stevea's Diary Comments

Diary Comments added by stevea

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Avant/Après n°2 - Parc des Sports et Loisirs 11 days ago

Bravo! Très bien fait. J’adore voir “avant et après” avec des cas comme celui-ci, très illustratifs.

The beginning of my Local Mapper Journey. 6 months ago

It appears Fiftyfour is experiencing the absolute wonder of the multi-forked process of learning what is interesting about “citizen cartography” thanks to OSM. It might be architecture, trends in local or regional land use, the many challenges of keeping a business district well-updated with specifics about opening_hours and similar tags…an infinity of possibilities exists. Every volunteer in OSM is rewarded with a “first-time experience” like this, and then the refinements and choices of particular directions begin to manifest in one’s mind how the project will unfold for them. It is wonderfully plastic and like “wet cement” or “clay to be shaped into sculpture,” a beautiful human artwork of mapping: for each of us it is a unique experience.

Sometimes these discoveries along the way lead to frustration. Sometimes they lead to a rich vein of yet-untapped opportunity to either add new data, develop a new scheme to do so, or even both. Sometimes quirkiness and specific history of how these came to be are found to be ridiculous (but true) or difficult to put into practice without frequent referral to instructions in our wiki or slow-on-the-uptake and painstaking rote memorization of what seem like silly tags or schemes that are (at first) nonsensical.

But, it’s all worth it. The OSM ecosystem matures, the number of volunteer mappers continues to grow, and even better, mappers ourselves grow in our ability to better map, better communicate among each other as we develop our mapping skills and the quality of the map keeps going up and up.

I like that even as a new mapper, Fiftyfour has strong opinions about 3D mapping and indoor mapping, two still-as-yet-less-developed aspects of OSM. But, these continue to grow into our future and attract people who develop them, maybe even “flipping the script” for others, making these truly interesting, challenging and fertile ground for yet more detail in OSM.

OSM: what a fantastic project!

My would-be answers to the OSMF board survey 10 months ago

OK, if this is where I go to die about this survey, here I am. I strongly suspect I’m exactly like thousands of others who DIDN’T comment here: the survey made me feel shackled and muzzled at once, led down a garden path of (I only got to the first six questions) what is so wildly open to interpretation (and MIS-interpretation) that I was forced to abandoned ship. These questions might have been politely and correctly translated into as many languages as time and resources allowed (good) and broadly (though quickly) told to “tell your friends about this far and wide,” (good again) but the entire design was shrouded in secrecy and “shoehorned” or “railroaded” (forced into) to be a sort of open-and-shut (essentially pre-dertermined) ammunition depot to be used against mapping volunteers like me. That’s bad. As Andy says, it stinks. I’m not proud of what I’ve seen happen here, it was poor planning and a deep lack of listening skills gone rampant.

Judging by the design (and rollout) of this survey, it seems Alan Mustard and Board want to have things “their way.” OSM is far, far more diverse and has far, far richer a conversation going on at thousands of levels that this survey simply isn’t listening to. It appears to be “wishing” to address the many concerns of OSM Contributors, yet it fails (me and I’m certain of others) miserably. I wish this weren’t true and I’d love to throw in both shoulders to the effort to remedy so very much about this, but the original author has made so many good points that are enough to get the ball rolling, well, continue to roll, it does. May good dialog continue. May listening skills at the OSMF improve, please.

Why I am mapping trees over 1 year ago

Très beau; mon nouveau meilleur ami, “Thales theorem.” Slightly magical mathematics.

Blame me for duplicate addresses. . . over 1 year ago

Very nice Diary entry! I also “grew up in the area” (and know Major’s first-hand, family had a place in nearby Guatay, did a lot of hiking out there as a kid…). The San Diego address import is indeed messy and I salute you for your cleanup. Simply because you are the “most recent editor” doesn’t mean you haven’t done a lot of good, hard work: you have. The histories show that.

This is not going very fast over 1 year ago

There is no shame in abandoning an import, when (as you describe), “what good is doing this as an import?” tips the scale to “it’s more work to import than ‘do from scratch.’”

Sometimes it really is better to realize this and bail. The tricky part is knowing when you are at the before, during or after the “tipping point of no return” where your time and effort invested is worthy or wasted. For some imports you can’t know this until the data are imported (or begun to). So an important lesson about imports is to eat some bite-sized chunks first, to see if they are tasty and no choking is involved. If results are nourishing, keep eating. Otherwise, put your fork down and excuse yourself from the table. Yes, it isn’t always easy to know when to do this, or whether it is a good idea, but it usually is when you get to asking that “what good is this import?” question.

Thank you for sharing your experiences and to everybody who has talked about this here; it’s great.


