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If an organisation or government body decides to open up the location data of community services, say a list of hospitals, how can it be sure that this data will remain valid and correct?

Example user stories:

As a hospital administrator how can I be sure that our number listed on OSM will stay accurate?

As a hospital administrator how can I be sure that our number will not be changed without our knowledge?

asked 21 Apr '13, 13:23

mangamonk's gravatar image

accept rate: 0%

edited 21 Apr '13, 13:26

There is no way that you can have control over something you import into OSM. If it is not intended for being edited, then OSM is the wrong place for data. As long as your information is factually correct and verifiable, nobody will have reason to change it but people may see fit to extend your information, and there have been reports in the past about some "official" number actually being wrong (accidentally or for political reasons) - in such a situation, OSM would want to have the factual number rather than the official one.

You can of course monitor what others do to the objects you create; there are different ways to do that depending on what exactly you want to achieve. But under no circumstances must you automatically undo every change made to an object that you have created from "official" data.

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answered 21 Apr '13, 14:30

Frederik%20Ramm's gravatar image

Frederik Ramm ♦
accept rate: 23%

Answers to your example stories: you cannot be "sure". But... see e.g. the question about our data-verification-process. And_1: you could help yourself to update "[your] number". And_2: you could watch the hospital's data history .

However, why are your example users so much frightened of loss of control? ;-) Is it better if that info is either not in OSM or if it is entered based on surveys of OSM users? Yes, indeed it could be better if such data is not "imported", because then the users may care more about the correctness / up-to-date state.

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answered 21 Apr '13, 14:07

aseerel4c26's gravatar image

aseerel4c26 ♦
accept rate: 18%


Actually, I would very much like for organizations, shop owners etc. to help keeping our data up-to-date, as even active communities tend to notice changes only by chance.

I also believe it is a valid desire to be informed about changes to data you contributed (which is why we have services like OWL and so on), and that the ability to use other criteria than bounding boxes for your watchlist would be valuable. Unfortunately, this feature isn't really available yet afaik, so bookmarking a list of ids - and manually working around the lack of stable external ids - seems the only option.

(22 Apr '13, 08:46) Tordanik

@Tordanik: you could use Firefox's addon Update Scanner to get notified of changes to that id pages (weekly scan). Yes, such watch features would be good to have. Oh, and, I also like to have individuals care for their shops - but here it sounded more like a mass import, which may have its downsides.

(22 Apr '13, 12:50) aseerel4c26 ♦

The only reason I can imagine your number would be changed, or other numbers provided, would be to add a lower cost alternative number to bypass an expensive non-geographical number that many large organisations choose to use.

See for more on information on finding/exchanging alternative numbers in the UK.

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answered 21 Apr '13, 14:51

trigpoint's gravatar image

accept rate: 13%

When providing telephone numbers in OSM they should match with the official telephone numbers provided by the specific organization and not some self-chosen ones. But that is offtopic.

(22 Apr '13, 07:26) scai ♦

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question asked: 21 Apr '13, 13:23

question was seen: 2,962 times

last updated: 22 Apr '13, 13:22

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