OSM 0, Google 1

As I was walking through NG3 Nottingham this afternoon, on my way towards Tesco at NG1, I was stopped by a chap in an electric car with his wife & 2 kids (lots of electric cars in Nottingham these days) and asked if I knew where Hartley Road was. They were trying to get to the House of Pain Wrestling event in St Peter's Church Hall.

I have mapped most of NG3, 4 & 5 in Nottingham, but not NG7. He had internet on his mobile so I suggested that he bring up osm.org in his browser. To my surprise, this brought up a long list of short lines of text (I could not read them) (desktop OSM brings up the map) but after a short while he got the map of England up. I told him confidently that he could now search for Hartley Road, but he could not find a search box nor any link to a search box. By this time his wife had used Google to locate the road & also discover the route from ourselves to it (3½ miles). He thanked me and set off.

Oops. Google has got user needs & interactions well worked out, whilst OSM struggles in it's dust to even get started.


Let us remember: osm.org is not the map. The map is the database.

Osm.org is just a viewer and I don't think it is up to the foundation to turn that into a general-purpose, consumer-oriented making and navigation service.

is about providing the data so that others can build awesome stuff on top of it.

Next time, the gentleman will offer to provide directions from the / application installed on his phone. 😎

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