Working Group Minutes/SWG 2011-03-11

From OpenStreetMap Foundation


IRC Name Present Apologies
_chrisfl Chris Fleming y
cmarqu Colin Marquardt
Firefishy Grant Slater y
mkl Mikel Maron y
RichardF Richard Fairhurst y
rweait Richard Weait y
samlarsen1 Sam Larsen y y - pending connectivity
stevenfeldman Steven Feldman y
toffehoff Henk Hoff y
TomH Tom Hughes y
twain47 Brian Quinion y
wonderchook Kate Chapman y
Also attending
IRC handle Name
Blackaddr Andy Robinson
Eugene Eugene Usvitsky
apmon_ Kai Krueger
zere Matt Amos


  • amended minutes of 04 mar to include attendance of Kai Krueger
  • Proposed by: Grant Slater
  • Seconded by: Richard Weait
  • Old business
  • no outstanding tasks
  • Feedback from board
  • Pending re: tile guidelines
  • Discussion of OSM.ORG - due to continue at future meeting
  • Discussion considered moving to a "splash page"-like front page for, without the big map. The big map answers too few questions that first time visitors to might have. Any replacement front page should answer the basics of OSM - Who, What When, Where, Why, How? And it should direct various interest groups to further information that caters to their interests. Mappers, to how to map. Application developers to how to consume OSM data responsibly. Press to press contacts and reference material. Consumers to excellent examples of OSM data in use. Etc.
  • Should OSMF infrastructure host routing services?
  • A demonstration routing service as a network verification tool at has received favorable reviews from mappers as a way to detect network errors in OSM data and improve the data.
  • The importance of supporting mappers with routing as a network verification tool was discussed and supported without opposition.
  • Providing routing as a consumer-facing service met with opposition. In favor of a consumer routing service is the argument that more users, using OSM to plan a trip will lead to more users who become mappers. In opposition to a consumer routing service is the need to focus on the core OSM / OSMF audience of map editors.
  • Vote: moved by Henk Hoff: Should OSMF infrastructure provide routing for mappers to address data quality issues?
  • Votes in favor from Chrisfl__, rweait, samlarsen, wonderchook.
  • No votes against.
  • Next meeting 18 March 2011 at 1600 UTC
  • Meeting adjourned at 66 minutes.

IRC log

(11:00:07 AM) rweait: ** starting logging **
(11:00:28 AM) rweait: Shall we give Henk a few minutes to appear, then have somebody else chair?
(11:00:53 AM) rweait: In the interim, attendees from last week please review minutes and propose / second. 
(11:01:00 AM) rweait:
(11:01:22 AM) rweait: current minutes are in progress
(11:01:56 AM) apmon_: Should I be listed as "also attending"?
(11:02:23 AM) rweait: apmon_ last week?
(11:02:27 AM) apmon_: yes
(11:02:43 AM) rweait: yes you should. I'll amend that. 
(11:03:25 AM) Firefishy: I'll propose 2011-03-04.
(11:03:42 AM) rweait: Thank you Friefishy
(11:04:31 AM) toffehoff [] entered the room.
(11:04:46 AM) toffehoff: Sorry guys, I was in the wrong channel
(11:04:50 AM) rweait: Hi Henk, we're just going over last minutes. 
(11:05:00 AM) toffehoff: OK'
(11:05:00 AM) rweait:
(11:06:21 AM) toffehoff: Anyone wants to propose and second?
(11:06:25 AM) rweait: can we get a second?  
(11:06:30 AM) apmon_: I presume I can't second, with not being a formal member?
(11:06:49 AM) rweait: Aye.
(11:06:56 AM) rweait: I'll second
(11:07:04 AM) rweait: any objections?
(11:07:05 AM) toffehoff: Thanks.
(11:07:37 AM) toffehoff: If not ...
(11:07:44 AM) rweait: Let's carry on then. 
(11:07:45 AM) toffehoff: going to pending items...
(11:08:00 AM) toffehoff: Feedback from board
(11:08:10 AM) toffehoff: - tile layer and wikimapia
(11:08:36 AM) toffehoff: Tile layer >> the additional wording for the non-commercial is ok.
