OpenStreetMap

Use of private supplier information to improve road attributes in Germany

Posted by jguthula on 20 March 2020 in English (English).

English version:

Amazon has been an active contributor to OpenStreetMap (OSM) in Germany for over a year now. The drivers of our delivery service providers at times encounter problems where OSM data is not matching with on-ground reality (e.g., where the map suggests a left turn, but the left turn is legally restricted as per the street signs). These discrepancies are reported by the drivers, but due to absence of ground truth (street images), we are unable to investigate and rectify the map defect in OSM. These defects risk the safety of not just drivers of our delivery service providers, but all users who might be using OSM as a base map for navigation purposes. In order to overcome the lack of ground truth in Germany, Amazon has signed up for a short term contract with CycloMedia Technology B.V., a private street imagery provider. Details about CycloMedia can be found here.

How are we going to utilize the data?

Amazon will investigate the locations of feedback shared by drivers spread across Germany using CycloMedia street images on CycloMedia’s web-access portal. The images will be mainly used to add restrictions related to turns, access, directions, weight, and height to improve OSM map data. When making these edits on OSM, we will attribute the anonymized source of the image along with its date of capture. Additionally, staying true to maintain the quality of data in OSM, Amazon will contribute edits to OSM directly only when we have a street image of 2019 (or more recent). However, when we find images of 2018 or older (which reinforce the feedback from the driver), Amazon will share notes or create map roulette tasks. In these situations, we request support from the German OSM community to confirm the ground reality before making an edit. Furthermore, any comments on these changesets from the community members will be taken up on priority and responded to at the earliest.

What images are we using?

We will be using parallax free 360° panoramic photographs (Cycloramas) of street images captured by CycloMedia at every 5m intervals. These high resolution spherical panoramas are located to an accuracy within 10 cm. How will we attribute the source for the edits made on OSM? All the edits on OSM made using the street images of CycloMedia will have the anonymized source ( eg.-“source = private supplier”) and the year of image captured mentioned ( eg.-“Year = 2019”) against them.

Can we share CycloMedia images with community?

No, Amazon is not allowed to make CycloMedia image material available to public or to third parties. However, Amazon and its affiliated companies are entitled to use CycloMedia Image material to make temporary or permanent edits on OSM which may be made permanently available to the public without any reference to Supplier.


German Version:

Amazon ist seit über einem Jahr ein aktiver Mitwirkender bei OpenStreetMap (OSM) in Deutschland. Die Fahrer unserer Zustelldienste stoßen manchmal auf Probleme, wenn die OSM-Daten nicht mit der Realität vor Ort übereinstimmen (z.B. wenn die Karte eine Linkskurve vorschlägt, die Linkskurve aber gemäß den Straßenschildern gesetzlich eingeschränkt ist). Diese Diskrepanzen werden von den Fahrern gemeldet, aber aufgrund des Fehlens der Bodenwahrheit (Straßenbilder) können wir den Kartenfehler in OSM nicht untersuchen und beheben. Diese Defekte gefährden nicht nur die Sicherheit der Fahrer unserer Zustelldienste, sondern aller Benutzer, die OSM als Basiskarte für die Navigation verwenden könnten. Um den Mangel an Grundwahrheit in Deutschland zu überwinden, hat Amazon einen kurzfristigen Vertrag mit CycloMedia Technology B.V., einem privaten Anbieter von Straßenbildern, abgeschlossen. Details zu CycloMedia finden Sie hier.

Wie werden wir die Daten nutzen?

