Diary Entries in English

Recent diary entries

osm used and credited

Posted by andy mackey on 23 July 2014 in English (English)

I noticed that mapometer, after a couple or emails and a long wait, added the osm copyright to the osm map. The traveline public transport website have moved over to osm and also credit us and last but not least the BBC had a TV show, I think Dan Snow was in it and they looked at world war one navigation problems by walking around London? they illustrated the problems by using some familiar looking maps. I waited for the credits and OSM were included. I am quite pleased especially when I think back to the few i told about osm who questioned its credibility. Well done everybody.

New MapRoulette feature: Select your local area!

Posted by mvexel on 22 July 2014 in English (English)

MapRoulette silently added a new feature a while ago: the ability to select an area you want to work in. This is one of the most requested features in MapRoulette and I am pretty excited to publicly announce it!

Here is how it works. Go to MapRoulette and select a new challenge. You will see this screen:

select challenge

Notice the button at the top? It says what it does on the tin - it lets you select a work area that will be remembered until you cancel it. (I will show you how to do that later.) When you click the button, the challenge selection window disappears and you will get this notification:


It tells you to click on the map to set the center of your work area. It will then draw a circle that defines your work area. The initial radius of the circle is determined by the current map zoom, so if you want to define a large area, try zooming out first. Here, I zoomed out to the United States and clicked somewhere in Utah. This gives me a work area of about the size of the state:


Right now, only circular areas are supported.

You can change the radius using the + and - keys on your keyboard. You can click anywhere else on the map to set a new center for your area.

Once you're satisfied with the area you have set, click the notification in the top left to confirm your selection. The challenge selection window will re-appear, but will show only challenges that actually have work in your area, and tell you how much:

challenge filtered

(Right now, there is an annoying little bug that will cause MapRoulette to first tell you that everything is done and you need to pick a different challenge. I hope to squish that really soon. Just click OK.)

As you see, there are only two challenges in my area that need work! Yay. If I select one of them, sure enough the next task I get is in Utah:

task in utah

Resetting your work area is pretty much the same process. Instead of selecting an area like I described before, just click the notification without doing anything on the map, and you will be back to the old behavior where your work area is the entire world.

I hope you enjoy this new feature! Let me know if you have any questions.

Location: Central City / Liberty-Wells, Greater Avenues, Salt Lake City, Salt Lake County, Utah, 84111, United States of America

Many London events + Artillery Arms

Posted by Harry Wood on 22 July 2014 in English (English)

There's going to be a good old London OpenStreetMap pub meet-up TONIGHT at the Monkey Puzzle in Paddington.

When was the last time I wrote a diary entry about London event happenings? A couple of months ago! The Baker Street mapping party. And I still haven't input the data from that one! What can I say? Things have been busy. I've been busy at work. Lots of transportAPI shenanigans, including moving office to Euston. And busy at home. It turns out getting a new carpet involves moving... everything. But I've been busy with quite a bit of OpenStreetMap stuff too:

  • Pub meet-up Artillery Arms Bunhill fields
  • Introduced HOT project ideas to UCL students
  • Gave HOT talk at Start Network
  • Mapping party around Hoxton Square
  • Gave talk about UAVs & HOT's OpenAerialMap project
  • Mapping party in Brixton
  • HOT meet-up at the ODI
  • Gave a talk to people at Exprodat
  • Geomob last week

In amongst all of that I've been trying to keep up with some Communication Working Group things and trying to organise meetings to get some new people to help. Pheweeee. Lots going on. The biggest thing on the OpenStreetMap calendar recently, SOTM EU, I missed because it clashed with my wife's birthday, but... well I have not been feeling deprived of OpenStreetMap events!

The other day at geomob I was reminded of my last diary entry by the guy behind what3words... I don't think he was too annoyed with me.

Shall I try to catch up on diary entries? Well I have notes for all these things, so I feel like I should really, but it's a lot to catch up on. Let's make a start.

So way back at the Artillery Arms pub meet-up (end of May!) I've just found my notes. Dan was scribbling on them as he showed us how to find the most remote branch of Starbucks in the UK using delaunay triangulation (and OpenStreetMap data)


Intially we were having some beers while looking out onto the bunhill fields cemetery (or is it a graveyard) and wondered whether all the famous people's gravestones had been mapped. Turns out not! Maybe we should've mapped them, but this was a lazy pub meet-up.

We had an appearance from Ed Freyfogle with his baby! We also had an appearance from a radio journalist who was scoping things out for an interview/recording, which he did later at the Hoxton Square meet-up... but more on that later.


We talked about Notes. Someone suggested a routing system which brings you to your destination via some nearby notes! Quite a fun idea. I think there's more "low hanging fruit" ideas around a more basic (highly specialised and simple) notes app, for viewing/adding notes on the move. In fact that's on my list of hacks I would do if I could only get around to them.

In fact me and Matt solved a note on the way home. Solving notes is so easy you can do it while under the influence of alcohol!

Maybe we'll do a bit of that again tonight, as we head to the pub again. If you'd like to join in with such activities (and pub conversations) we'll be in the Monkey Puzzle, Paddington from 7pm. All the details on the London page

Location: 51.523, -0.090

Meanwhile at Berlin-Hauptbahnhof…

Posted by Shmias on 22 July 2014 in English (English)

I recently stumbled upon this map at Berlin-Hauptbahnhof which looked vaguely familiar to me. I couldn't tell what it was since I'm used to maps of Berlin…

Hauptbahnhof Map

But then I realised this is the map that I was working on 😉

Hauptbahnhof Map Licence

Location: 52,525, 13,370

Scout update: new data and signpost tagging

Posted by mvexel on 22 July 2014 in English (English)

Let me update you on some of the goings on at Telenav related to OSM.

Scout OSM data update

First off, we released new OSM data for the US Scout app on July 15th. The OSM data is from July 3rd. No app update is required; just launch Scout and it will automatically use the latest data. We are currently updating the OSM data that drives Scout about every other week.

If you haven't tried Scout yet, you can download the latest version for Android here, for iOS here.

Note that the Scout International app (formerly the Skobbler GPS Navigation app) has its own data update regimen that is independent from the US version of Scout.

Signpost tagging

We continue to improve OSM data for the United States as well. We are focusing on signpost information right now (the information that you see on the freeway exit signs).


Image from AARoads

We are adopting the well-established destination= convention instead of the US-specific, limited and poorly documented exit_to convention. We are using AARoads as our primary source, for which they kindly gave permission. We are starting in Texas. Let me know if you have any questions about the editing work we are doing!

recent changeset

screenshot from the awesome achavi diff viewer

If you are interested in the background of exit_to versus destination, please see my previous diary entry about this topic.

Alright, that's it for now. I will write up updates like this one more often going forward!

Time for a 'Map Your Outdoors Adventure' party!

Posted by mvexel on 21 July 2014 in English (English)






Location: Whitney Reservoir, Summit County, Utah, United States of America

changes to my pavement entries and learning rivers

Posted by Govanus on 21 July 2014 in English (English)

I've found that for a time I've been picking the wrong term for pedestian pavements beside the main carrage way. In normal language i'd call these pavements, but for good and well explaind reasoning OSM decided to call them sidewalkd to avoid international confusion (pavement as a term has different meanings around the world). Knowing that I'd need to pick a differenet term I've been mistakeingly using footway by mistake (footways on some editors convert to footpaths) and I'm also begining question if some of my "Front Garden paths" should be footpaths or even private byways??? the problem is that what is simple to build with paving or a narrow strip of tarmac can be seen in different ways in osm but is physicaly similar and often used also used in very similar way too.

I'm intending to review the tagging I've done on sidewalks in a progressive manner.