(11:09:11 AM) toffehoff: After a final round of the boardmembers it can go public.
(11:09:24 AM) toffehoff: Will inform the communications wg when ready.
(11:09:32 AM) toffehoff: - wikimapia
(11:09:37 AM) rweait: toffehoff: hold it!
(11:09:48 AM) toffehoff: ...
(11:09:48 AM) rweait: Menaing board are still reviewing the tile policy thing?
(11:10:08 AM) toffehoff: We had a minimum of quorum.
(11:10:30 AM) rweait: So, shall we mark it as approved, or as pending board review?
(11:10:38 AM) rweait: It can't be both. 
(11:10:57 AM) toffehoff: Let's keep for pending then......
(11:11:05 AM) rweait: Okay, carry on.  ;-)
(11:11:19 AM) toffehoff: Wikimapia. (also pending discussion)
(11:11:26 AM) toffehoff: Had a discussion within board.
(11:11:29 AM) rweait: That was easy. ;-)
(11:11:30 AM) toffehoff: No final conclusion.
(11:11:42 AM) chrisfl_ [~androirc@] entered the room.
(11:11:48 AM) toffehoff: :-)
(11:11:54 AM) toffehoff: Hi chris
(11:12:22 AM) toffehoff: Any questions on these issues?
(11:12:24 AM) apmon_: If Wikimapia is not violating tile usage policy and not violating the license, is there anything that should be done?
(11:12:36 AM) chrisfl_: hi
(11:12:46 AM) apmon_: In an open project, can one simply say I don't like that and block them?
(11:13:11 AM) toffehoff: It's not a technical issue. It's interpretation of the license.
(11:13:21 AM) samlarsen1: toffehoff: 'No final conclusion' - does that mean anything pending or we just say goodbye to this issue
(11:13:22 AM) rweait: apmon_:  not our problem.  We referred wikimapia to the board without acomment.
(11:13:37 AM) rweait: It's an operational issue, not a strategic issue.
(11:13:44 AM) toffehoff: No, that means board is continuating discussinon next week.
(11:14:22 AM) toffehoff: It's with the board for now. Not strategic.
(11:14:32 AM) rweait: So for clarity, I don't think we are expecting anything back from board on wikimapia.  There is no issue there for us.
(11:14:45 AM) toffehoff: I presume so. yes.
(11:15:14 AM) toffehoff: Other questions?
(11:15:25 AM) toffehoff: If not ... 
(11:15:45 AM) toffehoff: other items:
(11:15:54 AM) toffehoff: - Strategic purpose of
(11:16:13 AM) toffehoff: - How fits routing this purpose.
(11:16:19 AM) toffehoff: Other items?
(11:16:39 AM) rweait: clarification?
(11:16:51 AM) toffehoff: rweait of what?
(11:17:01 AM) rweait: I'd modify the minute items:  1)
(11:17:21 AM) rweait: How does fit OSM / OSMF goals?
(11:17:33 AM) rweait: and 2) How does routing fit with OSM /OSMF goals.
(11:17:41 AM) rweait: is not a goal, just a tool.
(11:18:04 AM) toffehoff: your right. thanks for the clarification.
(11:18:38 AM) toffehoff: OK, then: how does fit osm/osmf goals.
(11:18:40 AM) rweait: If the question is relating to a site redesign, can we put that off until after discussion of routing?
(11:19:30 AM) toffehoff: I don't think it's directly related to site redesign.
(11:19:50 AM) chrisfl_: purpose of website will lead us to routing answer.
(11:20:29 AM) toffehoff: site redesign can also be a result of how we want to use to fit the goals.
(11:20:49 AM) chrisfl_: agree
(11:21:23 AM) apmon_: Breaking it down into smaller steps would possibly increase the chance of things happening though
(11:21:45 AM) rweait: and the goal, always worth stating, is to enable / empower individual mappers to improve the map through personal surveys.
(11:22:47 AM) toffehoff: Who are serving with our website? Individual mappers, the community, organisations that use our data, .....
(11:23:00 AM) chrisfl_: agree. I would also ask if a goal is to "recruit" new mappers?
