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Groundspeak donation to OpenStreetMap


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Now that Groundspeak have switched the Geocaching maps from a commercial service (Google) to a Community One run by volunteers (OpenStreetMap), I do hope that some form of donation has been made towards the service from Groundspeak.

 

I know there is talk of our own tile server but as we're now effectively using a not-for-profit foundation to drive our maps I think that it's fair, nay required that we give them something back in return.

 

Andy

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I don't know about Geocaching/Groundspeak, but I plan on contributing (donating my time, if you prefer) by filling in a few missing trails here and there close to where I live. That's one thing I like about the move to Openstreetmap, that the community can work to make it better/more accurate. Even the "sacrosanct" Google maps are missing a lot of this sort of detail.

Edited by ZombieDragonfly
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Now that Groundspeak have switched the Geocaching maps from a commercial service (Google) to a Community One run by volunteers (OpenStreetMap), I do hope that some form of donation has been made towards the service from Groundspeak.

 

They have switched from google as default to mapquest (not OSM) as default on the personalized geocaching maps. OSM could be used by selecting OSM before and after yesterday's release. There has not been changed anything in this regard. What might and most likely will have changed is only the number of users who now use OSM because they prefer it to mapquest.

 

If OSM realizes that they suffer from a high load, they should contact Groundspeak anyway. It is pretty clear that no map service ever can tolerate the dramatically increasing traffic the exploding number of geocachers is creating with their stupid demand for viewing the personalized dynamic maps showing all caches and not a single one that frequently. 2 million accesses per day is a whole lot and this number quickly increases from month to month.

 

The advantage with respect to OSM might be that Groundspeak could build up its own map server over the time and use the OSM data, but provide them on their own map server.

This will not be possible with Google data.

 

Cezanne

Edited by cezanne
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Now that Groundspeak have switched the Geocaching maps from a commercial service (Google) to a Community One run by volunteers (OpenStreetMap), I do hope that some form of donation has been made towards the service from Groundspeak.

 

They have switched from google as default to mapquest (not OSM) as default on the personalized geocaching maps. OSM could be used by selecting OSM before and after yesterday's release. There has not been changed anything in this regard. What might and most likely will have changed is only the number of users who now use OSM because they prefer it to mapquest.

Cezanne

 

I have to wonder how many geocachers become more aware about OpenStreetMaps (even though there was a link on every cache page and it was an optional basemap prior to yesterdays release) due to the decision to use Mapquest as the default layer.

 

So far I don't think I've seen anyone mention the OpenCloud maps. I do a fair amount of work with GIS based systems and had never heard of OpenCloud so I looked it up. Apparently they're a commercial enterprise that is using OpenStreetMap data. They claim to add other datasets from various sources. From what I can tell by comparing the OSM maps with the Cloudmade maps the latter has a bunch of additional icons for what appear to be restaurants, hospitals, schools, etc. (but there is no index to the icons, nor are they selectable or in anyway identifiable). I have no idea what sort of agreement GS might have with Cloudmade but since nobody seems to have mentioned the CM maps, if GS is paying for them I imagine that quite a few cachers would rather they spent the money on a useful aeriel photo base map layer.

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Okay, OpenStreetMaps is an open source mapping solution that' is already used by many people and geocachers of course.

But using it on the geocaching.com site as first choice map? That's a mistake I think.

Not even all roads are pointed out on those maps. I live in an area where there are many streets who lay here for over 30 years already and yet aren't on the OpenStreetMaps.

So I ask myself the question: how can you point out a route on such a map if it isn't even accurate for the past 30 years???

It's a pity that Groundspeak couldn't find any other solution with Google Maps.

So ... about that donating to OpenStreetMaps ... I don't know. I think that first they have to talk about all problems that we have right now by switching to that choice.

If they can clear out all problems or they can promise to work on it, then a donation is at in place.

But if everything stays the same, like it works today, then don't bother to contribute.

 

Of course ... when Groundspeak has to invest in mapping software or sites like OpenStreetMap,

then we can all expect that memberships are going to get more expensive with time, don't you think?

