History tab: current vs new - local survey edits comparison

Posted by ppawel on 18 January 2013 in English (English)

I've just found a great edit by user Math1985 near my home location. This user added a lot of details based on a local survey - the best way to map!

Hopefully looking at such edits in the new History tab will be a small additional reward for your survey efforts. Check this out:

New History tab

Now compare this with the current view which is filled with world wide edits like massive Wikipedia link fixes, tag spelling fixes etc.

Current History tab

See this example here.

Comment from Tom Chance on 18 January 2013 at 13:37

This is a huge improvement, it would be great to roll this out to the OSM homepage.

One of the other frustrating shortcomings of the current history features on the web site, which your panel goes some way to fixing, is that you can't visualise features that have been deleted. A next step would be to show the feature in the map view on pages like

Comment from ppawel on 18 January 2013 at 14:31

@Tom: Exactly. One of the major features of OWL (the service that powers this new History tab) is that it tracks changes in geometry so it's possible to even show some nice animation on node/way/relation history page to show how given object has changed during its life.

Comment from Tom Chance on 18 January 2013 at 16:30

That sounds good.

Often with these monitoring tools, I see that somebody has made some changes but when I look at the changeset I can't really work out what they have done. Have they shifted a road 10m to the east, or just touched some nodes while making other changes in the area? Is this changeset something I should check or ignore? It's almost impossible to tell at the moment.

Comment from ppawel on 18 January 2013 at 16:34

Yeah, that's the challenge I'm trying to tackle with OWL and the new History tab. The technical problem is that it's not easy to track changes - all database schemas and, in general, data sources that we have are geared towards rendering and/or having only current data. That's not enough when you want to analyze changes - which by definition requires you to have the "before" state and the "after" state to calculate what's changed.

If you have any suggestions on how to improve the usefulness of this tool then please don't hesitate to create new issues on Github:

Comment from Rovastar on 18 January 2013 at 17:07

Nice one Pawel. Glad to see my request I email you is implemented. Looking forward to this on the OSM page.

There are more and more of these global/large scale edits recently (and they are needed to correct some of what is in the database).

Comment from porjo on 19 January 2013 at 07:35

Looks great, keep up the good work!

Comment from mcld on 19 January 2013 at 18:39

Oh thank GOODNESS you're doing this :) the history tab is so unhelpful because filled with worldwide edits that usually don't even have any content in the current bounding box. Looking forward to this.

Comment from porjo on 11 March 2013 at 20:32

Hi ppawel,

Just wondering how this is going - is it any closer to going live?

Comment from ppawel on 12 March 2013 at 05:14

@porjo: It is moving forward but there is still a long road to production. A lot of polishing is needed and also probably a new server for OWL is needed to handle production traffic.

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