Thomas_Hervey's diary

Recent diary entries

Working towards easier editing for humanitarian action

Posted by Thomas_Hervey on 11 May 2019 in English (English).

GSoC 2019 Project

Hello again OSM community! This summer, I will once again be working on a GSoC project to improve the iD editor. This time, my goal is to improve the link between HOTOSM’s Tasking Manager and the iD editor. The Tasking Manager is an incredibly valuable management tool that helps target mapping and gives new users guidance. However, the Tasking Manager has a weak connection with it’s primary OSM editor, iD. Starting an edit changes some settings on the Tasking Manager side, such as locking a task. A user is then sent to the iD editor who makes edits normally, guided by a task bounding box. Beyond this, there is little integration. A user cannot see details of the task, lock, or unlock a task without switching back to the Tasking Manager webpage.


About the project

Members in both the OSM and HOT community want a tighter integration. My approach is to start simple and make sure that details of an active task are sent to the iD editor. This will allow a user to see a description of the task, lock and unlock the task, and comment on the task. One possible UI for an active task can be seen on HOTOSM’s mapping flow mock-up, and development discussion will be in this iD issue.

The next major step will be to suggest projects to work on. Much like HOTOSM’s Tasking Manager project grid view, iD will support a list of filterable projects. Throughout this process, I will be posting updates of my progress and reaching out the community for feedback. Time to get to work!

About me

I am a PhD student in the UCSB Geography department studying geographic information retrieval (GIR) and geographic relevance (GR). After my studies, I hope to apply my experience of cognitive-driven GIR to help improve geographic search tools and geospatial information processing pipelines.

Location: Ellwood, Goleta, Santa Barbara County, California, 93117-3021, United States

KeepRight - The start of Q/A in iD

Posted by Thomas_Hervey on 12 August 2018 in English (English).

Hello everyone,

My Google Summer of Code project period is almost over, but I plan on continuing to add features to iD as well as stay integrated with the OSM community long after this summer. After the release of notes, I have turned my attention to Q/A. There are a lot of impressive Q/A tools out there, including Keep right automatically detects issues, such as intersections without junctions between a waterway and a highway. Like notes, reporting QA errors can give users, especially new ones, an opportunity to make guided updates and corrections.

Below is a prototype of iD with a keepRight layer on indicating an array of errors to be corrected. In the future, we plan to add layer settings for filtering out error types (currently shown in different colors) and more. You’ll be able to demo this feature in iD soon.

Please let me know what you think and how helpful you think QA tools, especially automated error detection tools, will be for OSM users and editors. For further details, see the PR in iD.


Cheers! -Thomas H

Location: Gallatin County, Montana, United States

`new-note` mode in iD

Posted by Thomas_Hervey on 24 July 2018 in English (English).

With the recent addition of displaying notes in iD (see my last blog post), we wanted to allow users to also add notes. Preview the feature by enabling the notes layer under map-data, or see an example. Please let us know if you find any critical issues before the next iD release this week.

If you’re curious about where notes are headed, consider several of these feature discussions. The top of our list includes adding filtering by open/closed status, location, date, and importance, and categorizing notes to make them more useful. Please comment below to let us know how you use OSM notes.

Cheers! -Thomas Hervey

Example of adding a new note

Location: Downtown, Baltimore, Maryland, 21201, United States

Notes in iD have arrived

Posted by Thomas_Hervey on 20 July 2018 in English (English).

You can now preview OSM notes in iD by pressing ‘F’ to open the map data pane, enabling notes, and zooming in. Much like on, you can toggle on and off the notes layer, close / reopen notes, comment on them, and follow links to a note or its creator on Give it a try and let me know what you think! We are compiling feature requests such as filtering, note templating, etc. Also, feel free to search and open issues related to bugs or desirable features. Before the next release of iD, expect an add Note button as well (as seen in the image below).

Additionally, along with Bryan Housel and Marc Farra (my GSoC 2018 mentors), I am researching how OSM users use notes. We hope to make notes more useful, more consistent, and potentially a rejuvenated outlet for stronger socialization and communication across the OSM community. Therefore, if you have feedback on how to improve notes (or what you use notes for), please comment below! In my next blog post, I’ll provide more fuel for ideas by sharing note features that we have already started working on.

Until next time,

-Thomas Hervey

notes supported in iD editor

Location: Barracks Road, Charlottesville, Virginia, United States

Now Showing: "OSM Notes in iD"

Posted by Thomas_Hervey on 25 June 2018 in English (English).

