Edits by Balthus*MC

Hello fellow mappers,

recently I came across some really suspicious edits all by user Balthus*MC.

He started getting quite active in Thailand last December and does lots of edits which typically require some experience.

The edits are sort of randomly spread all over Thailand. While some edits contain quite nice additions, others are strongly arguable. The large amount of the edits will make it difficult to sort stuff out.

Did any of you come accross more of them? Any opinions?

What I observed (there might be much more, edits are plenty):

  • name:th containing Thai script names are simply deleted from villages

  • name:en is renamed into int_name. No one used int_name in Thailand before. All occurences now in Thailand come from only him

  • village with less than 6.000 inhabitants is upgraded to town (usually the threshold is 10.000) In addition status of thesaban tambon (not thesaban mueang) support the status as village.

  • highways are stripped from their ref number and downgraded without proper comment. Others are changed from secondary to primary. Unfortunately not correct but leaving link sections wrongly tagged behind.

  • DRR basemap sounds like a questionable data-source. At least it ist listed as incompatible in the wiki. So we may face redaction of tainted data.

  • other highways are upgraded from residential to unclassified without justification. Geometry makes it very unlikely to be reasonable.

Example of re-tagging:

I contacted him, and basically got the response that does his stuff because he thinks he is right and “some guy from Russia” recommended it.
I mentioned the forum, so let’s see if he joins in to explain some of his edits.

Actually I expect him to fix what he has broken and stop doing such edits. Shall we ask for a block from DWG?


With a response like he gave, then it displays a lack of respect for the work the rest of us do.
I would send one more example to him, quoting the Wiki page, and unless he replies with justifications, then yes, contact the DWG and possibly reverse all his edits if they think appropriate.
I personally have not discovered any of his stuff yet, but I will be looking from now on.

Im adding some roads and POI in Loei right now after I rode thru there in the week … at the time I could not work out why my GPS was not routing correctly and see that Balthus has been changing secondary roads to unclassified just because at some stage in the future they might me reumbered.
I have written the following message to him …

I’ll post any response unless he chooses to open a discussion here.

Yes, in addition to making unilateral and, in some cases, arbitrary decisions about road classes, it also appears that user Balthus*MC lists the following as a source for at least some of his edits:


It is very out of date. In one area I’m very familiar with, the highway going north from Ban Khun Khlang in Doi Inthanon NP, it’s at least a year out of date. It’s still using the old route number of 1284 instead of the new one, ชม.4016, a ref value I’ve determined through multiple road signs and mileposts.

If this user refuses to even discuss these issues with mappers who have made tons of effort mapping Thailand over the years, I feel this warrants some sort of intervention, at the least a roll-back of his edits and eventually even a block if he persists with this blatant disregard for others’ work and opinions.


I did receive a reply yesterday, and on the face of it, he accepts he made a mistake …

I dont see any reversal of changesets noticed, so how do we go from here ? If the DWG will help, which changesets need reversing ?
In the mean time, I’ll ask him to manually reverse his edits, but seeing that he implies he cant remember, this may not catch all of his work. Maybe Stephan or Johhny can help with a search using his name and road status changes in the last month … or something like that. Might give us a list we can check off.
Perhaps there is a better way ?


@Russ, Please tell him about the problem with the currency of that dataset he’s referring to in the latter part of this paragraph. I’m sure it’s quite out of date. He says:

And ask him to start watching this thread.


Quite sad Balthus does not show up here to give us at least a hint what he changed so we could easier search for it.

Just for having an idea about the dimensions of the review required: We speak about over 60.000 elements modified in more than 3.000 changesets.

He started heavily editing 4th of December. I currently start processing on OSM changes since December. This involves parsing about 3GB of OSC files.

For a start: here are ~450 POI where he messed with the naming and is still last editor:

As of writing 237 ways indicating a questionable source.

If you notice something not yet mentioned: please use the changeset comment functionality of OSM so others can notice this as well.

detecting deletions and re-classifications is a bit more tricky. I try to come up with something. If someone has something ready-made, please step forward.


It would appear that Balthus is genuinely apologetic for his edits, and wants the opportunity to correct his work, with help from Stephan.
His last reply to me …

I will reply and suggest he does come on the Forum … In the mean time, I guess we should just let him get on with it.

