OpenStreetMap

Anonymous note "spam" - not again...

Posted by AkuAnakTimur on 21 September 2014 in English (English)

So this week, there are suddenly a lot of notes popping up across the Malaysian North - South Expressway and also some other Malaysian expressways.

I usually consider anonymous note (sometimes) are good because the number of OSM mappers from Malaysia is not that big.

However, recently, I have came across a navigation application that posts a note (anonymously) where OSM database seems to contain incomplete or wrong information - most of the time it is just because OSM data is incomplete here, but also there is something wrong with the app itself e.g. speed limit in x5 km/h (the Malaysian speed limit do not use a speed limit in fives i.e. 35 km/h; usually an increment of tens i.e. 40 km/h, 70 km/h, 90 km/h, 110 km/h is in enforcement). Well, the developer already has took an action and hopefully this would improve the OSM database in a more convenient way.

Fast forward to this week, now, that weird notes. Probably in this coming few weeks, I would have to “resolve” that comments. They are really strange, because it appears that the anonymous note contributor(s?) is totally new to OSM, or, is using the OSM database on a third-party device or some unknown navigation (or map viewer) apps. I could handle probably few notes but there are, like, hundreds of them!

Why?

Some of the inputs are good (but they are not properly attributed - signs of someone new to OSM but this takes time and learning curve); furthermore, some of them is stating what is already obvious on the map. This makes me feel furious, as if, that user is copying from somewhere else (hopefully not from a proprietary, non-free database) - which leads to the assumption that the user itself is not familiar with OpenStreetMap at all! Worse, that user probably do not know about OSM - sigh.

Hopefully that user is not copying from the crowd-sourced Malfreemaps (or Malsingmaps) database as it contains proprietary data.

Comment from AkuAnakTimur on 22 September 2014 at 09:42

xkomczax:

Indeed it is that app. But its developer has already put a stop on that so quite recently I have not seen them. Maybe for about 2-3 weeks.

But, refer to the last paragraphs, what I mean, it refers to something else, in fact I believe it is not caused by that Wisepilot app. I don’t know. I have no idea. Tons of note at one go. And in fact the note is somewhat weird, for example this one. As if the user is not aware of the nature of OSM’s database at all.

Comment from mapper999 on 22 September 2014 at 10:10

The user could also be taking notes with the OSMAnd App. You can add notes anonymously there while navigating. Maybe the user has an old database for offline routing which might explain the notes for things that are already there. Some mappers are taking notes with this app and go through them later. So, I would wait a week or two, maybe the user will go through the notes and solve them.

Comment from AkuAnakTimur on 23 September 2014 at 01:43

mapper999:

That’s another probability, but considering bulk note addition is being made only on certain highways (in this case, the Malaysian north - south expressway and some other expressways), that raised the alarm for me. I won’t complain much if the notes are added randomly. But along a noticeable long stretch - imagine 200-ish km long stretch; with a user which is out-of-reach; with a pattern as well - I won’t complain too much if that anonymous user also mentioned how does s/he gather such information. It appears like it is being done by the same person.

If it comes from a free, non-proprietary database, then this is great! I am very happy to fill in the blanks for OSM in the first place.

Maybe you’re right, I’ll give it some time. Right now I’m under a limited internet connection, so, I’ll probably see what happens in a few weeks time. The bad thing is I am not able to contact that user (to know more on the motivation doing so).

Hmm, perhaps it is just me, being too paranoid with all these small matters, LOL.

Comment from kucai on 24 September 2014 at 02:01

the same pattern is repeated in Klang Valley, although in a somewhat much useful form. Somebody took the liberty to name almost all the exits of the major motorways passing through the cities.

Too bad the names doesn’t exactly fit into OSM category: name, ref, exit_to or destination.

Comment from AkuAnakTimur on 24 September 2014 at 10:11

kucai:

Same - the notes contain informations that are not tag-able in OSM e.g. “no waiting”.

Rajin giler letak note satu-satu. Frustnyerrrr nak resolve semua! Sape je buat sampai macam tu sekali? Yang paling geram, benda terang-terang dalam database tapi letak juga note. Hmmm… entah!

Comment from kucai on 29 September 2014 at 02:17

ni automated punya sistem ni. Format dia macam directions dari gps yang masuk dalam log. Area Sg Petani aku dah padam sebanyak mungkin, cuma exit name apa semua tu aku biar dulu kot2 boleh dimanfaatkan sebagai tag exit_to=](http://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Key:exit_to) dan jugak [destination=.

Tapi memang hati kering betul le sapa yang buat ni, macam cendawan tumbuh lepas hujan!

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