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Okay, OpenStreetMaps is an open source mapping solution that' is already used by many people and geocachers of course.

But using it on the geocaching.com site as first choice map? That's a mistake I think.

 

Mapquest is the default map. At least for me.

 

Yep, Mapquest is andere the bedankt map. But with that one there are loading issues when you start to zoom in and out and scroll with the map.

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Not even all roads are pointed out on [OpenStreetMap]. I live in an area where there are many streets who lay here for over 30 years already and yet aren't on the OpenStreetMaps.

Guess what? That's the great thing about OpenStreetMaps. You can edit them, just like a wiki.

Here's the Beginner's Guide on how to do that.

 

I wasn't familiar with that part of OpenStreetMaps. Thanks a lot for the info. :grin:

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Most people are probably not aware of the Mapquest/OSM partnership that was formed a year or two ago. Gathering the underlying data required to build and maintain maps on a global scale is crazy expensive. It requires a staggering commitment of money, time, resources, licensing... it is mind boggling how much a company like google has to invest to make streetview a reality, for instance.

 

AOL, who owns Mapquest, has been exploring the idea of getting out of that part of the business by making OSM their underlying map. They found that the OSM maps weren't up to a level they needed yet, so they made some major investments in OSM, and sponsor a number of large projects meant to improve the quality and quantity of OSM map data. The goal is that over the next few years, the OSM maps evolve into such a level of completeness that they will at some point surpass the existing Mapquest sources, at which time Mapquest will switch over. I think Mapquest has accepted that there's no future in competing with Bing or Google as commercial map content creators, both of those companies probably spend more in annual parking lot maintenance alone than Mapquest's total revenue.

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Not even all roads are pointed out on [OpenStreetMap]. I live in an area where there are many streets who lay here for over 30 years already and yet aren't on the OpenStreetMaps.

Guess what? That's the great thing about OpenStreetMaps. You can edit them, just like a wiki.

Here's the Beginner's Guide on how to do that.

Yeah, if you want a new hobby. I took a track yesterday of a new road, thinking I'd help out by taking a track of it. So, with my GPS track on, I drove the new road. Got home to upload it, found I needed to create an account. I did that, but still couldn't upload. I had to wait for the account to be approved. Fair enough, I did that. Went back once my account got approved and uploaded my track. Tried to view it, but it wasn't there (I now know why) so I uploaded it again. Then I learned that the track had to be approved before I could do anything with it. So I waited some more. Eventually I received an email stating that neither track was approved because they lacked timestamps. They linked to an FAQ. The FAQ pointed out a solution... but first, I'd need to download some software and learn how to use it.

 

I left.

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Yeah, if you want a new hobby. I took a track yesterday of a new road, thinking I'd help out by taking a track of it. So, with my GPS track on, I drove the new road. Got home to upload it, found I needed to create an account. I did that, but still couldn't upload. I had to wait for the account to be approved. Fair enough, I did that. Went back once my account got approved and uploaded my track. Tried to view it, but it wasn't there (I now know why) so I uploaded it again. Then I learned that the track had to be approved before I could do anything with it. So I waited some more. Eventually I received an email stating that neither track was approved because they lacked timestamps. They linked to an FAQ. The FAQ pointed out a solution... but first, I'd need to download some software and learn how to use it.

 

I left.

I used Potlatch to add some foot trails in my neighborhood. I drew them on with the little thing that resembles the pen tool in Photoshop and they showed up as soon as I saved.

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I'm slowly mapping our entire town. Footpaths, canals, roads, landuse, establishments, ect. It's really simple! I usually look at the Geocaching site, decide what geocachers would want to know, and then spend a few moments mapping it. I spend 10 minutes a day, and it will eventually be complete (for the time being).

 

-Tracker-

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After learning how easy it is to make basic changes, I began correcting and adding in the area at and around my caches. I figured these would be the most useful for other cachers. It doesn't take long to make at least the areas near your caches decent. For two of the areas, I have included the walking/biking paths and other local amenities. I doubt it will ever be as polished as the Google maps, but it is a huge improvement.

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Yeah, if you want a new hobby. I took a track yesterday of a new road, thinking I'd help out by taking a track of it. So, with my GPS track on, I drove the new road. Got home to upload it, found I needed to create an account. I did that, but still couldn't upload. I had to wait for the account to be approved. Fair enough, I did that. Went back once my account got approved and uploaded my track. Tried to view it, but it wasn't there (I now know why) so I uploaded it again. Then I learned that the track had to be approved before I could do anything with it. So I waited some more. Eventually I received an email stating that neither track was approved because they lacked timestamps. They linked to an FAQ. The FAQ pointed out a solution... but first, I'd need to download some software and learn how to use it.

 

I left.

I used Potlatch to add some foot trails in my neighborhood. I drew them on with the little thing that resembles the pen tool in Photoshop and they showed up as soon as I saved.

This.

 

And I hope to God I don't see raw tracklogs uploaded to OSM for areas with simple trails and roads, for example... :P

IMO, the best way is to take the tracklogs, then manually add them. It's not hard nor time consuming, unless you're tracking entire neighborhoods or towns with numerous track types... I do feel for people who live in towns with near zero OSM coverage, though. That could be a lot of work.

In those cases taking track logs, then optimizing them (removing unnecessary points and whatnot) before uploading to OSM may be the best route. But if you're helping on that level, then it should be worth going through the hassle of the software downloads and all that.

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Most people are probably not aware of the Mapquest/OSM partnership that was formed a year or two ago.

 

I also found it interesting that cloudMade, one of the other map sources included in the latest release also uses OSM as their primary base map layer then adds features from some additional data sources. CloudMade is also a commercial enterprise but it's not clear what sort of agreement, if any, Groundspeak has with them, and more importantly if they're paying CloudMade for their mapping services.

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Yeah, if you want a new hobby. I took a track yesterday of a new road, thinking I'd help out by taking a track of it.

...

I left.

I have no idea of what you are talking about.

Go here http://www.openstreetmap.org/ create an account and start editing...

 

I explained what I was talking about. You snipped it in your quote. Perhaps there are easier ways that I haven't learned yet, but below is why I said what I did.

 

I

took a track yesterday of a new road, thinking I'd help out by taking a track of it. So, with my GPS track on, I drove the new road. Got home to upload it, found I needed to create an account. I did that, but still couldn't upload. I had to wait for the account to be approved. Fair enough, I did that. Went back once my account got approved and uploaded my track. Tried to view it, but it wasn't there (I now know why) so I uploaded it again. Then I learned that the track had to be approved before I could do anything with it. So I waited some more. Eventually I received an email stating that neither track was approved because they lacked timestamps. They linked to an FAQ. The FAQ pointed out a solution... but first, I'd need to download some software and learn how to use it.
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Yeah, if you want a new hobby. I took a track yesterday of a new road, thinking I'd help out by taking a track of it.

...

I left.

I have no idea of what you are talking about.

Go here http://www.openstreetmap.org/ create an account and start editing...

 

I explained what I was talking about. You snipped it in your quote. Perhaps there are easier ways that I haven't learned yet, but below is why I said what I did.

1. Create an account (there was no approval process for me beyond clicking a confirmation link, I used my OpenID account)

2. Move the map to an area you're familiar with

3. Click Edit

4. Start drawing & dropping POIs on the map

 

I did this last night, my first time ever even going to the website. It was truly that easy. The trail I was editing (adding sections) is clearly visible from the aerial imagery, so all I had to do was trace. Zero approvals; within 5 minutes, my edits appeared on the gc.com maps.

 

You don't haveto use a track in all cases. Your example appeared to be intentionally difficult.

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dakboy, the point is more applicable in cases where no imagery or map yet exists. You can't "trace" what doesn't exist. So in those cases, taking a GPS track log is the most viable option. But it means inherently that it's more work getting to the point of being able to submit data, than just signing up jumping in to manual edit mode.

