obvious beginners problems when trying to map, the Dutch community (after discussion in the user-forum) started to welcome new mappers as soon as they had made their first edit (in the Netherlands) on the map. To find out who the new mappers were, I used this rss-feed, provided by Pascal Neis.
This welcome program started on the 1st of August of 2015 and continues to this day. It is run by me and as such is a one-man task.
During this process I became curious to the mapping behaviour of the mappers and started to collect some data about their activity:
- when did they start their user account?
- when did they start to map?
- how many edits did they do?
- and much more
Soon I realized that I needed more data (over a longer time span) to get a better insight and so I contacted Pascal Neis and asked him to provide me with the relevant data, dating from some years back. After some startup problems with the data - not all the mappers seemed to be present in the data - I started my research with a dataset that contained the following data:
- date of registration
- date of first edit in the Netherlands
- date of their latest edit
- number of changesets
The dataset I have used for my research contained 3205 mappers that have done a first edit in the Netherlands between 1-1-2014 and 29-1-2016.
On first inspection of the data, it surprised me to see that some mappers did their first edit 7 years after they had created an account! This, then, was the first thing to investigate: how many days (after registration) pass before the first changeset is created?
Next I investigated how many days passed before the mapper did his latest (and very often his last) edit.
We see that most mappers (77%) create an account and start to map immediately, but 4% of the mappers waited more than 3 years before they did a first edit. But it is striking to see that for almost all of those mappers (68%) this first edit is also their last! So called "hit-and-run" mappers.
"Last edit" is of course hard to tell, because they might return some day in the future and do another edit, but experience so far doesn't prove that.
Of course it is difficult to draw conclusions based on a rather small dataset, but it nevertheless looks not to far from truth to conclude that OSM mapping is basically in the hands of a small group of dedicated persons.
When are you a regular mapper?
If I look at my own status, I have got the label: "a crazy mapper", whatever that means, but once every three days (on average) I'm mapping: adding new things, fixing errors, searching for errors etc. But even if you add/change/correct things once every three months, you're a regular mapper.
The number of days since your last edit is a good measure of your status. See the next table:
This table shows that 138 mappers (4%) did edit something but did not return for a period of more than 730 days (2 years) after this edit. This is the maximum my dataset can reveal (because it spans 2 years and one month), and it is possible that some of those mappers will return in the future, but it is not very likely.
1411 mappers (44%) did their latest edit more than 1 year ago and still another 25% of the mappers did not return to mapping within (at least) 6 months.
One might say that for the majority of the mappers it is a one-time-only affair. Probably fixing something in their own area (missing names, shops, houses etc) and then never return.
A good measure of your mapping activity is the number of changesets you have done, and that is what is in the next table.
(Showing # changesets, # mappers in numbers and as %, sum of group left to it.)
This table shows:
1225 mappers did create 1 changeset
10 mappers did create (each!) more than 1000 changesets
And 82% of the mappers created between 1-9 changesets. From the graph it is obvious that this is almost a perfect example of an exponential curve.
In the Netherlands we have an active (albeit small) community of mappers and there is no indication that this community is different (statistically) from the complete set (2 000 000+) of OSM mappers (see links below), but it is also clear that the results that we get from the different datasets are not always easy to understand and only after at least one more year we might get some results that show us if the welcome program that we run in the Netherlands has improved the participation of the Dutch mappers!