Nominatim on the main page

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Nominatim on the main page

Paul Johnson-3
In the diatribe (no disrespect meant, since it did bring up some relevant points that we can use constructively, simply a description of the tone) that emacsen posted last week that we've surely all read by now, he does bring up one point that I think we can work on for fairly immediate improvement.

On the OSM homepage, can we use the visible area (or maybe that plus an exploded offset to a larger surrounding bounds) as a bonding box to be passed to Nominatim for some context when searching?  This animation really drives the problem home.



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Re: Nominatim on the main page

Tom Hughes-3
On 18/02/18 17:34, Paul Johnson wrote:

> On the OSM homepage, can we use the visible area (or maybe that plus an
> exploded offset to a larger surrounding bounds) as a bonding box to be
> passed to Nominatim for some context when searching?  This animation
> really drives the problem home.

We already do exactly that.

Sarah can clarify the details but we pass the bounding box to Nominatim
and I believe it expands that by a factor of two and then prefers any
results in that area over those further afield.

Here's the relevant code:

https://github.com/openstreetmap/openstreetmap-website/blob/master/app/controllers/geocoder_controller.rb#L115

Which encodes the bounds as the viewbox parameter which is then passed
through when calling Nominatim.

Tom

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Re: Nominatim on the main page

Grant Slater
In reply to this post by Paul Johnson-3
On 18 February 2018 at 17:34, Paul Johnson <[hidden email]> wrote:

> In the diatribe (no disrespect meant, since it did bring up some relevant
> points that we can use constructively, simply a description of the tone)
> that emacsen posted last week that we've surely all read by now, he does
> bring up one point that I think we can work on for fairly immediate
> improvement.
>
> On the OSM homepage, can we use the visible area (or maybe that plus an
> exploded offset to a larger surrounding bounds) as a bonding box to be
> passed to Nominatim for some context when searching?  This animation really
> drives the problem home.
>
> https://gfycat.com/NiceImperturbableCatfish
>

Not great. :-(

Nominatim effectively only has 1 maintainer / primary contributor:
https://github.com/openstreetmap/Nominatim/graphs/contributors
lonvia spends a significant amount of her volunteered time defending
the service again abusers.
https://operations.osmfoundation.org/policies/nominatim/
Single users can overload nominatim by sending 1000s of automated
requests per second, the same holds true for the tile servers we run:
https://operations.osmfoundation.org/policies/tiles/

Nearly as bad contribution wise is the server infrastructure code:
https://github.com/openstreetmap/chef/graphs/contributors

What we badly need is more help from developers and chef operations people.

How about someone in the community organises a Beauty Parade / Cross
Comparison of different open OpenStreetMap GeoCoders?

The OpenStreetMap Operations team prefers to be able to self-host the
infrastructure required to run OpenStreetMap.org. Reasons: Privacy /
Maintainability / Availability. We don't go this route for a
navigation / router as they seem to be under constant flux, without a
clear "winner" and system their requirements keep climbing.

Kind regards,

Grant

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Re: Nominatim on the main page

Tom Hughes-3
In reply to this post by Tom Hughes-3
On 18/02/18 17:45, Tom Hughes wrote:

> On 18/02/18 17:34, Paul Johnson wrote:
>
>> On the OSM homepage, can we use the visible area (or maybe that plus
>> an exploded offset to a larger surrounding bounds) as a bonding box to
>> be passed to Nominatim for some context when searching?  This
>> animation really drives the problem home.
>
> We already do exactly that.
>
> Sarah can clarify the details but we pass the bounding box to Nominatim
> and I believe it expands that by a factor of two and then prefers any
> results in that area over those further afield.

Incidentally if you use https://nominatim.openstreetmap.org/ you can
experiment with the affect of the viewbox parameter that we pass by
checking and unchecking the "apply viewbox" checkbox beside the search
button and zooming moving the map to choose a box.

