Diary Entries in English

Recent diary entries

A Dead Kitten (you know you want one)

Posted by alexkemp on 7 May 2016 in English (English)

see the dead kitten

(‘Dead Kitten’ == the pink fluffy thing hanging from the left head-can)
(with grateful thanks to Nadeem at “Fabric House”, stall 244/245, Victoria Market, Nottingham)

This actually all started when my ancient Motorola L7 mobile died last Christmas; or rather, when the central bevel fell out from the O-ring, making navigation ultra difficult. The Moto was old – (2005) predating even the earliest iphone – but had originally belonged to my brother (now deceased) so I tried super-gluing the bevel back in.

In February 2016 I dashed to Newark to see The Flying Scotsman pass by & my attempt to photograph it faltered due to the bevel. That was the last straw. Discarding the Moto felt like discarding my brother for a second time, but it had to be done.

These are the steps to the Dead Kitten, and also what brought me to be mapping for OSM:

  1. Buy a Vodaphone Smart First 6
    (£20 GBP for me, although now is £25) - perfectly stunning value
    (use a PAYG plan + switch ‘Data Usage’ OFF in Settings to avoid vast monthly payouts; that still allows Internet Access via Wi-Fi)
  2. Obtain OSMtracker & install on the mobile
    (other tracker apps are available)
  3. Use some Sony ZX310 AP Headphones (with built in microphone)
    (£29.99 GBP last year from Boots)

Mostly I use just 2 features of that tracker:

  1. Record voice notes
    (20 seconds works for me)
  2. Take photos

In practice there turned out to be problems with the Voice Notes, and particularly because it was Spring & the wind was often blustery. At first, I was speaking directly into the mobile, but wind flutter often drowned it out. So, I tried the 3rd step above; the external mike was better, but only reduced it a little.

Two friends are professional artists & film-makers; they pointed out that outside microphone-booms use a Dead Cat (that is the fluffy ‘sock’ that covers the mike). I thought to try it & hence spoke to Nadeem. The Dead Kitten works perfectly!!!

An unforeseen feature is that now, in those head-cans & with a silly little shocking-pink Dead Kitten, I look like such a twat that all my former problems with the Middle-Class have just melted away. Result!

Location: Thorneywood, Sneinton, Wilford, Nottingham, East Midlands, England, United Kingdom

My participation in #ProjectNOAH-ISAIAH

Posted by TagaSanPedroAko on 7 May 2016 in English (English)

Following a message sent by schadow1, I now started participating on mapping for #ProjectNOAH-ISAIAH. Currently, I started adding buildings on my barangay, San Antonio, in San Pedro, Laguna, as part of the mapping project. The only problem is what imagery to use. For example, Bing imagery of San Pedro, Laguna look much older, while Mapbox imagery (using DigitalGlobe imagery) is much reliable for adding buildings, but a few cloud covered areas make building mapping difficult. I prefer Mapbox imagery on mapping Metro Manila and northwest Laguna, but Batangas still do not have any reliable quality imagery (Batangas City's imagery can be only seen at a high zoom level, and only Bing can be used, but parts of Batangas City, near Taysan is only seen at a high zoom level.) I am planning to extend that mapping work for #ProjectNOAH-ISAIAH to Batangas City and other areas in Batangas, but I am only limited to map areas with reliable quality imagery.

Location: Park Spring, San Antonio, San Pedro, Laguna, Calabarzon, 4023, Philippines

Batangas City: Improving the map more

Posted by TagaSanPedroAko on 7 May 2016 in English (English)

I am able to go to a 4-day vacation in Batangas City, where I am continually surveying the area and making more additions of places. Now, I am working on political mapping: mapping barangays and sitios/puroks, and their boundaries.