Why I am mapping trees over 1 year ago

Thank you Frederick! This is awesome. With some modest tools and a little elbow grease (time, care, love even!) you add some of human’s best friends (trees, Earth’s major lungs) to our map.

My little downtown as our local “high street” -style shopping district was / is a “pedestrian mall” (after being fairly destroyed by an earthquake in 1989). It has come back, and one of the earlier things I did (2010? 2011?) in OSM was to map that it was a tree-lined street: trees are important!

Turn Left at People's United Bank over 1 year ago

More proof that a single dedicated person (though, nothing wrong with sharing the load with others, too) can complete an entire state’s worth of data like this. (Well, a “sub-aspect” of a whole state, addresses). Yes, it’s a great deal of work, real work, hard work, fraught with what appear to be stumbles along the way, but really these are simply the process of learning as you give your efforts to this great project called OSM.

During my decade+ in OSM, I’ve thrown my shoulder into bicycle routing (at the national, regional and local levels), rail networks (at the gargantuan level of the rail-rich state of California) and many other “bigger than bite-size” efforts, and I find this to be especially well-executed and seriously impressive. What a fantastic addition to our map. I offer a deep bow of obeisance to you, sir.

Animation: Twelve years of GPS tracks over 1 year ago

The “greater whole” is fantastic, I’m especially looking at my home turf of Santa Cruz in this: beautiful work! The video is quite entertaining for someone who is local and knows most of where you are going. I can’t wait for your script; keep up the great projects! Would I rather watch twelve years of Instagram photos of hikes, kayaking, etc. or this? This! Very cool and well done.

The Maps Team at Facebook is excited to announce RapiD Editor Partner Testing over 2 years ago

Most excellent, wulankhairunisa. I might recommend you and other Indonesia OSM mappers stay within “the OSM network” (of communication tools: wiki, Diary entries, Talk pages…) to communicate with one another about these sorts of things. Discuss amongst yourselves, keeping things local, amongst volunteers who are “on-the-ground.” This keeps a firm boundary (which properly belongs) between OSM (“proper”) and Facebook, which instigates this AI tool (iD editor flavor) on country-at-a-time areas.

The “local / regional / national” roads-are-a-certain-sort-of-national-island-by-island” way, here, in Indonesia, is exactly what is to be expected. Keep that “local / regional / national” sort of “ownership” of OSM data WITHIN OSM, where it belongs. Facebook is merely unleashing a tool upon OSM, and we can either choose to use it (wisely) or not use it (or use it unwisely).

Each country has its own sort of road network that “maps onto” (in a logical sense) the OSM highway=* tag values (of motorway, trunk, primary, secondary, tertiary, residential, unclassified…) and those of you in Indonesia are really the best people to both know that and “use that” in OSM.

See the Facebook AI tool for what it is: a proxy to better data in OSM, but ONLY AS THE LOCALS SAY SO. YOU, that is to say, those of you in Indonesia (or wherever Facebook deploys) get to say how this tool is used.

By doing this, there is good feedback, humans are in the loop, OSM, Facebook and AI are identified as distinct from one another and so healthy dialog progresses. We can have forward momentum with all of these actors dancing on the ballroom floor together, but let’s keep the identities clear for now, yes?

I think that’s most of what I’d like to say about that, now.

SteveA California OSM Volunteer since 2009

The Maps Team at Facebook is excited to announce RapiD Editor Partner Testing over 2 years ago

DrishT: You ask about “the readership and engagement of the community as a whole on the Talk List.” I don’t have any definitive data about that, except to say that many consider that communication channel to be a rather narrow one which does not come close to “properly” representing the very wide and diverse spectrum of Contributors to OSM. (I agree with that sentiment, it seems to be what some describe as “hobby or craft mappers,” people who have a lot of time on their hands to highly curate some parochial or specialized subset of map data, along with highly specialized professionals who have the time to kibbutz/criticize/engage in philosophical dialog about the project). There isn’t anything wrong with those activities or those Contributors, however, I believe many (all?) would agree that is “only a sliver” of our community. However, it is very widely read by the community of OSM volunteers who read mail list pages and posting there might be considered “casting a wide net” of dialog. Another widely read source (I believe) is the OSMWeekly “newsletter,” available in many languages (at ). You might consider including them on significant milestones in the future of this project, they will certainly consider reporting it.

It is true that no single channel of communication in a project this large and diverse will address everybody, or even be close to that. Yet the reason I asked for your (or anybody from Facebook’s) participation there, is that Talk is a relatively OPEN channel, without “high bars to entry” that many consider with the numerous contract-of-adhesion channels you mention (as opposed to the relatively open ones of OSM itself, email, talk lists and similar non-proprietary communication channels).

