Frustrated with CityStrides

I feel bad writing this message, but the group of CityStriders of Barcelona are a bit disappointed.

The constant changes in criteria of what a street is or not are discouraging many who see how after obtaining 100% of their city they now have 70% again because mountain roads and trails have appeared as “streets”.

The truth is that I personally am also a bit frustrated.

My intention was to reach 100% of Barcelona before the end of 2020, and after the October update of the OpenStreetMap database, I dedicated myself to change characteristics of all private streets and spaces that were not streets, in OSM. Without the promised monthly update, it was impossible to meet my goal, and months later, when it is updated, “streets” appear with absurdities like “forest tracks” without names, streets with email names, or other meaningless spaces …


Without stable criteria, the CityStrides project loses much of its interest.

Greetings and many kilometers !!


I’m not going to spend more time cleaning things like this in OSM, if new ones are going to appear in next update.!


@JamesChevalier @mariobadia @luis1981 @palaciosroland @torrasca

Ultimately that is a frustration with OSM - you may be disappointed that forest trails within Barcelona’s borders are included, but you would not want pedestrian city paths excluded, right? CityStrides takes in all foot=yes routes, that’s just how it works. We were all eager for more regularly updated OSM data, and after a fall delay it seems to be updating regularly every ~1.5 months per city with striders.

I feel that despite some hiccups, the CityStrides experience has improved since I started using it in March last year. Maybe the most important thing is don’t think of it as more than it is, I got deeply involved in trying to be the first to 100% my city back when I began. But when I accomplished that…then I had to run further to run new roads in a different municipality! In that respect I think more roads/paths being loaded in is always better, because the dirty secret of getting to 100% is that it just means you ran out of places to explore.

The great thing is it’s not a competition unless you want it to be. You and any other Barcelona striders are welcome to manually mark as complete the roads you don’t want to run for whatever reason. Maybe you think that’s a bit tedious, but it’s less tedious than updating OSM. On the other hand, updating OSM will help improve the resource not just for CityStrides, but also for any other sites that use OSM as their backend, like Strava and many others.

Happy striding

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I don’t think you understood what I said.

Setting a personal goal (reaching 100% of the streets of a town on CityStrides, getting to run every day for a year or having pork feet breakfast every Saturday after running) is not a competition. If you take it as a competition, don’t put me in the same bag. (Catalan expression)

Luckily, I don’t need CityStrides to tell me where to run. I don’t run out of goals if I get to 100% of a city.

What I am asking is that the criteria of what is a “way to run” be stable, and not constantly changing.

With the latest update, among the new “runable” streets are parking entrances, inner streets of hospital areas,… places that make no sense to appear now.

The new spaces that have appeared in this latest update are not due the changes of OSM. What has changed is what CS now sees as a way to run.

What’s frustrating is that setting a goal doesn’t make sense if the goal is moving. What new spaces (I say spaces, because what is appearing now are not streets) will appear in the next update?

I have another take on this. @JordiMonge , I totally understand what you are saying. Initially I was very excited about the OSM updates, as I live in a growing area that is changing, rapidly. There were also many (OSM) problems that meant “100%” (as a CS number) of my city would not be impossible, without updates.

But then I wondered, “OK, I see that magical 100%. But as soon as a new street is built, and it is added to OSM (as I have done too), and CS updates, I will no longer be 100%” Can anything be done?

So I had this idea: First, second, third, etc. city completion badge

And there is also this: Badges for milestones

But what I finally decided is, “I was doing this for me.” Yes, I’m thrilled to know that I was at 100%, and I know that may change…

In reality, what gives me the greatest pleasure is my LifeMap. I like the idea that I “completed” a city, and people can see that, but in reality I was doing this for myself, and my own sense of completion.

I realize my situation is different from yours. And it seems that people are more active on OSM in your area, than mine. I just though I would add my perspective.

As I typed this, I had this thought in the back of my head, “But what could be done?” In your case, it sounds like you don’t want updates. But also the updates are brining in “bad data” from OSM. But even if the data was “good”, there’s no guarantee there won’t be valid changes. Personally, I think a) fix the data, and b) I could catch up with, i.e. run, the changes, as long as I still live here (in Keller, TX), but that is going to change shortly. I expect, at some point, I will no longer be 100%, unless I come back and run the new streets. This might be possible, as I’m only moving about an hour away, and know I’ll be back in the area for other reasons (family).

Well that’s it. I hope it makes sense. I’m still very happy with the CityStrides experience.

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Please don’t feel bad - all feedback is helpful. I can’t fix/improve what I don’t know.
It’s also possible that there are other people with the same frustration, so us having this conversation in the open will help them as well. To that end: my reply here isn’t solely directed at you - it also includes related information that can help others or expand the conversation.

