Mapping activities in active war zones in Ukraine

I come across way too many changesets in Ukraine that are in active war zones. People are updating the map of Ukraine in realtime against all guidelines. is the most recent example I have.

Please help to revert these changesets, to report the offending users and to keep our map clean of sensitive information.

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People are updating the map of Ukraine in realtime against all guidelines.

(root case)

  • We need some “Warnings” from ( iD, JOSM, other editors )
    • New users not reading the guidelines …

I like the idea, so I created a JOSM ticket and an iD issue for it:

I’m not tech-savvy enough to know if it’s possible at all, so I’m just asking around here.


If you don’t mind me asking, what exactly was added or changed in the changeset you linked to?

BTW, calling a random Wiki article that’s only been edited by 2 people in the last six months a “guideline” is rather ridiculous. Especially when your talking about a whole country and if people can map there or not. More so because it doesn’t have a link to any of the discussions there have been about it. Either way though, what I remember there wasn’t any consensus not to map in Ukraine in either of the discussions I read.

Regardless though, something like this should really be done through a proposal that involves the actual parties effected by it. Instead of just some random user who’s not even from the area potentially blocking editing in a whole country by opening a GitHub issue.

I have mapped in Ukraine after the beginning of the war. It was to improve the geometry and tagging of a memorial in a rural area. There is a big difference between mapping that and mapping military trenches likely to be used or may be used by the sides in conflict. That’s what was added in that changeset.

As adults, we should be able to differentiate what changes are not welcome. Drawing trench positions, obviously not.


Oh yeah totally. The reason I asked though is because from the edits it looked like the user had just moved a scrubbed or something. I didn’t really see any evidence of them mapping trenches despite what their changeset comment said. Like in way 1124236667 the user added a parking lot next to a building. Which obviously isn’t a trench. Although it’s hard to tell what exactly they did since the edits were reverted, but the scrub is literally on top of a canal.

So for all we know it could have been English issue. Like maybe they mapped a ditch that already exited next to the water way and just called it a trench when it’s really a ditch that was already there before the war. But either way, the last time I checked we welcome people mapping parking lots. Maybe that’s just me though :man_shrugging:

That said, if someone is going to cry foul about some edits and use them as a reason to get a whole country blocked from being editable then there should really be more to it then someone mapping a parking lot.

It is very tempting for some people to use OpenStreetMap to make changes to the map of events that are happening right now in the war. I think in most cases they do it in complete innocence, not because they are looking to pass on information to the enemy.

There are several online maps available that provide real time conflict information, with information on the status of the fronts and even where each military unit is located. I have some saved in my browser. There are also maps that allow you to design military operations on the ground. The “armchair generals” should use those maps instead of OpenStreetMap. I’m sure they would have a more satisfying experience and their changes would not be reverted.

The canal with the scrub that they adjusted was already there before the war. I assume the same goes for the parking lot. So what “events that are happening right now” are they editing?

I’m aware of all that. Telling me about other maps that provide real time information doesn’t really address what I said or if the users edits were actually problematic though.

I don’t see any evidence of them being an “armchair general”, whatever that is, and @Friendly_Ghost hasn’t provided any either. Why not discuss address what I actually wrote instead of boxing ghosts or going off on side tangents about other websites? I’m not here to have an ideological discussion about what motivates certain people to might edit things or whatever :roll_eyes:

I don’t understand your insistence. I have already answered that. In that changeset, military trenches were added. You can see it here.

If you are fine with adding military trench positions in an area currently at war, then I disagree with you.

Thank you. All I had to go on was the changset that @Friendly_Ghost linked to and it didn’t have the old tags since the edit was reverted. That’s on him not providing it in the first place and on you for trying to argue the minutia instead of just giving me the link when I said I didn’t see any evidence of them mapping trenches from the changesets.

Yeah, because that’s what I said. Sure dude :roll_eyes: Maybe skip the hyperbole next time and give someone the evidence they are asking for if you have it :man_shrugging:

Although, I still think there should be a proposal if the whole country can’t be edited anymore. Otherwise, it seems like normal changeset reviews are working perfectly fine. If people are able to see the edits and revert them when they are happening then I don’t what the issue is here or how it’s particularly different then any other place in the world that has to deal with vandalism.

The link to the changeset was provided by @Friendly_Ghost at the beginning of this thread. From it you can get all the information you need using the tools available. It is not my obligation to make them known to you. They are referenced in the OSM wiki and available to anyone.

I get the impression that you just want to argue with me. Sorry, I am not available for that.


The changeset obviously doesn’t have the history of what tags where added by the user like Achavi does though. Outside of that, this is a general forum that anyone can comment on. Sure, information about the tools is out there or whatever. But at the same most people aren’t regularly users and don’t know they exist. Let alone how to find them. Really, it’s on the person who started the discussion to provide the relevant evidence that backs up their claims.