First work is missing or misplaced businesses and buildings or incorrect or missing business information. Bing has enough imagery to trace buildings, but for a newer building, it will be different. You would have to trace its outlines based on the building you saw on the survey. Business information (name, address, telephone/cell phone numbers, websites, etc.) can be obtained by a survey (if it is possible, a photo can help). A lot of businesses are still missing, especially on Poblacion, Alangilan, Pallocan West, and Libjo, but I am able to take advantage of going to SM City Batangas, Montemaria, and a resort in Libjo (I mapped it later). Also, photos taken from my new tablet (a Samsung Galaxy Tab A), combined with lat-long information (taken from satellites), are one of my sources of data I use. I made a move to Pan de Manila and South Star Drug in Kumintang Ibaba by photos with geo-location. I added a pedestrian crossing to the map, but, I added a nearby doctor's office along with it, as it appeared on the photo. I added a new building near the south end of Jose P. Laurel Highway (named Manila-Batangas Road by the Department of Public Works and Highways on most of its length, or locally, National Road/Highway or Hilltop Road)

The second thing to work on is political mapping: mapping missing barangays and sitios/puroks, and barangay and sitio/purok boundaries, as well as the city boundary itself (yet, it was partly approximations, and further edits are to be done). So far, I am able to add barangay boundaries, with the first barangay boundary to add is the boundary of Alangilan. It was followed by boundaries of Barangay 17, 19, and 20 Poblacion, Santa Clara, Cuta, Pallocan West, Gulod Labac, and Libjo. For the sitios/purok, I started to map the boundaries of Duluhan in Cuta and Monte Maria in Pagkilatan. So far, I mapped 9 barangay boundaries and 2 sitio/purok boundaries. I hope more boundaries will be mapped in the future.

The third thing is mapping schools and barangay halls. On a trip to Montemaria and back to Duluhan, I took the advantage to map schools and barangay halls on the seaside barangays of Pinamucan and Mabacong. On barangay Alangilan, I added Casa del Bambino Montessori. School and barangay hall mapping, however, is slowly progressing in Batangas City, but may progress even further anytime in the future.

Indoor mapping of SM City Batangas is still slow, but I am able to add a few businesses, like Ace Hardware, or rename businesses, based on a physical survey I done.

Mapping of Batangas City is progressing, but slowly, and still, the area I prioritize in mapping Batangas City is the urban area, which forms part of the Batangas-San Pascual-Bauan urban area ("Metro Batangas").

Location: Park Spring, San Antonio, San Pedro, Laguna, Calabarzon, 4023, Philippines

OSM Analytics launched!

Posted by dekstop on 7 May 2016 in English (English)

A few months ago I posted a draft specification for an OSM quality assurance tool. The first beta for the project was launched last week, it is now called OSM Analytics. Cristiano Giovando posted an announcement on the HOT blog.

OSM Analytics

The code for frontend and backend is on Github; it's a very nice Javascript codebase, making use of many existing OSM frameworks and infrastructure pieces. We welcome your bug reports and pull requests!

I also gave a brief introduction to the tool and its uses at the most recent Missing Maps mapathon in London, there's a recording by the BRC maps team on YouTube. Unfortunately we had wifi problems at the venue, so it's not a very fluid presentation, but Chris Glithero took care to edit out the gaps so it's still a decent flow.

May Notes

Posted by SuzanneSy on 5 May 2016 in English (English)

Working on this invalidated task:

Mapping Destinations Signs on US Motorways

Posted by nammala on 5 May 2016 in English (English)

The data team at Mapbox has been mapping destinations signs in the US. Based on Mapillary images, Department Of Transportation (DOT) documents, crosscountryroads, and Interstate guides.


Imagery source- Mapillary

We started working on 9 states:

  • California
  • Florida
  • New Jersey
  • Maryland + DC
  • Pennsylvania
  • Washington state
  • Colorado
  • Texas
  • Illinois

We are using checkautopista for adding destination tags like destination,destination:street,destination:ref after verifying from the above sources.

The team worked on this task last month and reviewed 220 highways and added 3,417 tags

  • Number of destination tags added: 1663 (map)
  • Number of destination:ref tags added: 1481 (map)
  • Number of destination:street tags added: 273 (map)

This is the workflow we followed.

