“Inside the ‘Wikipedia of Maps,’ Tensions Grow Over Corporate Influence”

Interesting article about . While obviously it simplifies some things, it's not too bad.

“These companies don’t map for the same reasons we do, and because of that, I question deeply if our goals can align.”

Oh yes @woodpeck is right here

“Maps can never be a perfect representation of the world — they are instead a representation of how the map-makers perceive the world,”

Another good thing to remember when doing

“The beauty of the project is its ability to incorporate different viewpoints,”

Oh yes! We are all able to edit the same one commonly owned database, and different interest groups can do different things, and that's great. 🙂


“OpenStreetMap’s data is crowdsourced, which has always made spectators to the project a bit wary about the quality of the data,”

^ I feel like this is a reoccurring problematic trope. What the fuck does google maps know about my local park? Why do we assume some higher authority is more trustable than community members?

Why do we assume people are going to frequently waste their time editing openstreetmap out of bad faith?

There is no evidence for this trope being true


Google maps gets shit wrong ALL the time and yet nobody treats that as a systematic indicator that Google shouldn't be trusted

@Alonealastalovedalongthe @rory sometimes mistakes are made on purpose. Here [1] is a good video explanation of this.

As to vandalism on osm - Pokemon GO is a good example of this behavior. App uses OSM for map, so some jerks figured that changing garden to park will yield better pokemons.

Still OSM is way better then any maps and I recommend contributing to it every know and then. Simple mapping your neighborhood or adding road work/newly build building in city is great. You can even learn something in proces and find places you would never fought exists in your area.


@Alonealastalovedalongthe @rory "No, that new roundabout shouldn't show up on a map until Google gets around to driving around it."

Also, show me an encyclopedia better than Wikipedia.

@Alonealastalovedalongthe @rory

There are also plenty of instances of openstreetmap data being better and more detailed than google maps because of this. I'm certainly not going to spend my time working for google for free but I will and have submitted things to openstreetmap.

@kelbot @Alonealastalovedalongthe @rory

OSM is good enough for Ofcom (Britain's Communications Ministry) when you submit your location of radio transmitting equipment for licensing purposes; they've been using it for a few years now even in preference to getting a licence for the govts own Ordnance Survey mapping data (some of which is shared with OSM anyway these days)

@Alonealastalovedalongthe @rory In theory it's about accountability - if a known organization fucks up we can hold them responsible, or at least ask them for their sources, or check for conflicts of interest.

Of course, with successful projects like Wikipedia we have long seen that this was not problem, and with Google we are guaranteeing conflicts of interest rather than preventing it. But this is the logic behind trusting recognizable organizations over "communities".

@Alonealastalovedalongthe @rory google either hires people to drive around in a car mapping the place or they buy the data off brokers or the local government.

I think one of the great things about #wikipedia is that it's content doesn't make a quality claim on its own the concept of an encyclopedia is that it requires reference. It's not a primary source. I don't know enough about #openstreetmap (Indeed very little) to say anything as an authority but maybe its data gathering should include a reference to the evidence that proves it's quality.

@abeorch @Alonealastalovedalongthe

There's an page on the differences:

In it's essentially the exact opposite. 🙂 “Original Research”, i.e. the OSMer has checked it and vouches for the thing, is the gold standard. The idea is if you can always ask the person who made the edit why they did it.

Yeah I looked at it a bit more and get that. I think what I was thinking is that evidencing it (e.g. taking a photo etc. ) adds substantially to the claim might help. I have a feeling that I am not infallible ;-) I think I would like to be able to take a photo when I make a claim via something like #streetcomplete and be able to demonstrate and review my claim at later dates.


@abeorch @Alonealastalovedalongthe oh yeah, lots of people do that. Have you seen apps like Mapillary (or KartaView (née OpenStreetCam))? They help.

@rory @abeorch

Yah one of the philosophies I like about Open Street Map is that the local person is ultimately the authority on their local environment.

You don't have to have "credentials" to be an authoritative mapper, you just need to live in the place you are mapping and that is wonderful.

Honestly even if it ends up with the information being wrong.. I mean if that is what locals want the map to say about the place they see then 🤷

@Alonealastalovedalongthe @rory also, plenty of google maps data is crowd sourced. You can make suggestions to change business info, add trails...
I guess the difference is that in google maps its a 'suggestion' that has to be approved by some authority. Although im doubtful there really is some additional level of verification google does.


but yah, corporations pose a massive threat to openstreetmap, they have so much money and what openstreetmap does is just too valuable to them for corporations to let openstreetmap grow in directions that are good for the average person

@rory Certainly not in #Amazon's case. They seem to be raw importing GPX data from their prime trucks straight into the map, and often inappropriately tagging or editing existing ways. That whole team could be banned and nothing of value would be lost.

#Telenav is the only other corporate actor I can recall encountering in my area, and they've got their shit together.

@rory i found the term "digital gentrification" interesting, that has been mentioned in the article. Quite interesting to reflect about the topic from this perspective, i think.

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