November 20th, 2018 18:11

Signposting the route for new data providers

Jez Nicholson (Director)
Jez Nicholson (Director) Public Seen by 226

I read with interest the National Trust's very well-reasoned approach to a mapping pilot for adding data to OSM https://forum.openstreetmap.org/viewtopic.php?id=64356 (now that I know that a forum even exists!). It was good to see what resources they used to decide what to do.

However, I believe that it should have been easier for them. What should OSMUK be doing to help them and others in the future to know what to do, and to engage with the community appropriately? (a section on osmuk.org for 'donate data'?...update specific wiki pages?)

RobJN (Director)

RobJN (Director) November 20th, 2018 18:25

Both of these things :-) Good news is that I am half way through writing the "donate data" page. Been meaning to finish it off - will give that a go this weekend.

P.s. the more radical approach would be to have more details on the OSM.org landing page but that is beyond our control.

Robert Whittaker

Robert Whittaker November 20th, 2018 21:56

In that particular case, the contact from NT had found me through my PRoW mapping tools, and got in touch a few months ago. We exchanged a few emails and had a chat over the phone, prior to that post. They'd done very well with their own research looking at the wiki, and I was mostly confirming what they'd already found out, clarifying a few things, and offering some other bits of advice for how to engage with the community. This example is perhaps a bit different from a simple "data donation", as they're proposing to actually gather stuff in order to improve the map through manual editing themselves.

Stuff I've learnt from the interaction: (a) Editing/tagging can be very complicated, with lots of nuances that aren't necessarily easy to determine from the wiki. There's a lots of 'institutional knowledge' held by mappers. (b) Often there isn't a single 'right way' of doing things, and a couple of times I had to explain that there were different conflicting schools of thought on things -- which can be confusing for outsiders. (c) A proactive newcomer can find out a lot from the wiki. NT had put a lot of effort in in this respect, but still some personal contact was needed to clarify things. (d) The biggest gap in the documentation seemed to be over the etiquette of how to interact / get approval from the community (something NT were keen to get right).

So I think the biggest gains would be from tidying up wiki tagging pages, and signposting experienced mappers / OSM UK Directors who'd be happy to be contacted by people with queries. I guess it would be difficult to write something too detailed about etiquette and how to engage with the community over things, as it probably depends quite a bit on exactly what a third party has in mind. But a page on OSM UK saying we'd be keen to explore things with people who have data / want to contribute would be really good I think.

Brian Prangle

Brian Prangle November 21st, 2018 11:26

Perhaps the landing/onboarding page should have two sections: donating data and organised editing. I like the idea of contacts - Directors and others. Certainly we need this on the OSMUK website and also in the wiki. Possibly we should also have a "sticky" page on the forum directing people to more frequented resources.

Gregory Marler (former Director)

Gregory Marler (former Director) November 23rd, 2018 16:39

Contact is an important thing. It would also be helpful for them to get to the point where they can sit down face-to-face with someone to talk about their aims and the abilities.

Brian, my original site plan had a section for "Releasing/importing data" under "Help". We didn't stick to the site plan, I think because content needed to be created and what we've done with it has flowed. But did the NT even get to the OSM UK website? Do they know we exist?

Jez Nicholson (Director)

Jez Nicholson (Director) November 23rd, 2018 17:28

RobJN has a "Releasing/importing data" page on the way. Either under "Contribute to OSM" because that is what the people want to do...or under "Get Help" because that is what they are seeking. Probably not much difference in it.

Look back in the thread and Robert Whittaker details how NT got in touch. Basically, via his PRoW site + wiki.

RobJN (Director)

RobJN (Director) November 24th, 2018 17:38

Hi all. Gregory I am still following the site plan. I have also took inspiration from Harry with his SotM presentation on process steps: (1) collect data and (2) add to map.

So here is the collect data page. Note I called it collect information in the end as I think this sounds easier than "data".


RobJN (Director)

RobJN (Director) November 24th, 2018 17:38

My aim is to keep it very high level and link to the best help guide for each topic. We agreed to not reinvent the wheel when it came to writing guides.

Tony Shield

Tony Shield November 25th, 2018 10:35

Isn't this where access to the talent directory will also be useful. In the case of National Trust is it possible to offer assistance to their volunteers by OSM volunteers to help set up tooling and make initial edits, give them confidence to do this very useful mapping.

Harry Wood

Harry Wood November 26th, 2018 00:15

I called it "gather data" / "input data" on these diagrams: https://harrywood.co.uk/blog/2017/09/18/diagrams-of-openstreetmap/#slide55 . With "input data" i was mostly imaging the use of an editor to do manual editing. So on that right hand side "community import" gets a small mention. This is where an import is carried out by providing the data to the community allowing them to bring it in element-by-element, so I count this as one possible flavour of "armchair mapping". Bulk imports, where data is copied in in larger quantities by one person, are not on that diagram at all. Guess they would need their own column or something.

Jez Nicholson (Director)

Jez Nicholson (Director) November 26th, 2018 17:25

You are indeed correct. This is its raison d'etre :) OSMUK will look to offer outside organisations: advice on how to proceed; paid/volunteer services of talent directory members; influence over the services of volunteers (e.g. via a quarterly project); paid/volunteer services from OSMUK itself; and/or a combination. We have no real preference. Whatever works for that particular organisation.

RobJN (Director)

RobJN (Director) November 26th, 2018 22:43

Oh yes, and my temporary file I was writing in was called "Gather data" too. Not sure when it became "Collect" instead of "Gather"...

The "Armchair Mapping" in the diagram seems a bit odd. I would move Imagery, Street Photos, and OSM Notes over to the left under Gather Data. The armchair mapping activity is then just "Edit at home". Maybe adding a note that when editing at home it is easier/better if your edits related to the data you gathered.

The one that breaks the concept most is Mobile Mapping. This has to be a good thing though :-D

RobJN (Director)

RobJN (Director) November 26th, 2018 22:45

And what works for us. Projects have to align with our aims and be of benefit to OSM and OSM community. :+1: