Users' diaries

Recent diary entries

Street Art: Nottingham NG4 House Art Redux

Posted by alexkemp on 23 June 2016 in English (English)

I was eulogising about House Art in these Diaries last Sunday 19 June, starting with a fine example of etched glass set within Leaded Lights in Hillview Road. The following day I set off on a long trek down the length of Foxhill Road West, followed by Central & East. Blow me down, but it was not very long before another superb example showed up:

Foxhill Road window art

It got worse. Halfway down was the Richard Herrod Sports Centre and, just beyond it, a former golf course recently converted into a housing estate. Every single house had a similar front door!

A little earlier was a more light-hearted example of this species: a house with a red squirrel climbing up a metal fence:—

see the squirrel


Location: Thorneywood, Sneinton, Nottingham, East Midlands, England, United Kingdom

Is Vancouver's SkyTrain a subway?

Posted by Alan Trick on 22 June 2016 in English (English)

In Vancouver, we have a mass transit system known as the SkyTrain. It runs almost entirely above ground with the exception of a few blocks in Downtown Vancouver. On OSM it's stations are tagged with "subway=yes" and the line itself is tagged "railway=subway" and "bridge=yes".

This recently resulted in a user being confused, probably because the application called it a subway when I don't think anyone here would typically call it that because it hardly runs underground at all.

So that made me wonder, where is the error here:

  1. Does our schema need fixing? Should we use "railway=rapid_transit" instead of "railway=subway"?
  2. Should and other map consumers just "know" that "railway=subway" and "bridge=yes" is not actually a subway and display accordingly?
  3. Should we just use "railway=light_rail" even though it doesn't really fit the category of light rail?
  4. Should users just live with the fact that we call all forms of rapid transit a "subway"?

Why I am supporting Brussels

Posted by Wynndale on 22 June 2016 in English (English)

Every year (most of them anyway) OSM holds its State of the Map conference where our international community get together to show off the art of mapping and to talk to each other so we can make the best map of the world.

This year we are meeting in Brussels from 23 to 25 September. Having attended State of the Map in the past I found both the talks and the opportunity to meet other mappers positive, and I am looking forwards to meeting many of you there.

Location: Boulevard de la Plaine - Pleinlaan, Ixelles - Elsene, Brussels-Capital, 1050, Belgium

Does Open Street Map have an input API? or Upload feature?

Posted by searain on 22 June 2016 in English (English)

For example, a lot of cities have the city open data, such as

And many city datasets are with geo locations. Such as public washrooms etc. Instead of let the user add one spot one time manually to open street.

Does open street allow csv files uploading or does open street map has an input api that users/developers can submit data through?

If not yet, does open street map have projects or plans to develop these input features?

Nottingham's Mysterious Plaster Boys & Girls

Posted by alexkemp on 22 June 2016 in English (English)

Each School Crossing in Nottingham NG3 & Gedling NG4 has little plaster guardians. Here's the very first one that I pictured on the OSM map (placed 3 April 2016, it is on a traffic choker on Gordon Road, outside of the Bluebell Hill Primary School:—

plaster boy

...and here is the latest one, which is on Foxhill Road East, placed on the Zebra Crossing outside of the Carlton Central Infant & Nursery School (school was turning out as I took this picture last Monday, as you tell by all the cars parked close to the zebra):—

plaster boys & girls

[a personal note: I find it rather surprising that neither the choker nor the zebra crossing (nor cushions or, presumably, all the other paraphernalia of street furniture) appears on the map; it doesn't seem to be much point in adding it all, then]

I assume that these little figures are there to remind motorists of the young lads & lasses that may stream out from the school gates. However, I have zero idea what the local council call them, and am even not fully certain that the council are responsible for them.

Added later:
One issue in the “missing street furniture” is that it is not possible even to search on Zebra Crossings, etc.. They are utterly missing from the map.