I’m not saying it’s your obligation to provide it, but your the one who responded to me and claimed I was fine with people adding military trench positions when that clearly wasn’t I was saying. So at minimum you could have at least provided evidence that were adding trenches since I said I just didn’t see any. It’s ridiculous to claim I’m fine with people adding trenches when I was pretty clear I lacked the necessary evidence to make a judgement about it either way though.

Your the one who responded to my comment, miss construed my position, and then went off about other website when they don’t have anything do with this. If anything, your the one arguing about it. Really you just shouldn’t have been available for it in the first place by not responding to me with the irrelevant, off-topic nonsense.

You could re-discuss this page with active mappers in the Ukrainian OSM community and ask them if there is still a consensus about this guideline. I assume that there is a consensus, because I have observed no frequent mapping efforts by long-term Ukrainian mappers in Ukraine. Nearly all changesets in Ukraine are made by foreigners and newbies who either haven’t heard of the “Don’t edit the map of Ukraine during the war” guideline or are ignoring it.

The Ukraine community has also a sub forum here, so you can just ask them.


Obviously I’m not going to ask them about a “guideline” if that’s not what it is in the first place. Although, really as someone not from the Ukraine you could always ask them if they support editors disabling editing there. I imagine if it that’s what they wanted they would have just requested it in the first place. What do I know though? :man_shrugging:

Well, I mean that’s the problem with something that isn’t done “officially” through a vote. People don’t tend to follow random articles that have no authority what-so-ever, especially newbies. Which is the main reasons I said there should be one BTW. Then it doesn’t just like a single editor from another country trying to get editors to block editing there by running opening random issues that are likely to ignored or not implemented.

Plus, it might help set some boundaries since I don’t think it’s been done before. Personally, I worry about the precedent it would set if something like this was done just from a single person opening GitHub issues, or really if it’s done at all for that matter. Since it’s way to easy for something like this to happen in more way questionable circumstances once the door has been opened for it. But that can be negated through discussion.

Anyway, I wouldn’t take no frequent mapping efforts by long-term Ukrainian mappers in Ukraine to mean anything other then that they are probably busy with other things right now. Like a war. What do you expect? I’m sure if they wanted editors to stop allowing editing there that they would have just said so. Of course you can ask them (honestly I’m not sure if @Discostu36’s comment was referring to me or you, but I’m not here to do your foot for you to have editors block editing there. So I assume he was talking to you :man_shrugging:).

BTW, the person who created the “guideline” Bezdna has only edited that article and one related to roads in the Kharkiv region. They also don’t appear to be an editor. So the idea that their “guideline” represents anything then their own personal opinion or that the “guideline” should have any kind of authoritative standing what-so-ever is just laughable.

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More information can be found in weeklyOSM (nr. 612) from which these guidelines are linked:

OSM Ukraine is urging everyone to restrain (uk) > en from any mapping in Ukraine while the conflict is still occuring as it fuels the information war.

I read it there and that’s why I knew that wiki page and translated it into Spanish.

Again a random article created by an SPA account isn’t a “guideline” and I’m sure you know it isn’t. Anyway, all I see is a random diary entry and an article created by an SPA. I don’t really see how either of those represents “the Ukraine” unless your going to argue there’s only two mappers there. So IMO there’s only two ways this could have gone, either there’s a discussion about it on a Ukrainian discussion forum somewhere or two random people that decided to ask people not to map in Ukraine of their own according and without any kind of buy in from the mapper community there. If your going to claim it’s the former then I’d like to see some evidence. Otherwise, this whole thing is clearly nonsense.

I’m not saying this hasn’t been discussed, but you can’t just claim it has without at least linking to a discussion where people talked about it. Since literally anyone can say anything they want on here. As a side to that I actually had a short discussion about this with Friendly Ghost a while back and he got extremely defensive when I suggested consulting the local mappers in Ukraine, because supposedly they are brainwashed and in a war or something.

So frankly, I find it hard to believe anyone has gotten their opinions about it. Otherwise he probably would have just said so when I originally brought it up instead of claiming there was no reason to or whatever. Color me skeptical at this point and for good reason though. I’m going to take whatever Friendly Ghost or anyone has to say on the subject with a grain of salt until I see some actual evidence that it’s been discussed. And if I’m being honest the repeated deception about the Wiki article really doesn’t help either.


Suggesting things that I have not said and claiming to be sure of what I know is not acceptable. If you have discussed this topic with anyone before, it was not with me. If it was a bad experience, it’s not my fault either.

Apparently you missed the part of what you quoted where I said “Friendly Ghost.” Do you even read messages you respond to? Or maybe your admitting that your actually Friendly Ghost and using a sock puppet to brigade discussions related to Ukraine? (Of course I mean that half jokingly, but still). Whatever the case, things like this are exactly why I’m taking whatever either one of you say with a grain of salt :man_shrugging: