I joined OSM in December 2011, shortly after a worldwide database of buildings I'm helping to develop (http://en.phorio.com/) switched from Google Maps to OSM (which we're very happy with). Phorio has a community like OSM's, who are fanatics about buildings and architecture. Our goal is to build a rich network of data on all kinds of structures - with photos, measurements, statistics, companies, etc. Because Phorio is heavily map-based, I look at OSM all day,.. so naturally I often find myself wanting to improve it.
Originally my edits were focused on building footprints in downtown Chicago and my neighborhood. However, after a few months I lost interest because OSM began importing Chicago building footprints, making this work potentially wasted. This was not a bad thing, in my opinion. I could never finish the job myself, nor do I want to wait 20 years to see it happen. Since then I've focused on other improvements, hoping to get the Chicago area into prime shape on OSM.
I like making large edits that are highly visible (forest preserves, parks, cemeteries, schools, shopping malls, landuses), but I always end up micromapping within & around these macro features, and fixing up errors like misaligned streets. I've worked all over Chicagoland, but my most intense work has been in these places:
- South Side lakefront neighborhoods of Chicago
- Riverside, Brookfield, etc.
- Evanston, Skokie, & surroundings
- Downtown Chicago (mainly building footprints)
I invite you to check out Phorio to see how a parallel community is creating a queryable database of architecture. In the future I believe the two projects will complement each other very well; I realize that OSM also collects building data, but Phorio provides a structured system with a lot more fields, clear standardization, photographs, company details, and contact points. The Phorio website will also provide many fun tools for browsing through cities and sharing built objects across multiple platforms.