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Notes from anonymous users

Posted by maxolasersquad on 18 November 2013 in English (English)

Two days ago an anonymous user added a bunch of notes surrounding the Orlando area that denote the location of Aldi convenience stores. I added a few but then go to thinking about how odd it would be for someone to just drive around to all the Aldis in such a large area and opening notes for them. I also noticed that the addresses listed in the notes where the identical text to the addresses listed at the Aldi website's store finder, including identical abbreviations.

It looks to me like someone just used their website to get the addresses and probably something like Google maps to get the location, and then opened anonymous notes. I am considering removing the data I had added and closing the existing notes as having sources with questionable licenses.

However, this opens up another question. When should we trust anonymous notes? I was an opponent from the beginning of anonymous notes for various reasons, including this issue. I have no way of getting back to the person that reported these notes, and so I cannot ask for clarity. It is possible that by closing out all of these notes that someone just wasted their time /trying/ to contribute useful data.

I am also left to ask myself how I should handle future anonymous notes. Should I just close them all out if it is not clear that the data they are reporting is likely original source and not copied from another source? The notes themselves state "This note includes comments from anonymous users which should be independently verified.", but there are no guidelines on the wiki about what further verification would entail. Since leaving them open would make it difficult to find notes worth looking at they do need to be closed out if there is no reasonable hope for resolution.

Another shot at GPS navigation with OsmAnd+

Posted by maxolasersquad on 29 November 2012 in English (English)

This Thanksgiving my family and I made the trip up to North Carolina to visit an important friend.

We left Tuesday afternoon after I got off work at 5pm. Not wanting to "chance it" I used Google Navigation to get to some relatives in North Georgia where we spent the night. The next day I downloaded the offline data for Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina and plugged our destination in to OsmAnd and showed the directions to the people we where staying with and they agreed that the directions where accurate.

For this part of our trip the navigation worked very well. It took us to the cabin rental office, and from there, to our cabin, without problem. While in our mountain cabin I took some time to correct some of the mapping in the area. I rode was named incorrectly (Google had the same incorrect name) and I added additional detail.

When our visit finished, I asked OsmAnd to take us to Atlanta, where my wife was to drop me off so I could attend a concert before taking the bus home. At this point things did not go so well. It spent a little time trying to calculate our route, got to 100% and then just sat there. After growing a little impatient I canceled and retried and it successfully calculated the route the second time. This is where things became really problematic. Even though I was following the suggested route, it kept recalculating on me. Since calculating a route that long offline takes a little over a minute, this became stressful as I had to make sure I knew how far my next turn was, and which direction to turn.

At one point it started telling me, in order to make a left at an intersection that was only a couple of miles ahead, I should instead turn around and make a ~50 mile detour to some completely different interstate. Of course I ignored it and made the proper turn, but it still wanted me to turn around, go back from where I came and then enter the intersection again to take me back to where I already was. At that point I manually cleared the directions and told it to recalculate again, which it did, and then started to recommend a completely different, longer, route to Atlanta.

At that point I put Google Maps back on, which directed me using the same route OsmAnd originally told me to take.

When OsmAnd was acting right it was very cool. At one point I was even able to get directions when my friend couldn't because there was no cell signal, and thus, no Google Maps. In this way OsmAnd was very helpful as we where in the middle of nowhere and was not sure which way to go.

However, I still don't feel that OsmAnd is quite there yet in usability, stability, or reliability to be recommendable over the Google Maps application. I am not including in this recommendation the state of the OSM data, which is out of the hands of the application itself.

However, I am very pleased with how far along it has come since the last time I tried this experiment over a long distance trip. At this rate OsmAnd is shaping up very rapidly. I do use it in day-to-day travel as I zip around town, which is very helpful in finding errors in the map data itself.

Location: Capital Circle Office Center, Tallahassee, Leon County, Florida, 32399, United States of America

GPS navigation with Osmand+

Posted by maxolasersquad on 16 April 2012 in English (English)

On Friday I went down to Deland, Fl to get my grandfather who was on a fishing trip down there.

