Thoughts about the future of OSM

I suspect that is true of essentially all geo data, maybe the sole exception being directly sourced cadastre information (assuming it would be available on data entry, which is likely not actually the case in many places).


This is not true at all, and using official data is allowed (license requirements, import guidelines still apply).

You were blocked for different reasons and it was explained to you multiple times. See Blocks on slice0 | OpenStreetMap for more info.

official classification also has many cases of bad, misleading or insane classification

and anyway using solely official classification would make basically impossible to have any consistency between different parts of world at all

not true for both claims (or more specifically, it depends on how much quality you need, for some cases neither OSM not GMaps is good enough, for some both are fine, for some - depending on specifics - only one of them is viable)

though “google on the other hand is 100% government sourced” is just blatantly false


Google Maps is not using official clasification of roads. At least not in Poland. And road numbers in GM is often outdated. It is diffucult to show, but I tried.

In North there is the “52” road - it is a natonial road. In South there is “945” road - it is a voivodeship road (a regional road). They are both marked the same on Google, but they are different classification officially. It’s the same in osm by the way where both are primary.

Yes, this has been my personal experience. I updated the city of Salamanca in Mexico so that all the roads were as accurate as possible some four years back, and after I had finished Google updated their map maybe two days later. I know because I had looked up the city in Google beforehand and their map matched the roads that had been accidentally dragged out of position by past editors in OSM. Then they updated it to reflect my improvements.

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See say Unpaved, short road leading to disused railway station, officially classified as important road (“droga wojewódzka”). The paved road on the left has the same official classification. As their actual importance is not the same, their classification in OSM is not the same.

Photo by PiotrMig Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license.

this email is 100% right, I see no problems with it

I would try to invent a new tag for this. Something like highway:class:pl | Keys | OpenStreetMap Taginfo (assuming that this data can be imported)

And stop trying to overwrite highway key supposed to be storing info about actual road importance in road network.

I would also reread your block messages and follow instructions there.


Right. slice0 aka whatever his or her or their past names were is still very mad that the community doesn’t see it their way on their unilateral approach to editing.

If you’re going to feed the trolls hijacking the original topic and dignify this dumpster fire of a thread with continued responses, at least have the common courtesy of passing the popcorn.


Mmmm popcorn.


Nor is this topic :smile:


designation is also sometimes used for this sort of thing, and it was suggested a couple of times in a couple of places to our correspondent from SA here.

You absolutely can create a map showing that data. You can do that yourself or you can pay or persuade someone else to do that for you. What you can’t do is overrule pretty much everyone else in Australia about what an appropriate classification for a road is in OSM.

While the initial question was I’m sure serious and not a troll it certainly did set the tone (starting with “To be direct, I see no future of OSM”), so it’s not too much of a surprise to see where it’s gone from there. It looks like the moderators have had a go at culling some of the more egregiously offtopic stuff from the thread. I wish them well with that, but suspect it will be a lost cause…

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Sometimes “consensus” comes from looking at the balance of opinion, and from just “reading the room”. In the case of SA road classification, I think that you would have to admit that you aren’t on the side of the majority of people who have expressed an opinion (across various forums, changeset comments, Discord et al).

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Only bylaws will save OSM, or something.


“Unverified” is a funny word :slight_smile:

Someone saw a thing, and wrote it down. The real world often doesn’t even make the top 10 on people’s mental list of what can be considered “real”.

Back on topic, there was an interesting comment on Hacker News today regarding Overture reaching “beta”-status

It’s not a risk per se, but it feels like a shame that there’s now two parallel efforts instead of one integrated effort of open map data. Overture can’t take away our hiking apps, but could mean future car navigation apps get built on Overture instead of OSM data

Post link

You are being too cynical. There’s a lot of data outside of open streetmap that complements open streetmap. A lot of that data is open but hard to combine with openstreet maps. And some of that data is owned by companies that are willing to license the data in an open way.

Overture basically is a joint effort by several companies to combine all that data.

Speaking as someone who has worked with OSM data. It’s great for maps but severely lacking elsewhere with a lot of incomplete data, poorly/inconsistently tagged data, lot’s of regional variation in tagging, etc. All this presents challenges for users of this data wanting to build stuff on top of this data. And there are lots of companies that are replicating efforts to fix this between each other. Been there done that. This is hard, non trivial work.

