Talk:Using OpenStreetMap

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Discuss the Using OpenStreetMap page here:

Restructure Page (completed discussion)

The current page has become large and isn't really clear. E.g. the section of online routing is a separate page and its link vanished in the data of the other sections. The offline routing section describes algorithms, not the ready-to-use end results!

Proposal is to move the content of the sections in different pages and only present an overview of the references. Goal: 1 page with only references to the most common use cases for the map, clear to newbees.

  • View Online
    • Map - An overview of all web pages showing the map (either 2d/3d, aimed at cyclists/hikers, etc.)
    • Routing - An overview of all web pages that calculate routes
  • Use on your own web page
  • Use on navigation devices
  • Use off-line
    • Print to paper
    • Map - Applications that show the map but do not need an internet connection
  • Expert Usage
    • GIS
    • Toolkits & Libraries

User:Altijd.verdwaald 15:37, 3 September 2009

"move the content of the sections in different pages". It looks like you've gone ahead and done this on the "Map Usage" page, except that you haven't finished off the job, because this page still exists in parallel. It feels a bit as though you've taken what was once a mess on one page, and created a duplicate mess on many pages.
...but let's not be negative. I think you've kind of got the right idea. Split the information out onto different pages because one big page covering "using openstreetmap" is not going to work. So...
The next step is to move what you have on the Map Usage page to replace this page. I think we're not losing any information by doing so, so I'll go ahead and do that unless anyone has objections?
-- Harry Wood 20:41, 10 January 2010 (UTC)
Some time ago I made a start to get the dreadful Using OpenStreetMap clear. To do so I started a new page Map Usage and separate pages for the different sections.
I didn't put a 'closed' remark on the Using OpenStreetMap since I didn't know what direction to go! As a result changes have been made in two branches.
So before replacing the content of Using OpenStreetMap some of the changes made there have to be applied to the links in Map Usage.
I'm willing to spend some more hours on it, on the condition it is clear in what direction to go!
Furthermore, if you want people to improve the pages, it might be that people first need to find the page. In other words, just put the link in the main page!!!!
-- User:Altijd.verdwaald 20:30, 17 January 2010


"As a result changes have been made in two branches." - Yes that's right. That's why it was a bad idea to start duplicating information everywhere and leave the job half finished. I've carried out a copy & paste replace of content from Map Usage. This was necessary to avoid this situation getting worse.

Now there's been a few edits by various people on this page, which took place in between the time when you created duplication (Sept) and today's correction. These need to be rescued from the history of this page, and placed in the correct place (probably the pages linked off here) Apologies to those who have lost their edits. I'll try to take a look and sort it out.

I can also see some need for adjustments to your chosen structuring and page naming Altijd. As I said above, the idea of splitting things off into different pages was a good one in principle... but this needs a bit of work still.

-- Harry Wood 01:08, 18 January 2010 (UTC)

German version "Using"/"usage"

Hi, i'm just coming from the German version of this site, which has a lot more content. I almost started translating it right away. Now I see the site was reduced on purpose. But the sub-pages don't have that much info too. I would like to combine the content of the List of OSM based Services with the german version to get a site with a lot of links to places where OSM is used. The english pages seem to aim in another direction: how to use OSM for yourself. So what goal do you like best? Should I invest time in translating the german site and sorting the info onto your sub pages? Chaos99 12:18, 24 February 2010 (UTC)

