This talk was transcribed.
An examination of OpenStreetMap’s rich metadata reveals that the “crowd” behind this crowdsourced project is a mix of casual mappers, bots, importers, and systematic mappers, with some working for fun and others for profit. I provide a new look into these influences with an open interactive web map called Crowd Lens.
As a proof of concept of what can be done with the publicly available history dumps, Crowd Lens enables exploration of the OpenStreetMap contributor set in a given place, while allowing an analyst to fetch details about any particular contributor of interest.
Using data from towns around the world, I demonstrate how Crowd Lens can help us understand the activities of one-time mappers, bots, power mappers, and other little-understood influences. I also show how Crowd Lens can reveal sources of local expertise improving the map in a given place. Crowd Lens is publicly visible at http://sterlingquinn.net/apps/crowdlens/.