Happy Mapping!

Conducting workshops for community building

Posted by ruthmaben on 5 May 2016 in English (English)

Last week we conducted a workshop at CIT University, which is in Gubbi, Tumkur District. We do such workshops at universities to introduce students to fundamental concepts of open data, open source software, and OpenStreetMap ecosystem.

In this particular workshop, students were introduced to OpenStreetMap, iD editor, the OpenStreetMap Tasking Manager, and Mapbox Studio.

Running the workshop

This was an introductory session - we began with a quick history of the OpenStreetMap project, basics on adding data and tagging various feature using the iD editor, and tying these concepts around fundamental on geography to enhance the understanding of the data on OpenStreetMap.

screenshot 2016-05-04 11 40 16

Next, we turned our attention to the OpenStreetMap tasking manager task, and tied it in with how the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team mobilises during a crisis. We asked students to use the tasking manager to make edits with a team of experienced mappers guiding them all along. Our thinking here is, by introducing students to tools like the tasking manager with a focus on fundamentals will pave the way for them to get involved and potentially contribute to OpenStreetMap when there is a HOT activation.


For the CIT workshop, we created a task in Tumkur and here is the outcome


We noticed a few errors were being made when our team was validating the edits during the workshop to ensure quality edits on OpenStreetMap.

Basic interactive style options using Mapbox Studio

After diving into OpenStreetMap, we turned our focus to showing students how they can visualize data from OpenStreetMap using the Mapbox Studio interface. The goal here was to introduce student to the basics of styling, creating multiple layers using OpenStreetMap data.

The outcome

cit studio

cit studio 2

During these workshops, what's thrilling to see is the response we get to tools like OpenStreetMap. The experience of adding the first building or road in your village, and knowing that it is now a part of the global canvas used by millions of people is powerful.

New York Long Path

Posted by ke9tv on 2 May 2016 in English (English)

I noticed that there were New York Long Path blazes when I went out a week ago (2016-04-24) to map the Wolf Creek Falls Preserve. (Actually, I knew in advance that they were there...) That made me remember that mapping the northern part of the Long Path ought to be a project. There are essentially no really good trail maps available of this trail from Huntersfield Mountain in the northern Catskills through the Schoharie Valley to its terminus (Thacher Park or Northville, according to whether you want to take it all the way to the Adirondacks). OSM has the opportunity to fix that.

I've started adding roadwalk and overlaid trails to the route relation, and posting notes for the missing sections. If nobody else does it, I'll get out and GPS the missing sections at some point, but no real promise when that will happen.

Current Mission

Posted by schachtelman on 1 May 2016 in English (English)

My current mission is to add all the food and drink POIs in Weiz.

Location: Radmannsdorf, Weiz, Styria, 8160, Austria

Nottingham Suburban Railway

Posted by alexkemp on 30 April 2016 in English (English)

The trek ‘n’ trace that I did Friday 29 April 2016 included a section of the (long dismantled) Nottingham Suburban Railway (NSR), including the sole tunnel still available to view. I love steam trains, tunnels & hidden places, so this diary entry will be about the NSR in St Anns.

I use Mapillary to store photos taken whilst tracking. At first, the only way that I could display them in this diary was via my personal site. However, Mapillary support (support at pointed out the Download sub-menu, and that allows a photo to be shown here.

On Carlton Road, a little east of the junction with Porchester Road, on the south side of the road, is a blue-brick wall that is actually the top of the NSR Bridge which previously carried Carlton Road over the NSR Railway line between the station at the north side & the track to Sneinton tunnel at the south side.

NSR Bridge

You may notice that this is a Blue Brick bridge. Those are highest quality Engineering brick (made in Staffordshire from Etruria marl) and the reason that so many of the NSR houses, walls & bridges continue to exist & function since they were originally built in 1889. It also means that the NSR was phenomenally expensive to create. (A personal story:- when I was living in Hull I obtained some Yellow brick – Engineering brick which is one step down from the Blue – to line the inside of a chimney; it was almost impossible to drill or cut, and impervious to water).