Tom

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Re: Nominatim on the main page

Paul Johnson-3
In reply to this post by Tom Hughes-3
On Sun, Feb 18, 2018 at 11:45 AM, Tom Hughes <[hidden email]> wrote:
On 18/02/18 17:34, Paul Johnson wrote:

On the OSM homepage, can we use the visible area (or maybe that plus an exploded offset to a larger surrounding bounds) as a bonding box to be passed to Nominatim for some context when searching?  This animation really drives the problem home.

We already do exactly that.

Sarah can clarify the details but we pass the bounding box to Nominatim
and I believe it expands that by a factor of two and then prefers any
results in that area over those further afield.

 OK, so what can we do about this problem?  For example, go to Jenks, Oklahoma.  Search for Walmart.  First result isn't the Walmart Neighborhood Market across the street from the Riverside Market shopping center.  It's not even the Walmart Supercenter across from Oral Roberts University.  Or even the Walmart Neighborhood Market further from downtown Jenks, but still in Jenks, over by Haddington Heights.  The results instead are in Sunset Harbor, Florida; Saint Louis, Missouri; Tallahassee, Florida, El Paso, Texas; and Fairbanks, Alaska.

I get that if you get specific and actually type "Walmart jenks" in, you get the one in Haddington Heights, and then the one in Glenpool, Oklahoma (slightly odd for that one, but not entirely unreasonable).  But this isn't what most people are going to do.  I also get that the homepage isn't meant to be used as the product itself, just a demonstration, but we really should be putting our best foot forward there.

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Re: Nominatim on the main page

Paul Johnson-3
In reply to this post by Grant Slater
On Sun, Feb 18, 2018 at 11:58 AM, Grant Slater <[hidden email]> wrote:
How about someone in the community organises a Beauty Parade / Cross
Comparison of different open OpenStreetMap GeoCoders?

How about search against multiple geocoders instead of just Nominatim and GeoNames?

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Re: Nominatim on the main page

Grant Slater
On 18 February 2018 at 18:05, Paul Johnson <[hidden email]> wrote:
> On Sun, Feb 18, 2018 at 11:58 AM, Grant Slater <[hidden email]>
> wrote:
>>
>> How about someone in the community organises a Beauty Parade / Cross
>> Comparison of different open OpenStreetMap GeoCoders?
>
>
> How about search against multiple geocoders instead of just Nominatim and
> GeoNames?

Sure. Which one, hence the Beauty Parade / Cross Comparison? Who will
write the integration code, UI and submit PRs? ;-)
Does OpenStreetMap.org need to host an instance or can we rely on the
3rd party who hosts it? (Privacy / Stability etc)

Kind regards,

Grant

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Re: Nominatim on the main page

Tom Hughes-3
In reply to this post by Paul Johnson-3
On 18/02/18 18:04, Paul Johnson wrote:

>   OK, so what can we do about this problem?  For example, go to Jenks,
> Oklahoma.  Search for Walmart.  First result isn't the Walmart
> Neighborhood Market across the street from the Riverside Market shopping
> center.  It's not even the Walmart Supercenter across from Oral Roberts
> University.  Or even the Walmart Neighborhood Market further from
> downtown Jenks, but still in Jenks, over by Haddington Heights.  The
> results instead are in Sunset Harbor, Florida; Saint Louis, Missouri;
> Tallahassee, Florida, El Paso, Texas; and Fairbanks, Alaska.
>
> I get that if you get specific and actually type "Walmart jenks" in, you
> get the one in Haddington Heights, and then the one in Glenpool,
> Oklahoma (slightly odd for that one, but not entirely unreasonable).  
> But this isn't what most people are going to do.  I also get that the
> homepage isn't /meant/ to be used as the product itself, just a
> demonstration, but we really should be putting our best foot forward there.

I can't comment about how the algorithm works because I don't know
anything about it. I'm just saying that we do tell it the viewbox

Tom

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Re: Nominatim on the main page

Tom Hughes-3
In reply to this post by Paul Johnson-3
On 18/02/18 18:05, Paul Johnson wrote:
> On Sun, Feb 18, 2018 at 11:58 AM, Grant Slater
> <[hidden email] <mailto:[hidden email]>> wrote:
>
>     How about someone in the community organises a Beauty Parade / Cross
>     Comparison of different open OpenStreetMap GeoCoders?
>
>
> How about search against multiple geocoders instead of just Nominatim
> and GeoNames?

