Overturemaps.org - big-businesses OSMF alternative

We can infer that Tomtom obviously didn’t know of and hadn’t joined OM at that point (I believe I’ve pointed out that the 1st version of the OM website I viewed had Tomtom missing). So that blog post describes Tomtoms old-new strategy :grinning:


14 posts were split to a new topic: Producing a validated OSM dataset

“I don’t deny that I’m frustrated by the dismal state of the Tiger Data in the United States. But that doesn’t negate the fact that there are no community based efforts being made here to do anything about it, at least not that I’m aware of.”

The poster’s “awareness” of “the dismal state of the Tiger Data” (sic) is itself dismal: while TIGER data do continue to be a longer-term challenge, they provide an excellent opportunity (among many) for community-building. For at least a decade, I and many others have striven to improve rail data from the TIGER import. Wiki have been written at a national- and statewide-level (at least half the states have at least SOME State/Railroads wiki, and that was starting from a flat zero), there are community-based efforts built both far and wide and rail data in the USA are MUCH better than they were 15 years ago after TIGER brought in “pretty rough” rail data.

But the poster doesn’t recognize this (or the many, many other positive things that happen in OSM, INCLUDING the building of good community — not an always-visible-to-all thing), he’s too busy throwing rocks (what @SimonPoole calls his normal behavior). When he finds someone willing to “take his bait” (do analogies to certain kinds of fishing come to mind?) his inflammatory outrage fuels his sense of, um, something, and it is impossible to appease what there wasn’t any grievance to begin with.

And not just rail, there are an infinity of ways to build community in OSM. All it takes is the spirit to do so and you’ll find someone, many others, and indeed the whole good-naturedness of the entire project itself who engender that spirit. Once in a while, you’ll find someone against the grain, though (like here). They are in the distinct minority and we know what to do as we identify them.

I have better learned not to entertain this person’s constant desire to provoke heat (never light). I suggest “going dark” with him in every sense. (Some call this “No Contact”).

Free ride, indeed.

I can follow this discussion just fine without one person’s comments, as I have learned I (and OSM) am/are far, far better off without them.


I was only talking about the roads, which if I’m remembering correctly you told me a few years ago wouldn’t be completely cleaned up until at least 2030. So whatever “dismal” information I might know about it stems from what you told me. If the dates wrong fine, but that’s on you for giving me the wrong information. Anyway, I don’t deny that “people” are striving to clean it up. There’s obviously a difference between individual mappers cleaning up bad data on their own time and cleanup being done as part of a community based, group effort. I’m sure you get the difference and know which one I was talking about.

Obviously no one here including me is denying that individuals in the United States do QA on their own time. That’s not what my comments or the discussion is about though. Otherwise, your free to point out what community based group in the United States is working to clean up the Tiger Roads and I’ll correct myself. Like I said, it’s possible there is one and I just don’t know about it. But acting like I’m lying for the sake of personal grievances or whatever is just ridiculously bad faithed.

Like I said, I’ve gone out of my way in this conversation to not point fingers at specific individuals or incidents. I definitely could if I was purely here to provoke people. In the meantime you and Simon are literally the only ones who have made this discussion personal. It’s always great how you and a couple of other people will spend all day indiscriminately dragging me through the dirt with complete
impunity while claiming I’m the one trying to provoke people, when I’m mostly minding my own business.

Whatever issues I might have with you, I’m definitely not out there in random conversations saying the community would better off without you. Yet supposedly I’m the one who’s comments are the problem here. I’d love to at least once you get even half the blowback for the toxic, harassing nonsense you say that I do on an almost constant basis for saying way less. But hey, cry bullies are going to cry bully and clearly no is going to hold you accountable for how you act :man_shrugging:


All (in general reference to the thread, not any individual in particular),

Can we please stop criticising other OSMers in this thread please, it gets us nowhere and reinforces the point why building something away from the community is sometimes a good idea.

