OpenStreetMap

OSM 0, Google 1

Posted by alexkemp on 1 December 2018 in English (English).

As I was walking through NG3 Nottingham this afternoon, on my way towards Tesco at NG1, I was stopped by a chap in an electric car with his wife & 2 kids (lots of electric cars in Nottingham these days) and asked if I knew where Hartley Road was. They were trying to get to the House of Pain Wrestling event in St Peter’s Church Hall.

I have mapped most of NG3, 4 & 5 in Nottingham, but not NG7. He had internet on his mobile so I suggested that he bring up osm.org in his browser. To my surprise, this brought up a long list of short lines of text (I could not read them) (desktop OSM brings up the map) but after a short while he got the map of England up. I told him confidently that he could now search for Hartley Road, but he could not find a search box nor any link to a search box. By this time his wife had used Google to locate the road & also discover the route from ourselves to it (3½ miles). He thanked me and set off.

Oops. Google has got user needs & interactions well worked out, whilst OSM struggles in it’s dust to even get started.

Location: Radford, Nottingham, East Midlands, England, NG7 3HX, United Kingdom

Comment from Adamant1 on 2 December 2018 at 11:57

The OSM website could be way more useful friendly. Its been brought up on their Github page more then once, but unfortunately its mostly fallen deaf ears.

Ultimately though, OSM is just an open database of geographical information that anyone can access. While the main website is meant to be a showcase for that, its not suppose to be the only or best one. Although it could still do a better job of it for mobile users. Especially since most people probably don’t understand its not meant to be a direct Google maps competitor per say.

Comment from escada on 3 December 2018 at 12:09

That’s why I have Magic Earth and OsmAnd on my phone. No need to go on-line.


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