I'm also looking at advanced bridge tagging to sort out some issues with some more recent entries. Bridges and rivers can become quite complecated when there is a lot going on like the Magdelen Viaduct/bridge (which has nine arches, 5 "tunnels" placeing places two river courses two-one embankment apontoondock and two sides, {not mentinon the multilane stuctures of the highway running over the top}!!!). I'll get there in the end but it might take some time. I've also been working on find details for the tasked missed off the last task listing and that is utility features like pumpsite and substations......

Request Help / Bitte um Vorschläge

Posted by dcp on 21 July 2014 in English (English)

Bitte um Vorschläge:

Für meine Deutschkenntnisse bitte ich in Voraus um Entschuldigung.


Ich wohne in ein Kleinstadt mitten in Deutschland: Ein Stadt von keine Bedeutung, es sei dann, das Sie die Privileg gehabt hast, hier zu wohnen. Rheinbach ist in OSM weitgehend erfasst und braucht nur Pflege! Es kann immer verbessert werden! Soweit wie ich weiß werden in Rheinbach die OSM-Daten von keine Firma, Geschäfte, Stadtverwaltung oder Vereine verwendet.

Außer der amtliche Homepage ( gibt es eine private Homepage (

Letztes Jahr habe ich folgender Email an geschickt:

======================== Begin Email ===================

Von: myemailadresse@***.de Datum: Montag, 30. Dezember 2013 17:14

An: theiremailadresse@***.de

Betreff: Vorschlag


Das könnten Sie für Rheinbach auch tun. Daten sind vorhanden und kostenlos als ODbL Lizenz verfügbar. Software ist in GitHub veröffentlicht auch als . ODbL Lizenz (d.h.: kostenlos) Die Öffnungszeiten sind im Open Street Map Projekt. vorhanden.

Siehe auch:

Falls Interesse vorhanden, stehe ich zur Verfügung!


==================== End Email =======================

Vor zwei Tage habe ich folgenden Email von erhalten

======================Begin Email =====================

Guten Tag Herr DCP,

manchmal ist es gut, wenn man Mails nicht direkt “entsorgt”! Erinnert habe ich mich oft, habe Ihnen auf die damalige Mail aber nicht sofort geantwortet. Ich war begeistert von der 3D-Stadtansicht von Rheinbach!!! Unser seit 2010 existierendes Stadtportal entwickelt sich erfreulich. Dies zeigen die ständig steigenden Zugriffszahlen. Nicht nur von Rheinbachern werden wir besucht, sondern auch die umliegenden Kommunen bis nach Bonn und Köln schauen rein.

Gestern hatte ich mit einem der Rheinbacher Geschäftsinhaber und unserem Bürgermeister ein Gespräch. Thema: “Rheinbach hier lebe ich – hier kaufe ich ein!” Idee: virtueller Stadtplan mit den ansässigen Geschäften etc. Nun will ich mal testen, ob dafür openstreetmap nutzbar ist. Falls Sie Beispiele zeigen könnten, die ähnliches umgesetzt haben, würde ich mich freuen.

Für heute wünsche ich ein schönes Wochenende

Viele Grüße aus dem sonnig heißen Rheinbach

Dieter ******* web-real

========================= End Email =========================


Es gibt bestimmt massenhaften vorhanden exzellenten Beispiele was man alles machen kann mit OSM Daten.

Maßnahme: Also falls Sie Beispiele kenne bitte ich brauche die dafür betreffenden links.

Bemerkung: Links zur anderen nicht deutsche Sites sind auch erwünscht!

Location: Altstadtplatz, Rheinbach, Rhein-Sieg-Kreis, Regierungsbezirk Köln, North Rhine-Westphalia, 53359, Germany, European Union

JOSM Preset Builder

Posted by primej on 21 July 2014 in English (English)

I was trying to create some JOSM presets and ended up writing a script to create the XML file for presets. This script ( takes an input text file and based on the input data it creates a JOSM preset XML file.

