Recent diary entries
I read in a news item somewhere that the refinery in Baiji had been captured by ISIS. I looked at OSM and the town was only weakly mapped, went to edit and saw that the imagery was fantastic. Awesome tracing bliss!. Then I thought to check my “How did you contribute to Openstreetmap” profile and saw I’d never edited in Iraq before – even better! I came back today, finished some streets in the bottom end of town, went to finish the northern end of town – that’s strange I thought, I don’t remember finishing the north – and discovered someone else had found the little pocket of high res tracing joy as well – they must have seen the same news item! But that’s OK, I don’t mind sharing.
I’ve stopped mapping simply because the very deepest layer of Bing imagery is no longer available for Brisbane.
Sure, there’s other stuff I could be doing, mapping-wise, but that’s not what I’m interested in at the moment.
I found a post over on legal-talk, “A gradual transition to ODbL” that I think is a very sensible proposal, which so far has no responses to it.
I imagine if you’re reading this diary you’re aware of the license change over date of 1 April, and the accompanying loss of data that will involve. You might even be aware that at a worldwide level it’s only a few percent of the database that will be expunged. There’s a short history as a footnote below if you’re not aware of this.
But for Australia, Poland, many regions of Germany, and another dozen or so countries there is a very real risk that large chunks of data will be lost in the license changeover. For details see here http://odbl.poole.ch/. But even if your country looks relatively safe, there are probably regions or towns that are at risk of being badly affected.
Re-mapping, for example, Australia by 1st April, is just not possible, I’ve been busting a gut doing my share and it can’t be done. There is an outside chance that some licensing issues can be resolved and rejectors coaxed to sign up, but I wouldn’t be banking on it. I wouldn’t base my future plans around it.
You could well say re-map before it goes, re-map after it’s gone, same difference. But that’s ignoring the psychological aspect. There are lots of mappers out there who probably have only the vaguest idea that a license change process is happening, and hardly imagine that it will have any real impact on them. When they log on after 1st April (depending where they are) they are going to be disillusioned at the data loss in their area and quite possibly discontinue mapping.
But it’s not just about mapper’s feelings, it’s also about the people that use the data for mapping and navigation. If they see a data loss, they’re going to go running to FOSM or a commercial provider. When you get down to it, OSM is about the provision of free and quality data. That’s why I joined up.
This all brings me to some questions which readers might like to answer.
Is the proposal on legal-talk reasonable? (and why do you think that?)
Do you think I’m paranoid and that data loss will be insignificant come 1st April?
If you think the data loss doesn’t matter, why?
Short history: The original contributor terms (CTs) licensed all contributions as CC and didn’t allow for the license to be changed. The new CTs allow the license to be changed by a 2/3rds vote of active mappers. There was a whole lot of argy-bargy over CC vs Odbl licensing, which is why a number of mappers rejected the new CTs. But the important thing for OSM to be viable in the future is it needs to be able to change the license if and when changing conditions demand.
The state of Queensland, Australia has a bucketload of railways (lines platforms, pedestrian access) that were not traced by license acceptors, and so will disappear in the license change if not re-mapped.
They're on my to do list, but I have a lot of other things on there as well, and will have less time over the Christmas break.
Some tempting places to work might be:
Gladstone, the port, the coal terminals (world's fourth largest coal export terminal), and the main line heading south
Dutton Park, a largish junction, and suburban lines heading E and W from there. (This junction is partially re-mapped.)
Acacia Ridge multi-modal terminal, and the main line heading N and S from here.
Port of Brisbane terminal.
Roma Street Station, 8 tracks close to the city centre
Bowen Hills Yards, really big
If you're tempted to help out, remember, please no copying across of line name or platform number unless you can find a legit source or have local knowledge.
I (or some other local) can easily add the line names later.
Please leave the station nodes for now, unless you have a legit source for replacing them. They'll be useful up until the license changeover, and I (or some other local) can use local knowledge to replace them later on.
Remapping is boring, and takes away time from doing real mapping.
However, with 1st April date to expunge non licence compatible data from the map, it is not too soon to start remapping.
In Australia, only about half the map is compatible with the new licence conditions. About a quarter is the IP of 44 licence rejectors, and the remaining quarter is made up of about 1,500 non-acceptors, who are signing up at the cracking pace of around .22% per week. It's clear I can't wait for the non-acceptors to sign back in.
I've made a start on my local area, and I've quickly learnt that it's quicker to just replace stuff colour-coded as affected than to work out if the changes made by rejectors/non-acceptors are critical or not by perusing the history.
At least doing local changes, I know what the streets are called, where the bus stops are, etc, and can do it all from desktop mapping. To remap the entirety of Australia by 1st April is, I think, an impossibility.
If anyone's interested, the suburb of Settlers Hills in Western Australia needs a lot of tracing from Bing imagery.
I normally like tracing virgin areas myself, I made a start, but I just find this kind of urban environment too boring.
I think I have, after an hours work, created proper relations for these two counties. Couldn't get it to work in Potlatch 2, but it did work in Potlatch 1.4.
Now to clear up the duplicate nodes in Bonner County.
Been amusing myself mapping South Korean islands near the North Korean border.
I was hoping to do Yeonpyeong, where the shelling occurred, but the imagery was too coarse. Not too far east though, are a number of islands with detailed imagery, and almost virgin with respect to mapping.
They're very interesting on the imagery, the sea around the islands is quite shallow and large parts of the islands appear to be reclaimed land. So you have hilly forested areas, villages nestled on the edge of that and large areas of flat fields. I'm guessing rice, but it's possible there is some aquaculture too.
I've just better traced the coastline and put in tracks, farmland, residential areas, the odd water body and school areas based on existing point data.
However, the rendering of my mapping doesn't look that exciting. Of course, the coastlines will take probably a month before they render.
Dutton Park, Queensland is now complete, at least as far as I'm concerned. All building outlines and street numbers are in, although the last couple haven't rendered yet.
On an unrelated note, I think I damaged the West End/4101 boundary the other day. Labels are now appearing on the boundary line, not in the centre.
The area I was working on was the southern boundary along the river, if anyone has the skills and energy to find the problem and fix it.
Of course, it may have been broken before, but I didn't realise it.
I still haven't finished Fairfield yet.
Things I've been doing...
Took a holiday to Mapleton and picked up a dozen or more street names in the area.
I declare my Kampong Ayer project complete, except for that I've made contact with a lapsed Brunei mapper in the hope that he might be able to fill in and verify a few things.
Finally finished all the address numbers along my 5 km cycle commute. (Fortunately some of it is through parkland). Time to start making diversions to pick up more.
Found some interesting structures along the Brunei coast, and started tracing the coastline around them. (somebody else had made a start). My changes haven't been rendered yet, but you can see the earlier work.