A Unique Identifier for OSM Resources


Since we worked on maps.dewey.be and incommon.cc, we figured out an issue with OpenStreetMap resource identifiers not being unique. Imagine a path in a village. It has a unique resource. But if someone walks it and finds out half of it is paved, they may want to update the resource and split the path: that would create two identifiers where there was one. Certainly there’s a way to follow the resource history and find that missing resource, but the update on the map will have destroyed the existing resource identifier we might have relied upon. In the context of developing social mapping, this poses a problem we’d like to solve by creating a unique universal resource identifier for OSM on which we can rely. The problem is seldom simple and requires some thoughts:

  • to what this identifier needs to be attached?
  • what form can it take? (UUID, hash of the latlon location, to which precision…)

The discussion is open! If you know OSM developers who want to tackle this issue, please invite them.

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Yes, there really needs to be an OSM dev here for this discussion to be meaningful. I wonder if this has been discussed on an OSM forum before.

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