.... is it good or bad for OSM ?

Just a thought - when I checked this app out about a year ago, I was very impressed, and with the ability to add POI’s quickly and accurately, I started to use it a lot for adding single nodes (POI’s)
Lately, I note a few issues that trouble me … and I have written to them with no reply…

Firstly, they provide a number a specific categories for POIs which forces you occasionally, to chose the incorrect one … ie If I want to add a Motorcycle shop, I’m forced to call it a Car Shop as the former does not exist. If I want to add a crematorium … well nothing suitable exists.
I have asked that they include a few generic POI’s such as “building”, “office” or “shop”. So when I add my Insurance Brokers, I could at least put it in under an “office” category and change later, rather than Lawyer which I had to do at the time.

Secondly, they have an association with which overlays the hotels on the map, in some cases obscuring existing OSM data. As the icons are in the same colour and style, you are misled into thinking the hotel/guest house etc, is already in OSM and doesnt need adding.
I have asked they consider using a different style of icon, but no reply to date.

I think that, while providing a useful tool, has to now be considered in a different light with regards to OSM.
There … off my chest now !

Have a look at the edits (new) users do with Plenty of it is simply wrong. Could be a large percentage just selecting “closest match” when tagging. Also notes by is often abused for a personal notepad. also makes it easy to add names in foreign languages. Preferable Russian or Chinese.

See for recent additions (or garbage). Be prepared to be frustrated after checking.
I am going to fix “name:th=Понырять”; “name=Океанариум Пхукет Phuket Aquarium”; “name=Пхукетский океанариум”
better stopping watching this page as roughly 50% of the edits are simply and obviously wrong and making the quality of OSM worse instead of better.

Popular tourist areas do get particularly hit by MAPS.ME, especially places where people from other countries go, who don’t want a huge mobile roaming bill when they get home. I suspect that Thailand ticks both of those boxes in style.

If you think that MAPS.ME could do a better job of letting people edit things properly, then you can raise the problem over at . I probably shouldn’t comment about how effectively that works ( is still an issue, based on the edits that we’re seeing around the world, for example).

I’d suggest trying to contact the users via changeset discussion comments, and if that doesn’t work drop a mail to the Data Working Group over at (I’m a member). If a MAPS.ME user continually ignores messages from other OSM users it might be because they used a throwaway email address to register and don’t see the messages, or they simply don’t understand what they mean, because it hasn’t been explained to them what OSM is. We can send users an OSM message that they have to read before they can continue editing. This has one of two outcomes - either it puts them in touch with the rest of the OSM community (a good result) or, if they don’t acknowledge the OSM message, stops them from updating OSM (which if they were making a mess, is also a good result).

Also - I’d definitely echo what stephankn said - keep an eye on to ensure that problem edits are reverted quickly and problem editors dealt with.



What a disaster that app is. I have it and have used it on occasion but the number of errors a quick scan of the page at mmwatch reveals indicates to me that is a mixed blessing at best. Folks in the tagging group stress out about the proper way to tag OSM objects in discussions that last days while users just tag away with abandon. I’m quite sure most have never bothered to read the Wiki or ask an opinion from other more experienced mappers.

Even if I had the time to contact each user to discuss changes I’m not sure it would be worth it. I’m just too busy with other projects. Arrrgh!


I’d been thinking about this, and it probably comes down to the philosophical direction we think OSM should take regarding ease of editing.

OSM’s openness has long been compared to that of Wikipedia. Anyone can make an edit, and everyone’s edits go live immediately. Now bad edits and vandalism are going to be a problem inherent to this model. So far, OSM has only relied on the relative obscurity of its editing tools to hide from vandals and dissuade would-be bad editors from contributing. However, this also means it’s missing out on potential good contributions from the casual user who couldn’t be bothered to figure out the complicated conventions of OSM’s data structure. This has largely limited the growth of OSM’s userbase, and, I’m sure you’d all agree, at the current rate it’ll take forever for the map to be complete enough to be actually usable.

Hiding in obscurity obviously isn’t viable. As a crowd-sourced platform, OSM desperately needs to expand its base of contributors. The creation of third-party editing tools can help, but as the Maps.Me experience shows, it’s a complicated task, and bad implementation will result in bad edits. (I won’t go into detail on how the Maps.Me editor could be improved, but the unclear instructions and the long delay in its map updates are major faults.)

But we can’t dictate the development of external apps, or prevent users from making bad edits. What OSM urgently needs is a robust changes-monitoring system. Wikipedia has an army of users and anti-vandal bots patrolling its recent changes, reverting bad edits (and even then many still manage to slip through). What we have now on OSM is extremely limited at best. I’d prefer that effort be made to provide regular users with better tools and processes to deal with bad edits than blaming Maps.Me for facilitating them.

What shouldn’t change, though, at least for now, is the nature of OSM’s immediate live edits. Compare, for example, other crowd-sourced geo-databases such as Foursquare and Facebook Places, which use a voting system to screen edits. Making even minor corrections on these platforms is, as a result, more often than not a pain in the backside. I’d be happy with users being able to easily make changes, even bad ones, rather than erecting a complicated screening process, as long as tools are provided to quickly revert those changes and warn the users.

I agree with much of what you’re saying Paul. I used to contribute to Wikipedia but they’ve made it so difficult to actually add information that I’ve about given up. Their vetting process is extensive and items are checked and either added or discarded based on the opinions of the editors and the adherence to relatively strict guidelines. This is a two-edged sword. More people like myself would likely contribute but getting that information through the vetting process is so tedious they’ve given up. That said, the quality of Wikipedia’s content is IMO quite high.

Another point about adding POIs using cell-phones as GPS’s is that the coordinates might be off by a significant amount depending on the particular phone. I added a restaurant the other day and when I looked it up in JOSM to add some details found it on the opposite side of the street. High quality cell phones equipped with GPS chips are capable of quite respectable accuracy if the software is clever enough to use both the internal GPS and cell-tower triangulation to compute locations. Not all cell phones are created equal however and accuracy with cheaper or older units will suffer accordingly. is a mixed bag so some sort of monitoring process will probably be needed. Getting the correct amount of such monitoring in place will be tricky.