Transition from OpenStreetBugs to OSM Notes

Posted by werner2101 on 16 October 2013 in English (English). Last updated on 18 October 2013.

yesterday the creation of new bug entries on ( has been disabled.

I’m currently tinkering about how to phase-out OpenStreetBug.

  • Where are the bugs?
  • What’s the state of the open bugs?
  • How to organise the change?

The bugs

The open bugs (45k) are not equaly distributed over the world. Most of the bugs are in germany and netherlands. Here is a map that displays all open bugs. Each of the 512 rectangles contains about 86 bugs.

Distribution of OSB-Bugs

The state of the bugs

I’ve reviewed about 500 bugs in the south of Germany and I guess the bugs can be splitted in following categories:

  • 10% useless descriptions
  • 30% already fixed in the map, but the OSB have not been closed
  • 10% can be fixed with the bug description
  • 20% can be fixed with aerial images (Bing)
  • 30% local knowledge required (can not be fixed)

Organise the change

  1. Disabling adding new bugs to the OSB database: Adding new bugs has been disabled by some applications, but there Apps, that can still add new bugs to the database. We have to talk to all App developers to create OSM Notes instead of OpenStreetBugs. see (

  2. Communicate to the users to use Notes: I’ve added a deprecation notice to all the OpenStreetbugs wiki pages. and the original OSB homepage contain that message now, too.

  3. Invite mappers to fix open bugs in their own area.

  4. Prepare and organize a mapping party to do the final switch to OSM Notes (maybe around 31.12.2013). This may include moving open and usefull OSB bugs to OSM Notes. I will collect some more ideas on this topic how to create worklists, gpx-files of the open bugs, or write a special tool for the party …

BTW: This it my first blog entry.

2013-10-18 update:

Please help fixing bugs.

Comment from Vincent de Phily on 16 October 2013 at 11:41

I’ll try to close all OSB in my area (Ireland), it’s not too overwhelming. If the bug cannot be armchair-fixed, I’ll just convert it to a note.

It would be great to have a one-click way to “convert” individual OSBs to notes. We didn’t want to bulk-import them, but now that OSB is disabling creation of new bugs, an easy review-one-and-import workflow would make sense.

Comment from nfgusedautoparts on 16 October 2013 at 13:22

working on cleaning up around the Capital District of New York, and have sent a note to talk-us to inspire the US community to help with the clean up.

Comment from !i! on 16 October 2013 at 14:04

Hi, I announced your post at the German OSM forum:
Thank you for disabling the feature and maintaining it for the past years! :)

I agree, that we all should start with checking/closing the remaining OSBs, so we might can script an import for the remaining ones that avoids loosing the whole bug history.

An open question might be, what to do with mass added OSBs. For example some people seem to use scripts to add keepright errors and some added requests for example for power network IDs. Maybe we can offer an flag like “automated detection” or offer an interface for external error reporters, so mappers can easily distinguish between user contributed notes and pay more attention to them (as somebody made work to report it to us and we should keep this ones motivated?)

Comment from werner2101 on 16 October 2013 at 16:19


  • I wouldn’t manually create notes based on osb
  • I can provide a helper tool to review osb bugs, but it would be cool if as many bugs as possible get fixed or closed before moving them to OSM Notes.

Workflow of the tool:

  • The programm loads bugs from osb (the area might be one of the rectangles from the picture)
  • prev/next buttons call the josm remote control (load and zoom to the bug-area)
  • Fix Bugs in JOSM using OSB Plugin
  • If local knowledge required move Bug to OSM Notes

I haven’t implemented the last feature yet. The programm looks very ugly. I’ll post a screenshot in a few days.




  • I’m not the maintainer of osb (emka is)
  • from the forum: forwarding bugs added to osb to osn created by apps was an idea of emka, too. But maybe the Apps maintainer can just replace osb with osn.
  • do you know any pattern of mass added OSB entries?

Comment from KristenK on 16 October 2013 at 18:51

Map roulette?

Comment from !i! on 17 October 2013 at 08:46


Sorry was just confused about who is who ;)

Well what I know is that user:Bahnpirat added a lot of Bugs with the same hint: This is not bad in general, as it helps to get the attention of mappers. On the other hand we need to check if they are really still open and maybe there he is the best that can create an automated check?

Comment from !i! on 18 October 2013 at 08:55

@werner BTW: Do you need help in contacting the apps authors? Is the list at the OSB wikipage complete?

If you like, I can help in getting in touch with the authors as I made a similar call time ago, when it was about blocked applications and nobody had the time to talk to the people.

Comment from werner2101 on 18 October 2013 at 16:59

@ !i!

I don’t know if the list of apps is complete. I’ll watch the newly incoming OSB bugs in the database and try to guess which app created it.

Mostly OSMand I, guess.

I’ll contact known Apps maintainer either with mail or feature requests in their ticket systems (github, ….).

I’ve seen some of generated bugs now, too. I’ve started a list on this wiki page:

Comment from !i! on 20 October 2013 at 01:12

At my local mailinglist was the question, if we want to migrate the remaining bugs manually (so everybody on his own) or centralized? For keeping better track on quality, I would pers. prever a central migration :)

Comment from werner2101 on 20 October 2013 at 07:20

I think we should fix or close as many bugs as we can first. (maybe till end of 2013)

Moving bugs to Notes should be done with references.

Using a tool simplifies the transition. Just wait another week. I’ll test my tool in Africa, Alaska, … where only few bugs exists.

To mappers: just fix and close as many OSB bugs as possible.

PS: one of the highest OSB density area is in Germany is Dortmund: lot of dupe and old entries.

Comment from kempelen on 2 November 2013 at 22:53

Hi! OsmBugs integration to external website was easy, with JS and OpenLayers layer. We had that on .

This is not possible with Notes, due to different implementation, and would require API coding. Maybe later. But:

for now, can we get a query option that works on with lat&lon in query string, plus &addnote=1 or whatever, that auto-starts the notes dialog? Please! This is also related to “transition”.

Thank you!

Comment from werner2101 on 3 November 2013 at 10:32


I can’t see that switching from OSB to Notes is hard at all. Little rewriting of the get bugs call (maybe the code from can help here or the code from )

… and a few line changes for the other api command (create, comment, close)

Either you have to do some work or has to.

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