OpenStreetMap

RobJN has commented on the following diary entries

Post When Comment
How OSMF and working groups communicate about 1 month ago

My second, smaller comment relates to training and other impacts on WG members:

Has the board considered what training it may need to provide to the working group members to help them switch to any new tools/platforms they will be expected to use? Has the board considered how much extra volunteer time it will consume to adjust to new systems? This does sound a bit petty but volunteer time is precious. When I was on SotM WG I used the tools I knew as they did the job and allowed me to focus on what mattered (i.e. the conference and scholarships). Having to learn alternatives would have diverted my attention from the core tasks.

Busy with Board Business about 2 months ago

Wow lots and lots of amazing work. Well done and thank you.

Introducing ArcGIS Datasets in OSM Editors 2 months ago

I think the OS are responsible for mapping the buildings although I’m no expert. The local authorities do feed some data in such as new street names and addresses. I think the recent changes that OS had made will make it easier for local authorities to publish their own geospatial data but there is a specific exclusion on building footprints.

The last comment was targeted at any corporate readers. Whilst we have what we believe is a good quote, the price is too high for any one individual to cover.

Introducing ArcGIS Datasets in OSM Editors 3 months ago

Hi ABZ_OSM, I might be wrong but I think the new datasets that are the topic of this diary post have come from local governments GIS team’s rather than from AI image detection. Nevertheless AI buildings is something that Microsoft has been releasing whilst Facebook focused on AI road detections.

As you rightly stated, we have good road coverage for the UK but would benefit from more buildings. It’s unlikely that we’ll get any “official” data as this is all done by Ordnance Survey and they clearly don’t want to release this as open data.

Manual or AI tracing of buildings is therefore our best bet. OSM UK has an option to access 12.5cm imagery (at a tiny cost for a company interested in OSM) so let’s discuss… :-D

SOTM 2020 notes #1 3 months ago

Marrissa: See https://2020.stateofthemap.org

Øukasz: Yes, communication is very fragmented. Most working groups have their own channels. Minutes of the meetings are published on the OSMF website if you wish to follow. You can also ask to join the working groups.

Mapillary mapping with my LG 360 camera 3 months ago

Nice solution but if I remember correctly the LG360 does not include GPS so was reliant on the phone (and the LG app) for this. How do you ensure you have location data for your images?

Mapillary and Facebook - Combining our open mapping efforts 3 months ago

I had just been getting back in to mapillary in the last few weeks. Pleased to see the commitment to continuing to make the images and detections available to OpenStreetMap, plus going further to make them free for commercial use. I am still a bit concerned about the very long term but that is nothing new (same concern with Mapillary, same concern with OpenStreetCam, same concern with the other similar projects).

Went out today and collected more photos. For now the benefits far outweigh the risks. Hoping to see the benefits grow as the development progresses at pace without the need to worry about finances for a while.

Mapping London SW14 4 months ago

Same here in Warwick. JOSM to trace the buildings and StreetComplete to collect the addresses by survey.

Some numbers on the OSMF microgrants applications 5 months ago

Oh and of course there is an opportunity for fraud here. Another thing that makes the work of the microgrant committee that bit harder.

I suspect that the OSMF and microgrant committee would welcome your views on how to minimise the risk of fraud (minimise as it’s impossible to eliminate risk unless you just stop doing anything). I’m sure they would also be keen to hear your ideas on how to balance extra adminstrative bureaucracy introduced to limit the risk, with the resources available to them (i.e. the microgrant committee volunteers time). Also and obviously, any additional checks would have to be done in a humane way and avoid a ‘witch hunt’ interrogation.

Perhaps you could start by considering what additional steps would be required to understand why the hourly rate ranges from 7 to 80 EUR. Some way of testing that without persecuting the applicants.

Some numbers on the OSMF microgrants applications 5 months ago

Of course people are going to design their own application so that their chances are maximized. If anything that makes my first comment even more relevant. Adding in additional cost weakens the application. Therefore, as I stated, the key take-away I took from reading the applications was just how much I take for granted. I am lucky and have no need to risk weakening an application (had I submitted an individual application) by asking for support to pay for broadband.