Amazon wird die Standorte der Rückmeldungen untersuchen, die von den über Deutschland verteilten Fahrern mit Hilfe von CycloMedia-Straßenbildern auf dem Web-Zugangsportal von CycloMedia ausgetauscht werden. Die Bilder werden hauptsächlich verwendet, um Einschränkungen in Bezug auf Kurven, Zugang, Richtungen, Gewicht und Höhe hinzuzufügen, um die OSM-Kartendaten zu verbessern. Wenn wir diese Bearbeitungen auf OSM vornehmen, werden wir die anonymisierte Quelle des Bildes zusammen mit dem Aufnahmedatum angeben. Um die Qualität der Daten in OSM aufrechtzuerhalten, wird Amazon nur dann direkt Änderungen an OSM vornehmen, wenn wir ein Straßenbild von 2019 (oder neuer) haben. Wenn wir jedoch Bilder von 2018 oder älter finden (die das Feedback des Fahrers verstärken), wird Amazon Notizen austauschen oder Kartenroulette-Aufgaben erstellen. In diesen Situationen bitten wir die deutsche OSM-Community um Unterstützung, um die Realität vor Ort zu bestätigen, bevor wir eine Bearbeitung vornehmen. Darüber hinaus werden alle Kommentare der Community-Mitglieder zu diesen Änderungssätzen mit Priorität aufgenommen und frühestens beantwortet.

Welche Bilder verwenden wir?

Wir werden parallaxenfreie 360°-Panoramafotos (Cycloramas) von Straßenbildern verwenden, die von CycloMedia in Abständen von 5 m aufgenommen werden. Diese hochauflösenden sphärischen Panoramabilder werden mit einer Genauigkeit von 10 cm aufgenommen. Wie werden wir die Quelle für die auf OSM gemachten Bearbeitungen zuordnen? Alle Bearbeitungen auf OSM, die mit den Straßenbildern von CycloMedia gemacht wurden, werden mit der anonymisierte Quelle ( z.B. “Quelle = privater Lieferant”) und dem Jahr des aufgenommenen Bildes ( z.B. “Jahr = 2019”) versehen.

Können wir CycloMedia-Bilder mit der Gemeinschaft teilen?

Nein, Amazon ist es nicht erlaubt, CycloMedia-Bildmaterial der Öffentlichkeit oder Dritten zur Verfügung zu stellen. Allerdings sind Amazon und seine verbundenen Unternehmen berechtigt, das CycloMedia-Bildmaterial für vorübergehende oder dauerhafte Bearbeitungen auf OSM zu verwenden, die der Öffentlichkeit ohne jeglichen Hinweis auf den Lieferanten dauerhaft zur Verfügung gestellt werden können.

Regards, Jothirnadh

Comment from H@mlet on 20 March 2020 at 22:35

Hi,

it might a stupid question, but why don’t you fit your drivers with cameras, and upload the images to an open platform like Mapillary ?

Not the same quality, but useful for everyone…

Regards.

Comment from ᚛ᚏᚒᚐᚔᚏᚔᚋ᚜ 🏳️‍🌈 on 22 March 2020 at 11:07

As per the OEG, can you link to the wiki page (under OE/Activities) for this project?

Comment from SomeoneElse on 23 March 2020 at 11:55

Hello,

How do we know that the source that you are using is licence-compatible with OSM? Can you publish that licence, so that it is clear to the community that you do have the right to use that data and there are no potential future problems?

Also, there is a very real problem here with https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Verifiability . If an individual mapper on the ground can’t verify your edits made from this source, then they have every right to change the data to what they believe to be correct. They’ll only have access to the normal sources available in the usual OSM editors, so it’s very possible that some of your changes will be removed because they don’t match what other mappers can see. In the event that such a dispute is escalated to the Data Working Group, we’d have to favour the publicly available imagery over private imagery that no-one else has access to.

I’d therefore suggest, in order to avoid the issues above, that you find some way of working where the data that you’re using is actually verifiable by the rest of the OSM community.

Best Regards,

Andy Townsend, from OSM’s Data Working Group.

Comment from RobJN on 23 March 2020 at 23:35

Hi Andy,

They are using recent imagery in addition to reports from their employees on the ground. It’s a very sensible approach.

Sure any individual who thinks an edit is wrong can go and do a new on the ground survey. If the real world situation has changed then that individual can make a change.

But without a new real world survey I think it is absolutely wrong for the DWG to revert an edit relying solely on imagery that is older than the source Amazon is using. You don’t revert things I do and the record of what I have seen is “private” and, because I rarely take or upload photos “no-one else has access to” my records either.

