Usage tips on the new Improve OSM

In this post we will take a detailed look at the new improveosm.org web site. We recently completely overhauled the application. It is now based on the OSM iD editor. We will walk you through the functionality and give some pointers.

Zoom and layer activation

Just by entering the web application, you already have our Improve OSM layer selected, and also active. A low zoom level displays a heat-map the content of which is modifiable via the left side filtering options. Note the color coded dots, corresponding to the heat-map’s circles.

improve-osm-heatmap

A higher zoom level, meaning a zoom level over 15, will show each individual Improve OSM item. Turn Restrictions are grouped in clusters, if some items represent rules for the exact same intersection. You’ll also notice that different types of Missing Roads have their specific color on the map and are also marked with the respective color in the filter panel. Filtering has the same usage as in the heat-map.improve-osm-transparent-tr

We talked about the Improve OSM layer being active by default, but what exactly does that mean? It means you can use the filters from the side panel and you can also interact with any Improve OSM item on the map. While inactive, the filter panel becomes minimized and any Improve OSM item becomes see-through. You can’t interact with the layer in this inactive state, but you can and will want to interact with all the iD’s map items and editing mechanisms. The SPACE key switches between the active and the inactive states. You can also use the toggle button found in the side panel’s header.

Item selection and status

When the Improve OSM layer is active any item can be selected. After selection, options appear in the side panel allowing you to change the status and add a comment.

You can have a multiple selection by keeping the CTRL key pressed and selecting items with the mouse. Only for the Missing Road items, you can batch select neighboring tiles. For this, keep the SHIFT key pressed and click one of the tiles in the batch. All neighboring tiles in that batch will be selected.

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For Turn Restriction clusters, selecting one will automatically select a single Turn Restriction from the cluster. You can switch to another item in that cluster by selecting it from the list appearing in the side panel.

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Clicking anywhere on the map area not containing an Improve OSM item, will deselect all selected items.

For Turn Restrictions, you can select one to see its describing arrows and pass numbers, and then have the entire Improve OSM layer inactivated. This way, you’ll still see the describing arrows while being able to interact with the editing iD tools.

Item types

Turn Restrictions – they mark an intersection where a new, unmapped, turn restriction is in place. The green arrow marks the street vehicles came from while entering an intersection, while the red one marks a street used by none or very few of those vehicles to exit the intersection. It’s assumed that the very low percent of passes on the red segment, indicates a strong possibility of a turn restriction being in place. Passes on the red segment are assumed to be traffic rules violations.

Missing Roads – they mark a portion of the map (a tile) that contains GPS output from vehicles, in places no road is mapped. If they are numerous and they represent a clear trail, it’s assumed a missing road is there.

One Ways – they mark a road that is not mapped as a one way street, for which traffic data suggests with high confidence it actually is a one way street.

A typical usage flow

1. Identify an Improve OSM marker (item) and decide if iD editing is required

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2. Press SPACE to inactivate the Improve OSM layer and use the iD’s tools

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3. Make the wanted edit in iD

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4. Press SPACE agai, select the resolved Improve OSM item and change the item’s status to ‘SOLVED’

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We hope you find the new improveosm.org web site useful and are looking forward to hearing your feedback!

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