When I was first asked about going down there to get him I viewed the map in OpenStreetMap and made some corrections to the fish camp he was staying at there, and made all the appropriate tags.

In the past I have tried to use Osmand+ to route me places and have found it to be all but useless for getting directions. Since I didn't have any time frame I needed to make it down there I decided I would try the latest version to see how it would perform.

Everything seemed to go very smoothly, thought I am very sure that the route it took me was not the best. It had me get off after Gainseville, drive east of town, and then head South. I took its advice since I like taking back-roads when I'm not pressed for time.

About two miles from my destination it tried to take me down a road that ran into a private government area that was blocked off by a fence. I tried Google Maps and it was doing the exact same thing.

I drove just a few hundred feet past that wrong turn and it rerouted me the correct way. At my destination I fixed the OSM mapping and filed a bug with Google Maps. I also walked around the fish camp and made updates based off of observations that could not be easily made from satellite imagery.

I was very happy with the capabilities of Osmand's offline routing mode. The most recent version of the offline maps for Florida did not have the fixes I had made for the fish camp the previous week, but that was alright as prioprietary maps can take years to have updates and receiving the updates can be costly.

Location: Capital Circle Office Center, Tallahassee, Leon County, Florida, 32399, United States of America

Plan for the 4/1 - 4/3 read-only period

Posted by maxolasersquad on 30 March 2012 in English (English)

Since OpenStreetMap is going to have a few days of downtime I was pondering what other thing, other than mapping, I could do to help keep moving the project forward. I've decided I'm going to spend my time going through the bugs on MapDust (http://www.mapdust.com/) and marking invalid bugs. The idea is that if we can get through the cruft in MapDust, it will make finding and squashing legitimate bugs much easier. Based on my anecdotal experience, probably a good 70%+ of the bugs there are invalid. Getting rid of all those bugs is one way we can continue helping improve the state of OSM while we can't actually map. A few other things I may do is just take pictures of areas and jot down notes, such as street numbers, so that when the servers come back online I'll have a wealth of data to begin entering. If anyone else has any ideas of ways to help in the meantime please post.

Location: Natural Wells, Lutterloh, Leon County, Florida, 32305, United States of America

Beginning NE Tallahassee

Posted by maxolasersquad on 26 March 2012 in English (English)

I have reviewed and/or mapped, in Tallahassee, all roads east of Monroe Street, North & West of Capital Circle Southeast, and south of Tennessee Street. Last weekend I began moving north of Tennessee Street, where I will focus on everything South and West of Capital Circle, and East of Monroe Street. My ultimate goal is to have all streets within the Capital Circle cup and South of the Interstate reviewed and mapped. The idea is that within Tallahassee, the maps should by 99.999% reliable. Once this area has been mapped I'll begin seriously moving outside of that circle and getting areas like Buck Head and Killearn. I will also begin an attempt at getting all buildings and POIs marked within the circle. I've added some building and businesses in areas I frequent, such as around Apalachee Parkway.

Changing priorities for a bit.

Posted by maxolasersquad on 10 January 2012 in English (English)

I'm going to cease work on beefing up the Tallahassee map and fixing MapDust bug in Florida to start addressing area that the OSM Inspector shows needs to be addressed before the licensing change. Given that this is time sensitive it will be my new effort up until April 1.

Finding duplicate MapDust bugs.

Posted by maxolasersquad on 16 December 2011 in English (English)

One big issue that the MapQuest app seems to have is that it sometimes will report a single button multiple times at the exact same lat/long. Often one of the duplicates will have the description the user entered, if one was entered at all, and the other bugs will have seemingly random Types, with the default text for that type in the bug report.

In my effort to squash all reported in Florida, sometimes I just go looking for invalid bugs so that when I'm in the mood to do some real fixing its easier to find actual problems. In that spirit I have whipped up a quick way to find duplicate bugs so that the dupes can easily be marked invalid so that the original can later be individually verified.

To find duplicate bugs, first download the latest MySQL database extract from http://www.mapdust.com/dumps/latest_mapdust.sql.tar.gz Unzip the database file in the tarball to wherever is convenient for you.