Edited by thebruce0
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1. Create an account (there was no approval process for me beyond clicking a confirmation link, I used my OpenID account)

2. Move the map to an area you're familiar with

3. Click Edit

4. Start drawing & dropping POIs on the map

 

I did this last night, my first time ever even going to the website. It was truly that easy. The trail I was editing (adding sections) is clearly visible from the aerial imagery, so all I had to do was trace. Zero approvals; within 5 minutes, my edits appeared on the gc.com maps.

 

You don't haveto use a track in all cases. Your example appeared to be intentionally difficult.

Thanks for the description. I guess there are many ways of doing this depending on what needs to be done. I feel encouraged now to give it a try.

Edited by Chrysalides
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I will start by saying my husband, the other half of Team LegoMINI, disagrees with me and thinks the OSM concept is pretty cool. :)

 

But I just don't get it with OSM. People keep saying it's really wonderful because anybody can edit the maps and add new roads, etc. Really, that's a selling point? I want just anybody to be able to draw on the map and suddenly that's my new route? No thanks. I'd rather leave it to professional surveyors and the like.

 

I looked at my neighborhood and while all the streets are there, several are not named and many are in the wrong spot (for example, a street that in reality branches off in the middle of one road, shows on OSM as branching off almost at the end of the road instead). Yes, as my husband pointed out, I can change it myself. But then someone else might come along and think I'M wrong and change it back. Or change it to something else entirely.

 

Regardless, I don't use the maps that often anyway since I use my phone for 90% of my geocaching. I just am finding the whole concept difficult to accept.

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I'd rather leave it to professional surveyors and the like.

Which is fine, provided you're willing to pay for the maps, and that the professional surveyors survey your area.

 

Ideally, we should pay professional surveyors to map the area we're interested in. Sadly, not many of us are Bill Gates or Warren Buffets.

 

Crowd sourcing is a great concept and fantastic - when it works. Wikipedia works very well (most of the time). Unfortunate, there will always be the well-meaning but ignorant, and the malicious pranksters.

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But I just don't get it with OSM. People keep saying it's really wonderful because anybody can edit the maps and add new roads, etc. Really, that's a selling point? I want just anybody to be able to draw on the map and suddenly that's my new route? No thanks. I'd rather leave it to professional surveyors and the like.

 

We could get into a whole debate about this, but take it from someone actively involved in mapping. There is no comparison, crowd-sourced mapping distantly outperforms professional mapping by such a wide margin that no one even talks about it any more. In my metro area, I am hundreds of times more likely to be misrouted by the streets on a professional website than I am to be misrouted by a bike trail on OSM.

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Yeah, if you want a new hobby. I took a track yesterday of a new road, thinking I'd help out by taking a track of it.

...

I left.

I have no idea of what you are talking about.

Go here http://www.openstreetmap.org/ create an account and start editing...

 

I explained what I was talking about. You snipped it in your quote. Perhaps there are easier ways that I haven't learned yet, but below is why I said what I did.

1. Create an account (there was no approval process for me beyond clicking a confirmation link, I used my OpenID account)

2. Move the map to an area you're familiar with

3. Click Edit

4. Start drawing & dropping POIs on the map

 

I did this last night, my first time ever even going to the website. It was truly that easy. The trail I was editing (adding sections) is clearly visible from the aerial imagery, so all I had to do was trace. Zero approvals; within 5 minutes, my edits appeared on the gc.com maps.

 

You don't haveto use a track in all cases. Your example appeared to be intentionally difficult.

 

My example was not intentionally difficult. My example is what happened to me. Besides, I was trying to add a new road, not a trail that is visible from aerial imagery. Glad your experience was easy. Mine was not.

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But I just don't get it with OSM. People keep saying it's really wonderful because anybody can edit the maps and add new roads, etc. Really, that's a selling point? I want just anybody to be able to draw on the map and suddenly that's my new route? No thanks. I'd rather leave it to professional surveyors and the like.

 

Have oyu ever used Wikipedia? How is OSM significantly different?

 

I looked at my neighborhood and while all the streets are there, several are not named and many are in the wrong spot (for example, a street that in reality branches off in the middle of one road, shows on OSM as branching off almost at the end of the road instead). Yes, as my husband pointed out, I can change it myself. But then someone else might come along and think I'M wrong and change it back. Or change it to something else entirely.

