Tag: User

Additional insights about OSM changeset discussions: Who requests, receives and responds?

Last year I wrote two blog posts about the OpenStreetMap (OSM) feature that allows commenting on contributor map changes within a changeset. The first blog post showed some general descriptive statistics about the number of created changeset discussions, affected countries, the origin of the commenting contributors or their mapping reputation. The second post described a newly introduced feature, where contributors can flag their changeset so that their map edits can be reviewed. This blog post will follow up on this topic and conducts some similar but updated research.

The first chart shows the number of created comments (discussed changesets) and the contributors involved over the last 15 months. The number of created comments and discussed changesets fluctuates over time, whereas the number of contributors who take part in changeset discussions stays consistent at around 1,500 per month. Around 3,200 contributors received a comment on at least one changeset’s map edits a month.

Adding Indicators to OSM Map Edits Assessment

Almost two years ago I published a web service that finds suspicious OpenStreetMap (OSM) map changes. You can use the service here and find some more information in previous blog posts. Especially Changeset discussions revealed that they are more or less de facto standard for communication between contributors during map change reviews.

However, when I am inspecting map changes, I sometimes see new contributors using uncommon OSM tags. Therefore I think it could be useful to add an additional assessment parameter to the aforementioned suspicious OSM map changes page. The newly introduced indicator states the matching ratio between the contributed and the most popular OSM tags. This means, if the changeset contributor used many uncommon tags at her/his map changes objects, the matching rate will be low. If the contributor applied many common (“popular”) tags, it results in a high matching rate towards 100%. For the calculation I used Jochen Topf’s taginfo API to get commonly used OSM tags. An API description can be found here. Furthermore I added the average age (in days) of modified and deleted objects. This indicator can be used to see if the contributor edited objects, which have been mapped today (0 days) or exist already for a longer period of time, e.g. 1566 days. The values for the average version numbers are computed in a similar fashion.

Review requests of OpenStreetMap contributors
– How you can assist! –

The latest version of the OpenStreetMap editor iD has a new feature: “Allow user to request feedback when saving“. This idea has been mentioned in a diary post by Joost Schouppe about “Building local mapping communities” (at that time: “#pleasereview”) in 2016. The blog post also contains some other additional and good thoughts, definitely worth reading.

However, based on the newly implemented feature, any contributor can flag her/his changeset and ask for feedback. Now it’s your turn! How can you find and support those OSM’ers?

  • Step 1: Based on the “Find Suspicious OpenStreetMap Changesets” page you can search for flagged changesets, e.g. limited to your country only: Germany or UK.
  • Step 2: Leave a changeset comment where you e.g. welcome the contributor and (if necessary) give her/him some feedback about the map changes. You could also add some additional information, such as links to wiki pages of tags (map features), good mapping practices, the OSM forum, OSM help or mailing lists. Based on the changeset comment other contributors can see that the original contributor of this changeset already has been provided with some feedback.

Who is commenting?
An Overview about OSM Changeset Discussions

As mentioned in my previous blog post about detecting vandalism in OpenStreetMap (OSM) edits, it’s highly recommended that contributors use public changeset discussions when contacting other mappers regarding their edits. This feature was introduced at the end of 2014 and is used widely by contributors today. Each and every comment is listed publicly and every contributor can read the communication and, if necessary, add further comments or thoughts. In most cases where questions about a specific map edit come up, it is desirable that contributors take this route of communication instead of private messaging each other.

For my presentation at the German FOSSGIS & OpenStreetMap conference I created several statistics about the aforementioned changeset discussion feature. For this blog post I reran all analyses and created some new charts and statistics. Let’s start with the first image (above): It shows the number of commented or discussed changesets per month since its introduction. The peak in January, 2017 is based on a revert with several thousands of changesets.

A comparative study between different OpenStreetMap contributor groups – Outline 2016

Over the past few years I have written several blog posts about the (non-) activity of newly registered OpenStreetMap (OSM) members (2015, 2014, 2013). Similarly to the previous posts, the following image shows the gap between the number of registered and the number of active OSM members. Although the project still shows millions of new registrations, “only” several hundred thousand of these registrants actually edited at least one object. Simon showed similar results in his yearly changeset studies.