SK53 has called these plaster children “School Sentinels”, which I like a lot. Here are the other ones photographed 31 May outside Hogarth Academy on Porchester Road:

Hogarth School Sentinels

Location: Bakersfield, Nottingham, East Midlands, England, NG12, United Kingdom

Jazz club

Posted by Gazgez on 22 June 2016 in English (English)

Add a jazz club as a nightclub. Not ideal but as music venue + restaurant + music_type=jazz isn't valid and the New York branch is mapped as a nightclub it seemed the best option

Wheelchair access

Posted by Gazgez on 22 June 2016 in English (English)

Changed a wheelchair = yes to no following a visit. Access is via four stairs or via moving furniture on a restaurant forecourt. is a new evil (instead of Potlatch)?

Posted by BushmanK on 21 June 2016 in English (English)

Some people were quite excited about recent announcement of built-in OSM editor of navigation app, but now, first version of it is in use for many weeks, bringing up more and more complains about users doing all kinds of unwanted things.

Since pointing on negative facts makes certain people feel offended, I want to clearly explain my position. I agree, that OSM could have more contribution from people, not deeply involved in project. And general idea of enabling them to do such contribution using their favorite navigation app is close to perfect. is the first widely used app helping its users to contribute to OSM. This app does have certain nice features such as opening hours entry. I also realize, that it's only the first version.

However, there are certain flaws, making its future look not that optimistic (at least - in given current situation). I don't want to try arranging these flaws by its importance, but I'd like to list some.

One fundamental flaw is that authors of this app don't seem to care about demotivating effect of "rubbish edits". There is common mantra: "We need more OSM contributors". Yes, it's true, but only in certain ideal case, where new OSM members are at least thorough and responsible. I mean, if some newbie doesn't know how to do something right, he should learn it after being pointed on documentation or receiving some explanations in changeset comments/private messages. If he doesn't want to improve his quality of contribution, all responsibility for data quality gets automatically shifted to responsible OSM members overseeing particular territory. They have to fix every mistake to keep data tidy. And they have limited amount of time, good will and energy to work on OSM. Forcing them to take care about unusually large amount of bad data (including investigations using WhoDidIt, achavi and other tools) simply reduces amount of contribution they making. Keeping in mind huge difference between their productivity and productivity of general newbie, it's not an equivalent exchange, because single amenity, wrongly added by a newbie, steals time, enough for much larger contribution made by experienced person. I call it general fundamental flaw in attitude of authors towards the whole OSM community.

Another flaw is that hosting on GitHub currently seems more like a gesture. I'm not talking about code, I'm talking about interaction with community. @Zverik, as a member of development team, has confirmed, that they have internal bug tracker, completely separate from GitHub, and that developers rarely checking GitHub issue tracker, however, they are reading bug reports, sent to dedicated email address. This situation makes it look like developers are non-responsive. It could be not completely true, but since there is no reaction from their side on GitHub, it's not unreasonable to conclude that.

Recently, an interview with one of authors was published, and it sounds like major ideologists are going to leave this project in favor of own startup. Which probably means, that less people will actually work on development planning. I don't believe, that it will improve responsiveness of the whole team.

I know very well, how sensitive authors can be, when it comes to critical feedback from users. But if you can't treat it as useful feedback, that job isn't for you - development is not a kind of comfortable place for sensitive unrecognized genius. Indeed, angry OSM members, tired of cleaning after users, could be pretty impolite, but at least certain comments contain useful suggestions such as, for example, separating editor workflow into it's own portion of UI. However, @Zverik recently called all those comments "non-constructive whining". It's typical, and it always leads to greater separation of developers from users. In psychology, it's called "avoidant behavior". I don't know, if it's just his thing or working style of the whole team, but anyway.

From the point of view of UX, there is an issue with built-in OSM editor. Users of, except ones who already knew about OSM or who learned about it independently, usually have no idea what exactly they doing when editing the map. Automatically, they have no idea about project guidelines and so on. As I've already mentioned once, you can't make people edit OSM without telling them what it is. But now, they are a kind of lured into doing that. Therefore, their ideas of what they actually doing are often quite imaginary. Judging by many different edits, it's easy to conclude, that people thinking that it's just their local copy of map, or those edits are some kind of bug reports for professional mapping team, or these are just their own custom POIs. User interface provokes it even more.

