What to do when filling idle moments?

Hello world…

I’m mainly getting involved in this project because I tend to get a little bit obsessive and take small guilty pleasures when I can, for instance, when my fiancé isn’t watching I’ll pause making table name tags for our upcoming wedding and add a bit of detailing to my local home area on OSM. Or, more often, if my other choice would be sitting and watching telly and there’s nothing on.

I tend to focus on one thing for a while then drift away when I’ve had enough and come back weeks, months or years later.

Now, I’ve (hopefully) established that I’m not here because I’m in to mountain biking, running, off-roading, or mapping for its own sake, on to my question:

What should I do?

On looking around my neighbourhood I’ve spotted a few errors that I’ve changed a bit, and sit here wondering what I should focus on (without going out in the cold), there’s a couple of things I have been doing:

Adding landuse tags to every bit of ground I can find…
Dividing my little patch of the world up into property sized patches and adding street numbers to them.
Drawing in buildings.

Once I’ve started doing something I notice a new tag that seems like more fun and go and get sidetracked off what I was doing. All this is hopefully outlining my unfocused, scattergun approach.

This morning I downloaded Navfree and realised that it didn’t have house numbers on my destination street and wondered if I should just start adding house numbers as described here using interpolation.


Should I be more precise and divide my local area up into properties, add the buildings and house numbers.


Would it be more useful doing something else?

So, to try to sum up:

How would I spend an hour of my time at the computer to be of must use to the community?

Thanks for getting this far through my jumbled stream of consciousness!

Hi, my personal opinion is that OSM is not the best use for individual property polygons - it’s hard to collect that information since in many cases there’s no fence, hard for someone else to verify, and if you’re importing official information, it’s hard to update when the official source changes.

Adding house numbers would be very useful since addressing is a key part of the navigation experience.

Thanks MikeN,

That’s exactly the sort of advice I was hoping for, I’ll fill some of those moments of boredom adding addresses then.

Any other suggestions?



Yes, as MikeN says, individual properties are not usually mapped in OSM. Though if there’s a fence or a wall you can map that, plus any building outlines etc.
For addresses, interpolation is a way of mapping lots of numbers quickly. But its not necessarily very accurate, eg if the spacing between houses varies, or if some numbers are missed out. I think its best, to map individual house numbers as nodes, or where possibl, tag it on the building outlines.

For other things to do, it is worth checking some of the quality assurance tools: http://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Quality_Assurance
Specifically, have a look at Keepright and OSM Inspector. These can highlight a variety of possible errors. You may be able to fix some of these using aerial imagery / local knowledge etc, though some errors may need surveyed to check what is actually there.
You can also check OpenStreetBugs and MapDust to see if there is any problems reported by others.