If we can stick to the topic and what we may or may not want to do as a consequence of it, that would be much appreciated.

Thank you,


Slightly drifting off the Overture topic here (and it may be worth breaking this out into a separate thread), but the TIGER data in OSM is being actively fixed and it is possible, with some work, to get good results from it. Yes, if you treat it naively the results won’t be great, but that’s true of all OSM data. cycle.travel applies a few heuristics to it, and the result (IMobviouslybiasedO) is significantly better cycle routing in the rural US than Google manages. If I can do that with one of me working part-time from 3500 miles away, I’m sure Facebook and Microsoft can manage.

The TIGER-sourced data is obviously still a long way from perfect, and personally I think a semi-automated approach to clear up the mistakes of an automated import like TIGER would be 100% fine. I’m interested to see how the imagery-derived surface tagging approach in New algorithm for inferring road surface tags pans out. I also wonder if some of the data being released by Overture may end up being a useful input here. There’s also some useful state-level data that could be brought into service.

But POIs are arguably our biggest unsolved challenge in the rural US right now IMO, not TIGER.


Yep the OSMF Board wasn’t told about this in advance. And yes, IME the OSMF Board often finds things from the public press releases. Corporate members never really bothered with the Advisory Board. To give the devil his due, Facebook did give the OSMF Board a several hour (or maybe days) heads up that they would released Daylight Maps.


POIs are a big issue outside rural US too. They are not great here in the UK for example (at least in my experience and speaking mostly about retail and restaurants). Are there places that are doing better with POIs that we can learn from?


From what I’ve seen TIGER data is pretty good in bigger cities, but the quality starts to quickly degrade once you go into any even slightly rural areas. That’s fine. I wasn’t debating the quality of roads in Openstreetmap. It’s better than Google Maps in my area because I’ve put the time into making it that way. The quality quickly degrades as you go out of town here though. That’s not to insult anyone. My comment about it was purely in response to mikelmaron saying there were groups of people in the United States working together to clean up the bad data. That’s it. People are free to take it or leave it. But I’m not criticizing the quality of roads in the United States or blaming anyone for the state they are in by saying there are no community-based groups in the United States working on improving the TIGER data.

See these videos. Capital Markets Day 2022 | TomTom Many credits are given to OSM by Michael Harrel (former Amazon guy working for TomTom and working on this Overture project). And not just in that presentation, but in all of them. Their main point is that both open maps and proprietary maps have their pros and cons and they are working towards a best of both worlds.


That is, they think that the OMF product (aka open data) will only be a base map, which for them is basically a grid of roads. Everything above that (and these are, according to the examples given, data that all are in OSM ) they consider to be proprietary layers to build business advantage.
In that case, if we imagine that OMF will be like OSM only better done then I think we’re sorely mistaken. If one-way streets, speed limits, POI, building entrances, etc. are “proprietary data” for them, it is hard not to get the impression that this whole project is a new version of “Embrace, extend, marginalise”.

But… on the other hand, it means that OSM will continue to be the only source of open data in those categories that are “proprietary” to them.

It is also significant that it states that the first iteration of the OMF base map will include the road network and its geometry “provided by TomTom”. There is no word they are interested in OSM data in this regard.


& having seen some of the errors shown on the TomTom Roadrunner map, that doesn’t fill me with confidence!

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:shield: Hi all,

It has come to @forum-governance attention that the discussion in this thread has become heated, and there have been instances of offtopic or personal accusations being made, including incorrect use of flags to hide messages (now solved and people warned about it).

We would like to remind everyone to keep their comments focused on the topic at hand, and to refrain from making personal attacks or accusations against other members. These types of comments only serve to escalate tensions and detract from the quality of the discussion.

As a reminder, you can always open new topics over #general to talk about related topics so this one is easier to read.

Thanks everyone for your cooperation!


Thank you Adamant1 for just blatantly pushing me aside as though I do not exist. I have spent many hours cleaning roads from the Tiger import, as have many other volunteers. The Tiger import does not just exist around where you live. Thank you for helping us to fix that terrible error of judgement that took a fixed scale generalised map data and applied it to a zoomable dataset.


