After introducing MapRoulette 3, the micro-tasking tool for OpenStreetMap, I would like to follow up with a series of ‘Insider’ posts. Each of them will highlight an interesting feature or function of MapRoulette.

This week, we will look at Virtual Challenges.

Challenges in MapRoulette

MapRoulette consists of Challenges, which are groups of similar Tasks. An example is the Embassies missing representing countries Challenge by user johanemilsson. It asks you to add missing country=* tagging to specify which country the embassy, consulate or mission represents.

You can start working on this Challenge right away by clicking Start. That will take you to a random Task. Because this Challenge has Tasks all over the world, you could land anywhere. This is why it is called MapRoulette – the ‘Roulette’ wheel spins and you get a random task! What is nice about this is that you get to improve the map all over the world, and see what the map looks like in faraway places.

But what if you want to focus on improving one specific area? MapRoulette makes this possible too, with Virtual Challenges. Let’s talk about how to use those!

Creating and Using Virtual Challenges

A Virtual Challenge is a Challenge that consists of a custom group of Tasks in a small area. You can create a Virtual Challenge quickly and easily yourself, based on the Tasks that are already in MapRoulette. Here’s how you go about this.

First navigate the map to show the area you are interested in by. If you zoom in far enough, you will see individual tasks appear on the map.

You can apply filters to further narrow down the amount of Tasks. For example, you could add a filter to only work on Easy tasks.

Once you’re satisfied, you click the ‘Work on mapped tasks’ button. MapRoulette will ask you to give you new Virtual Challenge a name.

After you set the name, you will be taken to the first random task in you Virtual Challenge. At the top of the Challenge List, you will find a link you can share with others to work on the Tasks together!

Let me know how you used the Virtual Challenge feature and how you would like to see it improved.