Last night I sat and armchair-mapped a load of hospital buildings for Northwick Park Hospital here in North West London
I tend to follow a rule of no armchair mapping in the UK these days, but I have a few extenuating considerations where I allow myself to break that rule. This is a big hospital. It’s the kind of thing we should certainly have mapped properly across London and the whole UK. I’ve armchair-mapped quite a few hospital buildings like this in Africa after all! I wonder how many other UK hospitals are missing building detail.
Actually the omission seemed wierd to me, as if maybe the buildings had been mapped but recently deleted. I thought it looked as though somebody had swept in and hit delete but missed just one or two little buildings (that little dentist), but how to prove it? I spent some time trying to figure out if I could find deleted nodes in a very constrained bbox e.g. using Overpass date features, but I gave up. Finding deleted data is difficult.
Denying the chance for somebody living locally to take care of their map, is the micro-harm that we potentially do when armchair mapping. I started by putting a simple note, and waiting 3 months, partly in the hope that somebody living more locally might see that.
The missing buildings were actually pointed out to me by SK53 during our London virtual meet-up. I suppose this is the main extenuating consideration actually. I sort of feel like if people are having conversations about bad data, then somebody really ought to go ahead an fix that bad data. So yes… It’s fixed! Although actually I’ll drop a couple more notes where I remember aspects of the imagery being a little unclear. “Survey needed”. And of course surveying could add much more detail. Footway connectivity outside and maybe even inside. Names of more of the buildings. etc. So if you do live local… get stuck in! I wonder what’s the best example of hospital detail in the UK. Cambridge and Edinburgh can be relied upon to provide pretty good examples!
Speaking of that London virtual meet-up… we should do another one! Or maybe even a real pub meet-up again some time soon! I’m still pondering other virtual event formats too. That last one was fun, and was basically a great chance to catch up between friends. For the first few hours we didn’t even talk abut OpenStreetMap much. Later on the zoom call I thought about how to direct the conversation back to OSMLondon, and so I shared my screen and started panning around the London map at random. As expected this prompted a few conversations including SK53 pointing out these missing hospital buildings. I’d like to do something like that again. Or what’s the best map/data view to prompt interesting conversations I wonder?
Another thing: I’m still “between jobs” at the moment which means, while I’m not exactly at a loose end (With job hunting and kids I’m feeling surprisingly busy still), it occurs to me I could run some kind of virtual OSM event during working hours. Crazy idea? It would suite me a lot better actually, but would rule out most of the normal crowd I’m sure. Could be good for attracting different kinds of people. Maybe we can do both. Let me know what you think.