Recently, I came across an OpenStreetMap changeset with “Review requested” tag. The change was addition of a bus route relation in Istanbul, by Alikam.

I navigated to IETT’s (the governing body of Istanbul’s transport network) website to cross reference the route maps. I noticed that there were some minor differences between the route on IETT’s website and Alikam’s version on OSM. The route wasn’t following the exact roads. This wasn’t a major issue but I still commented on the changeset, mentioning discrepancies between the two versions. Alikam, who’s an urban planning student and OSM contributor with a priority on transport network, wrote back a few hours later to tell that the major junction at that point had been rebuilt as part of the construction of a new underground line. Apparently due to that major change in the highway infrastructure, the bus route have been changed as well. But as of this writing, IETT haven’t updated their website to reflect the relevant changes. Meanwhile, thanks to Alikam and all the contributors like them, OpenStreetMap is more up to date than the official source for Istanbul’s transport network.

This wasn’t a major issue, but it makes one think if there are other cases where people rely on the official/private/closed data and left stranded or were late to a very important meeting (I’ll give you a clue, answer is yes).

So kudos to Alikam and all those great contributors of this wonderful open community.

Location: 34755, Istanbul, Marmara Region, 34755, Turkey

Comment from mboeringa on 22 September 2020 at 20:23

I am not surprised. And yes, people do end up in horrible situations due to outdated route navigation app maps (and more importantly: not using their brains and eyes but blindly trusting their app ;-))

Here in the Netherlands where I live, a road giving access to an underpass of a railway viaduct was closed permanently due to reconstruction of a junction, and only the bicycle underpass next to it was left open when accessing the underpass from that direction.

Guess what?:

Cars ended up in the bicycle(!) underpass of the viaduct, where they are strictly prohibited going. Multiple road signage explaining the situation, dedicated bicycle path colouring and a narrow pass through (but unfortunately just wide enough to let through one car in a single direction), couldn’t prevent it happening multiple times.

I adjusted the junction just after its reconstruction on OpenStreetMap. It took Google, Here and Bing more than a year to update the situation. Only then did such mess stop, also including a few further adjustments to the junction including planting, making the situation more obvious to car drivers, although they should have comprehended the situation from the beginning had they trusted their eyes instead of just the navigation.

Comment from hocu on 22 September 2020 at 20:54

mboeringa incredible that all those stubborn drivers persistently tried to use that narrow passage :D

You’re right. Maps and online services are merely tools to support people in their daily lives, but if they are so dependent on those technologies that they can’t act reasonably without them, we’re lucky that at least OSM is up to date thanks to all those contributors like yourself :D

Comment from mboeringa on 22 September 2020 at 21:47

Unfortunately, the opposite situation where it is better to trust the navigation than your eyes, is also quite common due to poor road design…

In another incident here in the Netherlands last year, a bus got stuck in a brand new tunnel (underpass of a massive viaduct).

What happened?

The bus driver mistook a 4 meter wide dual direction bicycle path - the width of an ordinary motorway lane that can carry even the largest trucks - for a dedicated bus lane. When I looked at the pictures of the junction involved giving access to the bicycle path, I wasn’t surprised at what had happened: in most such situations, one or more reflective red/white or black/white poles are used to cordon off the entrance to such a bicycle lane. None were here… Even worse, no “bicycle” sign had been painted big and in bright white stripes onto path at the entrance.

In fact, except for the typical “red” colouring of the bicycle path, which is common but not universal in the Netherlands to distinguish bicycle paths from ordinary roads, and a single road sign on a pole next to the entrance signifying it as a bicycle path, there was nothing to warn the bus driver from the impending danger and mistake he could make. Coming from the opposite side of junction where the bus driver was coming from, it also felt perfectly natural to drive into this “bus lane” when reviewing the photos of the junction.

Since the junction was also dozens of meters or maybe even a 100 meter or more from the actual tunnel entrance, there was nothing to give away the mistake he made. And since this part of the tunnel’s height was only designed to let through cyclists or modest height maintaince cars, he was bound to get stuck with a full size and height bus.

If he was (partialy) color blind, the mistake would even be more likely, due to bicycles path red colouring possibly being indistinguishable.

This is just poor road design, that could have been prevented with a few small adjustments, like the reflective poles at the entrance.

Fortunately, only material damage this time. It could have been much, much worse…, with a bus acelerating down a slope into the “tunnel”. Just imagine cycling there and unexpectedly seeing a bus at 50km/hour driving straight at you with nowhere to go…

Comment from Person Guy on 23 September 2020 at 18:31

There are entire businesses in my local area that Google Maps (which is particularly dominant in the US) has failed to mark. Or there will be businesses that don’t have a visible pin unless you specifically click on the area. It’s incredibly inconsistent and unfair to small businesses, and I’m surprised smaller towns like mine aren’t better documented on OSM

Comment from hocu on 27 September 2020 at 07:58

Thanks everyone, for more examples and cases. I’m sure it would be great if those could be used for promoting OSM to a wider audience.

I have another case BTW. I’ve been struggling with various online services requiring my address. They would put the markers on the building next to ours when I’d entered my address and if they let me do it, I’d move the pin manually everytime. I traced the error back to Ordnance Survey (UK’s national mapping agency) data. The building numbers have been wrong all this time in their data so all the services using their api (even Google Maps) carried over this error. Even our borrough’s council is displaying the house nubmers wrong :facepalm: But that is not the case of course for thOSM.

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