At the right-hand side of the Carlton Road Bridge/wall is a gate, and on the right-hand side of that gate is entry for folks on foot.

NSR Bridge + gate

The path beyond leads down the cutting (20 foot, which is 7 or 8 metres high)...

NSR rail cutting

...and has the Sneinton tunnel entrance at the end. There is a locked gate that leads into the tunnel. I haven't been inside, but I understand that a Rifle Club uses the tunnel (entry by application).

NSR Sneinton tunnel entrance

The path continues beyond the tunnel entrance with a grassed-area above the tunnel.

grassed play area

One interesting oddity lies just beyond that grassed area: a 9m high railway tunnel chimney (another chimney for a different tunnel in Mapperley has been filled solid by vandals with waste, so a 9m high metal pipe makes good sense).

tunnel chimney

My Friday tracking began with that huge metal pipe. Let's now skip to Porchester Road (formerly known as Thorneywood Lane) and the Thorneywood Station. 1 Porchester Road – the former Station House – is the sole remnant of that station except for the retaining wall of the Goods Yard, though lots & lots of remnants & tunnels are hidden behind earth walls.

NSR Station House

The Station House housed the StationMaster in 1889 and was positioned above the station. Today Parry Court occupies what used to be the site of the station (on the north side of Carlton-Road bridge, although the current ground-level is at least 10' (3m) above the 1889 ground-level), then Len Maynard Court. The next set of houses to the north is Porters Walk / Paddington Mews. That is positioned above the site of a very busy Goods Yard.

The Station House is also made of Blue Brick, and another Blue-Brick wall runs down from the far side of the former Pub (Coopers Arms, 3 Porchester Road)...

Coopers Arms Sign

...running north to what was a 30 foot/9m tall retaining wall for the Goods Yard.

Thorneywood Station retaining wall

Another tunnel ran from between the Station House & Coopers Arms under Porchester Road then (as best as I can tell) the track ran up Burgass Road to the Brickyard at it's end. The tunnel on the west side has been effectively hidden by part-filling in the cutting that contained the station; I haven't yet surveyed the east side.

All that remains of the 30 foot retaining wall is a 6 foot high wall.

Goods Yard retaining wall

However, if you compare the photos at it quickly becomes obvious that the rest of the wall is still there, but below the ground. Indeed, if you snoop around it also becomes clear that the end of the goods yard exists within it's cutting, north of the end houses in Paddington Mews, with the entrance to the Thorneywood Tunnel at it's end. However, on the occasions that I scouted it out it was raining, with a 10 foot (3m) sheer drop to the floor and, most likely, with the tunnel entrance hidden below the soil floor. I declined to explore that section further.

Thorneywood Tunnel travels below (would you believe it) Thorneywood & emerges just beyond Permain Park.

Permain Park

The park is built directly above the tunnel but, in this case, sadly, only a wall of earth & trees is for show where the tunnel entrance should be.

Thorneywood tunnel entrance

The track of the tracks is still there to walk but, frankly, not worth the effort.

St Anns rail cutting

Beyond the modern Mickleborough Avenue the tracks travelled across a high-level bridge to a station in St Anns. One of the bridge pillars was built next to, and directly responsible for the final destruction of, the remains of the medieval St Anns Well (an actual well and holy site visited by Kings in medieval times, the waters of which still travel in a culvert under The Wells Road & St Anns Well Road), and which ended up in the car-park of The Gardeners Public House (English drinking establishment) which latter has now itself also been erased. Honestly, the amount of interesting history that Nottingham has just thrown away is beyond belief.

Bridge pillar base

Above is all that remains: yet another blue-brick wall, whilst the developers wait for an archaeological dig to be completed.