(11:23:35 AM) apmon_: The purpose of the site is imho to improve the data as much as possible.
(11:23:53 AM) chrisfl_: apmon +1
(11:24:00 AM) apmon_: Without mappers that is not possible, so recruiting new mappers is one aspect of improving the data and thus imho falls under that goal
(11:24:10 AM) rweait: chrisfl_: that serves the prime directive.  Probably better stated as "provide new mappers with the information they need to start mapping..." or something.  Recruitment is what we would use to get mappers to the web site, not to recruit them. 
(11:24:44 AM) chrisfl_: possibly convert.
(11:25:17 AM) toffehoff: apmon_ that could also include setting up tile-services: the more people that are use tile, the more people get interested >> ultimately we get better data.
(11:25:53 AM) apmon_: yes, that is one aspect. Cost effectiveness and resources is the other
(11:26:42 AM) rweait: So we should change index.html to a splash page with no map on it.  Just answer the "W5" about OSM and point to resources / tutorials. 
(11:27:49 AM) apmon_: Is that likely going to be rewarding for mappers and thus motivate them to contribute?
(11:27:53 AM) rweait: something like this old draft.
(11:28:18 AM) apmon_: Seeing things "appear on the map" is imho one of the biggest rewards we can currently offer to mappers.
(11:28:19 AM) rweait: apmon_: current mappers don't care.  We're talking about new arrivals. 
(11:28:45 AM) rweait: existing mappers can go to or something.... 
(11:28:58 AM) rweait: Yes, tiles should be available for mappers. 
(11:29:16 AM) chrisfl_: map is important for new arrivals.
(11:29:43 AM) Eugene: regarding - Russian OSM community has , which follows this idea.
(11:29:52 AM) rweait: chrisfl_ but looking like a web map provider makes people think that OSM is just a web map provider. 
(11:30:08 AM) rweait: Eugene: nice. 
(11:30:16 AM) rweait: how's the reaction to it?
(11:30:27 AM) Eugene: overall good
(11:30:49 AM) rweait: Is it effective in retaining visitors, and getting them to make an edit?
(11:30:51 AM) chrisfl_: ym
(11:31:12 AM) Eugene: we have stable at least 100 visitors daily who come to download the maps for different navigation software and to see the map also.
(11:31:13 AM) apmon_: There were similar suggestions on the german forum / lists. And the overall reaction if I remember was positive to such a design
(11:31:44 AM) chrisfl_: sorry hit a bump in the road.(
(11:31:53 AM) wonderchook [~wondercho@] entered the room.
(11:32:20 AM) Eugene: rweait: it's hard to analyze. our community is growing faster than world - over 6,5 active contributors now and over 500 new one every month.
(11:32:47 AM) Eugene: but is it due to website, radio program or something else - we don't know.
(11:32:48 AM) chrisfl_: I think it's important to showcase what OSM is about. and is capable of.
(11:32:59 AM) rweait: Eugene: so that design might be better at retaining new mappers than the global average?
(11:33:13 AM) Eugene: rweait: probably
(11:33:14 AM) rweait: chrisfl_: I haven
(11:33:40 AM) rweait: t read the .ru, but presume that it does describe what OSM is about.
(11:33:56 AM) Eugene: we wanted to show that OSM isn't only the map on the website.
(11:34:30 AM) chrisfl_: agree. I think it's okay for the map to be 1 click away.
(11:35:00 AM) rweait: So, do we vote on a change to a splash-screen type index.html ?
(11:35:14 AM) rweait: Is this really "strategic?
(11:35:21 AM) Eugene: I would vote.
(11:35:22 AM) toffehoff: Ho! wait a minute.
(11:35:23 AM) apmon_: shows one of the designs that were proposed
(11:35:27 AM) samlarsen1: is this Communication WG?
(11:35:37 AM) toffehoff: Let's keep it strategic.
(11:35:49 AM) toffehoff: How is our audience for
(11:36:07 AM) apmon_: Imho, the question of what the webpage looks like is very strategic, as it can have profound implications of how the project is perceived.
(11:36:19 AM) toffehoff: It's about the goals.