Since UI/UX provoking systematic wrong edits of certain specific types, it must be fixed instead of blaming OSM members for their "lack of patience". Leave aside real programming bugs, such as breaking opening hours in certain complex situations, replacing "№" sign with "N" and many others (including ones, left without any response on GitHub issue tracker).

My personal view on this (and I've expressed it long time before the very first version of MapsWithMe/ is that only way to allow people, who have no idea about OSM, to contribute is to limit available actions even more and to introduce more checks (such as duplicate check). It is way more complex problem than just development of an editor, since larger coverage of people, completely unaware of OSM, obviously brings more problems to solve before it will become effective and not demotivating for OSM members.

The invalid areas of the map

Posted by PlaneMad on 21 June 2016 in English (English)

There is some interesting research on the validity of polygons/area features mapped on OSM by Jochen Topf the creator of the osmium suite of OSM processing tools. There seems to be two major problems:

  • There exists multipolygons in OSM that have the old style tagging, with the tags on the outer way, rather than the relation
  • Polygons or multipolygons with a gemotry that is invalid, the most problematic being an unclosed area

In his usual style, there exists an in-depth explanation of the problem. Bonus is a chapter on OSM polygons and how they are rendered for GIS nerds.

Of the over 220 million (multi)polygons in OSM more than 100,000 contain mapping errors of one kind or another and about 250,000 are tagged old style with tags on the outer ways instead of on the relation making multipolygon tagging and processing much more complicated and much more expensive than it needs to be. Read more

I dug into the dump of invalid polygons and inspected it in QGIS to get an idea of the breakup of issues to see if they can be prioritized to fix:

By node count of area

There are 2500 invalid areas with over 50,000 nodes, so these are some very very large issues.

By issue type

82% of issues are role mismatches. For eg. an outer area inside an outer area, or vice versa. The next biggest issues are duplicate members or self intersection. Other issues are less than 2%.

Here is a map of all the issues. Just click on any one and you should be able to open it in JOSM for a closer look:

Fixing them

I tried to dig a deeper into each type of issue to understand the problem and get a sense of how it could be fixed. Feel free to explore and post your findings as well.

Role should be outer or inner

Might require manual cleanup based on context

Way Intersections

Requires manual cleanup - trivial. Requires shifting the problematic node by a small distance in the right direction to clear the error. - screenshot 2016-06-07 19 33 40

Touching ring

Requires manual cleanup - trivial. Requires ungluing the touching node and handling like a duplicated node - untitled2

Relation Intersection

Requires manual cleanup - Not trivial. Needs careful modification of relation geometry and roles if multiple segments are involved. Trivial if on the same segment just like way intersection.

Inner with same tags

Could be auto cleaned - trivial. If the role is inner with the same tags as the relation, it could be considered a hole and the tag discarded.

Edits: This is not always true and it could be an error on the mappers part that would require a careful decision.

Duplicate node

Could be auto cleaned - trivial. Two nodes on the way in the exact same area. JOSM validator flags and fixes automatically.

Duplicate segment ways

Requires manual cleanup - Not trivial. There seems to be many special cases here.

Duplicate segment relations

Could be auto cleaned - trivial. Drop the duplicated member from the relation - screenshot 2016-06-08 17 00 51

Ring not closed

Requires manual cleanup - Not trivial. Possibly invalid, incomplete or junk data. Might need retracing, removal or adding members to incomplete relation.

Way in multiple rings

Not trivial. Might need to be remapped.

Some important features

Most of the features with issues seem to be small landuse areas. I tried to find if there was anything significant on the map that was invalid. Here are a few:

Administrative Boundaries

Notable buildings

Important parks


Open questions

  • It seems like a huge majority of the issues need to be carefully revieved by hand and cleaned up. What does a realistic approach to clean the map look like?
  • The flexibility of the current map editors allows mappers to continue to create features that dont make sense like a way tagged as a forest. Is it time for stricter validity checks on uploads?

