Board meeting 2019-08-05

2019, Minutes


  • Rob
  • Gareth
  • Steve
  • Jez (Joined during agenda item 1)
  • Adam (Joined after 35 minutes)
  • Martin (guest, for first 35 minutes)

Update from Martin on TfL Cycle Infrastructure Database work:

As a reminder CycleStreets (with Martin as their lead contact on this) picked up work via the Talent Directory to support Transport for London in investigating how to make best use of the Cycle Infrastructure Database. TfL were keen to see it added to OSM as many cycle apps and websites use OSM data. They also wanted to explore options for keeping the data up to date.

The project has 6 tasks:

  1. Establish a mapping between the CID schema and geography types and the OpenStreetMap tagging system and geography types.

Lots of data of use to OSM. Some may not be. For example cycle lanes and parking of use, whereas signage and signals are maybe off less use and are typically not in OSM. In OSM we would translate this into information on a way. Note also that in the TfL data the signage information is usually also captured somewhere else in the data (e.g. a “No cycling sign” is also represented as a nearby “Restricted route”).

Martin feels it is very unlikely that OSM could be used as the definitive source of the data, even if fully merged in, as OSM does not support all the data types and attributes in the CID, e.g. signage pole locations. Where such missing types/attributes could be added, it seems unlikely that mappers would have significant interest in conflating/maintaining them. To some extent regrettably, this is likely to mean that TfL maintain a separate database and OSM/TfL would need to deal with conflation both directions.

Recent data enhancements by TfL means Martin has to do a bit more on the mapping across of tags from CID attributes/structures. He is expecting to complete it this week and when finished he will publish to OSM community (likely with a web page with examples at a later date).

Martin would like our help in asking for feedback on the tagging proposal.

  1. Review the TfL open data licence and provide recommendations on licence compatibility with OpenStreetMap in regards to adding the CID data into OpenStreetMap.

An update on this was posted to talk-gb last week and very little to add at this stage. Confirmation that Geomni/UKMap don’t consider themselves having any rights in the data.

Martin has emailed all the info to OSMF’s LWG and is waiting for an answer.

[EDIT: Since the telephone call, confirmation has now been received, and circulated to talk-gb. This is good news.]
  1. Identify options (e.g. tools, other arrangements) whereby TfL can utilise crowdsourcing to keep the CID up to date without introducing licence restrictions which are incompatible with their own open data licence.

In parallel to the Talent Directory project to answer this question TfL have launched a crowdsourcing project with London Cycling Campaign (LCC) members. The LCC project described as a short term solution lasting only 12 months so TfL will still be interested in long term solutions.

LCC asked Martin/CycleStreets to create a site and Martin has worked to ensure changes are made with future-proofing of OSM compatible in mind.

Martin noted that unless TfL want to spend money parallel collecting data they may just have to accept the OSM licence for any downstream uses if a future method of maintenance would involve the OSM community in some way to help keep the data up to date. Ultimately this would be a business decision for TfL.

  1. Undertake a comprehensive review of existing specialist OpenStreetMap data import (conflation) and data collection/data update tools. Provide recommendations as to which tool(s) are most suitable and whether any further tool development is required.

… and…

  1. If further tool development is required, outline the scope and engage with the relevant parties to provide TfL an estimate of the range of potential cost.

Martin still has work to complete in this section having spent time on the LCC project (as a TfL priority). Given that the LCC work is nearing an end, TfL and Martin are seeking to get the report finalised. Within the next few weeks.

Martin is aware of a few options (JOSM, P2 tool, etc) but welcomes information on any tools available or in development. Gareth suggested Martin look at the recent NapTaN imports and Rob suggested trying the OSM US Slack group as that community may have experiences worth sharing.

  1. Commence community engagement and report initial findings to TfL. In particular, is the OpenStreetMap community supportive of the data being added and are they likely to engage with the process of adding and maintaining the data? This will give TfL a better view how to proceed (e.g. is it worth proceeding to tool development and will the tools be used by the community or should TfL plan for the tools to be used by paid mappers?).

A few comments but more welcomed. Expect a few more when the tagging guidelines are published. Would like OSMUK’s support in encouraging people to review these.

2019/2020 Strategy:

Adam joined at this point.

We have the results from the dot vote. Clear priority seems to be related to promoting/lobbying.

Rob discussed concerns with the lobbying proposal. This included the large amount of time it takes to undertake this sort of work – even single business contacts take a long time to complete (multiple follow ups). Another concern is that we can spend a lot of time to get a company interested in OSM, they get started but face opposition from others who have not been involved in the work (not helped by everyone having different opinions of the threshold to hit to be part of OSM). One idea was to create a support group of trusted OSM members to help with the business lobbying and answering business questions.

Gareth pointed out that there are two cases: encouraging more companies to use OSM, and encouraging more companies to contribute.

Can we partner with others on this such as Wikimedia UK?

On tagging guidelines this may become easier when the UK wiki pages are more up to date.

Should we have a quarterly project on updating the wiki? Jez: not solely on updating the wiki, better to have a wiki angle on each QP.

The micro grant program picked up a few votes. What can we do there? Do we tie it with the other ideas? Depending on what it is it may or may not work?

If we want companies to talk to us we want to make sure the talent directory is set up ready for it.

Could get Gareth to take a look at the talent directory to see what else we want from it.

We agreed to take the top 10 tasks forward, noting that as a whole they can been seen as inter-related. In particular they form the journey of a businesses involvement in OSM (get them interested, guide them through tagging, point them to the talent directory, etc).

The topics we will look at are therefore:

  1. Use the quarterly projects to partner with another organisation to leverage their membership/supporters.
  2. Pursue a role as a lobby group. That is, getting OSM on the radar of large organisations.
  3. Proactive outreach to businesses, organisations and academia to show them a front door to using and contributing to OSM.
  4. Enhance / nurture the Talent Directory.
  5. Help shape tagging guidelines.
  6. Develop guidelines to work out when OSM UK should and should not support a mechanical edit / data import.
  7. A micro-grant programme to support those who want to help us grow the community via talks, workshops, etc.
  8. Focus on map fixes (e.g. a quarterly project on Notes, Fixmes).
  9. Assist with conflating TfL Cycle Infrastructure Data into OSM.
  10. Create a budget.

Of these, items 2 and 3 are effectively the same thing (Rob apologises for duplicating them) so can be merged.

By taking these forward we are not discounting the other topics. We are just saying that we won’t proactively start them. OSM community members are free to pick them up and get them started. OSM UK board can review and support after work has started. The example here being the plan to have a mapping weekend. If someone starts it and puts a worked up proposal together we can support to get it finalised.


Rob to message Brian re registering new directors.


End: 20:48