My reply to Balthus …

I am in contact with DWG to get some support in repairing the worst mistake while preserving the other edits.
I fully agree that a complete revert is not appropriate,

My suggestion is to fix the DRR based re-classifications in an automated edit:

  • they might have violated the DRR copyright on their database
  • the used data is dated as mentioned by Dave and harms OSM quality

A possible algorithm could be to identify all ways which contain a source tag with “DRR”. For those ways check whether the classification was changed or the “ref” tag modified. If so, then revert the tags to the previous state.
tags to modify: “highway”, “ref”, “int_ref”.

This should keep other modifications like surface/lane or geometry changes by adding/removing of nodes.

In case of version=1 ways we would want at least a list for manual review. Those might have been created due to splits for bridges or similar. Best processing here might be to reset the tagging to “default” values. highway=road, delete ref.
If possible they could inherit the classification of their neighbors.
Similar to highway xxx_link sections now also having probably non-matching values.

Did you always add a source tag to the ways when modifying them? Is there something else we can use to identify those ways?

What else needs to be considered for this specific fix?

I think I managed to get a diff of all the edits.

You can get it in osc format here:

Number of nodes: 60050
Number of ways: 6395
Number of relations: 127

some of them have multiple revisions.

I’m a bit uncertain what would be the best approach to check whether the deleted objects had tags before and should be reviewed.

Arrgh! How is it possible that a someone could have caused so many problems in such a short time? Sorting this all out will take a lot of effort.

Stephan, thanks for taking time to put those changes together. Unfortunately, I don’t know what an OSC file is or how to deal with it. Some guidance would be helpful and appreciated.

Also, in Malthus’ reply to Russ’ email he says:
“Note: As you can see in the database of DOH they follow a new policy for numbering divided roads – each branch must have its own number. E.g. one branch keeps 2399 and the other branch gets the new number 2476.”

Does this mean that dual carriageways will have a different ref for each lane? That will be a royal mess, for sure.
But because this is Thailand, where a logical approach is sometimes hard to come by, it wouldn’t surprise me too much.

Here is a list of 781 deletions which affected objects that had been tagged before. So removing way-nodes would be ignored. Deleting something tagged shows up in the list.

I did some basic formatting and added links to the OSM page to look up the history and get the exact location of deleted stuff.

Please help by reviewing.

If something is unclear, best would be to leave a changeset comment. This way Balthus can comment. I did a quick check of the first few deletion of things I added. First looks like a reasonable transform of a POI node into an area. a food court added 6 years ago was deleted. Quite reasonable that it is gone. Commit message “minor changes” could have been better, but ok… Same commit also remove a public clock on a pole nearby. So probably valid.

The File is not standard conform html but at least Firefox opens it fine. OSM allows to view the history of the object and by clicking the coordinates zoom to that location. names and list of tags might contain escaped characters I did not “unescape”. You should be able to get the idea of it. Otherwise click on the OSM link.

Hello everyone :slight_smile:

Finally I am joining this thread…

First I truly apologise for the mess I did and the troubles and discomfort I caused – sorry. Especially I apologise to Stephan for the work and time he spent and will spend to fix my doings - sorry Stephan. After I checked his work here in OSM he got my full respect.

For me it is just an uncomfortable learning experience – for you it is probably just annoying :rage:. Dear Stephan – maybe you can see the time that you spend as an investment to improve further contributions of a new (very) active member.

But before I start to explain what and why I did what I did – I think – it is time to introduce my self…

My name is Balthus (short Balts) from the german part of Switzerland

As I was born 1963 I experienced the whole process from analog to digital. As a young man I got very excited about this digitalisation of the real world and developed a passion for computer languages . After studies of Mathematics and Computer Science I worked 15 years as a specialist for Cryptography and IT Security for one of the big Swiss Banks. In these times I was also worked for an ISO Standard securing ATM transactions and Electronic payments. After 15 years and the upcoming PCs for everyone I lost interest for the digital work and quit.

Since then I do only seasonal jobs – first as a Ski instructor then as a Lifeguard. From 2000 I started to travel in South-East Asia – first mainly in Indonesia where I developed a passion for skin diving (free diving). After getting ear problems I needed to quit free diving and found a new passion – motorcycling – for which I came to Thailand. The last three winter seasons I did more than 30’000 km. As of now I stay in Thailand from October to March and go for work in Switzerland from April to September where I work as a manager in governmental recreation facility where we have up to 3000 customers a day.

