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#1 2019-07-25 10:55:15

Russ McD
Member
From: Hereford & Chiang Mai.
Registered: 2011-04-17
Posts: 241

BBC report on Facebook "success" in Thailand

This article appeared on Thaivisa :

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-49091093

Naturally I could not resist a comment...

What Facebook fail to state is the inaccurate manner in which their AI mapping worked.  The OSM community in Thailand had for years, been working slowly on mapping the Country, with the aim of producing a free to use and accurate map for any user.  Information was added backed by a strong local knowledge, which resulted in a usable GPS navigation system based on OSM data.  Main roads were main roads, and jungle tracks were tracks.

Then along came Facebook with its unlimited resources and steamrollered a project in Thailand with scant regard for contributors ... sure they paid lip service to us, with offers of collaboration, and contact emails ... but in reality, all our comments went unanswered, or simply ignored.

Sure, their imagery identified roads we had not plotted, but along with that came the irrigation ditches, the tracks though rice paddies, driveways to private houses, and in once case, an airport runway !   All went on the map as "residential roads", leaving any GPS system free to route the user on a physical challenge to make it to their destination.

Local users commented, but the geeky humans who were checking the AI, living thousands of miles away, having never visited Thailand, just ignored our comments.  They would soon move onto bigger and better things, while sticking this "success" down on their resume.

A good example for those not involved in mapping, would be if Wikipedia went out and used robots to scour the net for any data relevant to the page title and automatically add it in a haphazard way.  Sooner or later users would distrust what had now become a cluttered site, with information that was not vetted correctly.

The same has happened the Thai map ... nobody trusts it any more.  We can correct one road at the time, but the sheer magnitude of the Facebook inputs mean it will never be fully corrected.

So, my apologies to those who end up driving their new Toyota into a drainage ditch ... and to those rural house owners that now find an HGV coming down their drive... you all have Facebook to thank !

Now back to enjoying my English summer !
Russ

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#2 2019-07-25 14:59:00

SomeoneElse
Member
Registered: 2010-10-13
Posts: 1,172

Re: BBC report on Facebook "success" in Thailand

Russ McD wrote:

This article appeared on Thaivisa :

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-49091093

Naturally I could not resist a comment...

Alas, I don't see your comment (or any comments) on that article.  I'm not sure how the BBC moderate comments - maybe it's still sat in a queue somewhere.  I suggested on talk@ that perhaps it would have been a more accurate article had the BBC discussed Facebook's contributions with the local community (see https://lists.openstreetmap.org/piperma … 82936.html ).

i can't blame Facebook for this attempt at "reputation washing" - other Facebook articles at the BBC currently include "Facebook 'rocked to its very foundations', says Clegg", "Inside the Social Network: Facebook's Difficult Year", and "Reaction to record $5bn Facebook fine", so presumably their PR gurus are trying to get every tiny bit of "good news" out there that they can!

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#3 2019-07-25 17:42:41

Beddhist
Member
From: Doembang Nangbuat, TH
Registered: 2009-07-28
Posts: 423
Website

Re: BBC report on Facebook "success" in Thailand

Russ' comment is on Thaivisa. Like so many other web sites, I think the BBC have done away with comments altogether, courtesy of spam, fake news, cost of moderation and liability.

To me, this is adding insult to injury. Already, I feel let down by the DWG. I was hoping they would at least convert all their edits older than one year to 'road'. Every time I drive in our area with the GPS on I see all the FB roads left and right. There is no way I can correct them all, nor do I want to.

I am still considering what to do from here. I will probably withdraw from mapping and join another project local to Thailand.

Regards,
Peter.

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#4 2019-07-25 17:51:20

SomeoneElse
Member
Registered: 2010-10-13
Posts: 1,172

Re: BBC report on Facebook "success" in Thailand

Beddhist wrote:

Already, I feel let down by the DWG. I was hoping they would at least convert all their edits older than one year to 'road'.

I'm not sure who "they" is in that sentence but was that request ever made anywhere (of either Facebook or the DWG)?

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#5 2019-07-25 18:06:52

Beddhist
Member
From: Doembang Nangbuat, TH
Registered: 2009-07-28
Posts: 423
Website

Re: BBC report on Facebook "success" in Thailand

I was referring to the DWG. I would not for a minute expect FB to go back and do anything to their bad edits. The only ones they tackled were those that were pointed out to them.

