My experience with an NHD import and my thoughts on imports

Posted by probiscus on 1 January 2013 in English (English)

Earlier this year, I spent quite a bit of time preparing river and water data from the National Hydrography Dataset for the main river in the area I grew up.

The more I worked and worked on cleaning up this data (and I did quite a bit), the more I really developed my take on imports and OSM. I started out only wanting to do the White River subbasin, as that is the area I grew up in and have good knowledge of.

Even then however I realized that if I were to import the entire dataset for even just one subbasin, I would be adding way more data than I could ever hope to actually verify or double check in the real world. Not only that, but I would have done nothing to increase the user base and OSM community in this area.

So despite the incredible amount of work I put in and the documentation I created, I really only ended up importing about half of the White River itself and the three main branches of it. I have also imported a few of the larger lakes and a couple streams which I have local knowledge of.

My opinion of imports at this point is that they are seriously harmful to the OSM community and OSM as a whole. I think the TIGER import was a seriously bad idea that OSM in the United States may never recover from.

For more on my import, check out the user page for my import user here

Location: VT 14, Hartford, Windsor County, Vermont, 05047, United States of America

Comment from !i! on 2 January 2013 at 10:11

Well, I guess there are imports and there are imports ;)

What you did was what I would call semi-automatically (converting data but migrating and checking it manually). Thats what we did on various other imports and what seems to work very well, as there is only a very small chance of getting just to dull stuff into OSM.

But in the long run, we just need mappers on the ground, to enrich this areas with further details. So IMHO an import should go hand in hand with press related activities in this area, to attract new mappers :)

Comment from Andy Allan on 4 January 2013 at 16:27

Bravo, probiscus. I hope you manage to convince other importers to help increase the user base and OSM community instead!

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