Currently this "Using OpenStreetMap" page is about how to use OSM for yourself yes. That's already a massively wide scoped. The scope is actually too wide. The page title is hopelessly vague. The only way this can work as a wiki page title is to farm off information onto separate more specific wiki pages. This page should remain as a compact set of links. I would advise german wiki editors to follow the same approach.
I don't think List of OSM based Services is within scope really. It's not exactly core to the purpose of this page. It might be worth linking as a list of examples of other people "using OpenStreetMap" to set up services. Certainly I would not want to see any attempt to merge List of OSM based Services onto this page.
I don't know if the meaning of the german word DE:OSM-Anwendungen is different though. Does that translate as "OSM uses"?
-- Harry Wood 13:11, 24 February 2010 (UTC)
Yes, 'Anwendungen' translates to 'uses' or maybe 'applications' (not only in the computer program sense). Do you know a (english) wiki site which targets OSM users who just want to find examples of how other people have used the map or how other people offer services based on OSM map data? It's ok if the german and the english sites have different goals, but I think the english wiki may also benefit from a (new) page like the german one.Chaos99 08:38, 25 February 2010 (UTC)
Hmmm well it sounds to me like DE:OSM-Anwendungen is incorrectly linked as a translation of this page. The two page titles mean very different things. We don't have an "OSM uses" page, and I don't really like the title. Again it's hopelessly vague and wide-scoped. As you know though, we do have List of OSM based Services already. It's not a very direct translation of the title, but maybe DE:OSM-Anwendungen should be linked with that. -- Harry Wood 10:20, 30 July 2010 (UTC)
Some time ago, i did format and sort the german site. My intention was to create a site fur "users" that do not want to map or bring data into the project, but just want to use OSM data for their individually purpose. Its hard to find services or tools to calculate routes or print maps with OSM. There are online-services, programs and scripts for different operating systems. So this site was made to help. Hadhuey 22:27, 2 August 2010 (BST)
Are you talking about DE:OSM-Anwendungen? -- Harry Wood 15:30, 3 August 2010 (BST)
Yes, it was summer 2008, when i did this. Hadhuey 22:21, 3 August 2010 (BST)
mmmkay so the translation linkage is sort of correct (because that's what this page is trying to do too) The only problem is DE:OSM-Anwendungen makes mention of "uses" as well as help information on "using", whereas this page is purely the latter. -- Harry Wood 13:12, 4 August 2010 (BST)

Links to openstreetmap (completed discussion)

Hi - can a commercial website publish a link on their website to a map location on openstreetmap?

I've read through the FAQ but can't find an answer. The free as in beer and free as in speech thing doesn't clear it up for me.

I want to know whether the terms of use of openstreetmap are being broken by doing so.

I.e. not whether it can be done technically (though this would be a next step if it is OK to do this!).

Thanks in advance. MarkKilby 11:06, 14 May 2009 (UTC)

Yes OpenStreetMap can be linked from any website in this way, and you are very much encouraged to do so. In fact such links do not invoke any licensing requirements at all*. Please link! For information on how to link see Browse#Linking to Maps. Going beyond that, you can also embed our maps on your website with a variety of techniques. See Using OpenStreetMap
By the way, this discussion is in the wrong place. Please move it to Talk:Using OpenStreetMap (or I will do it shortly)
(* except perhaps if you have a large number of links, effectively forming a derived database of geolocations)
-- Harry Wood 11:44, 14 May 2009 (UTC)
Done! MarkKilby 13:37, 14 May 2009 (UTC)

Where to add this? (completed discussion)

SUMO (Simulation of Urban mobility an open source traffic simulation) User:!i! - 07:50, 25 August 2009

List of OSM based Services perhaps -- Harry Wood 10:38, 25 August 2009 (UTC)

Using script (completed discussion)

Is this script command line documented somewhere? There should be a list of possible arguments, like lat-lon-zoom, bounding box, markers, highlighting ways, nodes or relations etc. Mikado 14:33, 26 November 2009 (UTC)

Do you mean the URL parameters accepted by the homepage? A lot of these are documented at Browse#Linking to Maps (rather too much detail on that page actually) -- Harry Wood 00:49, 18 January 2010 (UTC)

make this shiny

i'd like to propose making this page shiny and actually one that is captivating interest.

i found it while trying to find some page to link to from a local mapping project... and at first i almost discarded it.