 

But your corrections are easily verifiable. Does the street branch in the middle, or the end? Go outside, take a look, there's your answer. It's not exactly a subjective evaluation here.

 

Regardless, I don't use the maps that often anyway since I use my phone for 90% of my geocaching.

 

And where does your phone get its data from? How do you know that Google is right (I've found places where it's not)?

 

I just am finding the whole concept difficult to accept.

 

As I mentioned above, if you're having difficulty accepting the OSM concept, you best write off Wikipedia as well, as they're very similar.

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In my metro area, I am hundreds of times more likely to be misrouted by the streets on a professional website than I am to be misrouted by a bike trail on OSM.

 

So-called "professional" maps loaded into multiple brands of auto GPS devices (both factory built-in (from 2 different car makers) and standalone (TomTom, Magellan, and NavMan)) are completely lost as to the location of my parents' house. It's a typical suburban subdivision that's been there for 50 years - we're not talking about brand-new roads & construction here. Plug in their address and it puts you at the far end of the street. To get the actual house location, you have to punch in that it's house #99 - yet there are fewer than 2 dozen houses on the street, they start at #1, and they're sequentially numbered.

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Have oyu ever used Wikipedia? How is OSM significantly different?

 

I have used Wikipedia for irrelevant, fluffy info like who's the lead singer of a certain band or the like. I do NOT use it for hard facts on important things, and I will be teaching my kids not to use it as a primary source for any of their research.

 

 

As I mentioned above, if you're having difficulty accepting the OSM concept, you best write off Wikipedia as well, as they're very similar.

 

Exactly my point. I'm sure there is value to OSM and perhaps someday I'll come around. I tend to be a skeptic first about anything new. Like I said, I'm just having difficulty right now accepting the concept of anybody and everybody editing maps. :)

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I'm sure there is value to OSM and perhaps someday I'll come around. I tend to be a skeptic first about anything new. Like I said, I'm just having difficulty right now accepting the concept of anybody and everybody editing maps. :)

 

I just tried the OSM editting yesterday. Certainly I can see why some get frustrated on the early tries. I am starting to get the hang of the Potlach method finally. There certainly could be some 'UI' improvements.

 

Perhaps the real value of such a project is in learning HOW to work in a community environment as part of a group. I played with a team in the DARPA balloon challenge, and contributed in last years Dodge Journey Contest, both online cooperative efforts in fact.

I bet the next ones are really challenging, the results were quite interesting as to how the process was conducted. Way beyond what the organizers (perhaps not the DARPA organizers) expected for sure.

 

Anyway, the only way such a massive undertaking as 'user' mapping of the world will succeed is that people have to do their best to ensure that what they offer is true and accurate. I'm not sure why there are so many errors in our local maps, but multiple source errors are likely. Even the preferred Google maps are full of them locally, so it isn't just a OSM thing. It just means that there is a lot of bad information (as you said) on the web or other sources. That said, OSM has the user interface for editing, and there are lots of locals that know what should be there. I've already fixed a few Street Names for practice. Added a few items that I think would be important to visitors, Geocachers or not... I've not been on there long enough to figure out if there is a way to isolate information by layers or by subject. Obviously there is at the GC level. That is one area where improvements might be made IF it is not there. I didn't see that in my first efforts, but it might exist. I know that I have to revisit some of my 'corrections' to fix things that I misread or didn't understand clearly. That is another item that could improve a bit, but I could not find the information that I wanted/needed quickly at the time. Bad on me for not studying the help screens more, but THEY encourage people to jump in, don't they. Another item is that sometimes you get a chance to say what you did and why, sometimes NOT. I hope that some group of users are there to deal with differences of opinion as well, since you can't have ALL the information, right and wrong, displayed. That group would deal with 'house cleaning' and resolving conflicts by reviewing evidence.

 

As for why use OSM or other non Google product... I don't see that GC has said don't use them, I read it as don't use them as default maps because they are going to cost a lot. Why can't we rough out the area we want to view using the others, starting with what works well locally, then shift as needed to get local detail when needed. GC still provides aerial on the cache pages if needed.