Weekly roundup - Suspicous mapping

Posted by manoharuss on 21 June 2016 in English (English)

The amount of data on OSM sometimes boggles the mind, there was 23471 new changesets just yesterday. With so much great mapping work being done by the community, there's always a possibility of a few bad apples. So, here's a collection of a few that I have stumbled across last week (13 - 17 June).

screenshot 2016-06-21 17 36 49

Stumbled on anything suspicous on the map this week? Do drop the mapper a message, for all you know, it was just an honest mistake :) Look forward to another roundup next week.

#ID Editor

Posted by Saikat Maiti on 21 June 2016 in English (English)

It is very interesting to use ID editor for open street map editing. it is also time saving smart tool for open street map. Tagging is very easy and visible for this. I need to explore more, need to learn more shortcut for this. These are very important link to follow (

Location: New Panvel, Panvel, Greater Bombay, Maharashtra, 410206, India

Mapeaton, pedestrian conditions' monitoring

Posted by mapeadora on 21 June 2016 in English (English)

In the development process of #Repubikla, an open community map on the active mobility conditions, we have seen the need to develop a methodology for more specific and visual documentation of the infrastructure where bicycles and pedestrians travel daily. We wanted to develop a permanent and participatory mapping, based on georeferenced photos and itineraries, evaluating sidewalks that hinder foot traffic, obstacles, bad design or poor condition for pedestrian, wheelchairs or pushing a stroller, using a cane or crutches. We call this collective initiative "Mapeaton".

Concretely, what is Mapeaton?

Mapeaton is a user account in Openstreetmap and Mapillary, that can be connected simultaneously by anybody who wants to collaborate in this collective citizen audit. We use applications such as Mapillary or any streetview app, enabling through mobile phone or a tablet to take pictures while you are walking or on a wheelchair, keeping the coordinates. Once connected to a WiFi network, the photos are uploaded to the cloud. Opening Mapeaton account, you can consult, share, download or comment on these photos.

The pics can be used represented on a map (coming in Repubikla-cartoDB), can be downloaded, or can also be shared via social networks, linked to a map location and complete sequence travel photos.

How Mapeaton started working with the community?

Mapeaton started in 2016. We spread in a community way on the occasion of mapping workshops with Repubikla and Openstreetmap editing. It is a tool and methodology observation of public space that we seek to strengthen between the pro active mobility activism. At the moment, have participated Bicivilízate Michoacán, attending the 3rd Congress of the Pedestrian League, communities and students from the Autonomous University of the State of Mexico Campus Toluca and UNAM in Mexico City. The Mapeaton account has already about 5500 images and 40 kilometres mapped in different cities.

Specifically, what do we illustrate?

We can take punctual pictures (manual mode) of problems on sidewalks, nonexistent or misplaced or poorly marked crosswalks, sidewalks with uneven surface, poles, trash, potholes, dangerous inclinations, ramps auto hindering, wheelchair ramps poorly designed, etc. It can also be used to illustrate a line of desire (automatic mode) making a complete track. We can illustrate a well-designed infrastructure that we want to present as a model or a controversial case, as well. We can use Mapeaton individually as we move through the city, or to support a collective walk, as an audit of pedestrian traffic space.

It can also be used as a tool for citizen systematic evaluation of a highly relevant equipment or infrastructure. For this we recommend monitoring with a set frequency, which can be weekly, monthly, bimonthly, covering the infrastructure (if linear) towards one direction and then the other; on one side and then the opposite side; giving a circular turn around this infrastructure covering the maximum possible views, with good lighting and good visibility, without crowd.

We invite everybody to participate, individually or as a collective, in your whole city or in the case of some urban infrastructure you want to assess, document, thus allowing open criticism on public or private investment.

What's Next?

