Microgrants/Microgrants 2020/Proposal/Potlatch 2 for desktop

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15:42, 18 August 2020 (UTC)

Potlatch 2 as a desktop app
Adapting Potlatch 2 to the AIR platform so it can run beyond the end of Flash Player support
budget (Euro)2500
location(s)the storied OSM location of Charlbury, UK
contact(s)• richard@systemeD.net

About your Mapping Community

Tell us a little bit about your mapping community at the moment, some examples of details to include are below, but please provide us with any information you think is relevant. Please write 100-200 words

Potlatch 2 is OpenStreetMap editing software, one of just a few able to edit the full gamut of OSM data. Potlatch (in versions 1 and 2) was the default editor on openstreetmap.org between 2007 and 2013, and has continued to be hosted on osm.org as an option since then. Though iD (a project initiated by me in 2012) is a more suitable choice for new users, P2 retains a significant number of dedicated users, including some of OSM's most active contributors. It remains the approximately the third most popular full editor, jointly with Vespucci and Go Map. It continues to have features not available in other editors, and a user interface that for many tasks is more efficient.

What do you need the grant money for?

We want to understand what you plan to buy, how much you plan to buy, and why this will help you to scale your community mapping efforts. There are two tables for you to fill in your response, and you may add more rows as needed. Some examples are in the table for your reference. You are welcome to use a different format in your response, but please make sure to include these details.

Flash Player will be disabled in browsers at the end of 2020, making it impossible to run Potlatch 2. I would like to be able to continue to support existing users; to continue to update P2 as OSM data structures change (most recently, changes to trackpoint ordering and to multipolygons); and to have the opportunity to enhance P2 with new and improved features.

This will require reworking P2 as a desktop application using the AIR framework. AIR is a desktop runtime for ActionScript applications and continues to be actively developed and supported by Harman, a Samsung subsidiary. The result will be a version of Potlatch 2 that can be run on Mac and Windows laptops (Linux is a prime aim but not 100% guaranteed due to AIR limitations).

I've made a start on this and have a basic running prototype, but to have a reliable, appealing and performant editor, and one that is capable of further sustainable development, around five days' work will be needed. All my Potlatch 2 development for the last 10 years has been entirely unfunded, but this is likely to be the single greatest piece of development work required for many years and I cannot realistically dedicate the time required for such a major piece of work without some funding.

Budget breakdown

Give your budget breakdown here. If you would like to present your budget in a tabular format, you can use this tool to convert your spreadsheet into a wikitable and paste the code below here

Estimated five days' work at €500/day.

If you receive a grant, what do you aim to achieve?

It is recommended that this supports mission of the OSM Foundation and your local community. Please provide us with any information you think is relevant including the metrics you expect to achieve. Please write 100-200 words.

Writing full-featured OSM editing software is exceptionally complex and there are only five codebases that support it (JOSM, Potlatch 2, iD, Vespucci, Go Map). Each editor has its own "steer" and no single one is suitable for every use case. Enabling P2 to continue will support those active mappers who prefer it, as well as ensuring the codebase can evolve to meet new mapping challenges.

Do you receive funding from any other sources at the moment?

If you receive funding from other organisations currently, please state how much this is, whether the donations are regular or one off, and how these funds have been raised. Please write no more than 300 words. If you have any sources of co-funding for this grant application, please provide details. Examples of this might be if you have any partners who would be willing to match grant funding if you receive it, or if your project has existing funding. Please provide as much detail as possible.

I have never received any funding to develop Potlatch 2.

Is there anything you would like OSMF to support you with?

If there is anything which you would like OSMF to support you with in order to strengthen your project, please let us know. For example, this could include building relationships with OSM communities, sourcing updated imagery for mapping projects, or guidance on how to use some of the tools we have created. We want to do our best to support OSM communities, so please let us know what you need. Please write no more than 150 words.

No further support requested.


By submitting this form to the OpenStreetMap Foundation, you certify the information contained in this application is correct, and that if you are awarded a grant, you will use it only for the purposes described above. You will provide written documentation and receipts for all of your expenses to the OSM Foundation to demonstrate this. You understand that the decisions made by the OSM Foundation Microgrants committee are final.

Richard Fairhurst (user: Richard)


Community members are encouraged to endorse your project request here!

