as imports go, yours tend to be the best-planned and I appreciate that
you do respect our processes even in the face of adversity. I would
encourage you to also make them the best-documented ;)

You say that "we get updates monthly" and later that it is "impossible
to check each object ... afterwards each month up to eternity". Does
that mean that you are not planning a one-off import, but a continuous
data synchronisation process between the NavAds data set and OSM? If
that is the case, it should be said clearly and mandates a closer look.

I would like to understand more about the different parties in this game
and their interests. I assume that the fuel station chains pay someone
(Navads?) to publicize their information, and Navads in turn pays
someone (you? your employer?) to get this information into OSM. I'm not
sure, you say "I got my hands on this data set" which sounds a bit like
you're doing this in a hobby capacity but later you say "we". Anyhow,
this means that what we have here in the end is businesses paying money
to appear on OSM. I don't assume that anyone in this chain - the fuel
station chains, Navads, you, your employer - has any interest of
enriching the data set with information about those fuel stations that
don't pay. This leads to a skewed picture on OSM: Paying brands will be
fully covered even in areas with no mapping activity, smaller
independent stations and non-paying brands will only be covered in areas
where a mapper happened to add them.

This is not a blocker, but I would like us all to think about this and
be aware of it; in allowing imports like this to happen, our content
gets skewed towards business interests.

Now you may reply "but nobody is keeping anyone from adding a small
independent fuel station" and you are right; but in letting the major
brands directly manage their representation on OSM you are getting one
step closer to making OSM unwelcoming for independent contributions
("it's no use adding this single shop here, all the retail data in OSM
is managed by the big brands anyway").

I am also concerned about diversity. In other places we make big words
about how it is important to attract people from all walks of life, all
nationalities, all genders to OSM because we believe that this will make
the map better. But those words ring hollow if at the same time, with an
import like this, we're essentially replacing the voice of several
thousand mappers who have last edited a fuel station, by the voice of
one commercial data provider because we believe that their data is
somehow better. What is diversity for, then, when in the end we will
always assume that commercial data is better? Is diversity just for
mapping the parts of OSM that are of no interest to business, and for
everything else we won't hesitate to let our imperfect data made by all
these imperfect people from all walks of life, be overridden by the
shiny corporate data set?

Again, not something that would block this particular import, but
something to keep in mind. This import is one small step on the road
towards an explicitly non-diverse, corporate-managed OSM and we have to
be very careful about just how far we're prepared to go down that road
in return for nice data. Because after the fuel stations there will come
the restaurant chains, and then the hotel data sets, the retail chains,
and we might well look back at this import in ten year's time and say:
This is where the gentrification began in OSM.


Frederik Ramm  ##  eMail  ##  N49°00'09" E008°23'33"

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