Today I learned that there’s a diary function in OSM. Huh. I would hardly refer to my region as “undermapped”, given that streets and addresses are all where they should be, but the wiki says that diary entries help in such regions, and my changes seem to be the most common ‘round these parts.
Since I’m new to this, I’ll explain my rationale for some changes so that the poor innocents that come after me have a reason behind the madness.
Several of the places I’ve been making changes to are just random additions to existing things, such as adding pavement types to roads and footpaths, adding the number of levels and roof types to buildings, and other small stuff like that. That all started months ago when I first learned about the Street Complete app. I liked adding detail to my neighborhood, but I wondered why my options for making changes were so limited.
Months pass, and one of the achievements in Street Complete pointed me towards a browser-based editor that I could use to make changes when I wasn’t walking around. One glance at my changesets as of a few weeks ago shows how well I took to the new editing tools.
Lacking any sort of guidance other than the brief tutorial, I started by adding “house” areas to houses in the area, but didn’t remove the existing address pins for fear of stepping on toes. Aerial images, my frequent walks, and plenty of COVID-19-induced alone time have led me to making more changes in the city, however.
Side note: read the documentation. It’s good for the soul.
More editing has taught me more about how the different parts of the map work together, and seeing those edits being uploaded to the other projects that take advantage of the OSM database is a very nice feeling.
Comment from Glassman on 30 July 2020 at 20:17
Welcome to OSM. I love it when people improve their local area. There is plenty to do, from buildings, businesses, sidewalks, trails, benches, parks, playgrounds, and the list goes on. My recommendation - do what you like to do. Just this week I met a person that was paid to map in OSM. He couldn’t stand it. As I explained the difference is I map what I want and when I want.
Can you tell us how you found OSM and what you like about it?
I should also mention RapiD. RapiD has building footprints provided by Microsoft that can easily be added to OSM. Personally I like to merge single address nodes with the building outline.
If you haven’t been invited to the OSM US community’s Slack then please join us at slack.openstreetmap.us. Great place to get help and help others.
Clifford AKA Glassman
Comment from SoCal Maplove on 2 August 2020 at 05:49
I first found it while looking to degoogle my electronics. Osmand was recommended to replace google’s maps. Since Osmand is based on the OSM data, I realized that the imperfections that I noticed, such as being routed to the wrong side of a property, could be corrected by me.
I decided to look into it more deeply which lead me to the StreetComplete app, and the rest is history.
What I like the most about it is the ability to be as detailed as I’m feeling on that day. As a rule I like things that are free-form and leave room for creativity. I have the option in OSM to survey every square inch of my local parks, and subsequently upload that information… or I can kick back and draw squares based on aerial photos.
I also coincidentally happened to acquire a touch-screen laptop with a stylus before I started editing with the browser-based tools.
So far I’ve had a lot of fun walking around my local neighborhood and community and adding the local businesses, removing redundancies, updating things to account for construction, and so forth.