Disappointed (But Not Surprised)

Posted by blackboxlogic on 23 July 2020 in English (English). Last updated on 2 August 2020.

Facebook and ESRI announced they were adding additional data-sources into their iD fork called rapiD. They’ve collected data sources, performed schema translation, and created a conflation tool, but after being asked to follow the import process, they’ve insisted it’s not an import and they don’t need to solicit community feedback.

So here’s some feedback which they might have gotten from the community, if they had asked.

MapWithAI Data Source License

  • The Services Data is made available to you under the terms of the MIT license. I’m not a lawyer, but the MIT license isn’t compatible with ODbL and OSM. This could lead to all edits from rapiD needing to be reverted. Each data source license should be documented inside OSM’s wiki, with your import proposal.
  • You may not ... reverse-engineer any of the software you forbid critical analysis of your import. Nice.
  • you accept any changes to the Terms by continuing to use the Services after We post the changes Truly evil!

MapWithAI Data Source Quality

  • The AI generated way geometry looks good, but the highway tag values seem consistently wrong. The acceptable error rate for an import is debatable, I aim for > 95% accuracy in my work. It is irresponsible to even suggest low quality data. You should prompt the user to supply the highway tag’s value instead.

Esri Data Translation

Conflation Tool (rapiD)

  • Clicking Remove this feature only hides it for the current user/session, and it will be re-suggested next time. You’re pushing features even after a mapper flags them as wrong. This will default to the judgement of the /least/ discerning mapper. Excluded elements need to be put on a “no-list”, and never showed again unless specifically requested, and even then, with a visual cue indicating that they have been flagged. This issue was first reported to you in January.
  • You’ve decided to prevent the mapper from removing the source tag. You’ve implemented this by disabling the tag’s field/button/icon, but that’s broken in two ways:
    • Buildings: I am able to click the remove button on imported buildings’ source tags even when the field/button/icon is disabled.
    • Ways: I’ve found the source field/button/icon is enabled and clickable after some combination of working with other elements and coming back. (This was tricky, let me know if you are unable to reproduce this and I can do a screen capture)
    • I’d suggest removing the feature preventing users from editing/removing the source tag. And removing the requirement from your license.

Changeset Tags

  • Each dataset offered for import need to be referenced in the change-set source tag (even if that duplicates element tags).
  • All source tags from your import should be documented here.
  • Each changeset should include a tag linking to your import proposal. I use osm_wiki_documentation_page but anything like more_info would be fine.
  • The Oganized Editing Guidlines require the use of a hashtag in the comment.

Administrative Process

Lack of import proposal, lack of solicited community review on the proper channels, lack of response to community feedback. Read the import guidelines. The import process is designed to govern exactly the activity that you’re engaging in, and prevent exactly the problems you’re creating.

Recommendation should be taken offline until Remove this Feature button is addressed and changeset tags are added. Then bring it back, fix your license and documentation, publish the data sets, and solicit broad community feedback through established channels. The Esri dataset should be removed from circulation until they have gone through community review. I’m worried you’ll look at the issues I point out and just fix those. That is the incorrect response. Even if you can’t accept that you’re running an import (because politics or some internal policy?) you can still follow the process designed to ensure a happy community and prosperous map.

This is just the feedback from a single person, imagine what you might get from the rest of the community. I hope that large organizations could be held to a higher standard. I’m disappointed (but not surprised).

– Alex

For transparency, if you respond to this rant, please indicate if you’re an employee of FB, esri, or one of their partners, and say if your message is your personal opinion, or the opinion of your employer. If you’ve signed an NDA, blink twice.

Comment from gileri on 27 July 2020 at 07:31

Thank you for your analysis ! (I am not related to any party you mention)

Comment from mikelmaron on 2 August 2020 at 12:04

Thanks @blackboxlogic. Agree with the general thrust of what you say here and appreciate the analysis. Documentation and discussion of data sets for imports are key. I think there is confusion about the term “import”; there’s an impression that it only implies to imports worked on in bulk, not when the workflow evaluates each new feature individually. The import guidelines apply to third party data sets whatever the workflow is for bringing in features, and if the edit is in bulk, then likely also the mechanical edit guidelines should be addressed as well.

I don’t agree with everything here. For instance, I think these issues could be addressed quickly without taking offline. And I don’t see how Organised Editing Guidelines apply, since no one is compelled or required to do this editing.

-Mikel (my personal opinion. I’m an OSMF Board Member and employee of Mapbox)

Comment from TonyS999 on 2 August 2020 at 17:48

I agree with your analysis. I believe it is incumbent on a proposer of this form of change to show their rationale and detail how any restrictions or licenses they propose are fully supportive and in keeping with the OSM licensing model. (I am not related to any party you mention)

Comment from Eric Geiler - A&B Courier on 4 August 2020 at 19:51

Very happy to see the progress being made, but I agree 100% with BlackboxLogic…. I really hope that everyone can adhere to what has worked for the OSM community for many years now…. however I am very eager to see new data for Canada.

@BlackBoxLogic Thank you for taking the time to do this write up!

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