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I have just been using OSM data as end user for navigation and noticed in a particular area several roads were missing. In an older cached version the situation is much better. It turns out the area in question is being actively worked on and re-modelled.

Does OSM have the concept of revision control where work in progress can be done on a 'branch', and merged back to main when complete enough? Normally someone else would review the contribution first.

This would make it more reliable as a data resource. An alternative would be for rendered maps to show what is work in progress and so be less misleading.

asked 24 Sep '12, 13:46

shiroyagi's gravatar image

accept rate: 0%

The fact that roads are now missing which were there earlier is likely due to the license change (enter "license change" or "missing streets" in the search box above to find some results on that).

OSM users would not normally delete an area as a preparation for re-modelling, except in rare cases; I think that your notion of "work in progress" does not match the OSM reality.

We have a history from which we can restore old versions, but we don't have a merge-and-branch concept because this would be very complicated for a spatial database as interconnected as ours; conflicts would be very hard to resolve after a short time. For the duration of one edit session, however, people will normally work on their data in an editor and only upload when they're finished.

permanent link

answered 24 Sep '12, 13:54

Frederik%20Ramm's gravatar image

Frederik Ramm ♦
accept rate: 23%


Ok, thanks. I had looked at the history but didn't go back far enough to see when or why the current edits started.

There is certainly a street still missing so maybe I should flag this or learn how to fix it myself?

So an alternative to revision control would be to show where there is no data (eg. removed due to licence change, or not yet mapped) rather just the absence of features which is ambiguous? Perhaps a special background colour would help?

(24 Sep '12, 14:18) shiroyagi

The special background color for "no data" is white and the data deleted due to our license change can be viewed at the OSMI Redaction Bot View. If you want to learn how to contribute take a look at the Beginners' Guide. You can also report missing or wrong features via OpenStreetBugs.

(24 Sep '12, 14:23) scai ♦

In this case the background is grey so presumably the problem is not known about - I will report it and try and fix it if I get time. The streets are marked as deleted on the redaction bot view.

Unfortunately the redaction view is not visible to normal users of OSM through the default website or alternative applications. They have no easy way of checking data validity and are probably unaware of the licence change issue.

(24 Sep '12, 15:08) shiroyagi

You'll never know if and where data is missing unless you have been on the ground, the license change doesn't really matter here.

(24 Sep '12, 16:27) scai ♦

True, but that does reduce it's effectiveness as a navigation aid.

The difference in this case is that the licence change has resulted in quite a lot of missing data and that it is known about in OSMI Redaction Bot View. I assume there is a good reason (licensing terms?) why this on a separate view and can't be provided in the main map output as a rough indication of known issues? Including the OpenStreetBugs in the main map might be a good idea?

(24 Sep '12, 17:10) shiroyagi

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question asked: 24 Sep '12, 13:46

question was seen: 3,748 times

last updated: 24 Sep '12, 17:10

NOTICE: is no longer in use from 1st March 2024. Please use the OpenStreetMap Community Forum