(11:36:38 AM) toffehoff: How it looks like, is something that comes after that.
(11:36:49 AM) rweait: toffehoff: so who is the audience?  "Every first time visitor to OSM"  
(11:37:00 AM) Eugene: I think we should understand the goal of the website - to attract new MAPPERS or to show how our maps can BE USED?
(11:37:17 AM) TomH: it has many goals
(11:37:22 AM) rweait: It's index.html - It has to answer the who what when where why how of OpenStreetMap
(11:37:27 AM) TomH: potentially both of those and more
(11:37:42 AM) chrisfl_: both
(11:37:54 AM) toffehoff: Is it potential mappers, is it potential developers, is it potentials users?
(11:37:55 AM) apmon_: However, I don't think this can be decided by only SWG, without input from the wider community
(11:38:14 AM) rweait: Least of all "users" / consumers. but even them. 
(11:38:14 AM) TomH: good luck with that
(11:38:26 AM) TomH: you'll get almost as many answers as there are community members
(11:38:39 AM) Eugene: apmon_: but we should offer a community something to start with. otherwise we won't get anything back.
(11:38:50 AM) Eugene: TomH: +1
(11:38:51 AM) wonderchook: +1 
(11:39:04 AM) toffehoff: But let's say: we want to use to promote and grow our community
(11:39:36 AM) chrisfl_: the other option might be to try different landing pages and look at performance 
(11:39:42 AM) toffehoff: Eugene +1
(11:39:43 AM) Eugene: tofflehoff: what is a community? in my opinion, it's mappers only.
(11:39:57 AM) toffehoff: What about developers?
(11:40:00 AM) toffehoff: of apps
(11:40:06 AM) Eugene: well, them too.
(11:40:26 AM) toffehoff: And what about organisations that are interested in use OSM for there business.
(11:40:29 AM) rweait:  toffehoff: developers of apps are secondary at best.  OSM core developers are mappers too, and therefore of prime importance. 
(11:40:41 AM) apmon_: The big question though is what makes a mapper a mapper? What is their motivation to become a mapper? OSM needs to cater to those motivations as much as possible
(11:40:47 AM) Eugene: but I mean, not users. and project reached the state when it can be used by people instead of Google Maps and others.
(11:40:49 AM) toffehoff: This sounds strategic ;-)
(11:41:06 AM) rweait: Users / consumers are least-important.  But they should still be directed to how to consume OSM responsibily. 
(11:41:11 AM) samlarsen1: developers of an app play a key role in publicising OSM
(11:41:28 AM) wonderchook: yeah though might might more sense
(11:41:45 AM) wonderchook: since that is pretty common way to cater to developers on projects/apps with an api
(11:41:47 AM) toffehoff: ... and
(11:42:02 AM) wonderchook: not to say you wouldn't have something that says developers on the front page necessarily
(11:42:08 AM) apmon_: Users and consumers are where we recruit mappers from. Developers are much easier to cater for (information wise)
(11:42:20 AM) rweait: those are implementation details!  We're going 'round in circles.  What's next?
(11:42:24 AM) Eugene: rweait: why they should be least important?! potentially there's much more users than mappers. and what this project is for if its users are least important?
(11:43:02 AM) toffehoff: So, should we cater primairy mappers and developers?
(11:43:04 AM) rweait: Eugene: if we don't serve mappers first, the map will stagnate, and all the users will go away. 
(11:43:25 AM) toffehoff: this sounds like chicken - egg dilemma
(11:43:51 AM) apmon_: How can we do empirical tests to try and answere some of these questions? Just discussions won't lead to much
(11:43:56 AM) rweait: Eugene: when the mappers are happy and the map is good we can't chase users away.  There is nothing we have to do to attract them.  USERS / Conusmers are not our audience.  They are a sidebar. 
(11:44:09 AM) apmon_: We need to try and gain some numbers on these things
(11:44:31 AM) rweait: Back to topic.  Is there anything to vote on here?
(11:44:44 AM) Eugene: no, this is not a chicken-egg question. we have more than 300k mappers. ok, not everyone is active, but at least 30k are. isn't it the right time to attrat users?