Mapeaton has inspired several actions to systematize scattered actions of citizen audit. Together Openstreetmap Mexican chapter and the Mexican Secretariat of Finances promote the use of open streetviews apps in order to monitor the use of public resources in the development of public works (#transparencia presupuestaria, #tpresupuestaria). EMBARQ Mexico CTS will use Mapillary and the methodology to countries not covered by commercial streetviews, as Tanzania, to perform a road safety audit.

We also promote the creation of open georeferenced images in the case of climate risk assessment in informal settlements; to accurately document temporary flood zones in rainy period in Mexican cities; to understand and illustrate the perspective of women to transit day and night on the town.

Spanish version

Location: Calzada San Antonio Abad, Mexico City, Cuauhtémoc, Mexico City, 06850, Mexico

Магнитогорский трамвай

Posted by az09 on 20 June 2016 in Russian (Русский)

Закончен первый этап в борьбе за пассажира. Все пути прорисованы, остановки расставлены. Старался придерживаться новой схемы тегирования ОТ, но без фанатизма. На всё про всё потребовалось чуть более сотни пакетов правок.

Отдельное слово скажу какое удобное средство этот ваш оверпасс-турбо, дает возможность визуально контролировать практически по любому параметру.

Далее приступаем к редактированию маршрутов. Тут возможно два подхода - исключительно ручной или комбинирование автоматического заполнения с ручным допиливанием. Данные тырятся с сайта оператора, при этом правовые вопросы так и не утрясены. Поровну - танцуем!

Побочным эффектом рисования всей трамвайной сети стал небольшой набор смещений снимков Bing, около дюжины на все 160 км. Вот думаю, то ли просто их в базу смещений отдать, то ли просто декларировать всем местным маперам чтоб равнялись с ближайшего перекрестка с рельсами по ним собственно. Но скорее всего как всегда я и стану таким мапером.

Со вчерашнего дня кажется еще не всё отрендерилось, так что не сочтите за труд покликайте в верхнюю ссылку и позумьте. Отзывы и замечания как всегда приветствуются.

Location: Вокзальная улица, Магнитогорск, Магнитогорский городской округ, Челябинская область, Уральский федеральный округ, 455000, Российская Федерация

OpenStreetMap Data Analysis: Entry 1

Posted by Jennings Anderson on 20 June 2016 in English (English)

Howdy OpenStreetMap, I am excited to share that I am working as a Research Fellow with Mapbox this summer! As a research fellow, I am looking to better understand contributions to OSM.

For my first project, I have been using the tile-reduce framework to summarize per-tile visible edits from the Historical OSM-QA-Tiles. These historical tiles are a snapshot of what the map looked like at the time listed on the link.

With this annual resolution, we can visualize the edits (those edits that were visible at the end of that year) that happened on each tile. So far, I've summarized them as a) number of editors, b) number of objects, and c) recency of the latest edit (relative to that year).

The OSM-QA-Tiles are all generated at Zoom level 12, which separates the world into 5Million+ tiles. Some tiles have few objects while others have ten-thousand plus.

So far I have created two interactive maps to investigate OpenStreetMap editing behavior at this tile-level analysis:

1. Editor Density (Number of editors active on a tile)

2. Edit Recency (Time since last edit on the tile)

Editor Density

This map highlights tiles where multiple editors have been active. The most active editors in most cases are automated bots, especially in the more recent years. For best results, moving the slider in the bottom left for Minimum Users Per Tile to 2 or 3 will exclude most of these automated edits.


2007: European Hotspots

By increasing the minimum object and minimum user thresholds, areas of heavy editing activity pop out: 2007 european hotspots

2007: US Tiger Import - Automated Edits

This image of the activity in the US in 2007 has no threshold on the limited number of objects or users per tile, so you can see all of the tiles affected by the 2007 import. If you increase the threshold, it changes dramatically tiger import

Edit Recency

This map shows the recency of edits to a tile, relative to the year of analysis. It looks surprising at first how many tiles are edited at the end of the year, but that is most likely a function of automated bots. Again, if you move the threshold for number of editors or objects per tile, interesting patterns pop out across the world where users may have been active early in the year and then are less active later. The 2010 Haiti Earthquake is a good example, as it occurred in January of 2010.