don't misunderstand me - it's a nice collection of links, but it would be so much better if it was more structured and laid out as as a shiny "use case" page - maybe a two column page with short blurbs like the existing ones and some images depicting those use cases. i can't help with those images much, but i'd be glad to help with ideas for them as well as text. ping me at #osm (Richlv), if you are interested and i'm there. if not, try poking at richlv sort-of-at nakts dot net --Richlv 20:54, 13 September 2010 (BST)

There's lots of pages which could do with being more attractive, with image illustrations and even segmented into boxes a bit like on the Main Page, but I agree this page could be a particularly good one to give some attention to. It's potentially quite important, but I want to avoid it going back to being a page with too much actual content. The page title is too broad for actual content. In needs to be links to more specific page titles (a "portal" into actual content elsewhere) -- Harry Wood 00:06, 14 September 2010 (BST)

I agree that this page is much more useful than it looks. To make it more "shiny", how about re-arranging the current list into a table, something like this (I've not removed any links, only added one - for drawing / sharing routes, which seems to come up as a question quite often). Also I think it would be good to provide pointers for different types of user, as well as showing different types of map, so I have suggested cells for cyclists, etc, but not added links yet.  :

To view the map: Online: See OSM Online Browsing for different ways of viewing Open Streetmap online On paper: See OSM on Paper to make a print or final image of the map On a GPS: See OSM on GPS if you want to use the map on your GPS unit
To use the map on your own web site As a static map: see Static map images if you want to embed a static Map, maybe with markers, on your website by an <img> tag As a slippy map: see Deploying your own Slippy Map
To use one of the special-purpose maps Designed for cyclists Designed for hiking... and many others.
To plan or share route: See Routing/online routers for services that help motorists, cyclists, pedestrians and others to plan a route See Track_drawing_websites for tools that help with drawing and sharing routes:
To see examples of services that are already using OSM data On mobile devices: See Software for list of applications using OSM on various (mobile) devices And more... see OSM based services for a huge list of the variety of renderings and services achievable with OpenStreetMap data
To build a new service, or to use OSM data yourself: See GIS software for ways of working with OSM in various traditional desktop GIS softwares

--Peter Reed 13:02, 12 May 2011 (BST)

'Keep this accessible. This is a wiki for everyone, including disabled persons. Do not invent strange layouts that are not browsable with a screenreader application for blind persons. This in not necessarily a contradiction to "shiny", but it becomes one, if you don't keep accessibility in mind. Lulu-Ann

I'm not sure if that means tables are a potential problem, or certain formats of tables? What should we be trying to avoid? --Peter Reed 13:05, 12 May 2011 (BST)

This is a far to big topic to be discussed here. Read [1] if you are new to the topic. Lulu-Ann

I like Peter's suggestion - but agree with you Lulu-Ann. I think there would be a way to include the information you suggest Peter... perhaps even in a table... without losing accessibility. Rostranimin 21:00, 12 January 2012 (UTC)

As usual Lulu-ann is using unnecessarily blunt language. "Do not invent strange layouts" is rather forthrightly denouncing people's efforts when they are helping improve the wiki content
...particularly as there is no huge accessibility problem anyway. With regards to blind people's screen readers, the key question here is: Does it make good semantic sense to place the information in a table? There's a cosmetic motivation to do so, but does it also make sense semantically. If a screen reader reads out the contents of this table (spoken words) explaining the table cells one after the other... will that come out as nonsense? Probably not complete nonsense no. The table makes sense.
In any case the content has since been re-arranged again on the page, so I'm not sure if this tabular design is still on the cards.
-- Harry Wood 14:30, 14 January 2012 (UTC)
As I understand it (although I've not checked recently I can't imagine most screenreaders would do this well) the biggest problem with tables and screenreaders revolves around content which by eye is associated in a table - but by sound isn't easily understood as such. In Peter's table the issue is that to make full sense of the table content a user has to associate content from more than one cell at a time (the cells with titles and those with content). My suggestion would be that the content in this table really should sit in one of the linked pages - and that if we want to make the page more shiny then a simple box containing just a few interesting examples of uses of OSM would be good. Rostranimin 22:30, 16 January 2012 (UTC)
And... please could we introduce an image - just a simple one - for this purpose? My suggestion would be to use the image of the week from the normal front wiki page. I know - more clutter - but this would be a simple way to make the page more shiny without adding verbal complexity. Thoughts? Rostranimin 22:38, 16 January 2012 (UTC)

