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Open Source Upgrades

OpenStreetMap Launches a New Easy To Use HTML5 Editor 53

SWroclawski writes "On the heels of the news that OpenStreetMap is allowing anonymous contributions with its 'note system,' the project has launched a new in-browser editor called iD, which is not only easier to use, but written completely in JavaScript, using the D3 library for rendering. With all these improvements, OpenStreetMap is gaining popularity and has started a new donation campaign for additional hardware to support all the new contributors." This replaces a flash based editor (really great news!). The code is, naturally, available (under the WTFPL).
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OpenStreetMap Launches a New Easy To Use HTML5 Editor

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    Time to ditch Google* and their BS api charges.

  • lowering the bar (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ssam ( 2723487 ) on Wednesday May 08, 2013 @09:13AM (#43664213)

    It was not hard to edit before (I mostly used josm), but lowering the bar is probably a good thing.

    What I would like to see is better history viewing. on wikipedia it is quick to see if a page has been edited recently and by who. obviously this is a harder problem for a map. clicking history on openstreet map does not show much of use (right in the middle of an inland city i am seeing edits like "Update harbour tags ").

    • Overall userfriendlyness is quite OK for Potlatch2 but I'd be happy not to have to deal with all those crashes, and stupidity like not properly reacting to shift-click (to start branch) and stuff like that. And the new version (haven't tried it yet) must be quicker than the Flash version!

      The mere fact that it's not Flash based is an improvement in itself.

    • Re:lowering the bar (Score:4, Informative)

      by bluegutang ( 2814641 ) on Wednesday May 08, 2013 @09:47AM (#43664507)

      What I would like to see is better history viewing. on wikipedia it is quick to see if a page has been edited recently and by who. obviously this is a harder problem for a map. clicking history on openstreet map does not show much of use (right in the middle of an inland city i am seeing edits like "Update harbour tags ").

      This is a much requested feature [] (#6) and progress is apparently being made on it...

    • What is the biggest shame is that the most functional Android OSM editor seems to break relations [] so apparently isn't good to use. Does anyone know more about this? Any idea how to fix it?
    • by richlv ( 778496 )

      osm history viewer is quite nice, although fairly cumbersome to use at this time : []

    • Agreed the history tab needs work; some devs are working on just that, I'm sure it's just a matter of time. [] []

    • Re:lowering the bar (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Mirar ( 264502 ) on Wednesday May 08, 2013 @10:28AM (#43664865) Homepage

      My problem and the main reason that I stopped editing OSM is related to this - I used to spend 4-8 hours a week on it.

      A lot of my changes would get reversed for some reason, and I had no idea why. A lot of my changes simply vanished.
      I suspect some of this is due to people clumsily committing changes they did in JOSM and other off-line editors. Or it's database problems.

      A lot of my changes would be reverted to people with different ideas on how to tag things, without comments or corrections.

      In the end, seeing a majority of my work vanishing after a few months, I just gave up. (I have the feeling wikipedia is suffering from the same; lot of people rather correcting mistakes than creating content.)

      OSM isn't the only one suffering from demotivating "fixes" to the map - Waze is suffering even more, since you get points from poking around everywhere.

      ((If you feel like commenting that I shouldn't add stuff to the map that suck that much, you're doing the same thing again, demotivating me from commenting on Slashdot. Maybe that's what you want...))

      • by ssam ( 2723487 )

        I wonder if the communication about edits and why they are being made can be improved. maybe there was some trivial reason, that nobody ever tried to explain to you. or maybe it was vandalism, i'm not sure what mechanisms they have in place to prevent it.

        • by Mirar ( 264502 )

          I'm pretty sure it was a combination with well-meant that's-not-how-I-think-it-should-be-done fixes and clumsy data-destroying checkins from other tools.

          But it can easily (well, not code-wise) be fixed by better communication; comments on changes, comments on items, and a good messaging system that can use these.