Hello OSM community,

This is a short post. I wanted to give a status update on my GSoC project to integrate notes into the iD editor. Details can be found under the notes issue and the notes branch. Notes are now appearing! They are toggleable by turning on and off a notes layer under Map Details. In the future, the notes service will likely be moved into the osm service. My next step is to populate the sidebar with feature details when a note is hovered or clicked. To do this, notes should be an osm entity and queryable.

openstreetmap notes

The road ahead

I’ve been discussing with my mentors about what I should do once I’ve completed notes. WIth many ideas floating around, I will likely turn my attention to QA and the social aspects of OSM. Much like notes, including keep right into iD will give users another guide for what to work on and improve. Also, as suggested by Marc Farra, there’s a growing desire to link a lot of the social aspects of osm together, including osm groups, osm’s wiki, user diaries, etc. One idea is to take a survey of all the notes that have been created, and categorize what they are used for. This could give insight into why people are creating notes, how to make them more social, and common issues associated with them (e.g., bulk uploads, confusions about how they work, etc.). One possible outcome would be to add a section to a user’s dashboard that shows comments and closures related to their notes as well as suggests other notes to work on. More on this later, but if you have any suggestions or questions, please let me know!

Cheers from sunny and rainy Charlottesville, VA, USA.


GSoC iD notes ... linking the API with SVG

Posted by Thomas_Hervey on 3 June 2018 in English (English).

Week 3

The end to the academic year is always frantic, but working on iD has made the last two weeks more enjoyable. I’m continually impressed by the amount of time, effort, and collaboration that has gone into making OSM what it is today. I think I’ve only scratched the surface of the codebase.

Anyways, I am currently working on linking the notes API service to an SVG display layer. I’ve hit a few bumps, but I’ve found that most things are pretty straightforward. Notes are now successfully retrieved and parsed when the map is moved, and I’ve begun working on caching. Additionally, the map data UI now has a button for toggling map notes, and a placeholder button for adding notes (just like has been added to the map-control list. It’s a placeholder because I haven’t quite finished adding the SVG to iD’s sprite sheet.

If you have any suggestions regarding notes or the notes UI, please reach out!

New map data toggle and map-control button

Cheers and happy almost summer (northern hemisphere),


... and so it begins

Posted by Thomas_Hervey on 14 May 2018 in English (English).

Week 1

Today is the first programming day for GSoC 2018. If you haven’t read about the student projects, go take a look! For this week, I will be firming my understanding of the iD services implementations (paying particular attention to mapillary and openstreetcam). Notes will end up being a toggleable service much like these two. Thus far, I’ve already experimented with many parameterized curl calls to the Notes API, and have delved deep into D3 (since iD relies heavily on it). This week, I am also going to explore how JOSM handles notes (to see if it is different from

If you’re curious about other improvements to notes, please share your ideas here and take a look at an ongoing discussion about categorizing notes.

Below you can see iD currently without notes and with notes enabled. I’ll be using my home campus, UCSB, as a test area for this work. So if you check the area out, you may see a lot of notes popping up! UCSB no notes UCSB notes


Notes, notes, and more notes

Posted by Thomas_Hervey on 28 April 2018 in English (English).

for starters …

Howdy OSM community! I’m a 3rd year GIScience PhD student living in Santa Barbara, CA. When I’m stuck at school, I’m researching GIS conceptual fundamentals, geographic information retrieval, and spatial cognition. When I’m not on campus, I’m rebuilding a pool table, rejuvinating a quadcopter, home brewing, and climbing around the Santa Inez mountains.

the details …

My 2018 summer will be dedicated to integrating notes (and maybe a few other things) into the iD editor. Here is a project overview. This’ll allow editors to more easily see and create notes while live editing. To start, I’ll make sure that a notes API is set up and that note details are queried for a given viewport. Next, I’ll be adding note icons, a toggle to turn notes on and off, and several other UI components. Finally, I will add remaining interactions including closing notes, commenting, etc.

This task, albeit humble, should be a challenge for me since I’m not a native developer. However, I hope to complete this task before the end of the program and move on to some other iD tasks. For more details on my project schedule, check back in a week for my next post.

Cheers, -Thomas

p.s. I’m glad that OSM allows me to indicate my location with spurious precision ;)

Location: Isla Vista, Santa Barbara County, California, 93117-4620, United States