Mark your street asphalted and earn Bitcoins

The navigation software OSMand provides online and offline navigation. Their open-source software depends on openstreetmap (OSM) a volunteered geographic data initiative. Map data can be added by any person using different software tools. In some cities mapping parties are held to increase data quality of OSM and to teach people the fundamentals of geographic information systems. Relying on the data coverage and qulity of OSM, recently, OSMLive started to provide monetary incentives for openstreetmap edits. The openstreemap editor just registeres at the website and then its contributions to OSM are counted. According to this counts a regional leaderboard is created and a rank is assigned to every contributor. Based on this rank a donated amount of bitcoins is shared amongst the contributors, though 50% of the donated sum stays with OSMand.

Below you see the leaderboard of last month just in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany:

2017-12-05 11_00_21-OsmAnd Live

As can be seen user Farkad5 obtained 0.0252 mBTC for 60 changes to OSM and was on rank 1 (this translates to approx. Eur 0.23 on Dec 1st). Well, this seems to be a very productive user that contributes a lot to the OSM map quality. Especially if you consider the usage of OSMand updated streets, turning restrictions or speed limits are benefitial. So let’s see which of these Farkad5 contributed to the map. If we want to see the edits of the user in detail we browse to the page

Openstreetmap displays a map with orange boxes indicating the regions where Farkad5 edited the maps.

2017-12-05 11_01_56-Änderungssätze von Farkad5 _ OpenStreetMap

To the left you see the list of edits in detail and their commit comment. He states ‘added road surface’ in all recent commits and if we check the details of her edit she marked the streeets as aphalted.

2017-12-05 11_01_10-OpenStreetMap

Isn’t it great to earn money by tagging 60 streets – foremost motorways – as asphalted? Start also mapping today!

6 thoughts on “Mark your street asphalted and earn Bitcoins

  1. Hmm, this is interesting, but I find OSMLive actually quite problematic.

    What if people then contribute primarily to earn money and not primarily for the mapping itself?
    This can easily lead to individuals trying to cheat their way to maximizing their earnings by making, in the best case, a lot of changesets that do not actually change anything (move node by some cm) or, on the worst case, adding bogus data. (And even worse, automating that.)

    I wonder if the minds behind OSMLive (assuming you are only blogging about it) have had thoughts about this and how to prevent such exploits. If not, maybe they should be contacted and/or take feedback from the community.

    1. You’re right the incentives are not balanced, and need to be improved. Any ideas how it could be done? It’s difficult to combine the goals for increased map coverage and map accuracy by one measure, otherwise I would vote for a crowdsourced evaluation of the changeses.

      1. Well, there are some changeset monitoring tools such as osm suspicious or osmcha. I guess what would be a solution is to only let changesets count that were reviewed (and evaluated?) by trusted™ community members. I think there is no tool for that though, yet.
        Also, who could be defined as trusted then, and what would be the incentive to review other people’s changesets rather than mapping oneself? Perhaps this’d just move the problem, but not solve it.

        So, I do not really have an idea, no.

  2. This is just popularizing, right? Isn’t the world wide market for contributions on the order of $150. Aren’t those valid edits? Aren’t some paved roads concrete? I can see the potential for problems and huge benefits also.

    1. You’re right the total amount that is distributed by OSM live to the contributers is not very high, and even pavement edits enrich OSM data. But it is still questionnable, whether the combination of both (1) the public leaderbord and (2) the ranking by number of changesets provides the right incentives for map edits.

  3. Is this an isolated case, or are there mulitplie users signed up to OSMand payments with edits like this?
    The next question would be whether this is a user manually doing this, and not understanding there are more valuable things to map (one can assume surface=asphalt), or whether it is automated edits that don’t even care. The account should be reported to the DWG (Data Working Group) so they can make a decision and carry out appropriate action.

    OSMand is great for it’s generous donation to OSM contributors(generous at their end, but small individual amounts), but also it’s good in showing who it sends contributions to. It’s their openness and work that has enabled you to review enough information to write this blog post.

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