State of the Map 2013 – World Open Street Map Conference Day 2

Fascinating day.

Main points:

– any crowd-sourced project sucha s OSM reflects the “crowd”. that is, when mapping people map what interests them and what they feel an association with. The ratio of men to women on OSM, in fact on any open project, is very much biased towards men and so it follows that the objects mapped are predominantly those that interest men. This even goes as far as creating a bias towards men with issues such as which tags to adopt etc.

If we want a map that truly reflects the community as a whole then we need to map without the bias and prejudices that naturally exists between disparate groups and that means we need to embrace diversity and encourage contribution and involvement from all sub-groups.

We need more women involved with OSM!

– crowd-sourced projects such as OSM work well with small groups, often local to each other.

– data imports can seriously corrupt existing data if not very carefully and responsibly managed and this can disinfranchise valued editors if their hard work is just trashed and run rough-shod. Imports can be benefitial but need to be designed and dealt with carefully and ideally with the significant involvement of the wider OSM community.

This concept is a valuable lesson with other open-data, crowd-sourced projects (e.g. Open Charge map).

– If you want to be involved with OSM then the maillists are a great way to stay in touch.

– don’t be shy with OSM. Get involved, start editing and have a go. There is a lot of help available and whilst you wouldn’t want to be damaging existing data (don’t go changing existing data at first perhaps) pick an area where the data does not exist and add it. Others will correct it if it is wrong or else you can always go back and edit it yourself once you know more.

That is it for now. 🙂

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