Every Door and the Future of POI in OpenStreetMap

Ilya Zverev

Playlists: 'sotm2022' videos starting here / audio

OpenStreetMap is a collector's dream. While there is a finite set of stamps or coins, there are millions of shops and beauty salons, and new ones are opened every day. Yay, collect them all for the map! (And make the map better in the process, of course.) Alas, this task was made tedious, virtually impossible by our current tools. Not as much for adding — but for updating the data we've already collected, and finding what's missing. I've talked many times of this problem, and this year I think I've fixed it. This year changes everything for how POI are handled in OpenStreetMap.

Last year I presented the idea of making cartography apps without a map for the central UI element. And added a couple drawings of a better editor for POI. Well, it is finally out there, and hundreds of mappers have already surveyed... a lot. So one part of this talk is a typical OSM editor talk: I'll walk you through the design decisions, show some statistics, and elaborate on how writing a new OSM editor is akin to writing a new browser these days: an enormous task, but with a lot of open source code at hand.

But what is different, is that this editor is not a toy and not a general-purpose tool. It is very focused (well, on three things at once, but still). Meaning, you don't play with the map in it, and don't get lost in menus. You survey. Lots and lots and lots of shops and amenities are going to get added or confirmed. This editor does not just "allow" anything. It changes the landscape of OpenStreetMap. Before it shops were an afterthought — now people would seriously consider using OSM for searching. Here's where my experience in working with commercial places data comes in handy. Let's see what can we get out of this, and why "fun" is still as important in OSM mapping as always.