Fifteen days in
Fifteen days into the year and the first UK quarterly project of 2023.
I’m quite encouraged by the early progress we’ve made on notes. As noted in the wiki page, there were just over 30,000 open notes at the start of the year. Right now that figure is 29,327. About 700 new notes have also been opened in that time, so that’s around 1500 notes closed already!
My own mapping efforts comes in peaks and troughs like I suspect many of ours do. Personally I’ve found this project quite fun. An open note can motivate me to help update the map as it gets me looking at the sources available whilst addressing the issue in the note.
So far my preferred way of browsing notes is using ResultMaps by Pascal Neis.
Types of notes
A few types of notes I’ve seen.
Nonsense, or notes used for non-mapping purposes
A fair few notes are clearly non-mappers who dropped a note on the map to share where they were planning to meet up, where they found random stuff or were otherwise planning work. Clusters of notes such as ‘Site Location’ ‘This is the place’ could be found in some cities, or ‘fungi?’ up a hill side.
Stuff that is already mapped
Many notes are highlighting new amenities, houses, roads, etc. These are then found to have been mapped since but the note not closed. An easy win for this project.
A note that just says ‘closed’ or ‘paths missing’ is a good cue but would be much easier if it includes the business name that might have closed, or the vector of the missing paths at least - particularly in areas where some paths are already mapped. Or worse, a note that just says ‘Name changed’ with little indication of what was the old name, let alone the new one.
Street Complete generated
This is not a knock on street complete. It’s an invaluable tool. It does add a lot of notes though. In later versions of street Complete people are able to include a photo at least, which is hugely useful and the standard structure of the notes includes a lot of good information.
House numbers (but anonymous)
Anonymous notes with addresses are awkward. It’s useful info but I don’t add them unless I can cross reference them to other data. On a street where a dozen notes were added for house numbers, I could add the ones where mapillary imagery existed and showed house numbers, but the houses down a small cul-de-sac where imagery was not captured I’d not add.
This kind of extends to address info from non-anonymous notes. Do you just add addresses and house numbers from notes, or do you seek out an additional data point as proof?
OnOsm/business is here
See above. There’s many notes which say with their full contact details, but i'd not blindly add them to the map without street level imagery to confirm where they've placed the note on the map (it can sometimes be quite far off!) or even going to the effort of calling them to confirm. FHRS data and places where addresses are already mapped makes this *much* easier.
Some of the notes are highlighting mistakes which have been present in the database for quite a while. I’ve resolved a couple notes which were along the lines of “This road is actually that other road. That other road ends at the previous junction”. With the aid of streetside imagery, it can be confirmed. A look at the history of the ways shows that they were mapped 10-14 years ago using NPE or Yahoo imagery.
Checking the history of elements that you may need to change is important. The older the note, the greater likelihood that it has been actioned, but independently surveyed on the ground found to have again changed. If relevant changes have occurred on the map since the note, I’d sooner leave a comment querying it than pushing ahead with armchair mapping. Even if it is well covered with aerial and streetside imagery.
Street-level imagery helps so, so much. I especially appreciate mapillary imagery as I can associate a photo from a mapillary sequence with an item in the database. This has proven useful when resolving some notes along a canal for ‘water points’ and ‘service points’. Street Complete notes can include photos, but I think cannot be associated with items in the database in the same way. It leaves me uncomfortable to map something from an image that I’ve not personally surveyed, especially as a note vanishes from the map after 7 days of being closed/resolved.
Where I live, I’ve done a lot of mapillary coverage, but it is up to 5 years old in places. Considering how useful it is proving to be, I’ll be trying to update that.
Again, I’d like to know whether you would add to the map using data provided just from a note (anonymous or not) or from a website.
I hope we can maintain the progress we are making. This would put us on course to resolve ~ 9000 notes. This isn’t just a numbers game though. If you close 1 note but add 2 more to highlight areas of the map that need resurveying, updating or attention, that’s still improving the quality of the map.