General approach for this page

I've been wondering for a couple of years why this page didn't exist, and I stumbled across it today by chance. At first look it appears as if it's been a long time in the making, but that it still isn't right (by a long way). But I strongly feel that OSM is in dire need of such a page. Surely most new users come to OSM to view a map - not to make maps. Making maps is exciting - but that's not the point. Rather than getting into a long winded discussion about why I think this page needed lots of improvements I've taken a bolder approach - just jumping in and editing it. My reason for doing so is that this seemed the simplest way to explain how I feel it should be improved. But I want to be clear that if there are good reasons why I'm wrong I'll not be offended by my edits being reverted - as is entirely appropriate on a wiki... Rostranimin 21:00, 12 January 2012 (UTC)

PS: Have marked a couple of discussions on this page as completed in their titles in order to make the page easier to use - because it was confusing and time consuming to browse through old discussions to locate newer ones. If anyone agrees I'll not be in the least offended!

This page has indeed had a long history of editing, and rather a sad history of people wasting time and going round in circles. ...and I'm afraid it looks like we're going round again now. The problem is, if you have a wiki page title which is as hopelessly un-specific as "Using OpenStreetMap" then there's a million different topics you might expect to appear on this page. A million different ways of interpreting the title, and a million different weightings you might apply to the different topics.

The page started off on a very bad footing, with User:France-59-valenciennes blurting out content in a style which can be recognised in a few places around the wiki. Very unfocussed ideas all piled in one after the other on a very long wiki page. A peculiar flavour of (sometimes incorrectly applied) old-school GIS terminology. And to cap it all off, very bad english. That was how this page started. A hopeless mess on a hopeless wiki page title. Unsurprisingly nobody tackled it for quite a while, because after all... what is the correct content to go on a page called "Using OpenStreetMap"? The only correct thing to do at this point would be to split all of the content off, merging onto other more specific page titles on the topics covered, so that this page ends up being a simple list of links or at most a "Portal" page. Happily this is what happened... kind of....

When User:Altijd.verdwaald added a link to this page from the Main Page, I promptly removed it again, pointing out to him that the content of the page was shockingly bad (something which I thought was pretty obvious... but hey) He then took a look at how to improve it, and came to the right decision (split the page out) but... did it rather badly. He's also not native english speaker I think. He moved things onto new page titles, sometimes unnecessarily duplicating existing pages, and generally making a bit of mess. What's worse he did all of this on a duplicated copy of this page called "Map Usage" (see discussion above) which then started to exist as a forked copy of this page. At this point I was trying to stay positive about this badly titled wiki page, so I intervened and cleared it up a bit, and almost managed to prune this page down to a vaguely sane small set of links, although some of the content on the linked pages was still rooted in the same badly written nonsense we started with.

...but now I see the content is expanding on here again. We're writing a page about "Using OpenStreetMap" all over again. At least if the page is written by somebody who can write english reasonably well, we might arrive at something better. On the whole though I would strongly encourage you to keep the page slim. If you really want to work on this page, make it a glossy looking "portal" but place new textual content on the linked pages where the topic focus is properly contained. That's my advice.