 

For researching, the Internet as a whole should be taken with a grain of salt or many! Same goes for all media forms including printed material. Come to think of it, the best thing to teach the young is that they really have to consider what they read in any media in light of the source and topic. Even teaching texts have been found to be incorrect from time to time.

 

But community based corrections is a good experiment if they can get the methodology fine tuned. Truly BAD information will get weeded out and marked as such quickly. When you drive a road almost everyday, you KNOW when the name isn't correct, or even close.

 

Doug 7rxc

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For researching, the Internet as a whole should be taken with a grain of salt or many! Same goes for all media forms including printed material. Come to think of it, the best thing to teach the young is that they really have to consider what they read in any media in light of the source and topic. Even teaching texts have been found to be incorrect from time to time.

+1.

 

Some people, however, mistake not accepting any opposing viewpoints with having a healthy skepticism.

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I don't know why people are touting Wikipedia as a top information source on the web (comparing it to OSMs reliability of being edited).

 

In 98% of my university classes, Wikipedia is NOT accepted as a source of information. And if you try to use Wiki as a source you will get a huge grade deduction for not having a proper source. Professors recognize the unreliability of anyone on the Internet being able to edit the information. Wikipedia is basically useless as any kind of credible source in the academic world.

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I don't know why people are touting Wikipedia as a top information source on the web (comparing it to OSMs reliability of being edited).

 

In 98% of my university classes, Wikipedia is NOT accepted as a source of information. And if you try to use Wiki as a source you will get a huge grade deduction for not having a proper source. Professors recognize the unreliability of anyone on the Internet being able to edit the information. Wikipedia is basically useless as any kind of credible source in the academic world.

 

This is at once true, and absolutely false. I would be willing to bet that a HUGE majority of academic research starts with a review of Wikipedia, and then the student author drills down into the sources provided by wikipedia as a means of doing an initial canvas of topic material. This is EXACTLY what Wikipedia's founder intended. Wikipedia itself even prohibits original research, and asks that all material posted be from cited sources, allowing the reader to follow links to the original research and discern for themselves the credibility of the work. And that is all your professors are asking, is that you drill down into original research and discern validity for yourself, not simply quoting the wiki. To discount wikipedia's undeniable influence on academics, society, and culture, merely because wikipedia itself cannot be cited as a source is not being "intellectually honest."

 

I have used Wikipedia for irrelevant, fluffy info like who's the lead singer of a certain band or the like. I do NOT use it for hard facts on important things, and I will be teaching my kids not to use it as a primary source for any of their research.

I am teaching my kids differently. I am teaching my kids critical thinking skills that they will use to evaluate any source of data, whether it's Wikipedia or a peer-reviewed journal or whatever. I am not teaching mine to view a source they found via wikipedia any differently than a source they found through other means. It is up to them to weigh the relative importance of data accuracy for the task at hand, and with that in mind, evaluate their sources accordingly. I don't care if the portal that led them to that research is Wiki or an academic source or a fortune cookie.

 

I do the exact same thing with OSM... If I am going hiking or biking, and I look at the map and it shows there's a paved bike trail where I want to go... I can flip to the satellite underlay and using MY OWN critical thinking skills, say "does it make sense to me that there'd be a bike trail here?" Without exception, each and every time I have gone through this discernment process, I have found the OSM data to be either equal to, or more accurate than professional sources. And let's be clear here... I am not firing guided missiles, the consequences of an error in OSM is that it takes me a few minutes longer to get to my destination. If my need for map accuracy is too high to trust OSM blindly, then it is absolutely too high to trust Google Maps blindly.

 

To deny that crowd-sourcing is a legitimate means to gather and disseminate information flies in the face of mountains of proof... A huge percentage of commercial web servers in the world run on open source software, for instance. Surely the last human on this planet to ever again doubt the validity of crowd-sourcing is Egypt's Hosni Mubarek, there should be no doubters left after him.

Edited by Sky King 36
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