My suggestion is that whenever you see a company name you replace that with the name of a responsible human being. If you did this would you make the same statements?

Amazon has no requirement to make this imagery available just like I have no requirement to provide copies of any photos I take (or a download of my brain/memory).

P.s. thanks for your concern on the licencing side. I’m pretty sure Amazon and CycloMedia would have discussed this.

@Rory and Andy: “Please” goes a long way, something which I’m sure you would have been taught from a young age :-)

Best regards, Rob

Comment from RobJN on 23 March 2020 at 23:43

As an aside: there is loads of things in OSM that are not verifiable on the ground. Borders and boundaries are the classic ones. However pick one particular invidual - to them 99.99% of the map is individually unverifiable due to the fact that as individuals we simply cannot visit all places frequently enough.

Our project is therefore as much about trust as it is about anything else. We can greatly improve our trust of each other by helping each other out friend to friend rather than by interrogating everyone from a presumption of no good.

Thank you Rob

Comment from RobJN on 23 March 2020 at 23:47

@jguthula: Any intent to expand this beyond Germany? I can see a lot of value in recent street imagery (even if private to Amazon) in other places such as my home country (United Kingdom). We know there are lots of regions that are still heavily based on traced aerial imagery and lack turn restrictions and the like.

Thanks, Rob

Comment from SomeoneElse on 24 March 2020 at 00:07

@Rob perhaps you need to reread what I actually said:

If an individual mapper on the ground can’t verify your edits made from this source, then they have every right to change the data to what they believe to be correct.

That applies to everyone - my edits, your edits, someone working for Amazon’s edits, everyone.

Best Regards,

Andy

Comment from ᚛ᚏᚒᚐᚔᚏᚔᚋ᚜ 🏳️‍🌈 on 24 March 2020 at 07:49

My suggestion is that whenever you see a company name you replace that with the name of a responsible human being

Jeff Bezos?

(I’ll try to say “please” when Amazon try to follow our OEG rules. A little attention to existing norms goes a long way!)

Comment from jguthula on 30 March 2020 at 12:43

Thanks for all your responses. Please find my inline responses below:

why don’t you fit your drivers with cameras, and upload the images to an open platform like Mapillary?

While we agree that this might be easier, we currently don’t have any immediate projects along these lines.

As per the OEG, can you link to the wiki page (under OE/Activities) for this project?

I have updated the wiki page as per OEG. Thanks for your inputs. Once the editing process gets started, I will add blurb to Amazon wiki page as well clarifying the licensing norms.

How do we know that the source that you are using is licence-compatible with OSM? Can you publish that licence, so that it is clear to the community that you do have the right to use that data and there are no potential future problems?

@Amazon we made sure the data source is license-compatible with OSM. We did get into an agreement with Cyclomedia stating the same. Since, the agreement also discusses about pricing and Amazon Private information, it cannot be disclosed publicly. But if OSM board or DWG wants to review it privately to ensure license is in place, we can work with Cyclomedia and our internal teams to provide the same.

In the event that such a dispute is escalated to the Data Working Group, we’d have to favour the publicly available imagery over private imagery that no-one else has access to.

With due respect towards community contributions, totally agree to your inputs over here Andy. For any escalation or a doubt raised by community member, we will respect the community members inputs and revert our edit immediately. Also, to emphasis our process, we will be adding data only if 2019 or recent imagery is available which is estimated to be only in 14% cases. For the rest of 86% cases, our team will be dropping notes for local community members to cross verify and add it to OSM. Also, 100% of the edits made by our team will be cross checked again by our quality check team to avoid errors from our end.

@jguthula: Any intent to expand this beyond Germany? I can see a lot of value in recent street imagery (even if private to Amazon) in other places such as my home country (United Kingdom).

Thanks for your inputs Rob. If our inputs turn out to be fruitful for improving data in Germany, we would love to scale this process to other geographies as well.

Starting tomorrow, we will start using the Cyclomedia imagery to check underlying data quality issues. We will of course incorporate all valuable inputs that you have provided us when doing this activity

Regards, Jothirnadh


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