OpenStreetMap

5 dreams/ proposals for OSM headquarters (please comment)

Posted by Tomasz_W on 7 September 2014 in English (English)

1. Change default Mapnik style

Terrible Mapnik style has to be heavily refreshed or changed. It looks like from '00 years and it deterring people from OSM. We have 2014 and design trends has changed since then. In my opinion MapSurfer style is the best alternative. It's beautiful and renders more tags than Mapnik.

check MapSurfer style here: http://osmapa.pl/#lat=35.68&lon=10.55&z=3&m=ms

2. Unflattening the map

Imagine interactive OSM - you click on a restaurant building or icon and balloon with opening hours, website etc. shows up, you click on a church and balloon with religion, denomination etc. shows up. Today most of the tags are "hidden". There are some services based on OSM which are showing details but they are barely unknown outside OSM community. OSM is a huge database which contains a lot of informations but they are wasted now.

3. Extend thematical maps

On OSM.org we have 3 thematical layers and:

  • bike map could be "tourist map" with bike and hiking trails, emphasized tourist attractions like museums, viewpoints, castles etc.
  • public transport map could be "public utility map" with public hospitals, schools, offices etc. emphasized
  • humanitarian map could be "danger map" with shelters, ruins, military buildings etc.

4. Promote offline OSM for mobiles

I've got Locus with offline OSM on my phone, but I find (unofficial) website with offline OSM maps for download very late. OSM should standardize one extension of offline map filetype for different apps like Locus or OsmAnd and make official website for downloading this maps, linked on OSM.org. Offline OSM is great because you can save money instead pay for internet on your phone, unfortunately I think very few people know about offline OSM possibility.

5. More boldness :)

I'm using OSM since 2012, and changes or updates which I can see are barely visible. More boldness with making OSM better :)

Location: Wzgórze Przemysła, Stare Miasto, Poznań, Greater Poland Voivodeship, 61-770, Poland

Comment from asdf2 on 7 September 2014 at 10:37

My words!!

Thematical maps can also be like http://maps.skobbler.de/. And don't forget the routing service!

My desire for mobile apps: more intuitiveness and simplicity, to achieve more people!

Cheers

Comment from mcld on 7 September 2014 at 10:50

The MapSurfer link doesn't work for me (doesn't show any tiles), so I can't comment. But I think most people agree the Mapnik style ain't too pretty.

But if you think the Mapnik style is bad, PLEASE don't try to ruin all the other map styles too by piling a load of extra symbols onto the bike/transport/humanitarian styles! The more extra crud you add to a rendering style, the less readable and useful you make it for its designed purpose.

(My number one hope for OSM.org right now is adding routing to the website!)

Comment from escada on 7 September 2014 at 11:06

For Unflattening the map. Did you ever try the "Map Data' under the layers options ? Or http://www.openlinkmap.org ?

Do you know the geschichtskarte, firehydrant map, grapphopper, osrm, and many other thematic maps ? Do you want them all to be available from 1 UI ?

As far as I know a routing solution is now in beta (according to a post on the talk mailing list).

Comment from RobJN on 7 September 2014 at 11:25

Hi,

These sort of ideas come up every now and then. It's worth remembering that there is no OpenStreetMap Headquarters. The whole project is volunteer run with no paid employees (this is quite different to wikipedia for example).

It also worth considering the statement on the wiki:

Welcome to OpenStreetMap, the project that creates and distributes free geographic data for the world. We started it because most maps you think of as free actually have legal or technical restrictions on their use, holding back people from using them in creative, productive, or unexpected ways.

We want to create and distribute free data so that others can use it in creative ways. There is therefore a balance that needs to be struck between providing enough features on openstreetmap.org to encourage more people to edit data, and providing too much that we stifle innovation and use of OpenStreetMap data on third party websites.

Regards, Rob

p.s. A lot of work has gone in to the default renderer these last few months. Colours are now more subtle and the style is generally more "consistent". You can make more suggestions at https://github.com/gravitystorm/openstreetmap-carto

Comment from ika-chan! UK on 7 September 2014 at 11:40

I welcome any improvement to the default style as long as we still have blue for motorways and green for primary routes in the UK. ;-)

Comment from Tomasz_W on 7 September 2014 at 12:17

@mcld I know that is hard to design readable map with many things emphasized, but it's not impossible! :)

Comment from Tomasz_W on 7 September 2014 at 12:49

@escada of course there are ways to show detailed tags but they are uncomfortable in use in my opinion