-- Harry Wood 15:13, 14 January 2012 (UTC)

So my edits were reverted - which I'll not complain about because that was always a likely possibility. But here's why I added a little bit of expanded content and what I'd like to convince others we need to do some work on... I think that almost everything about OSM is currently set up for use by enthusiasts and mappers. Such an audience is very small in comparison to the number of potential map users. One possibility would be that we assume that this is for the best - that this is inevitable. I think personally that this is a real shame - because it's not inevitable. In many places OSM data is already better than what's easily available though the various commercial mapping services (Google Maps etc etc). But such users won't ever get near using OSM unless it presents itself better. I absolutely love maps, but even for me it's been a journey of at least 2 years since first encountering OSM to get a map on my website, or to find out how well I can get routing information from it. Now things are getting slowly a little tiny bit better... but we're SO far from it being accessible to ordinary folk that I'm completely convinced that the commercial mapping services will get there first. The result, I'd think, would be that many of the lovely services which people are working so hard on will be superceeded by not-so-good but more-used-more-popular alternatives. We NEED ordinary folk to be using OSM. Well that's what I think... And my suggestion for creating a way into OSM for ordinary folk is that there is easy, welcoming, friendly, accessible, glossy stuff introducing OSM as something to be used, not something to contribute to. At the moment this page seems like about the only place where others have noticed this need - although better still would be for the main OSM page to recognise this audience. So - any thoughts anyone??
Rostranimin 20:50, 15 January 2012 (UTC)
I was just (somewhat grumpily) explaining the history and the problems of this page, but by coincidence User:PeterIto made an edit to remove a big chunk of text written by you earlier the same day this edit. Kind of a weird coincidence actually. It wasn't me removing it, and since it happened earlier, it clearly wasn't motivated by what I said here. I'm not sure why Peter decided to remove it. He didn't explain. -- Harry Wood 01:36, 16 January 2012 (UTC)
Do please reinstate any content that you feel should stay - this is meant to be an interactive process and I have tended to be reasonable robust with my edits over the past 3-4 weeks while I have been doing a pretty wide-ranging standardisation/ rationalisation/ clarification pass across pages that used by new users. It is inevitable that I will make some mistakes in the process, so please fix them and we can move the article forward. Would a good starting point be to reinstate the 'Welcome' section? PeterIto 12:23, 16 January 2012 (UTC)
The page "Using OpenStreetMap" imho is/would be one of the most important wiki pages, as the whole point behind doing the mapping is so that people can use the data! It really should feature rather prominently on the main wiki page, if not even on the main page. As such, it is rather a shame that there hasn't been much success in getting this page into a good condition. I agree with Harry that this page should be a good looking portal page linking to the various ways of "using OpenStreetMap", as that is OSM's strength, i.e. that there are so many very different uses of the data. That said, I kind of like the text Rostranimin wrote, as it nicely summs up and explains why OpenStreetMap it self is such a complex, cumbersome and limited project for pure map users and gives the whole a positive spin before then linking to all of the third party sites that makes OSM usable after all. So I would suggest to restore the text, at least until someone comes up with a shinier version of a portal page. --Amm 03:09, 16 January 2012 (UTC)
I totally agree. I introduced a link to this article from the first entry in the main table on the Main Page a few days ago following discussion on Talk:Main Page. I am also now proposing a new row within the Portals section of the main page on the subject with a primary link to this article and then other relevant related links (see Portals beta and Talk:Main_Page#Reworked_Portal) for more details. PeterIto 12:34, 16 January 2012 (UTC)