          Add to that a good, standard way of marking up things that makes sense, instead of what seemed to be a jumble of ideas on how to mark up things that covers some cases, some cases aren't covered well

      • Maybe you need a little love [].

      • by richlv ( 778496 )

        would be great if you could find an instance of such a disappearance of your changes - it should be easy to find out what and why happened

      • by Pecisk ( 688001 )

        Really interesting - Have done this for 4 years, and never my edits have gone without trace. Also when changes get reversed, user are usually informed why - and that usually means that sources with restricted licensing has been used - or worse, just thirty party copyrighted material without any permission. You *do* know that you can't draw from local maps or Google Maps satellite view, don't you?

        • Same here - I've also edited OSM through Potlatch 2-4 hours every month for the last 3 years and I've never experienced any reverts or deletion apart from during the massive license change last summer.
          Much of my home town was deleted by the redaction bot as it went through cleaning up non-compliant data. In many cases this included data which was originally created by user who never approved the new licensing terms, even if the road had been subsequently modified or edited by a compliant user.

          Did your edits

        • by Mirar ( 264502 )

          I almost only used Potlach 2, which uses the approved - I hope! - Bing background, plus a lot of traces. Anyway, I'm pretty sure that if anyone discovers copies copyrighted material, the user would have been contacted, shouted at, warned and/or banned?

    • by Andy Dodd ( 701 )

      Last time I tried editing OSM it was a total and complete nightmare. That was a few years ago.

      The new editor is a MASSIVE leap forward compared to whatever the hell I used before.

  • HTML5 (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 08, 2013 @09:24AM (#43664305)

    Interesting how everything is called HTML5 these days.
    This HTML5 Editor, it's using JavaScript and a JavaScript library (D3.js).
    I think SVG has been an open standard for years, so, the CSS3 transitions make this an HTML5 Editor then?
    Is this at least using a canvas?

  • One of two items holding me back... []

    When Firefox/Linux supports playing H264 with the video tag it looks to get even easier.

  • All that's missing now is deciding on how things should be marked up, once and for all. ONCE AND FOR ALL! :)

  • by welshie ( 796807 ) on Wednesday May 08, 2013 @09:45AM (#43664491)
    not actually replaced flash-based editing, but adding another option. You can edit openstreetmap in a number of editors, with a number of different technologies: Some of them are: iD : HTML5-based, in-browser editing Potlatch : Flash-based, in-browser editing via flash player plugin JOSM : Java-based application, run from local machine, or via JNLP Vespucci : Android application, works nicely with touchscreens Meerkartor : QT application Openstreetmap is open, and as such there's loads of different ways of using it (or updating it). I've been contributing to openstreetmap since the days of the java applet editor (which used the processing libraries), before the data structures had been fleshed out. It's come a long way from a few scrawls representing the paths around Regents Park in London.
  • Because of this story, I signed up as an editor. First thing that I wanted to fix was my street address (the location was off by quite a bit). Apparently, this is a tougher problem than I thought it would be. Didn't see any obvious way to do this with the new editor, so searched and found a thread that indicated that adding a building and providing the address might help the interpolator. So, I did (using Potlatch), but the result doesn't change. Also, with my house set back so far from the road, I'm n
    • When you say "the result doesn't change"- can you elaborate exactly what you mean?

      Addresses are quite difficult to get right (no one gets them right, not even the guys with billions of dollars to spend).

      You can get a lot of help with these kinds of issues on the mailing lists,, the IRC channel, or the web forums. And depending on where you are, you may even have a local group of mappers to help you. So you have a community to help you through any editing issues you might encounter.

      • When I searched for my street address again, the marker still showed up in the wrong place.
        • It takes a few minutes for the changes to get published on the servers. Wait for half an hour and look again.

        • Is it still wrong?

          It can take a while for the geocoder to pick up on issues.

          Also, if you put a note on your area and link to it, I can take a look.

          Addresses are particularly tricky for a variety of reasons that I won't bore you with, but could make your head spin.

          You're right that there is a need to make addresses easier to work with, but in 99% of cases, you can just draw the building and tag it with the address and all should be good.

