There is a huge gap between passive and active OSM users. In most regions, the map is maintained by a small number of users. Not everyone who intends to improve the map is capable of doing so. OpenStreetMap editors require a learning curve, as editing a map is not intuitive.
However, there seems to be a much broader willingness to improve the map through the feedback channel. The GPS turn-by-turn navigation skobbler receives up to 1.000 suggestions for improvement per day. We have seized this suggestion and extended the skobbler feedback channel to an independent bug tool for the OpenStreetMap community: MapDust.com – a state-of the art bug tool.
Bugs can be accessed through the Geo-RSS feed and the MapDust JOSM plug-in
The integration of the feedback channel has significantly simplified providing bug reports for the consumer. The number of incoming suggestions was overwhelming, even if not all of the reports have been helpful or relevant. To date, the feedback channel has been focused on the consumer, and that this why many of the bug reports “got stuck in the channel”.
We are now working on the other – the mapper’s part – to create a Geo-RSS feed and a JOSM plug-in to distribute the bug reports to the location where they can be processed.
Why create a new tool if similar solutions exist?
We have seen that OpenStreetMap editors are very advanced. However, the tools for consumers to provide input have been neglected. Great editors like JOSM and Potlatch (2) exist as well as tools like the OSM Inspector. We want to provide a system where more input and contributions are received from people who only contribute on an occasional basis.
Filter allows a selective approach towards bug types
We simply wanted to increase the number of contributions by designing a slick and lean user interface. We see enormous potential to improve the map in many different aspects such as bus stops and house numbers.
We have received comments that the skobbler feedback channel contained bugs that are only very selectively relevant. Therefore, with the integration of filters, one can hide bugs that are not of interest.
The Geo-RSS feed
You can submit suggestions and change requests for a specific region by selecting the desired map view, setting the filters and pressing the “subscribe RSS feed” button.
Once subscribed, you are provided all new bugs that match the selected region and filters. Each feed post contains a small map view and the corresponding data as well as links to open the bugs directly in the JOSM or Potlatch editors.
The wish list
Most of the MapDust features have been documented in the Wiki. We have also included a section entitled “wish list”. If there is anything you would like to see changed or added, please add your request to the wish list.
We wish you a happy 2011 and happy bug fixing!
Your skobbler Team