Interest in Editing

Posted by Adam Martin on 19 June 2013 in English (English)

I have long had an interest in mapping - both in the geographical sense and in the computer gaming sense. I attempted to edit the Google Maps with their Map Maker service, but found the whole ordeal to be a nightmare of bureaucratic mangling and somewhat insular approvals. Easy to "make a change" on the map (relatively), but it is brutally difficult to actually get it seen by other people. Worse still were the changes that I made that were rejected because of some inane flap from their Bot service.

But thankfully I found OSM - ready and more than willing to accept my edits. Edits that would appear on the actual mapping database within minutes instead of weeks, if it was approved. I know the classic counter-argument to that is the idea that people will get in and troll the maps, but that is an act of a child. I am a 33 year old man - I have no time for such nonsense. If I draw a building outline and state that there is a coffee shop there, you can be sure that is exactly what is there. Community review will handle anything odd, of course.

I hope to make several contributions to the OSM data - my first edits have been corrections and refinements to existing data. There are not a lot of users in my area, but that's fine. I love the idea of plugging away at the map alone to an extent.

Comment from Hjart on 19 June 2013 at 18:01

You are so welcome

Comment from Adam Martin on 19 June 2013 at 18:03

Thanks for the comment, Hjart!

Comment from Harry Wood on 20 June 2013 at 00:02

Welcome indeed! I haven't played much with google map maker myself, but I've heard a few people finding the experience less satisfying.

Despite that, google with their broad reach have persuading more and more people to volunteer towards furthering their corporate interests, contributing to their closed data system. A fundamental difference, but a tricky thing to explain sometimes.

Comment from Adam Martin on 20 June 2013 at 01:14

Thanks for the welcome,Harry. I've played around with Google's maps mostly for the same reason that I imagine that a lot of people do - It's Google! They're the good guys - do no evil and all that friendly stuff. Most people think that automatically and figure that they'll just give them a hand. Why not? Surely Google will appreciate the effort.

But that is not really the case. Google is using it's massive user base to crowd source it's map data for it's own gain. We are basically helping them create proprietary information for their database that they can then dictate the terms of use to others. That is bad enough in of itself, but the insult to that injury is that we are second guessed in the process. Taking the time to update records and add to the map only to have them get picky about it is beyond belief. OSM is both open to editing and open to use by any that need mapping data. That difference is quite striking.

Comment from robert on 20 June 2013 at 16:38

@Adam Martin: Have you tried visiting ?

Comment from Adam Martin on 20 June 2013 at 17:26


Thanks for the link - the difference is quite striking! I do not hate Google for wanting to get information like this. After all, people are the greatest source of Geographical Data available. But I don't like the idea that the information entered becomes their property and falls behind their limited license for use. In the aggregate, I'd rather contribute information to an open project wherein people can view, modify and use my contributions rather than help expand a closed wall.

Comment from aseerel4c26 on 20 June 2013 at 20:44

@Adam Martin: Great that you found and joined OSM, welcome! :-)

Comment from compdude on 23 June 2013 at 04:51

I tried Google Map Maker when it first was introduced and I didn't think it was as user-friendly as Potlatch 2. The one thing I did like about it was that the road designations were more in line with US usage. The one thing I've never really liked about OSM is that it isn't really oriented towards the US; instead it's more oriented towards the UK and Europe.

Comment from Adam Martin on 25 June 2013 at 13:50


I find the same thing - here in Canada, we are somewhat like the British being that we have been part of the Commonwealth, but being that we are geographically very close to the Us, we have adopted some of the road features there. OSM has a strong orientation in the mapping structure toward Europe. Not that this is a major problem - but it can cause some interesting difficulties. I am using ID mainly to edit with and some of the tags for roads are generally not used here - you just sort of pigeonhole them into place.

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