I’m kind of pissed off about the import system. It seems like 99% of the imports I have came across are completely wrong. The areas imported often either have incorrect tags and go over large areas that are completely different than the intent of the import in the first place, like the large scrub land area that goes industrial zones and lakes in Calistoga California. There’s also many places in California that I have found where not only was the import is completely wrong, but there were also already multiple other wrong imports of the same exact thing underneath that import. For instance, some of the farm land areas in California have been wrongly important three different times. There’s also places in California where the same national forest has been imported multiple times. It seems like the people California doing imports are either not paying attention or are just importing things in mass to make the map look good when its zoomed out. Most of the large pink farm land north of Sacramento might look good, but they are completely wrong. Also, most towns north of Sacramento is just one large residential area, which is clearly wrong and goes against the wiki rules for the tag. Many of the national forests in Northern California are labeled as parks, which the wiki for the park tag clearly says not to do. Its all rather irritating. Aside from being completely time consuming to fix, a lot of the stuff can’t be fixed in the first place, or it would be really hard to, because the areas are so large and also made up of hundreds of relations that almost impossible to keep track of and deal with. So, I’m wondering what can be done about it. I feel like its pointless to try and deal with the bad areas if someone is just going to re-import things I delete or change tags back to suite them. I’d like to improve the map though, just not waste my life fixing other peoples errors. I noticed on the wiki page about imports that people are suppose to discuss imports now before they do them. Is that really adequate enough to deter bad imports? Why is importing things even a large part of OSM at this point? since there is satellite images and so many things can go wrong, it seems like imports would be an obsolete way to add data to map and would be depreciated like old tags are, especially importing huge areas. Is there anything I can do about this, besides feeling discouraged by the whole thing and possibly giving up mapping?
As a side note, I happen to live in a fairly small town and I am mostly the only mapper here. Although it was an up hill battle due to pretty crappy mapping by people from other areas, I’ve improved things that were already here a lot and added a large amount of new things. The process was definitely more tedious then it needed to be because of mappers in other states and countries not putting the effort into mapping things correctly, because they are not invested in the area, seem to care more about being first place on some top list of “humanitarian” editors, and therefore care more about status than making a quality map. This seems like a pervasive issue. I’ve spent plenty of time reading the mailing lists, diaries (or lately more like add copy repositories), and this forum. I know OSM has problems with bringing in mappers from smaller areas and I know there is a lot of places that are not mapped yet. I don’t think the answer is to create teams of people from other areas that can come in and do the editing on behalf of the local community for points and status. If anything, it just makes things worse. All things considered, I can fully understand why people in small communities would only edit a few things and then never come back, or not even create an account in the first place. Who would want to spend 99% of their time getting over the steep learning curve by fixing other peoples mistakes before they could add things themselves? Especially when it comes to people in small towns, who often have a low tolerance for technology, city dwelling “geeks.”, or people from other countries for that matter. Not to mention, especially when it comes to the areas with the problems I have discussed early, their whole town is already covered by one huge all encompassing scrub land and a giant residential area. So there isn’t anything they could do in their area anyway, except map a house that would be covered in bushes. Well I commend the OSM community’s adoption of more neutral tone and push toward more inclusiveness, I think the issue I have noted here should also be considered as things that potentially push people in smaller areas away. I know if I did not have past experience with computer programming and a love of maps, I probably would have given up a long time. At least something can hopefully be done about the import issues. I’d also like to see the thing about bad editors with big egos from other areas then they are editing be dealt with also. Although I’m not sure what fix there could be for that problem. I think both problems, the importing and the outside editors, partly come from a lack of patience. I am competent the map will be filled in everywhere it can be eventually. Turning the whole thing into a game or making amounts of edits a status symbol in order to do it just seems wrong and counter productive.
Thanks for reading.