  • I endorse this proposal. Potlatch 2 is for my type of mapping the most productive editor. It has the best balance between features and learning curve compared to other editors. User:BikePC
  • I endorse this proposal. Potlatch 2 still has its place as an editor of OpenStreetMap data, and this small investment compared to other editors will allow us to leverage the existing codebase into the future. Pnorman (talk) 20:08, 10 May 2020 (UTC)
  • I endorse this proposal. Having tried iD and JOSM I always returned to Potlatch 2 because it allows an extremely efficient work flow especially when doing "landscape-painting" , i. e. creating and editing landuse-objects and highways. The mouse-click - keyboard interface is really awesome! Geofalke
  • I endorse this proposal. – Craig Allan : Yup. I support this.
  • I support this proposal. It is a good idea to avoid monopolies of various kinds. Editor programs are critical for OSM and this requires a small investment Mateusz Konieczny (talk) 23:17, 16 May 2020 (UTC)
  • I endorse this proposal. It would be a good idea to have another desktop editor besides JOSM. Adamant1 (talk) 00:49, 21 May 2020 (UTC)
  • I endorse this proposal. I totally agree with the comments above. SviMik (talk) 02:37, 21 May 2020 (UTC)
  • I endorse this proposal. Potlatch 2 still has its place in the spectrum of OSM editors and any support that can be provided to migrate this to a more sustainable platform is very much welcome. —seav (talk) 04:56, 21 May 2020 (UTC)
  • I endorse this proposal. We've only just seen this, but endorse this proposal and agree with the comments above. —CycleStreets (talk) 09:32, 18 Jun 2020 (UTC)
  • I endorse this proposal. Still an essential part of OSM. Smb1001 (talk) 10:21, 18 June 2020 (UTC)
  • I endorse this proposal. The learning curve for other editors is not something I relish after 10 years of Potlatch2. Please find a way to keep it working after 2020. RussMcD 20:55, 18 July 2020 (UTC)
  • I endorse this proposal. Potlatch2 is the most efficient tool for my type of mapping - adding new highways und topographic features oder editing them after long linear walks or bicycle tours. A migration would be most welcome because I never felt at ease with JOSM or iD, the first one being too sophisticated, the other one too paternalistic. Pfad-Finder
  • I endorse this proposal. As I said over at Talk:Microgrants/Microgrants_2020/Proposal/Potlatch_2_for_desktop#Clarification, GPX waypoint support in P2 is significantly better than in other editors. SomeoneElse (talk) 10:39, 2 August 2020 (UTC)
  • I endorse this proposal. Agree with others here: I use other editors for specific types of work (e.g., JOSM for complex buildings, iD for solar power), but I still find Potlatch the most convenient desktop editor, with a UI which suits me personally better than other editors. Potlatch has some nifty features which I find invaluable ("r" keypress for retrieving last used tags is great when tweaking residential road networks; "h" more quickly making multipolygons; the tasks option allows one to step backward through the task list; particularly useful if one is too hasty discarding a task item - in JOSM they're gone for good). SK53 (talk) 12:44, 2 August 2020 (UTC)
  • I endorse this proposal. As stated on the forum, PotLatch is perfect for the kind of editing I do. If it stops being available, then so will my contributions; or a "look-and-feel-alike" should become available, of course. Which is what I expect of Potlatch 3 - it will have to be a rewrite, to a large extent. Jan olieslagers (talk) 19:06, 2 August 2020 (UTC)
  • I endorse this proposal. Though I'm more of a JOSM user nowadays, I used Potlatch 2 as part of my OpenStreetMap experience and I hope that other functions such as way and node undeletion will be part of a revamped P2. -Ianlopez1115 (talk) 10:44, 5 August 2020 (UTC)
  • I endorse this proposal. Potlatch is the best editor for most work, I generally only turn to JOSM to edit ordered relation members (PT v2). Hoping it can continue to work on Linux. Cebderby 15:42, 18 August 2020 (UTC)
  • I endorse this proposal. Potlatch is the best editor for me, because JOSM is far to complicated to be used by a mapper like me. [[User:tracker51|-Tracker51 (talk) 01:15, 24 August 2020 (UTC)]]
  • I endorse this proposal. Potlatch is the best editor for most work, I generally only turn to JOSM to edit ordered relation members (PT v2). Hoping it can continue to work on Linux. Cebderby
  • I endorse this proposal. The ease with which I can copy attributes, view edit histories of ways, and edit over larger distances in thinly populated regions, plus the WYSIWYG interface, is not found in other editors. I think that the funding is money well spent, because it will enable hundreds of experienced hobby mappers to spend their sparse free time for contributing, rather than for searching special options in the other editors. I look forward to see a fresh Potlatch3 with non-deprecated tags for power plants. Pittrichimica 11:57, 1 September 2020
  • I endorse this proposal. I find Potlatch 2 easier than iD for most of what I do on the desktop. I'd like to see undeletion of ways and reverts to previous versions made available (as they are in Potlatch 1) Jpennycook (talk) 21:04, 13 October 2020 (UTC)