OSM Data validation survey results

To learn more about the interest in potentially training and joining a UN Mappers Validation Group, and more broadly about the validation practices of the global OSM community, the UN Maps crowdsourcing team has run this survey among community. Below is an overview of the first results obtained, making the results of the survey accessible to all:

Survey insights

The survey, involving 157 participants, provided valuable insights into the diverse landscape of OSM contributors:


Survey Respondents by Country

Source: OpenStreetMap contributors


Experience overview

•    OSM experience: A significant portion of respondents identified as long-time mappers with broad experience in various map features (45%), followed by recent mappers (25%).


Mapper category distribution


•    Mastery of map features: Unsurprisingly, buildings emerged as the most mastered feature (dominated by 70% of respondents), closely followed by highways and waterways. Multipolygon relations are dominated by 26% of the mappers participating in the survey and landcover by 39%.


Mapping feature distribution


•    Preferred editors: JOSM was the preferred default editor (65%) indicated by the participants, followed by iD (21%).


Preferred editors distribution


Experience on data validation

•    Validation experience in OSM: While a considerable number of mappers had some experience in validating OSM data (40%), a significant portion indicated none (29%). Only 7% of the respondents perform validation as their main activity in OSM. 


Validation experience distribution


•    Mastered validation tools: It is encouraging to see that many participants are proficient with various validation tools, with the JOSM validator being the most popular (54%), followed by Tasking Manager validation steps (45%).


Validation tools distribution


•    OSM map features for which you have validation experience: The majority of respondents have validation experience with buildings, followed by highways. However, there is also interest in validating other features such as places, waterways and points of interest.


Validated features distribution


•    Context of your OSM data validation activity: The survey revealed that validation activities vary among participants, with some focusing on personal, non-organized edits (41%), while others engage in only organized edits (19%), and some do both (40%).


Context of validation distribution


•    Organizations for which you validate OSM data: It is noteworthy that the survey participants (over 70%) engage in validation activities for a variety of organizations, including HOT and Open Mapping Hubs, YouthMappers, Missing Maps, UN Maps and Doctors without borders. 


Organizations distribution


In addition, an overwhelming majority (91%) expressed interest in attending an approximately 10-hour online training on validation. More than 77% of respondents have never been trained in validation. English (73%) was the dominant language choice for training, with French (16%) following behind.
A substantial number (80%) signaled their willingness to join or continue participating in UN Maps validation activities post-training.

Considering the survey results, the crowdsourcing team is excited to announce our decision to offer training on validation. We believe that this training will be a valuable resource for enhancing the quality of OpenStreetMap data and further strengthening the global OSM community.
In the coming days, we will be finalizing the details of the training program and will promptly communicate them to you. We are eager to provide this opportunity for skill development and knowledge sharing within the community. 

Stay tuned for more updates!