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The Street Network Evolution of Crowdsourced Maps: OpenStreetMap in Germany 2007–2011

DOI: 10.3390/fi4010001

Keywords: Volunteered Geographic Information (VGI), OpenStreetMap, geodata, quality assessment, Germany, street network

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The OpenStreetMap (OSM) project is a prime example in the field of Volunteered Geographic Information (VGI). Worldwide, several hundred thousand people are currently contributing information to the “free” geodatabase. However, the data contributions show a geographically heterogeneous pattern around the globe. Germany counts as one of the most active countries in OSM; thus, the German street network has undergone an extensive development in recent years. The question that remains is this: How does the street network perform in a relative comparison with a commercial dataset? By means of a variety of studies, we show that the difference between the OSM street network for car navigation in Germany and a comparable proprietary dataset was only 9% in June 2011. The results of our analysis regarding the entire street network showed that OSM even exceeds the information provided by the proprietary dataset by 27%. Further analyses show on what scale errors can be reckoned with in the topology of the street network, and the completeness of turn restrictions and street name information. In addition to the analyses conducted over the past few years, projections have additionally been made about the point in time by which the OSM dataset for Germany can be considered “complete” in relative comparison to a commercial dataset.


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