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Maybe most of us have experienced unpleasant situations with maps, like getting lost on the road due to navigation issues caused by incorrect or outdated maps. This problem is particularly troubling in unfamiliar areas or during long journeys. Poor geospatial data quality often leads to these inaccuracies, resulting in significant inconveniences and even potential dangers. This highlights the crucial role geospatial data plays in our daily lives; when it is inaccurate, it can lead to serious issues.

Geospatial data quality depends greatly on who creates it, especially on platforms like OpenStreetMap (OSM), the world’s largest open mapping platform. OSM’s data comes from many different contributors with different levels of geographic knowledge. This diversity can enrich the data but also lead to heterogeneity. For instance, in the picture below, you can see the differences in digitizing done by various contributors. Some highways are more detailed, indicated by the higher number of nodes in the highway line.

Different digitizing by multiple contributors

The Open Mapping Hub Asia-Pacific knows how important data quality is and works hard to keep OSM data trustworthy. However, they can’t manage data quality worldwide by themselves. They need to collaborate with local communities, who have detailed knowledge of their areas (local knowledge).

The Open Mapping Hub Asia-Pacific runs the Open Mapping Guru (OM Guru) program to improve OSM data quality by involving different OSM communities. I was lucky to join this program on the validation track, focusing on fixing data errors in the Asia-Pacific region, especially in Indonesia. Using my local knowledge, I corrected building positions, highway names, building names, and more (as shown in the picture below).

Example of OpenStreetMap building data errors

Being part of this program has been really great. I’ve learned a lot, like how to check OSM data using tools like JOSM, MapRoulette, and OSMCha. Fixing errors isn’t just helpful for everyone else, it’s also really satisfying for me. It’s amazing that I can help so many people just by sitting at my computer.

I want to say a big thank you to the Open Mapping Hub Asia-Pacific for giving me this chance. I think if we all work together, we can make a big difference in how geospatial data is used, especially on OpenStreetMap.

Thanks for reading my story. Happy mapping!

OMGuru #OpenMappingHubAP


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