You added the local names of nearby streets, added buildings and various points of interest, got busted for trespassing or attempting robbery (for mapping a “secret path” or a bunch of housenumbers, and stayed in the hospital for a while because you got mauled by stray cats or jejemons. Or got hit by a car while tracing a path that locals know. And after months of walking, driving, tracking and running, you decided that there is nothing to map. But is there something that you missed out?
Sure, you already added shops, streets and even your previous girlfriend’s house on the map but that shouldn’t stop you from mapping more areas. But they are too far or someone in authority won’t let you. So, what are you going to do?
From my two years of experience, I have realized that the typical OSMer needs to have some sort of obsessive-compulsive tendency for him not to lose interest. He or she must look for tags in the OpenStreetMap Wiki and check if that person used it while editing in Potlatch, JOSM, Merkaartor or Mapzen. If you realize that your city is the only city that doesn’t have maxspeed, lit or postal_code tags, then you should go outside, check out the area and take down notes, then make edits. He or she should look out for new shops and construction sites, places that have closed down, new roads, barricaded roads, and all that. A planned month-long road closure? Put it on the map. A place that burned down and collapsed? “landuse=brownfield” and “description=place was gutted by fire last June 23”. Found a quaint place were you can plant root crops, vegetables and herbs? Go ahead, no one’s stopping you. Fire hydrants? The Germans are doing it and you gotta keep up with them. Street names in Na’vi? If you really know the language, then go. Otherwise, concentrate on roads that are lit at night, speed limits, fire hydrants and the occasional paths.
So, there. You have some reasons why you need to stick around – to keep the map fresh, detailed and more comprehensive than those maps. Oh, and get yourself some anti-rabies shots and enroll in self-defense classes – not for your sake, but for the rest of them map fiends.