2016members

The following image shows, that the project still has some loyal contributors. More specifically, it shows the increase in monthly active members over the past few years and their consistent data contributions based on the first and latest changeset:

2016months

However, this time I would like to combine the current study with some additional research. I tried to identify three different OSM contributor groups, based on the hashtag in a contributor’s comment or the utilized editor, for the following analysis:

Verified OpenStreetMap contributor profiles?

The reputation of a contributor in OpenStreetMap (OSM) plays a significant role, especially when considering the quality assessment of the collected data. Sometimes it’s difficult to make a meaningful statement about a contributor by simply looking at the raw mapping work represented by the number of created objects or used tags. Therefore, it would be really helpful if we would have some additional information about the person who contributes to the project. For example: Does she/he help other contributors? Is her/his work somehow documented or based on one of the “discussed” proposals? Or does she/he work as a lone warrior in the OSM world?

In 2010 I created “How did you contribute to OpenStreetMap?” (HDYC) as a kind of fun side project. Nowadays many people use it to get some detailed information about OSM contributors. Some of you are probably familiar with the “verified” icon used on some celebrity Twitter accounts. I created a similar new feature for the aforementioned HDYC page. If you connect your related OSM accounts, your profile will be marked as “verified”.

OpenStreetMap Crowd Report – Season 2015

Almost one year has passed again. This means it’s time for the fourth OpenStreetMap (OSM) member activity analysis. The previous editions are online here: 2014, 2013 and 2012. Simon Poole already posted some interesting stats about the past few years. You can find all his results on the OSM wiki page. However, similar to last year, I try to dig a little deeper in some aspects.

Overall the OSM project has officially more than 2.2 million registered members (Aug, 9th 2015). For several of my OSM related webpages I create a personal OSM contributor database, based on the official OSM API v0.6. Anyway, when using this API, the final table will show a list with more than 3 million individual OSM accounts (Aug, 9th 2015). I’m not sure what the cause for this gap of almost 1 million members between the official number and the member number extracted with the API could be. Maybe some of you have a possible explanation? However, I think many accounts are created by spammers or bots.

Counting changes per Country – A different approach

OSMstats contains several statistics about the OpenStreetMap (OSM) project, such as daily-created objects, the amount of active contributors or detailed numbers for individual countries. One way to determine the sum of created or modified Node objects, is to use the minutely, hourly or daily OSM replication change files and counting the values for each country of the world. Sadly, this approach has some drawbacks. Firstly, the official files do not contain, for example, all Nodes of a modified way, which is required, when trying to find the country where the change took place. Furthermore, the determination of the country for a specific OSM object really depends on the border’s level of detail: More detailed country borders make the processing quite time-consuming. Some of you probably experienced this problem before when using Osmosis or a different OSM processing tool. Anyway, for calculating additional country statistics I tried a new approach:

489 Pages about OpenStreetMap

The first book about the OpenStreetMap (OSM) project was written by Frederik Ramm and Jochen Topf, two well-known OSM enthusiasts, in 2008. The first version was in German which was later translated into an improved English version. It contains similar information as can be found in the book by Jonathan Bennett, which was published in 2010, detailing how the projects’ geodata is collected, which editors can be used, some explanations about tags, key and values and how the rendering stack works. Both books are great resources to learn about the OSM basics and to get an overview about useful software.

Visualizing the #MissingMaps OpenStreetMap Contributions

The Missing Maps project is a collaboration between the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team (HOT) and various partner agencies, such as the American or the British Red Cross. One of their main objectives is “to map the most vulnerable places in the developing world, in order that international and local NGOs and individuals can use the maps and data to better respond to crises affecting the areas.” You can find additional information about the Missing Maps Project on the OpenStreetMap (OSM) wiki and their project page.

A year ago, I created a webpage where you can filter OSM changesets by a specific comment. Sadly the webpage provides only a search for the latest seven days. However, the Missing Maps project asked me, if it’s possible to “look over a longer time scale”? Here we go, based on a similar concept that I used for a webpage that I created for the HOT Ebola Response, I made a Map that displays all OSM changesets which have the hashtag #MissingMaps in the comment attribute and have been created since August 1st, 2014. It’s online here and being updated on an hourly basis: http://resultmaps.neis-one.org/osm-missingmaps