Bite-sized issue quests to drive new mapper engagement

Here is an idea on how to help new users get involved with OSM.

My idea is to spotlight common issues that only require a small amount of knowledge to fix. We pick a common issue. Create a one page long explanation; What it is. Some background on why it happens, myabe even some history. What we learned and how we decided to fix it.

This will allow new user to quickly learn about different topics. All without having to do tons of research and most importantly not getting overwhelmed. We can gradually introduce the different tools. Explain how and when to use them. We can also pair them with actual challenges where the user can get practical experience while helping out.

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Isn’t this the objective of MapRoulette already?


StreetComplete in some small part is this, or can be used as inspiration or for materials.


Those mapbox, maproulette challenges certainly need qualifying as beginner, intermediate and advanced before they’re let loose on the general mapping community.

Nothing keeps creators of challenges from explaining the matter on a wiki page on any user level.

I like the idea and it sounds like this is the way a well written textbook is made, ex. basic statistics.
It also sounds like alot of work:)

The whole problem with the idea (and all the apps that riff on the same tune) is that it doesn’t actually create a positive feedback loop that leads to really interested long term mappers. It just ends being yet another variation on a HOTish “we tell you what you have to map” concept which leads to low interest and engagement.

The relatively new themed edit tool Mapcomplete has a built-in strategy to reel in potential mappers. All level offer an incentive to learn more to achieve more.

The themes are not OSM-oriented, but interest oriented, and many themes allow users to link images to the mapped elements. Eg link in snapshots of bicycle repair shops in the bicycle theme.

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Sounds like a great idea - give it a go and see what results you get!


Yeah that might work. Focussed editing can be useful. You may be interested to know that OSMers in the UK have done that with “Quarterly Projects” for a while. Perhaps there’s something you can learn from that.

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My hope that we can save the history and knowledge generated during these discussion threads. After some clean up, we turn threads in into something useful.

At the very least it should prevent further discussions that just rehash the sames issues just become someone wasn’t part of the original discussion. It also encapsulates the what and why certain decisions were made.

Given that people will not read preceeding messages -in the same thread- before replying, i would suggest not getting your hopes up to high.

You first need to create a dialog with new users. You might consider welcoming new users using the tool. With the welcome tool you can create a welcoming message with suggestions how they can fix those common issues. My welcome message suggests area they might be interested in exploring.

I’d be interesting in hearing how you do to drive new maper engagement.

Good luck,