We have all the infrastructure to do that if you have suggestions
about other geocoders we could use.

Tom

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Re: Nominatim on the main page

Paul Johnson-3
On Sun, Feb 18, 2018 at 12:31 PM, Tom Hughes <[hidden email]> wrote:
On 18/02/18 18:05, Paul Johnson wrote:
On Sun, Feb 18, 2018 at 11:58 AM, Grant Slater <[hidden email] <mailto:[hidden email]>> wrote:

    How about someone in the community organises a Beauty Parade / Cross
    Comparison of different open OpenStreetMap GeoCoders?


How about search against multiple geocoders instead of just Nominatim and GeoNames?

We have all the infrastructure to do that if you have suggestions
about other geocoders we could use.

Not having tried it myself, I have heard positive things on Reddit and Telegram about Photon.

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Re: Nominatim on the main page

Tom Hughes-3
On 18/02/18 18:40, Paul Johnson wrote:

> On Sun, Feb 18, 2018 at 12:31 PM, Tom Hughes <[hidden email]
> <mailto:[hidden email]>> wrote:
>
>     On 18/02/18 18:05, Paul Johnson wrote:
>
>         On Sun, Feb 18, 2018 at 11:58 AM, Grant Slater
>         <[hidden email]
>         <mailto:[hidden email]>
>         <mailto:[hidden email]
>         <mailto:[hidden email]>>> wrote:
>
>              How about someone in the community organises a Beauty
>         Parade / Cross
>              Comparison of different open OpenStreetMap GeoCoders?
>
>
>         How about search against multiple geocoders instead of just
>         Nominatim and GeoNames?
>
>
>     We have all the infrastructure to do that if you have suggestions
>     about other geocoders we could use.
>
>
> Not having tried it myself, I have heard positive things on Reddit and
> Telegram about Photon <https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Photon>.

Sorry I probably wasn't very clear. I meant an actual service we could
direct queries to, not just come code.

I mean we probably could come up with hardware to run something else
but it would need somebody prepared to do the work of running it.

Tom

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Re: Nominatim on the main page

Maarten Deen
In reply to this post by Tom Hughes-3
On 2018-02-18 19:28, Tom Hughes wrote:

> On 18/02/18 18:04, Paul Johnson wrote:
>
>>   OK, so what can we do about this problem?  For example, go to Jenks,
>> Oklahoma.  Search for Walmart.  First result isn't the Walmart
>> Neighborhood Market across the street from the Riverside Market
>> shopping center.  It's not even the Walmart Supercenter across from
>> Oral Roberts University.  Or even the Walmart Neighborhood Market
>> further from downtown Jenks, but still in Jenks, over by Haddington
>> Heights.  The results instead are in Sunset Harbor, Florida; Saint
>> Louis, Missouri; Tallahassee, Florida, El Paso, Texas; and Fairbanks,
>> Alaska.
>>
>> I get that if you get specific and actually type "Walmart jenks" in,
>> you get the one in Haddington Heights, and then the one in Glenpool,
>> Oklahoma (slightly odd for that one, but not entirely unreasonable).  
>> But this isn't what most people are going to do.  I also get that the
>> homepage isn't /meant/ to be used as the product itself, just a
>> demonstration, but we really should be putting our best foot forward
>> there.
>
> I can't comment about how the algorithm works because I don't know
> anything about it. I'm just saying that we do tell it the viewbox

It appears to me that the bounding box is used when searching places
(towns, cities) or streets, but not when searching objects like shops or
restaurants.
For instance, searching for a McDonald's always gives me the McDonald's
at 1351, George Dieter Drive, El Paso City, El Paso County, Texas,
79936, Verenigde Staten van Amerika

Maarten

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Re: Nominatim on the main page

