OpenStreetMap

Using Maps.me mobile editor for the first time

Posted by jinalfoflia on 20 April 2016 in English (English)

Maps.me is a mobile application that provides offline map service world wide and it uses OpenStreetMap. It also provides a provision to add POIs and building information. This means more eyes and contributors to OpenStreetMap. I played around with maps.me application for Android, these are some points that we should make note of:

  • The UI is smooth and makes it easy to add POI’s on map.
  • It’s a really good mobile editor.
  • The app provides fields that will help the user add information about a POI/Buildings conveniently.
  • The maps are updated only with the next release of the application, so the changes made by the user on OpenStreetMap will not be reflected until the next release of the application.
  • The tags provided are limited, for example common tag like university is absent.

photo_2016-04-20_15-13-00

  • These maps are downloaded and saved offline, so the changes made are also saved locally and they get pushed automatically to OpenStreetMap once the user connects to the Internet.
    • There is no pop-up stating that the data is being uploaded to OSM
    • The app adds it’s own changeset comment (the user doesn’t have an option to add custom comment to the changes they make) screen shot 2016-04-20 at 12 52 06 pm

Adding a place using maps.me application

video_2016-04-20_13-52-25

Issues that are concerning:

  • Since the map is only updated with the new release of the application, there are possibilities of duplication of data.
  • One can add POIs on top of another POIs. The application doesn’t caution users with a warning that data already exists.
  • Many POIs were found to be in the middle of the road, this is probably due to gps variations.

poornibadrinath and I came across these changesets which has the editor=maps.me, here are the observations:

screenshot 2016-04-20 12 10 00

screenshot 2016-04-20 12 20 11

screenshot 2016-04-20 12 47 21

screenshot 2016-04-20 12 51 48

Feature requests, bugs and suggestions regarding this application can be reported in their github repository.

Comment from Vincent de Phily on 20 April 2016 at 15:01

Nice writeup. Note that maps updates and app updates are separate things, and that the maps.me devs are working towards making map updates much more frequent.

I love that maps.me is becoming an editor, it has a lot of potential. But it’s not aiming to ever be a full editor. If you need to do anything more that simple POI editing, have a look at vespucci instead.

Comment from RobJN on 20 April 2016 at 17:09

Marked a point in the middle of the road. Probably an issue while placing the point due to gps variations.

I expect the main reason is that on some devices (including my android moto g) the cross-hairs don’t show so you have to guess at where the centre of the screen is when adding new features.

Comment from Thomas8122 on 20 April 2016 at 19:18

The maps are updated only with the next release of the application, so the changes made by the user on OpenStreetMap will not be reflected until the next release of the application.

You don´t know daily updates .

Comment from YieldMapper on 21 April 2016 at 16:33

As for the “Issues that are concerning” have you created issues for this on their GitHub repo? Because only complaining in this blog would be unfair…

Comment from jinalfoflia on 21 April 2016 at 18:01

maps.me devs are working towards making map updates much more frequent.

@Vincent de Phily that’ll be great!

I expect the main reason is that on some devices (including my android moto g) the cross-hairs don’t show so you have to guess at where the centre of the screen is when adding new features.

@RobJN there are all possibilities of that being the reason.

You don´t know daily updates .

Thomas8122 I did not know about it, but thank you for the information. The application does not point out to this, so it’s difficult to update it.

As for the “Issues that are concerning” have you created issues for this on their GitHub repo? Because only complaining in this blog would be unfair…

Agree to this @YieldMapper, here is the issue.

Comment from mustafakamil on 21 April 2016 at 19:35

i love it …

Comment from BushmanK on 22 April 2016 at 00:43

They tried to do their best to avoid causing unintentional vandalism, but is seems like certain issues are unavoidable or it is too hard to avoid them. Like, yes, theoretically, it’s possible to check if POI was added within certain small area along the road. It still will be possible to create it with wrong coordinates away from the road. So, the main and the largest problem with maps.me editor is that it’s accessible for those who have zero understanding of OSM project. Only productive way to make use of those user-contributed data is to have certain mechanism of supervision. For example, there are two implementations of WhoDidIt monitoring service, but no one of them two have source editor filter option. Having this option will allow more or less experienced mappers to provide that supervision.

Comment from SOSM on 22 April 2016 at 08:30

Lets say if you need to create a web site tracking your users edits for fear of them breaking stuff, something is likely very wrong.

Most of the issues with what maps.me does are not new and we’ve seen them with other similar tools (for whatever reason we seem to not learn from the past in this respect). In the specific case the combination of stale data and display issues seem to cause the most problems when creating “new” objects (there are further issues with i18n display of values that led to us actually having to block a maps.me user a couple of days back because he was making wide spread bad edits of name values).

While one day old data might seem to be OK, it is unreasonable to assume that the typical audience of maps.me will be updating so often (lets think in the more realisitic weeks to months time frame), From the edits I’ve had to remove (sometimes the complete contributions of new mappers) there is likely a further issue in that objects with larger geometries (for example hotels tagged on buildings) do not get displayed in a way that makes it clear that there is more there.

At least some of these issues would be fixable with a overpass api query or similar before upload and corresponding action, naturally frustrating for a contributor that finds out on upload that what he just added was pointless, but at least better than wasting other peoples time on chasing after maps.me edits.

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