In Switzerland I have a life of duties and social responsibility – here in Thailand I enjoy my freedom and social independency. I am a convinced single and do not have Thai «girl friends» here. At night – in general – I stay at home and follow my hobbies like astrophysics, photography and now OSM Thailand.

As you see I am not quite a regular Pattaya guy and that I have some sort of a double life – one in Thailand, one in Switzerland.

As you may noticed I never worked in an Online community and as a analog guy I have my difficulties to emotionally connect to a real person behind an user name. As I got in touch with Johnny, Russ and Stephan I have started now this «personalisation» process. Please be patient with me and still give me some credits.

I will do everything what is necessary to make this review successful.

As of now I already started to clean up my mess with the help of overpass turbo as I have learned from Johnny.

Job 01: Removing int_name, restoring name:en

Start: 26-Feb-2017 – Done: 27-Feb-2017

This was a quick and easy fix. Now the below query gives null results :slight_smile:

out meta;

Job 02 : Removing int_ref from Rural Roads and fix source

This is a more heave job as I touched many and I have to go them through one by one and the small bridges are a real pain in the a** :frowning:

Start: 27-Feb-2017 – Done: still work in progress

You can check the status quo with the overpass turbo query:

out meta;

Job 03 : Review of all my deletes (initiated by Stephan)

This is a delicate one. Could we do this bilateral Stephan through personal messages and just publish the results here?

Start: 28-Feb-2017 – Done: still work in progress

Job 04 : Review of all my given new references

This should be done mainly by future survey or current imagery from Mapillary as a source. By the way – as Johnny proposed to me some time ago – I finally signed up to Mapillary (as balthus-mc) and started my first uploads with road signs from my neighbourhood. I hope this will improve my future creditability :wink:


Please do consider – I still have a life outside of OSM – and that this review needs its time. Please do not rush Stephan. If we proceed step by step we won’t mess things more than before.

In my further posts I will also explain why I did what I did and how I did it. Maybe my problems could also lead to some clarifications in the «official» Thai wiki which could be a help for other contributors too.

By the way I am now planning a big tour around Isan in about 11 days following the geographical watershed and using mainly Rural Road – if I can. I also plan to document important road signs with Mapillary as much as I can – but I won’t spoil my riding experience because of it :slight_smile:


Let’s go to work… Balthus

Hello Balthus,

thanks for getting in touch with us. Sorry we had to give you such a hard start.

I’m glad we had been able to sort out the problems. Let’s work together in rectifying the problems left. Then we can move forward on improving OSM together.
I’m quite confident that you can be a valuable contributor to OSM Thailand.

As you had learned the hard way: Sometimes it’s better to start slowly getting used with all the tooling, process and conventions. I can understand it’s difficult to slow down when you are full of motivation and good intentions.

And yes: We are all people behind our usernames. The mappers I have meat are all friendly, even myself can be friendly from time to time :smiley:

If you have the chance to meet with other mappers in Thailand, please try to do so. It’s great to get in touch with others. Share ideas, discuss about the tooling or even completely different things.

There is a large community in Chiang Mai, others are in Chiang Rai and biking in Laos. Bangkok also has a small community. Not sure about Isaan. Best would simply be opening a topic in the forum and ask.

I’ll cross check the commented changelists. Johnny and other certainly also will support in getting things fixed. I will try to get a list with changes you wanted to fix and a delta of what is fixed and what is still to do. Until that the overpass query is a good start, even if it misses a change.


I compiled a more readable list of things to review/repair. It is based on last week’s data.

It highlights:

  • deletions of name:th or name:en
  • modification of ref, int_ref, highway, place

It does not check for int_name as these have been reported fixed.

If something was modified by Balthus and is meanwhile fixed (regardless of last editor) it is not included.
If I shall exclude specific elements please send me a list of the OSM element IDs to ignore.

I noticed also multiple deletions of named junctions. Does it make sense to check for those as well? What other kind of “fixes” did you do? Did you also modify waterways? Shall I filter for other things?


If we think the list is highlighting the important changes I can run an update.

Shall I “whitelist” all changes of highway=track to highway=residential (if they include a surface tag)?

What a mess … I had a cursory look at the huge list … seems like a bunch of edits that only Balthus knows why. If something was deleted, I guess we just need to know he went there and physically verified it wasnt there.

