Map-Less Map Editors
2021-07-09, 10:20–10:40 (UTC), Track 1 - Talks

The common theme for OSM editors is presenting a map for moving things around. But for attribute editing, a map is too distracting. Let's see how getting rid of it improves the editing experience.

The future of OpenStreetMap editing is not another JOSM or another Potlatch. What we have is good enough, and there are options for everyone. But 15 years on, the same problems persist in OSM: while it's very easy to draw things, to add a road, a building, or an amenity, updating the map is so hard virtually nobody does that for free. That can only be fixed by tailoring editors to the task, because general-purpose editors cannot help. That is the future: thematic editors.

In this talk we'll take a look at existing specialized OSM editors, like OSM Contributor, MapSwipe (I know), or StreetComplete. We will also note when an editor doesn't need a map to operate. And finally we'll imagine a few editors that could simplify maintaining the map, both on desktop and on mobile.

The speaker, Ilya Zverev, has made the well-known Level0 editor which doesn't need a map to function, but also isn't strictly a thematic editor. Recently he's made a Telegram bot for a POI directory, which also featured an optimized POI editor. It enabled Ilya to collect ~500 shops and amenities in 10 days, and to keep the data recent. It didn't provide an interactive map, obviously.

Talk keywords


Member of OpenStreetMap project since 2010, editor of the russian news blog SHTOSM, author of several OSM-related articles, had spoken at many conferences and developed some tools for editing and processing OSM data. Currently working at Lyft.