OpenStreetMap past(s), OpenStreetMap future(s)


Alan McConchie 30min

Stamen Design / University of British Columbia
This talk was transcribed.

In this presentation I take a look at OpenStreetMap’s history, to see what it might tell us about OpenStreetMap’s possible futures.

Specifically, I examine the monthly ratio of new features added to the database compared to the number of modifications of existing features. I examine how this ratio changes over time as OpenStreetMap evolves, and how it differs between various local areas within OpenStreetMap. Looking at the curves charted by this ratio, I then speculate about possible futures for OpenStreetMap, if the numbers of new features and modified features continue to increase, or if one number outpaces the other.

I also propose a mathematical function that would help the community determine how many modification edits (taken as a stand-in for the broader concept of map maintenance) are necessary in the future to keep OpenStreetMap at a high level of quality and usefulness. By thinking about the future of the project, we gain new perspectives on the types of edits that we value and prioritize in the present.