(11:44:59 AM) apmon_: rweait: Users and and mappers are mostly an overlapping group. We can't separate these entirely. We won't have one without the other
(11:45:09 AM) toffehoff: Chicken-egg :: Mappers vs developers. 
(11:46:07 AM) apmon_: What happened to the ideas of usability testing SteveC was on about a while ago?
(11:46:08 AM) toffehoff: Can we conclude that we would to focus with on mappers and developers?
(11:46:30 AM) apmon_: Perhaps some of that could help answere what would turn a person into a mapper. And how succeeds or fails in that
(11:46:32 AM) rweait: Eugene: no.  Mappers only.  apmon_: if we serve the mapper-part of the overlapping mapper-user, we have done our job.
(11:47:00 AM) toffehoff: ... and not the casual observer and passer-by
(11:47:10 AM) chrisfl__ [~androirc@] entered the room.
(11:47:44 AM) toffehoff: Thus: we are not a service provider for apps
(11:48:01 AM) toffehoff: (refering to the recent tile-usage issue)
(11:48:10 AM) rweait: toffehoff: no. index.html should address all arrivees and direct them to where they should go for more info.  So mappers first, after that devs, press, consumers, random passers-byu, etc.
(11:48:32 AM) chrisfl_ left the room (quit: Ping timeout: 480 seconds).
(11:48:33 AM) rweait: No reason to exclude "grand parents" when describing what OSM is. 
(11:49:03 AM) rweait: just point them in the right direction, or let them find out quickly that they aren't interested. 
(11:49:06 AM) toffehoff: OK, not ignoring them, but our focus is on mappers and developers?
(11:49:09 AM) apmon_: rweait: So what motivates a mapper to become / stay a mapper if they can't use the data?
(11:49:11 AM) rweait: Mappers.
(11:49:57 AM) samlarsen1: Mappers - with better advice & links for developers
(11:49:58 AM) rweait: apmon_: The idea that everyone can use the data. 
(11:50:07 AM) Eugene: apmon_: +1
(11:50:43 AM) chrisfl__: having there local area mapped properly.
(11:50:51 AM) apmon_: rweait: That works for the small group of geeks and developer. Not for the vast majority of people. They want concrete examples of how their effort benefits them.
(11:50:55 AM) Eugene: rweait: Ha! People want to use the data first for themselves and only after that let it use by others.
(11:51:17 AM) rweait: Eugene: apmon_: you've missed the point.  We don't ignore consumers.  But we don't go out of our way to serve them. We should absolutely let them see the great ways OSM data is being used to serve their interests. 
(11:51:17 AM) wonderchook: yeah, it isn't always about social good, I'm a selfish mapper;)
(11:51:24 AM) chrisfl__: Eugene. +1
(11:51:46 AM) rweait: Show a cyclist OCM and they become a mapper. 
(11:52:08 AM) rweait: now what about routing?
(11:52:08 AM) samlarsen1: Eugene:  I don't care who uses my data first
(11:52:37 AM) Eugene: samlarsen1: me too, but we are not average mappers, right?
(11:52:43 AM) apmon_: I think Frederick's mail to strategic was a very good summery of why having routing is beneficial for the qulity of OSM data!
(11:53:01 AM) chrisfl__: yes
(11:53:05 AM) samlarsen1: Eugene: true
(11:53:53 AM) apmon_: Eugene: +1, I think that is a very important point to keep in mind. People on here are mostly developers and see things from that perspective
(11:53:58 AM) rweait: I have been addicted to the geofabrik routing since Frederik secretly enabled Canada.  Many on talk-ca@ are similarly hooked and we are fixing the canadian map with this new tool.
(11:54:39 AM) Firefishy: sssssssh and South Africa ;-)
(11:54:42 AM) apmon_: Yes, the talk-ca also highlights very nicely, what good can come from the routing service and how it helps improve quality of the data
(11:55:35 AM) rweait: And seattle, though I don't think they know yet. ;-)
(11:56:05 AM) apmon_: However, if we want to improve more than just the trans canada highway, and do the same for little residential roads, it needs a vast exposure to mappers and users.