At least half of the channels you mention (Twitter, WhatsApp, Github, Facebook, Slack, Telegram…) require agreement of a contract which has “take it or leave it” terms and/or proprietary technology that effectively restrict open communication. Talk (one among at least several channels) does not do this (or has MUCH lower “cost” or “bar to entry” agreements), and so many feel those are much more appropriate channels of communication in a project like OSM, whose first name, after all, is “Open.”

As an example of what I’m talking about, note that out of the bulleted items you offer as channels, the majority of them require agreeing to a (Twitter/Facebook, Github…) “Terms of Service” agreement, whereas only email does not. I appreciate that you offer the “” email address, however, as you will see by those (not me, but others) who complain about Facebook’s lack of response at Talk, it could be seen as disingenuous to offer that email address here, as it is characterized as “unanswered.”

I appreciate that you list as many channels as you do and that the initial announcement was right here on this Diary, in OSM itself. I hope you can also appreciate that there are MANY (myself included, if you can’t tell), who wish to see (specifically corporate) usage of and communication about OSM — especially potentially revolutionary or at least highly significant technological advancements — remain as open as possible. You seem to agree.

I believe it would go a long way to assuage this apparent disconnect with the beginning of an “address the crowd,” by having you or somebody who represents Facebook in an official capacity reply to the topics at Talk. Yes, it can be a cumbersome channel, yes, it will require reading through the threads and following issues which some claim have been ongoing for months, yes, it is “yet one more” to the list above. Yet, if Facebook wants to address its OSM audience “on our own turf,” that would be a good move in a positive direction, imo.

As an aside (but still important): I apologize to you here for using a male-gender pronoun with you in Talk (I’m usually gender-neutral as I can be); I regret that error and simply explain that I was unfamiliar with the name Drish – it won’t happen again!

Regards, SteveA

The Maps Team at Facebook is excited to announce RapiD Editor Partner Testing over 2 years ago

Not that I mind, but Smart D has quoted me (and largely channels my sentiments) that this tool does seem to fairly well balance “keeping humans in the loop to determine quality” as the AI begins the process with reasonable-seeming suggestions at data for a human to examine, edit and finally determine are suitable for submission to the OSM database. The discussion came from a thread named “[OSM-talk] Sharing, Facebook, mapwithai_feedback” at . There may be additional dialog there which continues and does not overlap with any other channels about this. I wouldn’t want those concerns / that dialog to fall through the cracks.

Knowing that Facebook participates in the Slack channel named mapwithai_feedback (yet I and many others don’t; that dialog is effectively invisible to us), I have also invited Facebook to directly address that talk thread. I recognize that Slack channel, this Diary entry continuing AND suggesting a talk list rather clearly identifies how fragmented is this conversation — this is almost inevitable in a worldwide project and the many technologies / channels used to communicate about this new tool. However, I do ask that the most important “fruits of the conversation” are widely and freely disseminated to as large and diverse segments of the OSM community as is possible. I offer my perspective that this is a very helpful and informative Diary entry, along with the many entries that have followed DrishT’s initial submission; thanks to all who have spent the time to communicate these (partial) results of the mapwithai tool and its effectiveness in the form of this feedback.

Let’s keep the many channels of communication open and may there be much cross-pollination of subject matter and “fruits” of the conversation among them. Especially in the non-proprietary channels like talk and this Diary. (Slack and Facebook are proprietary communication technologies requiring a contractual obligation and some in an open project like OSM choose not to use these, or to minimize their use in conjunction with OSM).

Thank you for reading, SteveA OSM Contributor since 2009

Nominatim and Postcodes almost 4 years ago

Thank you for your outstanding and clear description on Nominatim’s latest (and future) postcode improvements!

OpenStreetMap Community Statistics Revisited almost 5 years ago

Yeah, forgot to say the quote was from Mark Twain (Samuel Longhorn Clemens).

OpenStreetMap Community Statistics Revisited almost 5 years ago

Thank you for the numbers, Simon. While it was our American author (and humorist) who said that “There are lies, damned lies and STATISTICS!” I believe we can learn SOME things from these numbers without too much argument.

What falls out as most interesting to me are longer term observable trends in “more mature” OSM environments like Germany and UK: it seems we can and should learn both what happens and what we might do (to guide and instruct less-developed areas) from places where, as you say, “major urban areas…(are) extremely well mapped.”

OSM both does mature and is maturing (in pockets), more and more. Let’s do our best to observe what happens as we do so and how to best apply good lessons from there to more-developing parts of our mapped world.

SteveA California

Blank over 12 years ago