I think there were multiple requests in this topic: https://forum.openstreetmap.org/viewtop … =63456&p=4
E.g. #79 and #83. I'm sure there were a few more. Unfortunately, the discussions were spread over several topics, but the above seemed to be the main one.

Let me re-state here: most of their early edits (about the first 12 months) are so bad I consider them pollution and everybody would be better off without them. Perhaps one would need to look at their work in that light and make a judgement call on where to draw a line and re-tag everything before that as 'road'. I don't think we need to delete it.

Some of their later work looks quite good.

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#6 2019-07-25 18:23:38

SomeoneElse
Member
Registered: 2010-10-13
Posts: 1,172

Re: BBC report on Facebook "success" in Thailand

Beddhist wrote:

I was referring to the DWG ...

I think there were multiple requests in this topic: https://forum.openstreetmap.org/viewtop … =63456&p=4
E.g. #79 and #83.

#79 contains the text " lets automatically retag EVERY road marked as a FB import as highway=road, and slowly edit every one to its correct tag", #83 has "While I would not want it deleted outright, re-tagging it as road or track is appropriate. The question is: where do we draw the line?".  Neither of those is an explicit request for the DWG to do anything, and the second post (yours) asks "where do we draw the line", i.e. it's not sure itself what should be changed, even aside from who should do it.

The DWG is happy to help local communities with reverts or retagging where we can but we really do need someone to ask us to do something first smile

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#7 2019-07-25 18:31:14

Beddhist
Member
From: Doembang Nangbuat, TH
Registered: 2009-07-28
Posts: 423
Website

Re: BBC report on Facebook "success" in Thailand

Sorry, I was assuming that DWG members would follow that topic, since I think it's quite an important one, considering the damage that FB has done. The whole thing has kind of petered out, because we could not get FB to go back and re-examine their old edits.

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#8 2019-07-25 18:40:49

SomeoneElse
Member
Registered: 2010-10-13
Posts: 1,172

Re: BBC report on Facebook "success" in Thailand

Beddhist wrote:

Sorry, I was assuming that DWG members would follow that topic

While we'd normally suggest that requests to the DWG are made via data@osmfoundation.org (or the "report" button now), I've been trying to keep on top of posts here and in the other forums too.  However, neither #79 nor #83 in that thread are a request for the DWG to do anything.  The first looks like a suggestion for people within the local community to do something; the second seems unsure ("where do we draw the line?").

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#9 2019-07-25 18:42:43

Beddhist
Member
From: Doembang Nangbuat, TH
Registered: 2009-07-28
Posts: 423
Website

Re: BBC report on Facebook "success" in Thailand

Understood. Allow me to take your message into the other topic, so we can come to a decision.

Thanks for your time.

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#10 2019-07-25 21:08:16

Russ McD
Member
From: Hereford & Chiang Mai.
Registered: 2011-04-17
Posts: 241

Re: BBC report on Facebook "success" in Thailand

As I started the thread, I will add that Yes, the comment went on Thaivisa, and the comment I made was pasted as the quote in the first thread, for those that don't read Thaivisa... sorry, if a bit disjointed to other readers.
I won't trawl previous threads for what was and wasn't said, but I was always aware the DWG would help us if we sang with a combined and unanimous voice.
As Thai users, I don't think we ever did this.
Both me and Beddist sought radical actions against the additions, but didn't really get much documented and clear support from our peers. In the end, our voices faded away seeing the magnitude of the job, and the fact that with every passing day, total reverts just became impractical.
I don't blame the DWG - I think the ball was in our court and we didn't have enough bottle to throw it.

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#11 2019-07-26 00:18:14

Mishari
Moderator
Registered: 2013-01-14
Posts: 114

Re: BBC report on Facebook "success" in Thailand

The way I see it there's two parts to this. One is the "mass import" automatic road additions that were made by FB, the other one is mapwith.ai

Mapwith.ai is the way it should be done, with AI proposing additions then added by humans, it can stay. The earlier "mass import" needs to be rectified and I'll support such a petition made to the DWG.

Best Regards
Mishari

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