(11:56:20 AM) Eugene: I can give an example from a bit different side: we convert map for several navigation programs and people use routing inside them very actively. this results in many new contributions in all areas, not only in turn restrictions.
(11:56:33 AM) chrisfl__: do we all agree that routing is of benefit to mappers?
(11:56:44 AM) Eugene: So, yes, routing is very beneficial for community, especially when it's on website.
(11:56:48 AM) rweait: chrisfl__: It's a benefit to me. ;-)
(11:56:52 AM) Blackadder: I think its important to distinguish between network verification tools and routing for other purposes
(11:57:03 AM) rweait: Blackadder: +1
(11:57:06 AM) Eugene: Blackadder: +1
(11:57:12 AM) samlarsen1: +1
(11:57:14 AM) toffehoff: +1
(11:57:18 AM) apmon_: Eugene: Another example is MapDust, that with all its troubles has given a lot of useful routing feedback.
(11:57:20 AM) rweait: It's important to note that the current example is not a consumer routing service. 
(11:58:14 AM) toffehoff: So: routing as network verification = YES. routing for consumer purposes: NO.
(11:58:21 AM) rweait: apmon_:  I've not seen useful feedback from mapdust, but I'm hopeful that I will.  mapdust need a communication channel between the editor responding and the user sumbitting the report.
(11:58:42 AM) Eugene: rweait: yes, and because of that I offered MapQuest's since their commercial experience is good for this task.
(11:59:01 AM) apmon_: I have fixed quite a number of routing problems with turn restrictions, speed limits and connectivity problems due to MapDust in London
(11:59:04 AM) toffehoff: It's getting to the hour.
(11:59:21 AM) toffehoff: Can we come to a conclusion?
(11:59:50 AM) apmon_: So has SWG, decided that routing is good and will support efforts in trying to achieve it?
(12:00:18 PM) toffehoff: ... for quality control purposes.
(12:00:25 PM) rweait: +1
(12:00:34 PM) samlarsen1: +1
(12:00:48 PM) wonderchook: +1
(12:00:56 PM) Eugene: not ONLY for quality control
(12:01:00 PM) chrisfl__: +1
(12:01:15 PM) toffehoff: Eugene: what else?
(12:01:24 PM) wonderchook: I can agree for quality control to start and see how it works
(12:01:31 PM) apmon_: So then the question is how to achieve that. Although that will be up to others than SWG (who unfortunately can't implement things...)
(12:02:26 PM) rweait: apmon_ : community is ultimately responsible for creating something we can use.  And TWG for implementing / provisioning it. 
(12:02:29 PM) Eugene: tofflehoff: people attraction. a showcase of potential map usage.
(12:02:46 PM) rweait: Same / Same for next week?  
(12:02:58 PM) toffehoff: rweait:
(12:02:59 PM) Firefishy: apmon_: There are some rail port patches brewing. With a universal routing layer.
(12:03:00 PM) toffehoff: yes
(12:03:11 PM) toffehoff: I'll kick this to board.
(12:03:23 PM) chrisfl__: although I think we should review in the future.
(12:03:24 PM) chrisfl__: 2 big questions are choice of engine
(12:03:26 PM) rweait: Any dissenting opinions re: routing?
(12:03:26 PM) chrisfl__: and integration into rails
(12:03:42 PM) toffehoff: That the SWG is suggestion to add routing to the website.
(12:04:05 PM) apmon_: What SWG can deliver is the political backing and support for those who will ultimately implement things
(12:04:17 PM) rweait: move to adjourn?
(12:04:40 PM) chrisfl__: and if the willingless to enable routing subject to a good technical solution will help move things along.
(12:04:52 PM) chrisfl__: rweait +1
(12:05:04 PM) Firefishy: apmon_: The code can be extended to work with different backends. Current support for OSRM and YOURS. Will hit a git branch soon I hope.
(12:05:10 PM) toffehoff: We'll bring it back to board. They can ask TWG to come up with an implementation plan.
(12:05:55 PM) toffehoff: adjourn: +1
(12:06:23 PM) toffehoff: Thanks all for attending!
(12:06:25 PM) rweait: ** logging ends **