OpenStreetMap

Updating attributes for the Corona virus pandemic

Posted by Sparks on 20 March 2020 in English (English)

Lots of changes to our geographic landscape has been happening since the beginning of the Corona virus pandemic (COVID-19). No, the land masses haven’t changed that much but I’m guessing that your local stores may have changed their operating hours and whether or not they are doing delivery, etc. I recently brought this up on the talk-us list but I didn’t really get the discussion I was hoping for going there. So what to do?!

The question

The question I had was:

“Do we change all of the information that we know to no longer be true and ‘fix’ it, if only for it to be a temporary fix for what we all hope will end up being getting back to normal?”

It’s a hard question to answer. Many of us have invested lots of time collecting this original information that we certainly hope we will be returning to soon. On the other hand, we know that the information that is currently on the map is incorrect and is no longer useful to our end users.

The answer?

For me, the answer was to update the businesses with what we currently know to be correct. This means that going out and resurveying a lot of businesses in my area and attempting to gather the new operating hours, whether they are doing takeaway only and maybe they have started doing delivery (this goes for grocery stores as well!).

To me, this is all about serving my community and trying to provide near real-time information to people that need it. OSM isn’t just a bunch of lines on the screen, it’s a place to find information about what’s going on around you and help you find what you are looking for when you are looking for it.

I think we all hope that everything we knew before the pandemic is still what will be after the pandemic, but we simply don’t know.

What this means for me (and other cartographers like me).

For me, this means that I am surveying all businesses (generally food establishments at the moment) and determining if any changes to their existing entries need to be made. I am also making a list of the businesses that I’m updating so I can re-evaluate those once this whole thing is over. Honestly, I think we’ll all be re-evaluating all of these businesses after everything is over.

I’m also not taking on a huge area but rather just my local community. It’s manageable for me to do this. I know that this is extra work for me but I’m signing on for it.

Should you do it for your community?

If you are able to commit to fixing what’s “broken” today, and then fixing it again in the future, I’d say go for it. But, this will take commitment. We certainly don’t want “pandemic data” to be left around after things have returned to normal (whatever that is).

Location: Stoakley, Prince Frederick, Calvert County, Maryland, 20678, United States of America

Comment from German C on 21 March 2020 at 12:45

Which tuple (key=value) to add or update for schools temporarily closed for covid-19? (example: opening_hours: Mar 16-Apr 15 Off “closed by government order” )

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