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What's the best resource to learn how to upload a shapefile into OSM?

For context, I work with Parks and Recreation departments and use OSM to validate their community boundaries. I have access to shapefiles or web service URL's, but that information is not always up to date in OSM.

I've read other threads and know that imports are done with JOSM and that the shapefile can be open in JOSM using opendata. However, after reading import guidelines I understand that there is probably some manipulation that needs to be done to the file prior to any kind of upload happening. Where can I learn what to look for/change?

asked 20 May '20, 22:06

guerinjamie's gravatar image

accept rate: 0%

Only a small part of data imports is about the purely technical side (the most important technical issue for working with boundaries probably are that you need to split touching polygons into their constituting linework, load the individual lines into OSM and then reconstruct the polygons from these lines in OSM with multipolygon relations - so that any line separating one boundary from another is only in OSM once, and not twice).

More importantly, you need to take into account the data that is already there in OSM; only very rarely would it be acceptable to simply delete something from OSM and replace it with an "up to date" version - you would be expected to modify the existing object to bring it up to date instead. Also, you will want to check the data that you upload against unrelated data that OSM already has in the same location - eg if you upload a park boundary and there is already a residential area in OSM that kind-of ends where your park begins but not quite, then it is very likely that in reality the residential area ends exactly where the park begins, and not 10ft in, and so on.

It is also tremendously helpful for a would-be data importer to gather a minimum amount of non-import OSM mapping experience before they attempt an import since this strengthens the understanding of how things work in OSM. Park boundaries in the US are among the most complex and error-prone kinds of data we have in OSM, and more than once a haphazard import of broken boundaries in the US has had negative effects on OSM data consumers everywhere.

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answered 21 May '20, 10:17

Frederik%20Ramm's gravatar image

Frederik Ramm ♦
accept rate: 23%

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question asked: 20 May '20, 22:06

question was seen: 1,528 times

last updated: 21 May '20, 10:17

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