I’m still not sure what your main take-away was but it seems like you are suggesting treating everyone the same. Given that this will make those applicants that have had to ask for extra support look worse, then in my view this would be a failure of the OSMF. It would favour those who already have more time and money. It would do nothing to help diversity.

Several years ago I used to share your view. I work in an engineering company which is white male dominated (transparency: I am a white male). I used to think that as long as the recruitment process is fair then everything will be fine after a few years. My view has now changed and I strongly believe that I personaly, and my company has a role to play. We can keep the interview process entirely fair whilst still supporting women and minority groups. One example is going in to schools to promote engineering to everyone thereby helping to remove the idea that it is a man’s job.

When it comes to the OSMF microgrant scheme I see this more like the latter in my analogy (and therefore OSMF should be able to take into account differences in people’s backgrounds) rather than the interview in my analogy (in which everyone is treated exactly the same). I suspect your view is different. At the end of the day, the elected OSMF board is responsible for deciding which path to take. If you or I don’t like it then we get a democratic chance to say so at the next board elections.

I believe that the microgrant committee have a very hard task ahead of them and I am glad I am not part of the group having to make difficult decisions. Unfortunately I suspect that whatever they decide they will be criticised for it. The same was true when I was on the SotM WG and was part of the group selecting talks and scholars. Ultimately the endless criticism eventually wore me down and sadly I stopped volunteering my time to the SotM WG. Ironically this links to the other key OSMF topic right now (a framework for paid employment) in which they are concerned how paid employees could lead to demotivated volunteers. In my case it was volunteers who expected the world from me and criticised at every opportunity that eventually broke me. There was only so many late nights after a full day at work that I could take. Food for thought….

P.s. I wrote above that the interview process is entirely fair. Of course it isn’t as it depends on which country you were born in. I have on multiple occasions had to put absolutely fantastic applicants in the reject pile simply because they have no right to work in my country. I found that very hard and saddening. Decisions are not just numbers and words, they are people and livelihoods. Be glad when it’s not you having to make these cruel choices.

P.p.s thank you for writing in German. It allowed me to read your message as you intended.

Some numbers on the OSMF microgrants applications 5 months ago

Oh good. For a moment I was feeling guilty about taking things for granted all these years. But in fact it is the opposite - it is other people’s greed that has driven them to their view that they should have their broadband paid by the OSMF. How absolutely rotten of them.

(this entire comment is off course sarcasm)

Some numbers on the OSMF microgrants applications 5 months ago

The key take-away I took from reading the applications was just how much I take for granted. For example I have no need to ask for support to pay for my broadband but lots of communities requested this.

For me, this makes me worry about the whole concept of do-ocracy. How can a do-ocracy genuinely represent a truly diverse population when some communities are so lucky with access to cheap internet and loads of free time, whilst others are living hand-to-mouth?

P.S. the fact that you found the free time to do your analysis suggests to me that you are one of the lucky few. Did you therefore get the same feeling as me (about how much we take for granted)?

Asda stores county wide 5 months ago

There is no compromising OSM if you copy details from the website as we were given permission to do this - https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Asda_stores_in_the_United_Kingdom

I know some people may say this is not as formal as they would like but it’s a pretty clear indication that it’s ok. I imported petrol stations at the time (following community consultation).

Best regard Rob

Summary Report on OSMF Chair's Outreach Jan-early Apr 2020 5 months ago

Unfortunately I don’t know much about either the DWG or the OWG. I’ve usually been better at the “softer” skill set, hence why I was on the SotM WG for 2013, and 2015 to 2018. I left that group mainly due to a lack of time, but also because there were some members of the OSM community that would always complain no matter what you did. After so many years staying up past midnight to support SotM during busy periods (including on the night before my paid work’s biggest day in the annual calendar) it had taken it’s toll on me. No idea if DWG or OWG members feel the same.

You mentioned above that some of the corporate members “highlighted the role of AI in rapidly detecting vandalism”. Perhaps the DWG could look there for extra support? Sounds like they all want the same outcome (best local data for improving OSM).

Other than that all I can offer as a suggestion is a targetted promotion campaign. We have done mentions at Foundation election time and during SotM. Sounds like we need something more targetted or sustained.