At present the script supports key/value pairs, lists with multiple selection and drop downs. The script and sample data file can be downloaded from

Contributor numbers revisited and empty changesets galore

Posted by SimonPoole on 20 July 2014 in English (English)

Some of you may have seen my blog posts on contributor numbers in the past (May 2013 , December 2013) on our contributor growth based on analysing the regular changeset dumps.

While I was fairly sure that the numbers were correct, I did know that I hadn't taken one potential systematic problem in to account: users that had signed up and produced only empty changesets. Now it could be argued that such users at least tried to contribute and should be counted, but opinions may differ on that. It was clear that any effect on current trends would be minimal, all modern editors will typically only allow you to save if you have actually changed something, implying that an empty changeset is something that can only happen in an error situation (for example an editing conflict, or a crash of the application).

Here are the corrected graphs:

The effect of removing the empty changesets lowers the overall number by roughly 25'000 users, however as expected does not effect the general trend. End of June 2014 we had an accumulated total of 421'701 contributors, increasing at a rate of around 8'000 per month.

The following graphs compared to the previous ones show that most of the effect of the change is in 2009, which as we know is the year changesets were introduced in, so some issues there are not quite unexpected.

In mid-2014 we have already had more than 90'000 active contributors, we can expect a substantial increase in the year total if the trend continues.

Back to the empty changesets, when and how much of an effect did removing them from the numbers have:

and the same relative to the new contributors per month:

(note: the above is the difference between the old numbers with zero edit changesets and the new ones, in some cases this simply caused users to be counted one month later, which explains the single negative month)

As already mentioned all changesets before May 2009 were generated when changests were introduced. I haven't been able to determine what caused the large numbers from May to November 2009, however the changesets in question do not have a created_by tag and I suspect that they were created after the fact, by some kind of mechanical process. Nobody that I asked can remember, maybe a reader can shed some light on this.

After November 2009 most of the empty changesets were created by Potlatch 1 and a well founded suspicion is that they were caused by P1 live mode. This continues up to April 2011 when Potlatch 2 was made the default editor and the absolute numbers have remained stable in the 100-200 users per month range since then.

Now it is important to remind ourselves what we are looking at: the numbers are new users that signed up, tried to edit, failed and never had a successful edit after that.

In other words, users that wanted to participate that we lost (the total number of empty changesets is far higher, however for now I'll assume that regular contributors are more tolerant of things going wrong than first-timers).

Done deeds are done deeds and there is nothing we can do about users that we have already lost, however what we can do is try and improve the situation going forward.

I've produced some numbers on which editors the users were using and nearly all (yes including JOSM) turn up, however the majority of the users effected are using iD (which is not a surprise given that it is the default editor) and, big surprise, "Go Map!" at nearly the same level. Given that "Go Map!" has a far lower user base than iD (editor stats), this indicates that there may be a real problem with the app this has in the mean time been resolved. Naturally given that iD is what is usually used by potential new contributors, further investigation is warranted too.

JOSM graphics contest

Posted by don-vip on 19 July 2014 in English (English)

JOSM needs your support! The developer team of the editor JOSM is looking for a new logo. Therefore we're holding a graphics contest.

  • What's it about? The current logo should be replaced completely by your design. It will be used in the software itself, on the website and in various other media related to JOSM.

  • Why do we need a new logo? Presently, we are still using the old OSM icon from 2011. Instead of a slight revision, we would like to abandon the concept "OSM-logo + coffee mug" and find a new, independent identification for the project.

  • What are the rules? Everyone can participate. You can submit your work till 30th of September 2014 to contest at The image should be in vector format (SVG) and still look okay at low resolution (16x16 pixel). You can find further details on the wiki page:

We are looking forward to your contribution!

Paul & Vincent (for the JOSM team)

A beautiful new routing metric

Posted by ndm on 18 July 2014 in English (English)

To all recklessly editing newbies

Posted by Jedrzej Pelka on 18 July 2014 in English (English)

Why using a new tag without reading its wiki page before?