No, thank you and the many other volunteers for the many hours already spent cleaning it up. Like I’ve said multiple times now I’m not criticizing or blaming anyone for whatever state it’s currently in.

Terrible indeed. Even if not perfect at least they have better guidelines and review processes for mass imports now. Not that it helps with the TIGER data, but I’d hate to see how bad the map would be if there was nothing.

Thank you, it is interesting; It helped me better understand the thinking behind TomTom’s move. Although some things are just confusing.
As I understand - the TomTom “Street names” will be not open :frowning: , just a geometry

some interesting parts:

“Michael Harrell – TomTom – Vice President Engineering:”
Let me add one additional point, because I keep hearing the term base map being used. I want to make sure it’s clear – that everybody understands what the base map actually is. The base map isn’t OSM. The base map for us is just the road network stripped of everything. It’s the geometry of the road. So, then we add in all of the TomTom features onto that road geometry, that makes TomTom so great for everything it does. People could still use the OSM features that have been added on, if they so choose to use that. But I just wanted to make sure it’s clear what we’re all calling the base map. The base map for us is the raw geometry. Not the names, acronyms, phonemes. Not one-ways, turn restrictions, blocked passages. All these things you think about that are super important for the map. We keep that still as added value, and still license that content out.

Harold Goddijn – TomTom – Co-Founder & Chief Executive Officer:

Finally, again, this is a well-developed market. Disneyland, Paris. Now, with our current map, we can get you perfectly okay to the entrance of Disneyland. But once you’re inside of this land, there’s not a lot we can do for you. But that was until recently. When you look at that new map, this is the power of the OpenStreetMap community detailing, visualizing everything. Combining that with the high quality base map that we are producing, and also inside of Disneyland, we now have something to tell you. You can see the railways, they’re much more detaile. The paths, the attractions, you get the gist, I think. Now, leveraging the opportunities of our new map offering also prompts us to overhaul our complete application landscape. We have a set of brand new APIs and SDKs. And that will make it much easier to consume all that good news that we bring with our new maps, and to power all those demanding applications.

"Laurens Feenstra – TomTom – Vice President Product:

So, indeed, we take data from OpenStreetMap, while adhering to the policies and guidelines of OpenStreetMap, which includes, when you mix and match sources, providing data back. The most important part is, for the key use cases that we support for Enterprise customers, it requires both the base map as well as the TomTom value-added proprietary features that we then add on top."

Marc Hesselink – ING – Research Analyst:

Okay, so the base layer part, because you take it you also have to give it away, right? Do I understand that correctly? I mean, there’s some base layer that you’re now giving away, because you decided it is not value-add anymore?

Laurens Feenstra – TomTom – Vice President Product:

That’s right. That’s right. Yeah, and for instance, on the road graph, OpenStreetMap has a road graph, and TomTom has a road graph. And the combined road graph is 20% larger worldwide than any of them separately.

Harold Goddijn – TomTom – Co-Founder & Chief Executive Officer:

But Marc, there’s an important distinction as well. That doesn’t mean that the base map itself is open source necessarily, because there we process the data, create a consistent network. That is, of course, proprietary technology that is applied there. But the underlying data that is used to create that graph, that is an open-source product itself.


Good find. I hadn’t spotted those quotes. In that case we should provide road names in a compatible format for Overture maps as well thereby sticking to our commitment to make geospatial data freely available.


Classic EEE strategy


I for one totally welcome this project. OSM is a technologic dinosaur held back by the same dozen people who resist advancement and change. It’s 2022 and we are still on API v0.6 released in 2009, and there is no public vector tile server (may never be), and way too much identity politics and competing ideologies distracting the community from what’s really important – the best data, the best map in the world. Maybe this new project will finally bring that.


What’s really important is “data for and by people”, map and data do not exist without any context.

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