OpenStreetMap

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: Mescalitan Island, Santa Barbara County, California, 93106, USA

Comment from philippec on 28 April 2018 at 13:39

Do you see a possibility to categorise the notes ?

Comment from Thomas_Hervey on 10 May 2018 at 20:45

Hi @philippec, Thanks for your comment. What exactly do you have in mind? Would this be tagging a post (with user-generated tags, or OSM feature tags)? Or categorizing them by their importance, like high priority, vs blue sky, etc.

Comment from philippec on 13 May 2018 at 17:41

That is a difficult one. Would really no one have made such a list before ? I don't feel smart enough to do that. There have been plenty discussions about worthless notes. https://forum.openstreetmap.org/viewtopic.php?id=57577

They could be categorized by the work the author did put into it. Or by the origin : anonymous OSM, Navmii,...

The importance is the most subjective criterium : I did put an hour of work photographing the shops in a backward vicinity, you could call it HOT work. But it was not seen as important. https://www.openstreetmap.org/note/1306417

Some people copy and paste the same note randomly all over the country when a walking network changes. That is seen as important.

The age of a note might be a criterium. But then again, how do you compare a life ring to a shop ? https://www.openstreetmap.org/note/1216316#map=15/51.0102/4.5417&layers=N

Some people use notes to tell about road works two years in the future. That could make a town full of notes.

The most honest note is the one where a mapper asks for advice about the tagging and then tags it himself. The silliest (or most amusing) notes I ever encountered was a distinguished mapper who asked about shops that were closed and he could not distinguish in the dark and even about houses of which he thought it could be shops.

I prefer to make notes about objects that do not interest me, but someone else. Some mappers like that, a well documented note with pictures. Others think I am just lazy.

Look at my profile to understand what I talk about.

Comment from philippec on 13 May 2018 at 18:11

And here an important note, the new Passenger Cruise Terminal in Brussels. It has even been on television. It is probably difficult to map. https://www.openstreetmap.org/note/1323520#map=16/50.8951/4.4008&layers=N

Comment from Thomas_Hervey on 14 May 2018 at 19:28

@philippec, hmm these are some interesting points. First off, I appreciate your enthusiasm for adding notes, especially ones that can (and have been?) groundtruthed using Mapillary, satellite imagery, etc. I will look into other community blogs, open tickets, ask my mentors, etc. if such a list of categories exists. Ultimately, this project is scoped to integrating notes into iD and not altering the Notes API. But provided there is enough interest from the community (and extra time), I would certainly be interested in prototyping a categorization system.

In the mean time, here are a few of my thoughts. Notes on openstreetmap.org do have details on how old the note is (e.g., "almost 5 years ago"). I am sure you know this, and perhaps we could make the time more explicit (e.g., "125 days ago"), but that may not help much. I would think that a category for "future work" notes would be helpful (like in the Brussels cruise terminal case), but I too could see OSM being littered with these. On your comment "I prefer to make notes about objects that do not interest me, but someone else. Some mappers like that, a well documented note with pictures. Others think I am just lazy." ... I like this idea too because it suggests that perhaps someone with more local knowledge could pick up the work that has been done, and work on it.

However, I agree with some of the comments from other mappers that this sort of bloats notes and make a lot of half finished ones. However, I think this is a case by case thing and that no categorizing approach would really fix this. Alternatively though, I do like your idea that we could have a section where a note creator fills in:

  1. what has been done (which may be nothing other than background knowledge)
  2. Remaining tasks / issues
  3. potentially a category tag (in my opinion, a priority level and possibly if the author suggests a feature type).

Thanks! -Thomas

Comment from philippec on 14 May 2018 at 20:02

Notes should be OSM's fuel, now they are rather a burden.

Comment from Adamant1 on 16 May 2018 at 07:31

Hi Thomas, thanks for working on this. Its been a frustration of mine for awhile that notes are not viewable in the ID Editor. Id also like to echo what the other commentator has said about catagories. Personally, I would love to see a time based catagory system where the note pin color changes depending on how many months or years old the note is, along with a way to tell which notes are new that day. I've ran into a bunch of notes 4 or 5 years old where the problem was long fixed, but knowone ever resolved the note. Plus, it would be nice to be able to highlight newer notes so they can be resolved without having to make the person who created the note wait while digging through all the old ones. There are also notes that cant easily be solved without having special knowlege or training. So maybe a three catagory system based on the notes difficulty would be good. Then newer people could work on easy notes right off and not get bogged down or put off by the extremely hard ones. My final thought is that I think notes should have a life span and disapear if unsolved after an amount of time. A five year old note is pretty useless in a lot of cases, just because of how much time has passed, the fact that the original note creator probably doesnt care about it anymore, and the people resolving notes often dont want to resolve ones going that far back. So if there was a way they could be removed from the map but still be archived and easily accessed for someone who wants to go over them again, that would be fantastic.

Thanks again for your work on the notes. Its great to see progress is being made on the system.

Comment from philippec on 16 May 2018 at 17:02

I have an idea that can satisfy everybody and it is without categories = Let the individual mapper follow/unfollow notes. The unfollowed notes would normally become invisible to that mapper.

Harder = Or let people vote for notes : love/hate or like/dislike or worthy/silly

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