Zen of Map Quality

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My WhereCampEU talk on how to measure the quality of OpenStreetMap, and why that is important.

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  • Most people would agree that this map of downtown port-au-prince looks better than CLICK this one.
  • And for sure this map of Sarajevo in Bosnia is better than (CLICK) this one
  • And this map of Baghdad is better than this one.
  • And this map of Baghdad is better than this one.
  • With this map of central Zürich, Switzerland, the difference is already harder to tell (although the OSM one still looks better :)
  • With this map of central Zürich, Switzerland, the difference is already harder to tell (although the OSM one still looks better :)
  • But when you start zooming out, on Zürich
  • ...Sarajevo
  • ...Baghdad...

  • ...Port au prince...
    it becomes really hard to determine which map is better
    And you start thinking about .....
  • WHAT MAKES A BETTER MAP?
  • What Is Map Quality???

  • Quality has been pondered over throughout the ages. Some think it defies definition altogether.
  • What Is Map Quality???

  • Is it just about More Stuff?
    More railroad tracks....CLICK
    More zoo detail CLICK
    Or better attributes?










  • Or is it in looks?
    Is this current NY subway map better than CLICK
    This one from 72 or CLICK
    This one from 59 or CLICK
    This one from 48?
    They all aim to convey roughly the same information.
  • Or is it in looks?
    Is this current NY subway map better than CLICK
    This one from 72 or CLICK
    This one from 59 or CLICK
    This one from 48?
    They all aim to convey roughly the same information.
  • Or is it in looks?
    Is this current NY subway map better than CLICK
    This one from 72 or CLICK
    This one from 59 or CLICK
    This one from 48?
    They all aim to convey roughly the same information.



















  • Being able to advertise on them? CLICK even if they lead to a night in hell?
  • Being able to advertise on them? CLICK even if they lead to a night in hell?
  • Being able to advertise on them? CLICK even if they lead to a night in hell?
  • Zen of Map Quality

    1. 1. The Zen of Map Quality Martijn van Exel The Zen of Map Quality Geodan, Amsterdam Martijn van Exel Geodan, Amsterdam
    2. 2. Port-au-Prince, Haïti
    3. 3. Port-au-Prince, Haïti
    4. 4. Sarajevo, Bosnia and Hercegovina
    5. 5. Sarajevo, Bosnia and Hercegovina
    6. 6. Baghdad, Iraq
    7. 7. Baghdad, Iraq
    8. 8. Baghdad, Iraq
    9. 9. Zürich, Switzerland
    10. 10. Zürich, Switzerland
    11. 11. Shandong region, Northeast China
    12. 12. Shandong region, Northeast China
    13. 13. What makes a Better Map?
    14. 14. What is Map Quality?
    15. 15. And what is good, Phædrus, And what is not good... Need we ask anyone to tell us these things? Robert Pirsig
    16. 16. What is Map Quality?
    17. 17. Is it in the data...?
    18. 18. Is it in the data...? More Is Better?

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