    • It would normally take anywhere between 2-20 minutes before you see any changes in the main map. Even longer depending on your browser cache settings.

      One way to speed up viewing the result render is to, after sumitting your edit, open up a single .png-tile which covers your changes, add "/dirty" to the URL and hit reload after 5-6 seconds.

      In Chrome, simply right-click --> Open image in new tab, then go URL in new tab and add "/dirty". Example: []

  • Just tried it, *very* easy to use....maybe a little slow...

    now, if only I could save my changes... they seem to have a couple of problems with OAuth (if you already have an account and use it for the first time)

    fscking OAuth... worst protocol ever...

  • by spectrokid ( 660550 ) on Wednesday May 08, 2013 @10:50AM (#43665051) Homepage
    OSM is great, it beats Google in my part of the world, and I find drawing bike-tracks a very relaxing alternative to Solitaire. But right now the level of detail I can add to my neighborhood is really limited by the rendering engine. JOSM has a nice plugin for turnlanes, for example, but they don't show up on the map. JOSM shows icons for a carwash, but hese don't make it to the final map either.
    • by hholzgra ( 6914 )

      There is no one-size-fits-all rendering, the "official" mapnik style is but one of many ...

      e.g. JOSM has icons for benches, waste_baskets and signposts, none of them show up on the "main" map though ... but they are rendered just fine on the more topic specific hike&bike map

      That's why our mantra is: "We don't map for the renderer!"

  • "Written completely in Javascript" is the same as "HTML5" and the two can be used interchangeably.

  • We all pay taxes. Some of those taxes pay for road maintenance and construction. Countries, States, Provinces and Municipalities all have maps of said roads.

    Let's get all these maps digitized and into OpenStreetMap.

    Any and all updates, changes, repairs and road closures would then be immediately available and maintained by the bodies responsible.

    Hound your elected official to get on the bandwagon.

  • by Bearhouse ( 1034238 ) on Wednesday May 08, 2013 @12:20PM (#43665841)

    C'mon guys; give us a reference platform, or maybe even kickstart it, and I'll drive around with a device stuck to my car dashboard or bike windscreen.
    Hell, I'll even pay you - say - $100 bucks for the device. OK, twist my arm and I'll go to $150. Should pay for a cheapo camera, GPS, a battery and some memory.

    But, pretty please, no fucking around with obscure stuff. I'll tell it where it starts, where it stops, and plug it into the 'net once a day, or week.
    Maybe if I have time, I'll name the streets, if I know them.

    But again please, could you make it EASY.

    All the commercial orgs piggybacking off this project should be able to kick in a few bucks for the servers and technology to stitch the raw material together, blur faces & plates, eh? Am I alone?

    • The issue isn't equipment, it's storage and bandwith.

      If you collect a small city's worth of data, you'll have quite a lot of images. Maybe only a terabyte, if you're lucky, but probably several terabytes. Now extend that to an entire state/province, or a small country. You'll quickly be racking up terabytes and pedabytes of data.

      "No problem, storage is cheap." you might be thinking, but storage gets expensive as you increase the demands of the storage. All of this storage needs to be available immediately, so it can't be stored on near time storage devices, which might make it less expensive. And it must be stored in such a way that makes it redundant in case of hardware failure, so either using disk, or system level data replication.

      And now that you've stored the data, you need to serve it to users. Pushing out a small amount of data to a user isn't a problem. 2 cents a gigabyte seems cheap. But if you need to serve a whole country worth of data, with tens or hundreds of thousands of users, you now hit bandwidth issues- bandwith caps, and overage costs. Getting a larger pipe to the user costs more money, and deals that seemed reasonable start to become very expensive very quickly.

      You'd quickly start talking about needing to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars just to store the data, and then hundreds of thousands (or more) to serve it out.

      Commercial organizations are not going to be inclined to put money towards something when they don't have to, and the burden on users would be incredibly high.

If it's not in the computer, it doesn't exist.