@RobJN yeah, I know there are no OSM official headquarters, but (as I know, correct me if I'm wrong) there are few people responsible for most important things in OSM like Andy Allan is responsible for OSM styles; I think that this system is not good, because there are too much OSM users for not enough "headquarters" (I don't know how to call this important in OSM people, so I'm calling them "headquarters" :) ) and they can't handle this size of development; system based on "issues" on github are making me laught, because as long as OSM won't have any hierarhy and employers needed changes will be introduced veeery slooowly

Comment from robert on 7 September 2014 at 13:23

Remember, Tomasz, that a lot of things (most things that aren't to do with actually editing maps) on osm.org are essentially a "demo". If "employers need changes", they are free to implement themselves and make them part of their services. OSM itself doesn't have (and almost certainly never will have) the capacity to be a true google-maps-alike.

If an "employer" finds e.g. the default mapnik style to be inhibiting them, it's probably a sign that they've been piggybacking on the (nonprofit) OSM infrastructure for providing their services for too long.

Comment from Sanderd17 on 7 September 2014 at 20:12

  1. Mapnik looks nicer than Google maps, and Google maps is the market leader for most things involved online maps. So I don't think that map style makes a lot of difference.

  2. This would indeed help a bit with getting users to know the data behind the map, and could get us some extra mappers (if they know how the data looks, starting to edit it is only a small step).

  3. Sure, why not. Thematical maps are handy.

  4. Mobile apps offer a lot more than the data. They have own routing, own rendering, own searching. We can't possibly distribute a format that fits all purposes.

It's up to the apps to promote their features, and we can only hope that the apps will also promote OSM with it, so we get some contributors (if they promote OSM, they get better data, so their features work better).

  1. Depends on what you're editing. Not all features are equally big or important.

Comment from escada on 8 September 2014 at 05:59

You propose a "popup" to show the additional information, but you don't like the way openlinkmap does it ? I'll agree it's not integrated into osm.org, but the UI is OK I think.

Comment from Tomasz_W on 8 September 2014 at 06:34

I see that some people here are proposing external services when I'm proposing add their functions (or part of their funtions) to main site; I'm proposing it, because in my opinion more functional main site OSM.org would be better than hundreds external services, I think that separating OSM into "OSM for fire hydrants", "OSM for links", "OSM for routing" etc. is wrong direction for the future

Comment from Marián Kyral on 8 September 2014 at 08:48

I like the default mapnik style . But the given osmapa.pl style is also nice. Google style is not very nice, but he covers the whole planet. Also it is a default map in android phones. I think, this is the reason, why are so popular. But on local level, there are many local services that looks much better than google maps and also have more details than google.

E.g.: In Czech republic we have http://mapy.cz from the local google competitor. In the left upper corner you can choose another type of the map - default, tourist, cycle, transport, photo, historical... You can also switch for aerial map and on some places, the local version of street view is available (not so good as from google).

The main advantage is, that all is on one place. When I plan some trip, I zoom to the area I'm interested and I can check what tourist attractions are there, I can plan route, it shows me distance, time (for car, bicycle and foot) and the elevation profile of the route. I can also quick check restaurants close to the route, click on them and get detail information and directly open restaurants web site.

When I want to do this by using openstreetmap data, I have one page with default map, second with tourist routes, third for routing, fourth for interactive POI's a fifth is a page with some satellite maps. So five websites that I need to open, five independent websites - when I move somewhere else on one website, I need to repeat this move on other websites as well. It is very uncomfortable.

So I agree, that this approach is not good. OSM.org needs look to the future.

Comment from joost schouppe on 11 September 2014 at 02:08

When it comes to osm.org, it could be more of a hub. Not all services should be there, but it would do more good for the project with more prominent presence of the forum, the wiki, a selection of popular apps and services.

Comment from Warin61 on 6 November 2014 at 10:46

  1. Different types of maps .. yes. But this is a renderer issue .. tourist maps? Well tourist usually use public transport.. and want hotels, bars, etc

  2. Offline maps are essential in some places .. e.g. those places don't have cell phone coverage. In Australia the biggest telco advertises 98% coverage .. that is 98% of the population - where they live.. but that would be less than 15% of the actual land area. I like the way OSMAnd renders for bicycles... but to include 'tourist' on it? No .. too cluttered. I think the tourist map would be better rendered as a separate thing.

  3. I'm considering a trip to India .. so down loaded an OSM map for there .. many of the roads are not connected .. so auto routing does not work. There is a lot of base work to be done in various areas to get the map world wide into a more consistent state. These changes may be small and you may not see them .. but they have an impact on useability.


Keep thinking .. ideas are welcome, as is basic work on the map where ever your interests are.

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