Install MySQL on your system and then run the following command:

CREATE DATABASE mapdust

Now edit the database extract and add the following to the first line.
use mapdust;

Now, while in the same directory as the extract file run the following command

mysql -u root -ppassword < latest_mapdust.sql

Replace the word password above with your root password, being careful to not put a space between -p and your password.

Now we are ready to query our new database for duplicates.

use mapdust;
SELECT id,
latitude,
longitude,
bug_count
FROM
(
select latitude,
longitude,
count(*) bug_count
FROM osmexportbug
GROUP BY latitude,
longitude
) foo
JOIN osmexportbug
USING (latitude, longitude)
WHERE bug_count > 1
ORDER BY bug_count,
id;

You should now have the bug number and lat/long of the duplicates. The ones that belong together are easy to spot because they are sequentially together. I use the following query to only find duplicates in Florida.

SELECT id,
latitude,
longitude,
bug_count
FROM
(
select latitude,
longitude,
count(*) bug_count
FROM osmexportbug
WHERE administrative_area = 'Florida'
GROUP BY latitude,
longitude
) foo
JOIN osmexportbug
USING (latitude, longitude)
WHERE bug_count > 1
ORDER BY bug_count,
id;

After locating a strand of duplicate bugs I go through and mark all but the lowest numbered bug as a duplicate. I use language like the following:

Duplicate of bug 85064.
http://www.mapdust.com/detail/85064

Later when I come across the original bug, I'll only have the one to verify and squash, not a bunch after it to go through and tediously mark invalid.

I hope this helps any other bug squashers out there looking to address the bugs the awesome MapQuest users are out there reporting for us.

Out of town mapping

Posted by maxolasersquad on 11 December 2011 in English (English)

This weekend I went down to the West Palm Beach area to celebrate my sister-in-laws graduation from FAU. My father-in-law noticed that his son's neighborhood was not completely mapped in either Bing or on Google. Bing is missing some streets, and Google is missing some street names. I pulled up OSM and the situation was even worse. No streets where mapped at all. Apparently this place was only built around two years ago.
Like a good OSMer, I began tracing the missing streets using the areal imagery. When I was done with that I downloaded the area into JOSM, loaded the kids into the car, and drove around, marking the names of the streets as we campused the neighborhood. When we got back we uploaded the edit, and now OSM has the only 100% mapping of the area.
I mapped some other missing streets, but there is no chance of me getting the chance to visit the areas to get street names, mostly because of time issues, but also, these are gated communities where I wouldn't be allowed in to anyways.

Location: Pearwood Place, Sun Valley, Palm Beach County, Florida, 33437, United States of America

OSM is ready for the Ubuntu Developer's Summit

Posted by maxolasersquad on 21 October 2011 in English (English)

Big Fix

Posted by maxolasersquad on 2 October 2011 in English (English)

I came upon MapDust bug 209335, http://www.mapdust.com/detail/209335, which noted some misplaced and missing streets. Further review of satellite imagery showed that there was a massive issue in this area where the Tiger data was missing lots of streets, and the streets it did have where grossly misplaced and mis-shaped. The problem only seemed to exist on Pleasent Hill Road north of Southport Road and South of John Young Parkway, but that area is pretty large.
Anyhow, after many hours of fixing, redrawing, and adding roads, I was finally able to close out the bug today.
After the hiatus of squashing a bunch of MapDust bugs, and marking many more invalid, I'm back to mapping out my homeland. I've already fixed up a bunch of roads, and added others. Soon I will need to do some on-the-ground checking to get some road names and find out what's going on with roads that, from the aerial imagery, don't seem to actually exist.