So given that it was PeterIto who removed the new 'welcome' section, and that you've suggested its reinstatement Peter, then I've done just that. So far nobody has argued for anything different. But please... if someone can do better then go ahead. I'm not sufficiently skilled with the wiki to make the page look any more attractive either - I'm sure someone else could do this. I did one other thing - comments welcome - which was to downplay the warnings just a tiny bit - giving them a very short section rather than having lots of bold text. I can see they are important - but I don't think they need to jump out at people to the extent that other content starts to disappear among the clutter. Rostranimin 22:19, 16 January 2012 (UTC)
Peter, your recent edit has the following summary which I'll replicate here to aid discussion..."Editor's summary: reworked lead into more formal prose. Please adjust further if anyone feels I have lost something in the process". Rather than me adjusting - which I think might end up in lots of back and forth changes... my comment would be that you've done a good job of making things simpler, more formal, and shorter, but that in the process you've lost what I was aiming at... To illustrate (stick with me here) note that the fourth word in the first paragraph (i.e. extremely early on in the crucial first sentence) is 'database'. I'd say that lots of potential users don't necessarily really understand what a database is (some have no idea at all, but lets assume those people don't even get this far), and respond to it as an off-putting term. The same thing applies to the term 'slippy map' (second sentence). And so on... Now we may not be able to get rid of these terms - they are useful after all - but we can give people a gentle lead in to help them respond to them. The downside of doing this is that text gets a bit more informal and a bit longer - but if it doesn't get so long as to make it unusable then I think it's worth it. I'll not change anything on your edit at the moment because I appreciate this should be a collective decision - and I'm always open to the possibility that I'm wrong about this. Rostranimin 11:18, 18 January 2012 (UTC)
I have made further adjustments to lead and article. I think the data message it now getting through load and clear. I suggest we now check to see if there are not any important missing links (for example we were missing Planet.osm until today). PeterIto 11:55, 18 January 2012 (UTC)
No no... I think you've misunderstood entirely. My point wasn't that we needed to explain more about the data and database - it was that we shouldn't be talking about data and databases very much at all (taking the text in the exact opposite direction that you have in these edits). I think the recent edit makes things even worse from the perspective I'm talking about. But I like the introduction of a gallery and the 'see also' section, and indeed the picture. Please - we so desperately need something accessible by ordinary folk... There are plenty of articles (most of the wiki) for people who are comfortable with mapping, databases, licences, and who care whether the database is updated in real time, or some other time. But there are millions and millions of potential map users who don't/aren't.
Are you suggesting we should more clearly point people to the existing online services like CycleStreets, OpenCycleMap, Seamap, OpenStreetBrowser, Cloudmade, Bing, ITO Map, etc etc. PeterIto 14:38, 18 January 2012 (UTC)
Maybe. Yes - I think we should do this. But also at the same time no if your question is about shuffling them off to these services entirely. I think we should also keep them interested in OSM as the central feature of all these other maps. I think they need to (we want them to) know about OSM as well as the other services - and much of what makes OSM useful is the ability we have as users to swop between (or combine) different services. I'm just suggesting that one page at least (this seems most likely as a candidate) should offer ordinary map users a way in, where currently all they face is a sea of technical/enthusiast material... My edits were aimed at ordinary map users - recognising that the page then becomes less useful for technically minded users (maybe that's what the 'About' page is for??). Rostranimin 15:29, 18 January 2012 (UTC)

