Dear all,

This is obviously a key topic that have been around, actually way before I was there in the OSM community ;-)

I completely agree with Séverin's warning and the comments from subsequent speakers.

To me we already have elements of the solution:

1. As expressed by John & Mikel, improving the TM can certainly help. I
   also suggested recently to split clearly the beginners projects from
   the rest on the homepage (and only make the advanced one visible by
   opening a menu/clicking a button, that would already prevent quite a
   few beginners access them I think). That implies also a clearer
   documentation/research on what is a beginner/medium/advanced tasks,
   based on emergency situation, features, imagery...
2. As a quick fix, some basic phrasing/warnings on the tasks could also
   be improved/increased. E.g. are we sure all new mappers go to the
   "Instructions" tab? Else a sentence in bold in tab one "Make sure to
   read instructions tab" could already help?
3. As expressed by Séverin & Heather, tweaking the TM will not do all
   and training will remain paramount. EOF is a great example of
   focusing on training a few quality mappers (particularly for African
   countries contexts), I think Missing Maps' repeated mapathons
   (specially in London) are also a good example and maybe more adapted
   to Western countries contexts. This is also why we focus mostly on
   non-disaster settings with MM, except with contributors with some
4. Regular mapathons/in-depths training are the only way to train
   validators, a resource we are short on. As discussed regularly with
   the Missing Maps members, we also lack incentive/recognition for
   validators, this should be taken into account in the new TM.

I'll conclude by seconding Pete that the overall quality of data of OSM is mostly deemed as good by the humanitarians users we are & see - as expressed via the feedback from NGOs to contributors we're trying to develop.

So thanks to the whole community and let's continue improving.



On 13/10/2016 08:57, wrote:


Message: 4
Date: Wed, 12 Oct 2016 16:57:40 -0400
From: Dale Kunce <>
To: Romain Bousson <>
Cc: "" <>
Subject: Re: [HOT] OSM humanitarian mapping and its learning curve
Content-Type: text/plain; charset="utf-8"

Thanks everyone. I agree that the task should be marked as appropriate for
intermediate or advanced mappers.

I also wanted to reiterate a point that Mikel made. Having two tasking
managers, is not the greatest for more coordination. HOT's official tasking
manager should be the only tasking manager used. Having conflicting tasks
introduces errors and makes coordination for actual data use difficult.

Thanks for your suggestions. My apologies on not getting back to you I've
been very busy and traveling the last couple of days.
You are correct that we changed the way that created tasks. There was some
debate within the activation team as to which way to do the work. All of
your comments will be captured in the after action for some lesson's

Thanks again for everyone that is contributing to the mapping.


On Wed, Oct 12, 2016 at 3:35 PM, Romain Bousson <>

I noticed the same issues recently. All along the week, as the media
coverage increased, the way that the projects and tasks were completing
themselves changed. From large tiles completed by several users turn by
turn, we came to big tiles directly divided into tiny tasks, being
completed by only one user in a few minutes. The peer review process,
making the quality of the work, was botched.
I personnaly found many tasks checked green as "validated" by newcomers,
and "completed" by newcomers.

For example, here is an extract from a message I sent to Dale Kunce (admin
of many Haïti projects), where I was pointing to the fact that many
newcomers did not see the instructions tab and so did not use the new
Digital Globe imagery, and stayed using Bing (that was before today's post
disaster imagery). But I unfortunately received no answer. I am not here to
complain about that: I understand that there may be a lot of other things
to do during these days.

I just saw 4 tiles on the #2223 - Hurricane Matthew: Grand Anse coast
project and all were wrong according to me (but maybe I am wrong and
somebody have to tell me): - task #53 was checked "complete" by
@michaelcraven, but many buildings were missing. - and the 3 main tasks of
ANSE D'HAINAULT town : #232, #233 and #13. All 3 were clearly not done
using Digital Globe imagery so it missed a lot of things.

I think some more warnings and advices written in the instructions tabs
would be very simple and quite effective.

Romain Bousson (mapping as Romainbou)

2016-10-12 19:34 GMT+02:00 Severin Menard <>:

The edits on job #2228 <>
have started and now happens what I feared. There is no mention of what are
the necessary skills and newbies are coming with a lot of enthusiasm but
with almost no OSM experience. A quick analysis of the first 29
contributors shows that 20 of them have created their OSM account less than
one month ago. Some did it yesterday or today. Wow.

The result of that : obviously, crappy edits are coming, spoiling what we
have been doing over the last few days : now we have building as nodes
where shapes are totally visible, un-squared bad shaped buildings and the
main landuse area is self-cutting in various places (see there

Nothing new under the sun : it was already the case for Haiti EarthQuake
2010. Quite a pity that six years after, despite the OSM tools have
improved a lot, it remains the same. It is though quite simple to fix the
most part of it: do-not-invite-newcomers-to-map

I guess some will argue that the OSM newcomers are people of good will
and that they just want to help and that they my feel offended/discouraged.
Of course their intentions are high and yes they may feel a bit hurt. But
this is really a classic in humanitarian response: people with the best
intentions in the world may not fit for it, just because they are not
experienced yet.

Mapping in OSM in crisis response is not an exciting one-shot hobby : it
does have its learning curve and it is key to learn how to map correctly
before being dropped over complex humanitarian contexts. This is why I
mentioned three sets of necessary skills for the jobs I created these last
days on And the beginner mappers who
joined the job that fitted for beginners are people that already have a few
months of OSM experience, not newcomers. Newcomers should be driven over
non urgent fields.

If someone is not interested to learn first in not a mass media covered
crisis context : this is not a problem, it is actually a good way to see
real motivations. I personally prefer to get one mapper that will become a
huge, excellent contributor, 3-4 more occasional but still producing neat
data, than to lose 10 that would create crappy objects and just leave
forever afterwards anyway.

I guess the resulting need of duplicating the number of necessary edits
(crappy ones then corrections) to get a clean data is a rather a good way
to grow the number of total contributors and the number of total edits
created through the # of the HOT TM instance that seems to be so important
for the board of HOT US Inc (two current directors have contacted me for
this purpose) to make communication and raise funds from the figures. But
what is at stake here is to provide good baseline data for humanitarian
response, not distorted metrics.


HOT mailing list

HOT mailing list

HOT mailing list

Reply via email to