Failing that, how about paying for what we need? It sounds like there are a lot of people without work now due to Covid-19. Perhaps it is a great time for OSMF to step in with some short term contract work. Gets us what we need and helps a few people during what is clearly a tough time globally.

Summary Report on OSMF Chair's Outreach Jan-early Apr 2020 5 months ago

Hi Allan,

In a sense we already have a tiered/hierarchical arrangements with the working groups. Two-tiered, to be precise: Board->working groups. So far in the conversations I did not sense a desire from any quarter for that to change, or a particular need at this point.

Well indeed, but there is some desire to refine it a little. As you said yourself many “widely recognise that the Operations Working Group has collapsed”. On the LCCWG (on which I am a member) we have more on our plate that we can currently achieve.

So yes, there is a structure and no radical change required. However in my view there is presently limited ability for the board to delegate as much as a board normally would due to limitations in the WGs. Some can be solved by establishing new groups (DISC, microgrant committee) others will take a little longer.

Anyway I don’t think we are disagreeing here, a least not fundamentally so I’ll stop talking as I seem to have been misunderstood by both you and Tordanik. Perhaps another sign of why video calls are so important. :-)

All the best, Rob

Summary Report on OSMF Chair's Outreach Jan-early Apr 2020 5 months ago

Hi Tordanik,

I know. But in my experience there is a difference between passively listening and actively engaging. I certainly appreciated Allan’s approach and hence my comments. This wasn’t meant to belittle the work of others so sorry if it came across that way.

As you know our community is large and complex. It simply will never be possible to read everything in every channel. Indeed I don’t want the board to be doing this as it will leave no time for anything else. You also wouldn’t get a full picture as on some channels the views of the vocal minority don’t match the views of the silent majority.

I think the right solution is to get the info you need at the time you need it related to a policy or change you are working on.

Summary Report on OSMF Chair's Outreach Jan-early Apr 2020 5 months ago

Thanks Allan,

I think this is the most extensive attempt any board member has taken to gather input from the community ever. Possibly more extensive than any non board member too.

I am therefore not sure I understand some of the concerns in the responses here, perhaps because they lack a way forward.

The way I see it is that the board is elected so are free to get on and do something. They are free to gather information and evidence however they like from informal chats, to “requests for information” to a Resolution of the members (as per the articles of association). At the end of the year we can pass judgement on this via the board elections.

If you’re looking for a more complex arrangement then it would have to be a tiered/hierarchical arrangement with defined groups and decision making powers. However so much is missing here at the moment.

Start at board level and let’s grow out from there until we find our suitable solution that goes beyond the previous “do-ocracy” but still meets the spirit of our project (i.e. not a super sized organisation).

Best regards Rob

Notes on the first public video OSMF board meeting 5 months ago

I’ll keep it short because I think this is pretty straightforward. On the addition of video, this is a step in the right direction. Communication is not just verbal so adding video helps a lot and with internet speeds improving globally it makes sense to do that now.

Side channels however are distracting if people start using them for secondary conversations. I found this on Mumble and clearly it’s the same here. My recommendation is:

(1) use the side channel but only when everyones attention can be moved to it. For example to share and discuss some text, to share a desktop screen and discuss it, and so on.

(2) do not use it for conversations that run in parallel to the main conversation. Just like it is rude to speak over people the same is true here. If you have something you want to contribute to the conversation then say so.

As for choice of platform, my view is that the board should pick what works best for them as it is their meeting.

Best regards Rob

Use of private supplier information to improve road attributes in Germany 6 months ago

@jguthula: Any intent to expand this beyond Germany? I can see a lot of value in recent street imagery (even if private to Amazon) in other places such as my home country (United Kingdom). We know there are lots of regions that are still heavily based on traced aerial imagery and lack turn restrictions and the like.

Thanks, Rob

Use of private supplier information to improve road attributes in Germany 6 months ago

As an aside: there is loads of things in OSM that are not verifiable on the ground. Borders and boundaries are the classic ones. However pick one particular invidual - to them 99.99% of the map is individually unverifiable due to the fact that as individuals we simply cannot visit all places frequently enough.

Our project is therefore as much about trust as it is about anything else. We can greatly improve our trust of each other by helping each other out friend to friend rather than by interrogating everyone from a presumption of no good.

Thank you Rob