Agreed, let's introduce more links to services that are easily accessible without loosing the links to the core projects. I suggest we make a clear distinction between open source community projects (OpenStreetBrowser/SeaMap etc) and commercial offerings (Bing/Cloudmade/GeoFabrik/MapQuest/ITO) etc. What we always stress is that OSM is the place to add additional data! Does that sound right to you? PeterIto 16:21, 18 January 2012 (UTC)

I think I like what you already did in terms of links - providing just a small number of examples as a gallery. There are already good pages listing services. What I'd suggest is one of two possible approaches to this specific issue. Option 1, a separate page of polished, easily accessible services. Option 2 (my preferred one), we try to work to make the existing pages distinguish between the polished/accessible services and those under development or intended for more technical use (etc). But - before any of this - I think we need the text on this page to be more friendly/accessible (the aim of my edits). I don't think it was so far off as it stood - but it needs simpler words and explanations of why things are as they are - not technical information (as it is just now) but something welcoming people, encouraging them to see past the barriers facing them. PS: Would like to link to Browsing too once we have the text style etc sorted - but I don't think there's much point yet.

Rostranimin 17:12, 18 January 2012 (UTC)

OK - so I did some very very brief 'user testing'. It was only to ask two family members for opinions, but useful nonetheless (I often think even such brief testing is a good move). Neither knew why I was asking. Comments after reading the current version were "well I still don't know what it[OSM] is... isn't it about maps?... I'd turn off reading this.... I can't see much that tells me anything." I thought that proved my point - but then I had them read my version and the comments weren't much better: "I like the use of the bullet points, but I still don't understand the first bullet point... I still don't understand what it is." Both people have used internet based maps and are fairly decent map readers. Neither is a enthusiast. Both have heard explanations from me in the past about why I like messing with OSM. These are our potential end-users. We need to do better (me included). Rostranimin 14:19, 20 January 2012 (UTC)
Good work, however personally I don't think it is ready for use testing yet and I suggest that we build up the About page to describe 'what OSM is' and use this page should tell people how they can use the data and osm based services. I suggest that this page assumes some technical competence on the part of the reader (re a basic understanding of iframes/ basic html/ osm tags etc). PeterIto 14:37, 20 January 2012 (UTC)

I got a bit frustrated with this in January and thought I'd leave others to argue over it - but not much has happened and I came back to it today and thought that with some minor changes this page is still not too bad. I've added a short and more friendly/informative-to-newcomers paragraph at the beginning. Corrected quite a few language errors. Took out just one or two very technical words where simpler words were just as good. I still want to do something with the rather distracting 'Notices' section. Surely this ought to be more like small print - not so much the hit-you-in-the-face thing it is just now... given that we're trying to attract people not put them off. I think that some small improvements in the main OSM wiki page have helped too in this regard. Rostranimin 13:59, 9 February 2012 (UTC)

Technical nature of linked articles

I was following links from this page last night and it's been bothering me that users so quickly get bogged down in deeply technical information (view the page about OSM on paper from the point of view of an ordinary member of the public for instance). Obviously changing this is a very long term project - but I thought adding a link to the glossary page (I had to search for this to see if there was one) was a useful addition. It'll look from the page history like I've been editing lots - I hope a more careful look will show I've really only added the introductory section. I share the concerns of others that this page needs not to grow and grow just because people keep thinking of new things to say. Rostranimin 11:56, 17 January 2012 (UTC)

Can I suggest that we link to the appropriate articles for the relevant subjects and then either improve those articles or leave a note on their talk page to request that others do the same? I think that that will be a much more effective way to create a good wiki in the medium term than to bypass articles because they are substandard. If the article contains highly detailed content then we should take a view as to whether it can be simplified or as a minimum be given a clear simple introduction, if not then we should consider creating a shorter summary article. PeterIto 16:23, 17 January 2012 (UTC)

Proposal to merge with 'About' page (rejected)

It has been proposed that this page is merged with About. Discussion follows:

I think this would be a bad idea, unless it's that the content on the other page moves here as supplemental information (or at least that the action of merging has that effect). This page (this one here) is needed because of the lack of any good introductory information for the average internet user - who I suggest is a map user not map maker... a person with no interest whatsoever (initially) in how or why information about OSM... they just want a map and will (initially) be put off by anything which distracts from this. Almost every single piece of information about OSM which I've come across forgets these people. I'm not one of these people - I love maps. But the point is that OSM needs these users, in the long term, just as much as it needs map makers and map enthusiasts! Wait too long to attract these users and the exciting innovations available through OSM will eventually appear on the other services... Properly friendly simple information for your basic map user (who doesn't care about how and why) is utterly essential. Rostranimin 16:02, 13 January 2012 (UTC)
To my mind we should keep this page separate from About. About should be developed with details of the history, motivation and growth of OSM, about the licensing debate and describe who uses OSM and why and what sort of people contribute to OSM and why etc. There there is this page which tells people how to use OSM mapping and OSM data to solve a problems (for example to include slippy maps on their website, or download OSM into a GPS or use it for research and finally there is one for people who wish to add data to OSM (but not necessarily 'use' it. I would like this page to be linked from the Main Page from the main box, rather than from a sub-box on the lower right hand column. PeterIto 04:01, 14 January 2012 (UTC)
I agree. I'm struggling to imagine why !i! is proposing merging "Using OpenStreetMap" with About. I wish he would write something on the talk page when he goes around slapping these labels on things. I'll remove the label now.
Perhaps his logic is that, rather like the "About" page, this page title is very vague and can only really describe things in very general terms before leading off to more specific information elsewhere. Even so a merge doesn't make sense, unless by "merge" we mean that we've already got a vague page there, so we can just delete this one. Not a bad idea :-) (see discussion above)
-- Harry Wood 15:24, 14 January 2012 (UTC)

