How to break the OpenStreetMap – Ilya Zverev

OpenStreetMap gives many reason not to like it.

When you edit OSM, changes appear immediately, there is no moderation. People like to break things, so there are edits that are bad. But there are people watching and they’ll revert bad edits. The key to breaking things is try to not break it.

Ilya works at, an OSM viewer to which an extremely simple editor was recently added. This added thousands of new contributors per month, with more than a million edits made already.

However, many edits were not good. For example, many people added “My home” to the map. Also translations done in the wrong way. So some features were added:

  • A warning screen that this will be seen by everyone.
  • Forbid editing default names.

But people were still adding their homes, and putting translations in the wrong (non-default) name.

Also mappers didn’t like is adding tags, like “sponsored by”…

The OSM data model doesn’t make it easy to make a simple editor.


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