OpenStreetMap UCL mapping party

On the afternoon of Friday 2nd March I was at the UCL mapping party for the MSc students on a development planning course. In a similar style to Andy Allan on various previous occasions, I found it pretty interesting to see the various issues that the students came across when starting to use OpenStreetMap data for their course work.

Here’s a list of things that people had a problem with:

  1. If there is an error loading an invalid GPS trace into Potlatch 2, then Potlatch 2 just stalled during the startup rather than displaying a useful error message and continuing to load.
  2. Many of the users when working in advanced mode managed to enter a value, and with the way that they clicked somewhere else before entering the value, which meant that the key would disappear and confuse users.
  3. It would be nice to be able to give a nice notice when a user enters a key or value in sentence case when lower case would be expected.
  4. It is very hard to select a node at the end of a way.
  5. There was confusion about the 3 editor options in the menu that drops down from the Edit tab.
  6. The lack of accessibility mapping features in the presets made it more difficult to get them up to speed quickly.
  7. Building entrances are missing from the presets.
  8. How are people supposed to know to shift click to add a node in the middle of a way.
  9. Potlach2 can’t handle more than one major feature at a time, for example a building and a place of worship.
  10. No highway crossing preset.
  11. Easier setup of custom Potlach 2 with custom MapCSS. Maybe some form of GUI to create those files?
  12. How do you take a scanned map and put it as a background?
  13. Many people had questions around why the detailed data they were adding wasn’t showing on the map, for example why were disabled parking spaces not showing up with a specific disable parking space symbol in Potlatch 2.
  14. The help font size in Potlatch 2 is a bit on the small side, thus can be difficult to read for some users.
  15. After creating a GPS trace in an app on the mobile, how to get it and the photos into the editor.

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