About page

Would anyone fancy spending a bit of time improving the About page which seems to be very weak at present? PeterIto 12:00, 18 January 2012 (UTC)

Can't say I've considered About page to be priority for re-writing at all compared some other disaster areas on this wiki (WikiProject Cleanup#Current tasks). ...but then I did write the About page myself, aside from a little fiddling it's received lately.
Maybe start by explaining on Talk:About what you think is very weak about it. But here again you see there's many different ways you might go about composing a page "about" the OpenStreetMap project. If you change it dramatically from how I have written it, I'll probably find it's not an improvement, but neither of us will be wrong or right. Very similar to the problems of having a "Using OpenStreetMap" page, except that the About page hasn't been troubled since the beginning in quite the same way.
-- Harry Wood 12:22, 18 January 2012 (UTC)
Fyi, I have added a 'scope' section to the Talk:About to address your question above and have started to add some content to the article itself - I and happy to continue with that as a background task but wanted to flag it up here. Regarding cleanup priorities, I have also being working on a new Contributors' guide which could replace the Beginners' guide with something much less complicated that started with armchair mapping and Potlatch and the gently introduced a bit of ground surveying rather than assuming GPS from day one. I stopped working on it partly because I had issues with my computer (which are now fixed) and also because I wanted to stand back a bit and think about what was wanted there. I have been collected screen-casts of the sessions so people can following them using video if they prefer. Any thoughts on the direction it is taking? PeterIto 14:35, 18 January 2012 (UTC)

Restructure Page (again)

For my proposal of a new navigation concept I want to write an example of a navigation page. I choosed to write a page about the applications of OSM (what other people already did with OSM). This page here does this already, but it tells also something on how to use OSM oneself. This was already discussed above and I feel that there is good chance that we can agree on separating these to content types. I want to

  • enhance the part describing the applications of OSM, including a restructuring of headings.
  • keep it as an overview, giving links to more detailed pages (I call it a navigation page with entry points).
  • separate the part describing how to use OSM oneself. For the moment, I will leave it on this page to keep the content. In future, I would like to create a separate navigation page for this.

I'll be tough and start right now, hoping this is fine for everybody. --Cantho (talk) 13:11, 29 January 2014 (UTC)

Done. I propose to move what I've enhanced here to a page 'Applications of OpenStreetMap'. Next step is to enhance the content about 'how to use OSM by yourself', also as a navigation (overview) page. I will work on this the next days. --Cantho (talk) 07:05, 2 February 2014 (UTC)
Almost done, only the introduction is missing. Next step is to separate the pages and to go through the pages linking here to adapt the links. --Cantho (talk) 15:36, 2 February 2014 (UTC)

Seeing the new Use OpenStreetMap page, I was assuming that page was a rework which would eventually replace this "Using OpenStreetMap" page. Is that the plan? -- Harry Wood (talk) 16:39, 25 May 2014 (UTC)

No, see the discussion on Talk:Use_OpenStreetMap. --Cantho (talk) 18:52, 4 June 2014 (UTC)