Location: Thorneywood, Sneinton, Wilford, Nottingham, East Midlands, England, United Kingdom

Editing US National Parks

Posted by Alan Bragg on 29 April 2016 in English (English)

I've been tinkering with western section of Acadia National Park in Maine where I've often visited.

This led me to the discover the NP Mapping page which explains how their database and OSM interface. I now add the hash tag #parktiles to my changesets.

I read that it was ok for me to adjust the border of the park which are sloppy. I started by aligning a segment of the shore line with Bing and used that segment to replace the segment from the border relation

I set up routes for the trails so they now appear in Waymarked Trails!44.3162!-68.3053.

There's still lot of work to do; in just this one section of the park there are 16 serious errors and 2,246 warnings according to the JOSM Validator. Many are due to old and duplicated imported data. Anyone want to help?

I also found Chimani, a free app based on OSM that works off-line and has the content of a good sized guide book.

Alan Bragg

HOT mapping initiatives over time

Posted by dekstop on 29 April 2016 in English (English)

Today I took some time to update my list of HOT mapping initiatives -- a bit of a messy process because there's no official listing. These days I simply review new projects in the OSM edit history that have a minimum number of contributors, and label them with a simple term. The intention is to identify groups of projects that have a common theme. Typically these are disaster events, larger mapping campaigns like Missing Maps, or organisations that organise projects for their members. Of course the boundaries between them are blurry, e.g. Missing Maps is really a meta-initiative across many discrete projects.

Here's a timeline of the initiatives I've identified so far -- let me know if I missed any! There's also a PDF version, in case you want to include this in presentation slides.

#HOTOSM mapping initiatives over time

Adding sport= tags to leisure=pitch.

Posted by Warin61 on 28 April 2016 in English (English)

I am presently targeting Australian 'leisure=pitch' that don't have a 'sport=' tag and trying to identify the sport and add the tag. Why? Well I added the osmwiki page for 'sport=netball' having found these to be missing or incorrectly tagged while some 1,300 were in the data base. I then went around adding them, or correcting incorrect entries where found. In doing this I noticed that in these areas sports grounds were poorly represented or tagged. Using the web to look for netball courts resulted in a doubling of the number of netball courts in the OSM data base! So how to find these areas where sport is not represented as good as it could be? I chose to use taginfo and search for leisure=pitch and sport!= (tags with leisure-pitch and no sport) while this works .. there are a lot of them ... meaning the work spreads over several days and I was repeatably looking at the same things! So i chose to add the tag 'fixme=sport=?' to the places where I could not identify what sport was played there. The search can now be 'leisure=pitch and sport!=* and fixme!=*' and that removes the places I have looked at.

I have now done NSW! I am targeting Melbourne, then country Vic. Then ... S.A./Qld.

This has increase the quantity of sports ... netball is now around 3,800! Increases for AFL, touch_football (I have yet to add a osmwiki page for this), cricket, basketball, softball (yep .. needs a osmwiki page too) and discus, hammer throws and long and triple jumps (again .. needs a osmwiki pages! ).

Start mapping Carei

Posted by kokeinyesdi on 28 April 2016 in English (English)

I start mapping Carei town

Location: Strada 1 Decembrie 1918, Carei, Satu Mare, 445100, Romania

Cluj Napoca Someseni

Posted by kokeinyesdi on 28 April 2016 in English (English)

I just finished to mapping buildings Someseni in Cluj Napoca

Location: Someșeni, Cluj-Napoca, Cluj, Romania

OpenStreetMap & the Ordinance Survey

Posted by alexkemp on 28 April 2016 in English (English)

A patch local to me (now called Stonebridge Park) proved to be a white triangle on the map (Stonebridge Road at the base, Beacon Hill Rise on the town side & Saint Matthias Road on the 3rd side). It was part of the St Anns-wide redevelopment at the end of the 1960s. 50 years later poor, lost souls were still being discovered in the shrubbery. Like English versions of WW2 Japanese soldiers they had wandered into the new estates & promptly got lost. Most were quickly discovered & gently led out to be rehabilitated in one of the local insane asylums, but some went feral & survived only by being fed by children from the estate (I know this is true as I'm sure I saw a film about it).