2007: The stages of the Tiger Import

If we view by latest edit date, relative to the year, we see the state-by-state import in the US:

2008: North Eastern Hemisphere

2008 recency

More to come! -Jennings

Location: Logan Circle/Shaw, Washington, District of Columbia, 20005, United States of America

Rio Olympics Mapathon

Posted by wille on 20 June 2016 in English (English)

Rio 2016 logo

The 2016 Olympic Games are going to start in August 5th in the city of Rio de Janeiro, so it's time to improve the map!

Rio is one of the best mapped cities in Brazil, but we need a lot more detail in some areas. There are a lot of Mapillary photos we can use to gather details, OSM Inspector alerts to fix and some suburbs that needs a better map.

So we scheduled a weekend to improve the map of Rio and everyone can help! We've set up a project in Tasking Manager to avoid editing conflicts. Mapbox will publish fresh imagery and Nighto is going to take some pictures of the Olympic venues with Mapillary. We will be online at the IRC #osm-br channel to chat and coordinate the actions.

See all the details in the wiki page and collaborate with us!

Location: Barra da Tijuca, Rio de Janeiro, Região Metropolitana do Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, Southeast Region, Brazil


Posted by Supaplex on 20 June 2016 in Chinese (Taiwan) (‪中文(台灣)‬)





Location: 古亭, 頂東里, 嘉禾新村, 中正區, 臺北市, 臺灣

Getting to know Openstreetmap

Posted by Siddharth Sajit on 20 June 2016 in English (English)

This is the first time using the openstreetmap system and I didn't know how useful and interesting it is at the same time. The fact is that our team used the openstreetmap facility and started the project 'GIS' or Geographical Information System as a part of NATIONAL SERVICE SCHEME (NSS) and did its first mapping of our college 'Vidya Academy of Science and Technology, Thalakottukara'.

It is wonderful how technology can be used to in various ways to fulfill our needs. The task was thought to be difficult at first but, as we proceeded it wasn't difficult as predicted. With teamwork and hard work we developed our college map easily.

The team was divided into sub-groups and given different parts of the college. The collected data and information was edited on to the maps separately and the result, detailed map of college.

With this success we are hoping to map the adopted village of our NSS unit VELUR.

Location: inner road, Velur, Thrissur, Kerala, 680601, India

Film locations

Posted by gonzaldama on 20 June 2016 in English (English)

Grand central terminal

Grand central terminal

Location: Murray Hill, Manhattan, New York, New York City, New York, 10016, United States of America

nodes and stuff

Posted by walley on 20 June 2016 in English (English)

I have created 1 019 658 nodes. I love my nodes!

Location: Pňovice, okres Olomouc, Olomouc Region, Central Moravia, Czech Republic

Street Art: House Art in Nottingham NG4, England

Posted by alexkemp on 19 June 2016 in English (English)

Here are some nice examples of art expressed in the houses themselves. Only one full example, but first let's start with a very beautiful front door in Hillview Road, Porchester, Nottingham NG4 (etched glass + stained glass leaded-lights):

(etched glass + stained glass door in Hillview Road

Next is a modest little shield on the wall of a house in Ernest Road, NG4 (we English have been much influenced by the heraldry of the 14th Century):

heraldic shield in Ernest Road

The district around Ernest Road is full of 1920s & 1930s houses (a period renowned for the quality of it's housing in England as, following the slaughter of the Great War, the nation built “homes fit for heros”). Here is a good example of one of those:

1920s/30s house on Ernest Road

The lead-lights provide internal light for the staircase. I also love the stone lions!

My final, quirky example of house-art comes from the first house built in 1929 on a former apple orchard in (what became) Highfield Drive, Carlton NG4. The date of the house was immortalised by the builders in the leading within the front-door, and the current owners allowed me to photograph it today:—

house built in 1929

Location: Bakersfield, Nottingham, East Midlands, England, NG12, United Kingdom
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