Paul Johnson-3


On Sun, Feb 18, 2018 at 12:53 PM, Maarten Deen <[hidden email]> wrote:
On 2018-02-18 19:28, Tom Hughes wrote:
On 18/02/18 18:04, Paul Johnson wrote:

  OK, so what can we do about this problem?  For example, go to Jenks, Oklahoma.  Search for Walmart.  First result isn't the Walmart Neighborhood Market across the street from the Riverside Market shopping center.  It's not even the Walmart Supercenter across from Oral Roberts University.  Or even the Walmart Neighborhood Market further from downtown Jenks, but still in Jenks, over by Haddington Heights.  The results instead are in Sunset Harbor, Florida; Saint Louis, Missouri; Tallahassee, Florida, El Paso, Texas; and Fairbanks, Alaska.

I get that if you get specific and actually type "Walmart jenks" in, you get the one in Haddington Heights, and then the one in Glenpool, Oklahoma (slightly odd for that one, but not entirely unreasonable).  But this isn't what most people are going to do.  I also get that the homepage isn't /meant/ to be used as the product itself, just a demonstration, but we really should be putting our best foot forward there.

I can't comment about how the algorithm works because I don't know
anything about it. I'm just saying that we do tell it the viewbox

It appears to me that the bounding box is used when searching places (towns, cities) or streets, but not when searching objects like shops or restaurants.
For instance, searching for a McDonald's always gives me the McDonald's at 1351, George Dieter Drive, El Paso City, El Paso County, Texas, 79936, Verenigde Staten van Amerika

 Keen ask.  I think a lot of the complaints regarding Nominatim that have come up could be fixed by using the bounding box context for all items.  I may have incorrectly opened an Osmand bug on the assumption Nominatim was consistently using the geocontext for all results.

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Re: Nominatim on the main page

Jason Remillard
In reply to this post by Grant Slater
Hi Grant,

If you read Serge's post, he is quite clear on what his preferred
solution to this resourcing problem. Our tiles and Nominatim services
should have terms of services that include paid higher levels that
support the foundation, which in turn pays for the infrastructure.
When somebody is using too many tiles, or using too much of Nominatim
resources, or wants Nominatim to work better, etc, before chasing them
away, the foundation should ask them for money to support the
requested services.

There is plenty of money around this space to pay for a full time
system administrator staff and some developers. Pokémon Go netted 600
million dollars in the first three months. Mapbox just go $164 million
dollar investment. I don't understand why you, Tom, lonvia are not
paid, full time employees of OSMF by now. Mapbox is doing a great job
with ID development, but obviously they are not going to seriously
fund our tiles and geocoding.

There is a great need for what OSM does, we just need to ask for
money, rather than acting like a charity, begging for handouts.

Jason


> Nominatim effectively only has 1 maintainer / primary contributor:
> https://github.com/openstreetmap/Nominatim/graphs/contributors
> lonvia spends a significant amount of her volunteered time defending
> the service again abusers.
> https://operations.osmfoundation.org/policies/nominatim/
> Single users can overload nominatim by sending 1000s of automated
> requests per second, the same holds true for the tile servers we run:
> https://operations.osmfoundation.org/policies/tiles/
>
> Nearly as bad contribution wise is the server infrastructure code:
> https://github.com/openstreetmap/chef/graphs/contributors
>
> What we badly need is more help from developers and chef operations people.
>
> How about someone in the community organises a Beauty Parade / Cross
> Comparison of different open OpenStreetMap GeoCoders?
>
> The OpenStreetMap Operations team prefers to be able to self-host the
> infrastructure required to run OpenStreetMap.org. Reasons: Privacy /
> Maintainability / Availability. We don't go this route for a
> navigation / router as they seem to be under constant flux, without a
> clear "winner" and system their requirements keep climbing.
>
> Kind regards,
>
> Grant
>
> _______________________________________________
> talk mailing list
> [hidden email]
> https://lists.openstreetmap.org/listinfo/talk

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Re: Nominatim on the main page

