I actually used to be indifferent to armchair mapping and imports, but recent encounters changed my mind.
I really feel you now @Russ McD, @Tom Layo; one won’t see the reality in accuracy of these entered data unless one actually “live there”. Even the normal “imports” are usually based on data observed from on-the-ground. These corporate players seem to blatantly ignore the fact that fixing a map full of faulty data is much harder than adding correct data to a blank slate.
As a local resident in Bangkok, I had a recent run-in with corporate-based armchair mappers. In my case it’s Grab ridesharing company.
Their amount of changsets are much smaller than ones made by Facebook et al (around the magnitude of ~100 changesets); and as far as I know, they are 100% human-based team, not some nameless AI robots.
I began to notice the existence of their campaign, not because of their announcements, but due to the “obvious wrongs” that have been recently appearing in the area that I personally frequent to.
So I got curious, and began to do a proper on-the-ground verification of their edits: the result is not pretty.
With only just few samples, verified against ground observation, I found:
Overwrite of ground-surveyed data; broken local consistency.
Mis-upgrading of road levels (e.g. existing footway being upgraded to “service” despite the actual uses).
Mis-tagging of newly-added “roads” (e.g. new footway being tagged “service”); disastrous for routing.
Nonsensical objects tagging (e.g. a temple being re-tagged as road); ruined rendering.
Most of these “oops” are simply invisble from the satellite imagery, but glaringly obvious when you actually visit the place. Sifting through changsets and visiting places in their edits to fix them are like going down the rabbit hole, there’s no end of errors in sight.
And of course, I chided them directly in changset comments whenever I found these errors. But there are so many changesets that these will take several years to verify, in downtown Bangkok alone. Doing these erodes my sanity.
To date, I have verified just around < 0.5% of the edits done by their campaign. I estimate the count of errors in whole are to be many, many more. My current “verdict” is along the line of @Russ McD: the affected areas are now tainted; these can’t be trusted by satnav users anymore.
These are all I can say about corporate armchair mapping, from a very small subset that I actually went into the field to verify; now scale it to the entire rural Thailand.
Speaking of the scale of this “import” problem: don’t anyone realize that at the moment, amount of OSM edits from Facebook went through the roof and is now ranked as #1 in Thailand?
This is not a problem of AI; it is a problem of industrial-scale armchair mapping with zero ground-based verification. They are leaving their mess for us unpaid contributors to fix, case-by-case, for a several lifetime.
I condemn Facebook for this massive scale of data vandalism, and OSMF Data Working Group for their inaction.
With these, while I won’t quit contributing to my area in Bangkok, I don’t have the heart to recommend OSM for general uses in Thailand (and much less with satnav use) to anyone, anymore.
The damages are done. As a local user, my position on this is a firm: speedy deletion.