Some residential roads changed to service … well, OK, but only if he knows the area and realises the difference in what the road does.

But in an instance where the road ref has changed such as the รย.4036 near Rayong http://www.openstreetmap.org/#map=15/12.4915/102.0421

I rode past a new sign here in March 2015 saying “รย.4036 Scenic Route” - I stored it as a waypoint which I only ever do next to the sign … he has now changed the route to the 4001.

Now if he had seen a different sign since, then fine. Just add a note. But if its come from some out of date Database, then Balthus, leave the bloody ref alone. I see he has helpfully added a fixme=check ref. Well thats for him to do… dont undo other peoples work and then introduce confusion.

And whats with adding the reference to a description tag … what the hell does that achieve ?. We normally use that for a physical description of the road.

If he is using the DRR & DOH sites, along with Google street view, I think thats breaks the terms of where we can get data from, and then to credit them as a source … is that not asking for trouble ?

My vote is that for any ref changes he had done, and any road status changes too, then the changesets shud be reversed. Re-run the report and we can see whats left.

When I was entering the data collected during my December holiday, I found out that Balthus had mapped many of the roads meanwhile. Though some of his “tracks” looked more like “unpaved residentials” to me, the majority of his edits, including upgrading or downgrading of roads, between Ubon and the Mekong seem acceptable to me. Nonetheless, I changed some of his edits, please make sure not to destroy that.

Job 02 : Removing int_ref from Rural Roads and fix source

Start: 27-Feb-2017 – Done: 3-Mar-2017

In this step I removed all int_ref values from my touched Rural Roads and fixed the source.

All information came in general by my personal survey. Additionally I did a confirmation check for every touched Rural Road in the DRR LMP database to verify my survey.

In only one case there was a difference – and Russ actually found it. This case was the above mentioned scenic route Chaloem Burapha Chonlathit Road which is 100 km long and stretches over two provinces (Chanthaburi and Rayong). I did this route at least 10 times – and by survey this road has only road signs with รย.4036 (Rayong 4036) – even in Chanthaburi. As I checked the DRR LMP – the red vector layer shows the Rural Roads – I noticed that from the Chanthaburi border they gave the road a new reference จบ.4001 (Chanthaburi 4001). I guess, I messed it up and should have waited for the «new» road signs to make any change – am I right? Sorry.

Of course I will revert จบ.4001 back to รย.4036.

Remark: int_ref

I defined a romanised version of the Rural Road reference mainly for two reasons:

  1. It can be a help for people who can not read Thai script, that means could be helpful for most of the foreigner.

  2. The romanisation by the renderer can lead to conflicts, that means different roads could have the same romanised reference. Eg. Chonburi ชบ and Chanthaburi จบ are rendered both as ChB.

I just replaced the two-letter Thai code of a province with the three-letter Latin code of the corresponding province which I found here: https://th.wikipedia.org/wiki/จังหวัดของประเทศไทย

Example: ชบ.1095 > CBI.1095 (Rural Road Chonburi 1095)

Instead of deleting the value in this removing step I just saved the value in the description key for a possible future use. As you seen in the OSM wiki http://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Key:description this information could be a help for end users who cannot read Thai. In the Wiki the use of the key description is quite general – it states it’s just additional information for the end user whatsoever. Russ, I do not see this physical exclusion.

But if there is a consensus to delete this value in the description key I will certainly do it – no problem.

Check the status of this job with this overpass turbo query: http://overpass-turbo.eu/s/nfp

My next step will be: Job 03 - Review of all my deletes (initiated by Stephan)

@Bernhard: Changes are manually done on individual elements. This should preserve your edits.

I compiled a new overview of the changes I did before. It contains all up to 2017-03-05T20:04:47Z.

The remaining int_refs reported had been checked manually by me and all looks fixed, so I removed that from the reporting.

I think what now is missing is a review of some of the changes. If you do so, please send me a list of elements you consider OK. I will then filter that out from the list. You can simply mark the line in the browser and copy paste into a message. It should simply contain the element reference, then I’m able to pick it up.

Many of the deletions come from removing the tags from nodes on highway=services and creating new elements.

If others assist in reviewing what’s left by sending IDs of checked elements I can provide daily updates. Should bring down the list to zero quickly.