Maarten Deen
In reply to this post by Paul Johnson-3
On 2018-02-18 20:07, Paul Johnson wrote:
> On Sun, Feb 18, 2018 at 12:53 PM, Maarten Deen <[hidden email]>
> wrote:
>
>> On 2018-02-18 19:28, Tom Hughes wrote:

>> I can't comment about how the algorithm works because I don't know
>> anything about it. I'm just saying that we do tell it the viewbox
>
>  It appears to me that the bounding box is used when searching places
> (towns, cities) or streets, but not when searching objects like shops
> or restaurants.
> For instance, searching for a McDonald's always gives me the
> McDonald's at 1351, George Dieter Drive, El Paso City, El Paso County,
> Texas, 79936, Verenigde Staten van Amerika
>
>  Keen ask.  I think a _lot_ of the complaints regarding Nominatim that
> have come up could be fixed by using the bounding box context for all
> items.  I may have incorrectly opened an Osmand bug [1] on the
> assumption Nominatim was consistently using the geocontext for all
> results.

I've opened a Nominatim bug for it.
https://github.com/openstreetmap/Nominatim/issues/930

Maarten

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Re: Nominatim on the main page

Milo van der Linden-5
With 103 open issues and 12 open pull requests, I would love to
volunteer to at least help get those cleared first. Given the (very
positive, I am glad so many people are acting on this thread)
activity, I think if everybody lends a couple of hours of code this
week we can get nominatim ready to make some progress.

2018-02-18 20:12 GMT+01:00 Maarten Deen <[hidden email]>:

> On 2018-02-18 20:07, Paul Johnson wrote:
>>
>> On Sun, Feb 18, 2018 at 12:53 PM, Maarten Deen <[hidden email]>
>> wrote:
>>
>>> On 2018-02-18 19:28, Tom Hughes wrote:
>
>
>>> I can't comment about how the algorithm works because I don't know
>>> anything about it. I'm just saying that we do tell it the viewbox
>>
>>
>>  It appears to me that the bounding box is used when searching places
>> (towns, cities) or streets, but not when searching objects like shops
>> or restaurants.
>> For instance, searching for a McDonald's always gives me the
>> McDonald's at 1351, George Dieter Drive, El Paso City, El Paso County,
>> Texas, 79936, Verenigde Staten van Amerika
>>
>>  Keen ask.  I think a _lot_ of the complaints regarding Nominatim that
>> have come up could be fixed by using the bounding box context for all
>> items.  I may have incorrectly opened an Osmand bug [1] on the
>> assumption Nominatim was consistently using the geocontext for all
>> results.
>
>
> I've opened a Nominatim bug for it.
> https://github.com/openstreetmap/Nominatim/issues/930
>
>
> Maarten
>
> _______________________________________________
> talk mailing list
> [hidden email]
> https://lists.openstreetmap.org/listinfo/talk



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Re: Nominatim on the main page

Grant Slater
In reply to this post by Jason Remillard
On 18 February 2018 at 19:07, Jason Remillard <[hidden email]> wrote:

> Hi Grant,
>
> If you read Serge's post, he is quite clear on what his preferred
> solution to this resourcing problem. Our tiles and Nominatim services
> should have terms of services that include paid higher levels that
> support the foundation, which in turn pays for the infrastructure.
> When somebody is using too many tiles, or using too much of Nominatim
> resources, or wants Nominatim to work better, etc, before chasing them
> away, the foundation should ask them for money to support the
> requested services.
>

OpenStreetMap.org services are abused precisely because the are 1)
Free to use, 2) they are open to use (no keys etc) and 3) for most
part we don't actually limits the usage of the services (There isn't
actually a 5% cap on tiles).
I'd feel uncomfortable with an Open Data project charging for services.

I'm a reasonably good sysadmin, but people smarter than me need to
decide on the direction of the project. ;-)

Interesting parallel discussion thread going on on twitter, maybe OSMF
should be "willing to pay a developer a market-rate salary to own this
problem" using some of the Pineapple Fund donation:
Jumping off point: https://twitter.com/richardf/status/965301288933175296

I'd be all for that.