Making OSM more widely known

Posted by NZGraham on 18 July 2014 in English (English)

Quite often I have been 'spotted' while out mapping and have got into conversations with local business owners. I want to allay their suspicions when they see me wandering along service alleys and taking photos of their premises. I explain what I am doing and tell them a bit about OSM mentioning that I will be adding their business details to the map.

Once I have done the editing and seen the results show up on the map I usually email the business and send them a link to the appropriate part of the map. I also mention that their details will appear on "Osmand – the associated Android app"

Does anyone else do this?

In my email should I be saying something like "OpenStreetMap -the free, open source, alternative to Google Maps" or is that perhaps being too pointed?

What about referring to embedding OSM on their website if they have one? I've generally avoided this as I'm not tech savvy enough to answer any questions which may arise.

Suggestions, comments welcome!

Spatially Sound - Temporally Challenged ;-)

Posted by Shawn Day on 18 July 2014 in English (English)

So, to simply put it out there - Twitter doesn't lie - decided to make a dry run to Fingal County Council to participate in the Lesotho Mapathon. Found the right place to be, just managed to be off by a week. Ahhh I know the bus route, the peculiarities (ie where the stop request button is - where to get some porridge) and all set to be there next week. Looking forward to some African mapping.

Location: Main Street, Swords, Fingal, County Dublin, Leinster, Ireland

India Villages

Posted by MapMakinMeyers on 17 July 2014 in English (English)

Alt text

Opening Hours

Posted by mvexel on 17 July 2014 in English (English)

Mapping opening hours correctly can be a pain; the format for the opening_hours key can be hard to remember. I didn't use to do it much for that reason. Until I recently discovered that there's a JOSM plugin for that! It works really well, let me show you how I added hours of a local restaurant in seconds.

First, of course, make sure you have the plugin installed:


Then, select the thing you want to add opening hours for:


And select 'Edit Opening Hours' from the Data menu (or use the keyboard shortcut).


If the plugin detects an existing opening_hours tag, it will offer to edit that, or you can create it. It will then offer a graphical interface for setting the hours:


You can move and drag blocks as you would expect. The plugin will parse it in the expected format. A nice little extra is that it supports the 'open end' hours in the format 17:00+ - useful for places that don't have a set closing hour but instead say 'open till late' or something similar.

Perhaps old news to y'all, but it made me happy :) now has OSM-powered bike routing for Western Europe

Posted by Richard on 17 July 2014 in English (English)

I've been working on this for a while and am delighted to be able to unveil it!, my OSM-powered cycling site, now has bike routing for Western Europe: France, the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Denmark, Czech Republic, Slovenia, Austria, Italy, Spain, Portugal, the UK and Ireland.

You can try it at

It's built with (patched) OSRM and a complex custom profile. It takes account of elevation, cycle routes, surface quality and more. All routes are fully draggable; you can export to GPX, TCX, and PDF, and save routes if you create an account. The cartography is specially designed for the site.

Here's a ride along the Rhine:

Rhine cycleway

Or if you fancy cycling over Mont Ventoux:

Mont Ventoux

Routing details

If it doesn't follow a route you'd expect it to take, this is usually because surface tags are missing.

For example, here in France, the canalside path is tagged as 'highway=path' with no surface tags. guesses that paths in rural areas have poor quality surfaces, so will try not to route along them. Adding a 'surface=gravel' tag to this path, which the aerial imagery suggests, will make the router like it. (Access tags are also good.)

Miscellaneous notes

  • The tileserver is a little slow - please be gentle!
  • There are occasional inconsistencies in the tiles - old styles that haven't refreshed yet.
  • You can't route between the UK and mainland Europe (there's a big lake in the way. Only Chris Froome is allowed to cycle through the tunnel and look how far it got him)
  • I'm planning on weekly updates but it'll be less often at first.
  • Known issue with highway=trunk, bicycle=yes getting undue prominence.
  • Known issue with fahrradstrassen/fietsstraten not being prioritised.
  • You can switch from miles to km if you create an account and set user preferences. It'll be a bit smarter about defaulting to km for Europe soon, but I need to do a bit of work to enable that. Edit: Now defaults to km for routes in Europe.