I don’t recall promising any update timeline. It’s still very much a work in progress (as you can see, based on the fact that this thread exists :sweat_smile:), and I still don’t have a good/reliable sense of how quickly cities are updated. It can be difficult to keep my messaging consistent & sometimes I’m a little more ‘conversational’ than I probably should be (which can add to confusion) - sorry about that.

I took some time to review your incomplete streets in Barcelona, and it looks like the main issue is that highway=track records are now included in OSM syncing. That conversation is in Should "highway=track" records exist in CityStrides? … it sounds like you disagree with that change. I encourage you and anyone reading along to add your perspective to that thread.
For reference, About the Node, Street, and City Data holds the info about what data is collected from OSM & it also links to the query I use for that.

There’s technically more going on here than just the code that I wrote to decide which streets to import. That code hasn’t been touched since September (though it is possible that it was updated between the time that Barcelona was originally created and when it was updated - if the update on Jan 18 was its only update).

The part that isn’t coming from CityStrides code is that OSM is constantly changing with user generated (read: sometimes garbage) content. This doesn’t seem to be the main cause of your particular complaint, but it is related - that street which name is someone’s email address. The fact that anyone can edit OSM means that someone can create/update/delete street data in bad ways (either accidentally or as Vandalism), and it’s possible that my update code will blindly accept that change into CityStrides. This is why Facebook puts so much time & effort into moderating their OSM imports.

This is pretty clearly not the case for your particular complaint, but it is important for me to point out because this forum is a source of information for a lot of people. Understanding the complexities & difficulties around using OpenStreetMap data can help others.

I, and I’m sure many others, are thankful that you took the time to make contributions to OSM. Your efforts helped improve CityStrides as well as OSM itself.
Unfortunately, this is a “forever problem” (I don’t know if there’s a word/phrase for this already) because OSM is constantly changing through other people’s contributions. The work to correct bad data will never end. :sweat_smile:

Besides this one change of allowing highway=track records into CityStrides, have there been other instances of bad data being created in Barcelona (or other cities you run)?
I don’t recall making changes to this code in ways that I thought would cause issues like this - so if you/others have seen other drastic “moving the goal post” changes, please let me know so I can have a better sense of where I need to be more careful/thoughtful.

Addition: The fact that Accés Terminal B exists in CityStrides is very odd to me. It was last edited by you 7 months ago (before the Jan 18 update) to include foot=no, which my code ignores & yet it’s still in CityStrides … I’m looking into this.


Likewise I wasn’t trying to say that CityStrides is a competition, just that it was how I personally motivated myself at first. The gamification aspect of having “Most streets completed in the last week/month” on the front page certainly pushed some levers in my brain. I later came around to view it much more like @ericjrw said below, and in fact now I love running unnamed trails between the small villages in my area that give me no ‘credit’ on CityStrides but nevertheless evolve my LifeMap into a more elaborate and freaky shape. No small part of that was that in my current area, almost none of the streets were on OSM or CityStrides, and I had to update hundreds of streets in the past few months, learning more about OSM in the process.

My broader point I was trying to make (and perhaps failed, I guess) is that even if your goal is to get to 100%, and you don’t want to run certain streets, paths, etc. for any reason, you can just mark those manual and set other goals.


A post was merged into an existing topic: No longer at 100% since new update

Just run what you want to run. City Strides is a fantastic tool, but ultimately it’s up to the individual what they want to run, what they do or don’t mark as manually complete, what updates they do or don’t do in OSM.
Early on I set criteria in my head for what is or isn’t a street
Highway with no pavement = not a street
Back lane with no street name = not a street
Road on edge of town with no houses = not a street
Signs saying “private keep out” but looks like a street = not a street
So on this basis I have to accept either I "manually complete " or I don’t ever reach 100%. But it’s the doing not the pure stats that are important to me
A road I was due to run today had no pavement for pedestrians so either I run in the road and get killed by a truck, or run in the muddy ditch beside the road or just go “oh well” manual complete:sunglasses:

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Hi Jordi,
I understand that it must be frustrating to see the numbers go down, especially in a city as huge as Barcelona. My city is much smaller and I assume, that I finished it. Just waiting for an update to correct the data in CS to make 100%. The last four streets (that are not actually streets and which I corrrected in OSM) make me fourious sometimes. :rofl: :angry: :rofl:

I totally missed that change although I read the forum pretty regurlarly. When I check OSM-data, I always compare with the query in the wiki. This still includes [‘highway’ !~ ‘track’]. So I was super confused about all the tracks that are listed in my city. This posts clears that up. Thanks!

I have some similar odd nodes in CS, that noone could explain to me yet. Why are these nodes in CS?
These are nodes that don’t have the highway key. Maybe they point to the same cause?

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