> There is plenty of money around this space to pay for a full time
> system administrator staff and some developers. Pokémon Go netted 600
> million dollars in the first three months. Mapbox just go $164 million
> dollar investment. I don't understand why you, Tom, lonvia are not
> paid, full time employees of OSMF by now. Mapbox is doing a great job
> with ID development, but obviously they are not going to seriously
> fund our tiles and geocoding.
>

Small steps and iterating sounds like a healthier option to me.

> There is a great need for what OSM does, we just need to ask for
> money, rather than acting like a charity, begging for handouts.
>

Let's Encrypt is a "charity" and is "begging for handouts", but is
clearly winning and has massively moved the internet forward in the
last 2 years. I don't think OpenStreetMap needs to become a commercial
project to survive.

Kind regards,

Grant

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Re: Nominatim on the main page

jgrocha
In reply to this post by Milo van der Linden-5


On 18-02-2018 19:21, Milo van der Linden wrote:
> With 103 open issues and 12 open pull requests, I would love to
> volunteer to at least help get those cleared first. Given the (very
> positive, I am glad so many people are acting on this thread)
> activity, I think if everybody lends a couple of hours of code this
> week we can get nominatim ready to make some progress.
>

+1

I did not blame before, because I never contributed to nominatim. I'll
take some time this week to review issues and PR (although this week is
the QGIS hackfest).

But definitely, I'll use the open data day [1] dedicated to nominatim.
Maybe we can have a virtual meeting on March 3rd dedicated to nominatim
to coordinate actions.

[1] March 3rd, 2018, http://opendataday.org

> 2018-02-18 20:12 GMT+01:00 Maarten Deen <[hidden email]>:
>> On 2018-02-18 20:07, Paul Johnson wrote:
>>>
>>> On Sun, Feb 18, 2018 at 12:53 PM, Maarten Deen <[hidden email]>
>>> wrote:
>>>
>>>> On 2018-02-18 19:28, Tom Hughes wrote:
>>
>>
>>>> I can't comment about how the algorithm works because I don't know
>>>> anything about it. I'm just saying that we do tell it the viewbox
>>>
>>>
>>>  It appears to me that the bounding box is used when searching places
>>> (towns, cities) or streets, but not when searching objects like shops
>>> or restaurants.
>>> For instance, searching for a McDonald's always gives me the
>>> McDonald's at 1351, George Dieter Drive, El Paso City, El Paso County,
>>> Texas, 79936, Verenigde Staten van Amerika
>>>
>>>  Keen ask.  I think a _lot_ of the complaints regarding Nominatim that
>>> have come up could be fixed by using the bounding box context for all
>>> items.  I may have incorrectly opened an Osmand bug [1] on the
>>> assumption Nominatim was consistently using the geocontext for all
>>> results.
>>
>>
>> I've opened a Nominatim bug for it.
>> https://github.com/openstreetmap/Nominatim/issues/930
>>
>>
>> Maarten
>>
>> _______________________________________________
>> talk mailing list
>> [hidden email]
>> https://lists.openstreetmap.org/listinfo/talk
>
>
>

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Re: Nominatim on the main page

Frederik Ramm
In reply to this post by Jason Remillard
Jason,

On 02/18/2018 08:07 PM, Jason Remillard wrote:
> There is plenty of money around this space to pay for a full time
> system administrator staff and some developers. Pokémon Go netted 600
> million dollars in the first three months. Mapbox just go $164 million
> dollar investment. I don't understand why you, Tom, lonvia are not
> paid, full time employees of OSMF by now. Mapbox is doing a great job
> with ID development, but obviously they are not going to seriously
> fund our tiles and geocoding.

Many people seem to believe that the natural growth path for a nonprofit
organisation is identical to that of a for-profit organisation. Acquire
more funds, hire more people, invest, grow, rinse & repeat - bigger,
better, faster, more, year after year.

This is certainly a *possible* course of action.

But it is desirable?