Location: Natural Wells, Lutterloh, Leon County, Florida, 32305, United States of America

Squashing bugs

Posted by maxolasersquad on 3 September 2011 in English (English)

Today I spent a good deal of time addressing bugs in Florida reported mapdust.com MapDust is a great tool for crowd-sourcing the location of problems, and providing the tools for cartographers to address them. There are a number of issues with MapDust. There is no ability to have a back-and-forth dialogue with the person who reported the issue. Lots of bugs do not contain sufficient information to know what issue the reporter may have been wanting resolved. Sometimes a scan of the area with the Bing aerial imagery where the bug report was filed will show where there could be improvements made. In those scenerios I just do cleanup of the area and then close the bug.
I have cleared out all bugs in the Florida Panhandle, and did spent most of my efforts today in South-West Florida. There where lots of very useful bug reports in the Fort Meyers and Naples area, so I addressed every single one of them. I would like to see a day where Florida's bug count was at zero.
I think having a fast turn-around time for bug resolution will help with the perception that OSM is a good source for mapping data, and that it's open nature empowers problems to be resolved quicker than proprietary mappers can provide.

Location: Natural Wells, Lutterloh, Leon County, Florida, 32305, United States of America

On-the-ground work

Posted by maxolasersquad on 30 August 2011 in English (English)

The vast majority of my mapping work is done via my computer chair with the Bing imagery. I've been going over South-East Tallahassee roads very thoroughly. My existing knowledge of the area, plus the Bing imagery allows me to get a lot of very accurate work done fast.
However, there have been a number of questions I couldn't answer. Lots of churches where brought in via the GNIS import, and they need to be individually verified to 1. Actually exist and 2. Be named correctly.
Today I stayed home with my sick daughter, and I used the opportunity to drive around and get some on-the-ground mapping done. I was able to remove some streets I was 95% sure didn't exist. I added some detail to some schools in the area. I removed some churches that didn't exist, renamed churches that had changed denominations and names, and I did some other minor cleanup and fixing.
I was able to accomplish this with my CR-48 Chrome Laptop, and my rooted Droid Incredible's Internet access. This setup isn't nearly as nice as my desktop computer with DSL. Downloading tiles took much longer, and Flash on the laptop isn't nearly as fast. The mediocre trackpad was another issue of frustration. However, with some time and patience, and with my daughter quite content playing her new 3DS, I got some good mapping done.
When I got home I went back and added some better detail to a local city park, and made other touch-ups easier done at home, but from knowledge gained during my field mapping. I've got a few more roads I need to visually verify and I will consider my work, for now, on the area to be done.

Location: Natural Wells, Lutterloh, Leon County, Florida, 32305, United States of America

Time to get some real detail

Posted by maxolasersquad on 20 August 2011 in English (English)

Today I finished reviewing all of the primary and secondary roads in Tallahassee. Name abbreviations have been removed, positions have been corrected, dual-carriage ways have been separated out, and other relevant meta-data has been added.
At this point I'm going to move on to cleaning up neighborhoods, adding area detail such as marking wooded areas and lakes, and removing erroneous roads. The TIGER import has lots of residential roads that don't exist in real life, and plenty of other roads just grossly misplaced. Sometimes there are named streets that don't even exist.
I've also added detail for a few schools around town.
I find the maps look truly beautiful when an area has a high level of detail added. I don't think I will be adding too many building, except when working on schools. At some point I will probably tackle FSU and FAMU, though those will be major undertakings. I've already got some FSU mapped out.
The good news is that if you are passing through Tallahassee with your GPS and OSM data, you can have a high level of confidence that you will be guided through without any sort of crazy bad TIGER data causing you heartache.

Finally getting into real mapping

Posted by maxolasersquad on 29 July 2011 in English (English)

I've been mapping for quite some time, spending a lot of resources getting a ridiculous amount of detail in the neighborhood I work. That work is 99% done, and I think I've got a pretty good sense of mapping for OSM.
Yesterday I started working on combing through Tallahassee via the Bing Satellite imagery and fixing things up. There's a lot of residential roads grossly misplaced, and dual carriageways that need to be split out as such.
My plan of attack is to make sure the major roads in Tallahassee are accurately mapped so that at the very least, routing applications could properly take people through the major parts of Tallahassee properly.
I'm debating spending resources on also marking POIs, such as gas stations and grocery stores. That is, of course, very nice to have, but could take significant time away from getting the streets down correctly.

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