Alan has commented on the following diary entries

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OpenStreetMap US Board Election Results over 1 year ago

Well, the confirmatory vote was a simple majority election, so even if everyone in the 20% “Maggie faction” voted not to confirm the current board, they wouldn’t be able to trigger a new election if the mainstream majority was happy with the current board.

Also, if they’re only 20% of the electorate, even if they had run a second candidate in the original election, they would’ve only had enough votes to win one seat. (Here I’m assuming that the 20% faction and the mainstream 80% faction wouldn’t have ranked each others’ candidates, which is quite possible in an extremely polarized electorate).

But you’re right that unlike the OSMF board, the entire OSM US board is up for election every year, so voters don’t have to wait long to express their preferences again. I prefer this method over the method OSMF uses, with staggered terms, because electing everyone at once produces a more proportional board.

OpenStreetMap US Board Election Results over 1 year ago

That is a great question, LivingWithDragons. We discussed that option a little bit, and that’s probably what I would recommend when future vacancies occur.

On the one hand, all the existing board members had just stepped up to run for office only a month earlier, and there were no other contenders at that time, so it doesn’t seem particularly fair to them to potentially unseat them after such a short time for no reason. If the voting public had problems with any of those candidates, why did no one run against them the first time around? This is why we decided to have a separate confirmatory vote, just to make sure that the voters were still happy with the existing board. If the confirmatory vote failed, then we would’ve put the entire board up for reelection (with the option for all of them to stand for reelection again) and any number of them could’ve been unseated at that point.

But on the other hand running a whole new election for all five seats, as you propose, makes a lot of sense. I am less concerned about whether any of the existing board members could be unseated, although that’s certainly a possibility. What I’m more concerned about is whether we are electing the “correct” replacement for the vacant seat. And running a full five-seat election would make it more likely we find the right replacement for the fifth seat. Let me explain.

The beauty of the Single Transferable Vote (STV) system is that relatively small factions in the electorate can gain a voice at the table. For a board with five seats, it’s possible to win a seat with just 1/5th of the votes (technically 1/6th + 1 vote). So, imagine if Maggie (the board member who just vacated a seat) was someone who represented a small but distinct faction that was only 1/5th of the electorate. Maybe she represented some oppressed minority group, or maybe she held a controversial minority opinion about the direction of the OpenStreetMap project. In that case, it was important that STV was able to put her on the board to advocate for those views. But if we need to refill that seat, then arguably only Maggie’s voters should have a say in who replaced her. Otherwise, the majority of the electorate will pick a replacement that represents the majority view, and the board would become more homogenous and less proportional.

Of course, it’s impossible for us to find out who Maggie’s voters were, and to only allow them to vote in the election. So if proportionality is valuable to us, the correct thing to do is to call a new election for all five seats. If the four incumbents are still popular with their respective factions, then they’d get re-elected, and more importantly, that minority group of voters would have a better chance at picking a replacement for the fifth seat that truly represents their views.

Anyway, in this real-world election that just passed, I don’t think that there were significant factions at play, but it’s important to figure out the correct system to use in case there are stronger divisions in the future.

Mapping Baltimore Buildings in 3D about 4 years ago

In San Francisco there’s been a lot of interesting work trying to figure out how to semi-programmatically add building heights to existing OSM footprints using LIDAR data. The effort is still in the exploration phase, but they’ve made a lot of progress. See:

What's up with the Rann of Kutch? over 4 years ago

I also added some wetland=saltmarsh tags after confirming that the areas I mapped are above high tide.

Also thanks to imagico for a much more detailed test area here:

What's up with the Rann of Kutch? over 4 years ago

I made some small test edits here out in the river delta, just to get a sense of how much effort it would take to do the whole thing:

What's up with the Rann of Kutch? over 4 years ago

I see this related (and closed) issue on the openstreetmap-carto style (#1995) which requests rendering of salt flats, but it seems like the tagging is not well established. Also, that request refers to this feature, which seems to be a year-round salt desert, not a seasonally flooded one like the Rann.

Imagico, you argue that it shouldn’t be a saltmarsh or a wetland because it doesn’t have typical marsh-like vegetation? I note that Wikipedia calls it a salt marsh, whether that helps or not.

It seems to me we have two issues here:

  1. How do we tag the Rann? Should it be wetland=yes, seasonal=yes, (possibly with wetland=saltmarsh. Or just natural=water, seasonal=yes? It seems like in either case, seasonal=yes would be a useful addition.

  2. Is the coastline in the right place? Since almost all of the Rann is above the high tide line, it seems that the coastline should be moved. Where we move it will be tricky to determine, but anything is better than where it is now, because the current situation is obviously wrong, based on the high tide rule.

What's up with the Rann of Kutch? over 4 years ago

Hi Ben! I didn’t mean to disparage your work! The parts you’ve added look really good!

Here’s all the extra detail at zoom 10, as you mention: screen shot 2016-06-03 at 3 jun 9 01 13

But all the water areas to the northwest and northeast of your edits really feel like they shouldn’t be water. They’re almost certainly above the high tide mark. So maybe it’s not that it’s poorly mapped, it’s just there’s a lot more left to do!

Thanks everyone for the comments about appropriate tags. Yes, my zoomed in images were more from the Indus delta area, so they probably require different tags than the salty desert further inland. Maybe wetland=saltmarsh isn’t quite the right tag for either of these zones.

A Review of the Manifests of all OSM US Board Election Candidates about 5 years ago

Perhaps we should just give the Board seats to the top five mappers within the US according to number of changesets, and then we don’t even have to bother with an election. That way nobody would waste their vote.

San Francisco data imports, anyone? over 5 years ago

Good point, Frederik. I’m keenly aware of the different points-of-view within the OSM community regarding imports.

I meant the phrase “to give love” to be taken in a playful and colloquial manner, but I can see that’s its unnecessarily incendiary given the tensions surrounding imports in OSM. I’m sorry about that.

What I want about 6 years ago

These are very interesting ideas. At Stamen we’re assembling a wishlist of things we’d like to add to Field Papers if/when we get another grant to improve it. There is a lot more work we want to do on it. Many of your ideas would be great as extensions to Field Papers, while others sound like they might be stand-alone projects.

For now I encourage you to add some of these ideas as issues on the Field Papers github repo:

Also, if there are any small improvements you would like to make to the Field Papers code, we will happily accept pull requests and can deploy changes to the live site once they have been tested.

The Mapbox OpenStreetMap Data Team Guidelines about 6 years ago

This is great!

Thanks Alex and the rest of the Mapbox team for your contributions to OSM and your efforts to be good community members.

New MapRoulette Challenge: Crossing Ways over 6 years ago

I think the URL in your last link “On to MapRoulette” is broken. Needs the http:, I think.