Have a look at the OSMF board, a mixed bunch of people elected by the
members. Are you sure that a seasoned developer or sysadmin would even
*want* a paid job where they are subject to the whims of an elected
board, with a potentially modified "strategy" year after year (as
majorities change due to new elections)? Would that not be a job like
Dilbert's with his pointy-haired boss?

Ah, you'll say, easy: We hire a CEO in addition to that, so there is
more continuity, and the CEO can then boss the technicians around, and
the board only adjusts the general direction occasionally. That's also
something people often suggest, again following the usual corporate lines.

Growth of this kind entrenches the power of the established organisation
over the volunteers. Inevitably, the organisation shifts from the
initial "a bunch of volunteers have founded an organisation and elected
a board to do the basic housekeeping of financials and intellectual
property rights" to "a central organisation manages their volunteers".

The growth of the central organisation brings with it increased funding
requirements (salary for CEO, developers, and sysadmins; soon after,
cost for a fixed office, office management, community managers, and so
on). This money has to come from somewhere (add salary for professional
fundraisers). Whoever gives us the money can make all sorts of demands
on our organisation and community. Shrinking the organisation is rarely
an option, so we'll need the funds to continue to live, and we are much
easier to control by "big capital" (if you look at usual funding
sources, you can safely say "big US capital").

We will be subject to politics much more than now; we will have to
publish regular success stories (and gloss over failures) just like any
business does to maintain a good image. We will have to kick out people
in our ranks who soil our image lest the funders will back out. We'll
have to start doing silly side projects that the community would never
have started in their own, just to tick some boxes with a funding partner.

Do we want to sell our soul? And for what precisely in return?

These are important questions to think about. I am sure there are
potential growth paths that do *not* require us to blindly submit to the
ways of commerce - just like we never blindly submitted to traditional
GIS practices ;)

Bye
Frederik

--
Frederik Ramm  ##  eMail [hidden email]  ##  N49°00'09" E008°23'33"

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Re: Nominatim on the main page / Serges blog post

SimonPoole
In reply to this post by jgrocha

Maybe it would be a good idea for everybody to take a deep breath and
count to 10?

For those relatively new to the project you should know that Serge has
been going on about these "issues" for years, some since I first had the
pleasure of  meeting him. That doesn't  mean that his points are more or
less valid, but the general sense of urgency due to a click-bait title
stuck above them is rather misplaced.

As to the points themselves, they are a mix of things from latent issues
that could easily turn serious (lack of man-power in some core areas),
over Serges pet peeves (nominatim doesn't do US junctions), to
trade-offs that he might disagree with, but are nonetheless not without
merit (for example layers, that now and then would be nice to have, but
are rather at odds with OSMs more holistic approach to modelling).

For now I just want to touch on the money side of things and employing
staff. The amounts available for speculative financial investment
naturally have nothing to do with operating a self-sustaining
(geo-services-) business. And if anybody doubts the difficulties of
doing the later, we just had the likely best ever funded geo-startup
that was literally able to throw money out of the window, miserably fail
when it was supposed to stand on its own feet and actually turn
geo-coding, map tiles etc, "over a free tier" in to a sustainable business.

Now the OSMF might have a slight advantage due to brand recognition, but
that doesn't change the fact that there is not very much money available
out there for such services and that such a pivot would come at the cost
of ruining the many legit small business that are small but sustainable,
and of which many contribute in one way or another to OSM software
development and operations.

All that said, OSM operations and core software development are
dependent on a very very small number of people, some of which have been
with us since the project started, we really need more hands full stop.
If paying for staff is the solution, difficult to say, what is clear is
that we would need a substantially larger continuous stream of donations
(think a pineapple fund sized donation every quarter) for any meaningful
number of operational staff.

In any case I'll be asking for help in a follow up  posting on a
specific ops issue and expect to see lots of people volunteering :-).

Simon

PS: The limitation in Nominatims POI search is discussed roughly every
half year, well documented and understood, it would undoubtedly be nice
if it was fixed and if it is only to avoid the continuous  surprise
re-discovery of it.


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