Still lots to improve but I hope you like it - and, as ever, thanks to all the mappers who have contributed all the lovely data.

You can post comments/bugs/suggestions here, of course, or on the site forum itself.

Experimental Overpass attic support in Achavi (augmented change viewer)

Posted by ikonor on 17 July 2014 in English (English)

achavi screenshot

As you might know, Overpass API has a new "attic data" feature (see Overpass API v0.7.50 almost done and SotM EU workshop). It allows to query for augmented changes by date range and bounding box. I'm very excited about this, because it now really makes sense for visualizing updates in an area, while iterating over minutely augmented diffs was a bit of an overkill. So I couldn't resist and made a hack to utilize this in Achavi:

Zoom in to your area of interest and press load to see changes within the last 24 hours. For continuous monitoring bookmark the Permalink and simply press load each time, the last load date will be preset as start date.

The old version will probably be replaced once the attic database is rebuilt. Code is in the attic branch (only for the brave).

Many thanks to Roland for implementing the attic feature!


There also is an experimental feature for visualizing changesets:

  • drag & drop a changeset link onto the map
    (e.g. URL from changeset page or changeset link from WhoDidIt feed)
  • or use "changeset" URL parameter (optional "&relations=true"),
    e.g. .../achavi/?changeset=24168261

Load URL or file

Augmented diff files - i.e. the result of a custom attic adiff query - can also be loaded:

  • drag & drop local file onto the map
  • or pass the URL to a file as "url" parameter,
    e.g. /achavi/?url=http://.../charging_stations.xml
    This example is an uploaded result of the following query selecting updated charging stations for the recent Wochenaufgabe (en: Project of the week):[adiff:"2014-07-01T00:00:00Z","2014-07-14T24:00:00Z"];((area["name:de"="Deutschland"];area["name:de"="Schweiz"];area["name:de"="Österreich"];);node["amenity"="charging_station"](area);>;);out meta geom;

Note that the url feature is somewhat limited due to cross-origin security constraints.


  • attic data goes back until September 2012 (license change)
  • inconsistencies in old attic data (before June), there will be a database rebuild to fix
  • smaller bounding boxes (>= z15) take a couple of seconds, while larger can take one or two minutes or may time out, esp. with relations
  • only basic support for Relations in Achavi, thus disabled by default, check 'relations' to include
  • Achavi as a whole is still alpha
  • live update feature is removed for now, probably makes sense to separate. Has anybody been using this?
  • ...


Unsure. Right now, there is other stuff I want to get on with. And before adding any more new features, some major refactoring should be done and probably switching to Leaflet.

Of course there is a lot to improve and there are many ideas, e.g.

  • having the textual list of changes of Roland's demo combined with the drill-down summary of Frederik's "Cool Name Goes Here" (WIP), both interacting with map visualization.
  • another idea was to somehow integrate the change visualization into Overpass Turbo to filter changes with your own attic queries, perhaps along with some custom MapCSS styling.
  • highlight only changed segments, esp. for long ways (landuses) and relations
  • ...

Welcome !

Posted by lib2know on 17 July 2014 in English (English)

Welcome to my OpenStreetMap Blog !

These are my very first contributions on OpenStreetMap. Thanks for any hint to improve my mapping!

My first two sessions were just details like buildings, amenities and shops. Even a few very tiny paths and streets which are not obvious on the satellite pictures. Especially shadows of the late afternoon sun and trees hided them.

Very funny: 216 changes now! My initial idea was just to add the restaurant Prat Gran in La Massana where Andorra's weekly Linux meeting is located:

If there is any Andorran mapper out there, or a mapper is willing to visit our little country, please send me a message :-) English, Catala, Spanish, German emails will be understood. cheers lib2know

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