Overture is an attempt to move on from lots of companies reinventing this wheel to get to a state where there is a decent data foundation to build their applications on.

And they are releasing that data under an open license. So, there’s a lot to like here. The process of how this data is produced is not as open unfortunately and it is unfortunate that they are doing this outside of the openstreetmap community.

But then perhaps that community wasn’t that welcoming to get such a thing done? Nor have they seem capable or willing to do such work themselves. Overture are clearly working around them and it’s worth spending some time reflecting on whether that could have worked differently and what would have had to change on both sides for that to happen.

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Is there any effort from OSM side related to autonomous vehicles? Like, is it even possible? The future of maps seems to be converging to that.

What objects would you want to map? The vehicles?

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People are thinking about it. This is from 6 years ago.


Two different purposes:

  1. A community of mappers making some “stone soup”
  2. A group of corporations that want to avoid paying licence fees to Google.

Good presentation at Boulder, if a bit dated (“10 cm of accuracy”), as six years is a while in high tech. It’s not (only) about not paying licensing fees to Google, although corporations (via their legal departments, initially, and by hardware, software, firmware engineers and cartographers after good guidance from them) have to pay attention to “how they use Google’s (map) data when making a map.” It’s actually a lot more complicated than that. As a professional cartographer for an AV company and specifically asking this client about how OSM might integrate into its maps OSM data (the answer from corporate was “as another tool, as a data source that can provide this company valuable mapping input”) with the company’s “cartography” (data, product, process…), it’s a LOT more complicated than that. It’s not (in my opinion), “a shame” that these are (necessarily) diverging. Conversations, dialog, potential integration strategies, questions about accuracy, update latency, safety…these continue.

Companies making AVs and especially making maps for AVs are teaching these robots a very specific set of aspects about “the road(s) around them.” They fit into a set of specifications that are amenable to being directly consumed by their vehicles — by design — as these data and processes “grew up together.” They are not the same (similar, but different) as what might be (or are) obtained by a crowdsourced public mapping project like OSM. I say that first-hand. And because I have signed NDAs, I shall not say more than that. These (mapping, cartographic) data diverge. For precise, technical reasons. Their creation is proprietary. They are simply not the same as OSM data and I think anybody can understand that, because they need to “feed” a particular set of inputs by an AI in an AV with realtime inputs and much sensorial and situational awareness (in a digital realm) with the AI itself being transported at speed. And most of the time, with human passengers, indeed as precious as it gets.

You might imagine how the concept of safety washes over huge amounts of, even the entirety of, these processes. Safety really must be a 100% constant concern of AVs.

Unless you are Google, “avoiding paying Google” (licensing fees) is really almost a small-to-vanishing concern regarding mapping / cartography for AVs. High-quality maps must be built with care, or they are not high-quality. “Using the map to cheat” (as Philipp said) is something both humans and AVs do, for similar reasons, in similar ways. Fixed objects CAN AND DO become different objects; think of a crosswalk being repainted.

I’m all for sharing (within the parameters of our ODbL), understanding that OSM might not “get back vision AI algorithms from AV companies,” and I’m OK with that. If AV companies are OK with sharing, I think there both is and can be symbiotic relationships in multiple directions. These seem to exist, even improve, especially as such dialog continues.

In my Doofenschmirz modus I consider AVs, and AIs feeding them, a huge opportunity to rule the world. I wonder where Perry is, though.

PS Basic General Education Knowledge:

I don’t know your Doofenschmirz modus, so I honestly wonder: do you mean “rule the world” in the dystopian sense of AVs being like, “robot armor” (tanks, mechanized artillery vehicles…war machines to kill humans, really)? If so, I’d like to read whatever you have written, as I find such matters fascinating. And, who is “Perry?” (Sorry if I’m supremely ignorant of your references).

Also, apologies if this gets off-topic; Peter, we can take this to private message if you like.

I would think that Tomtoms interest in OSM shows exactly the opposite.

Yes there was a short fad that saved Tomtom and Here from going belly up half a decade ago, based on the assumption that autonomous vehicles could/would only work if everything was mapped down to cm precision. That was obviously false at that point in time and hasn’t become any less false since then.

Naturally autonomous (non-tracked) vehicles do/will need reasonably good maps (as in being able to generate at least a draft route to the destination) to provide an acceptable experience.

BTW the poster child example at the time was always having exact positions of traffic signals (in 3 dimensions) because reliable detection of them, back then, was considered difficult.