Something had to be done. The council renamed the whole triangle of land & gave a contract to Keepmoat to re-redevelop the whole area. That post-dates our Bing imagery. I've tried to contact Keepmoat, but they have not returned my calls nor emails. I've had better success with the GIS department at the local council.

SK53 (Jerry) gave me a contact to a councillor who is Executive Assistant for Housing and Regeneration, and he passed my email on to the council GIS Team. I got an email back from Laura, saying that my request “sounds very interesting”. Nottingham Council have their own OpenData initiative, but the Ordinance Survey stranglehold on British GIS Data causes Laura to believe that they cannot release anything to OSM.

I spoke to Laura today, and she will approach the OS to discuss releasing info to OSM. I spent most of yesterday collecting info + links which I put in an email to her. I thought that others may find that info useful, so here is the content:

I hope to speak to you on Thursday 28 April 2016. Here is some background info + links on OSM relevant to the topic of your recent email to me, but first the section of that email possibly most relevant to this discussion:-

On 26/04/16 16:48, (GIS Team) wrote:

We also publish individual developments as open data with address information but no lat / long / easting / northing as requested by yourself. We are currently restricted on this. We are happy to investigate this further and look to include additional spatial information into the information we already publish but we will need to have discussions with Ordnance Survey about this information as it will be derived from their products and so need permission to publish.

Looking at the building outline / development boundary information data that you have requested as Open Data there are likely to be restrictions to publishing with unrestricted re-use as the data is derived from Ordnance Survey Mastermap products where Ordnance Survey would own the intellectual property rights for this. On many datasets we are starting to publish spatial information even if it is derived from Ordnance Survey data through a legal gateway called ‘presumption to publish’. However we think that the information requested is likely to fall outside of this due to the volumes of data that would be released within a small area, which would not be permitted by Ordnance Survey as this would basically be providing people with a copy of their product. We would welcome the opportunity to talk to you about this, and with further details may be able to assist further so below are my contact details.

You will find detailed licence info on the OSM website:

The relevant extract for using OSM data (which includes the maps) is as follows:-

You are free to copy, distribute, transmit and adapt our data, as long as you credit OpenStreetMap and its contributors. If you alter or build upon our data, you may distribute the result only under the same licence ... The cartography in our map tiles, and our documentation, are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 licence (CC BY-SA).

It should not be necessary to say this, but there is zero (that is £0.00) cost in making use of that data. You will not, therefore, be surprised to hear that OSM maps are increasingly being used by a vast range of bodies worldwide.

In order to be able to maintain the CC BY-SA licence, it is essential that any data imported/entered into the OSM map comes from a non-copyright source. In America all government map data is copyright-free, but in the UK, of course, the OS have maintained a tight grip on the crown-jewels of the financial/copyright map-body. Thus, almost all maps in the UK could NOT be used to derive data for OSM entry. OSM polices this requirement most carefully & has a take-down procedure in place; and yes, it has been used, deleting all data entered by the infringers.

In spite of the paragraph above, Ordnance Survey data has been made available to OSM (see the Licence page, url above). In short, this has been brought about by a change on April 1, 2010 (and following) in the license that the OS apply. Here are relevant URLs then relevant extracts of that info:-

OSM started in the first place because of the difficulty that one cyclist in London had with the very high cost of using OS data (see the 'History' url as at top). OSM considers that it is (at least in part) responsible for causing the OS to seriously adopt the Open Government License. Here is the brief history:

  • Dec 2009 to March 2010: Government consultation:
  • April 1st 2010: 1st release; under Open Database License 1.0 (but not Postcode data) (explicitly clarified with OS that this meant that OS data could be used in OSM)
  • 2010: Postcode data now released under open licence
  • February 2015: OS OpenData license replaced with Open Government Licence (OGL) v3 (no change to OSM usage, as v3 explicitly allows such use)
  • 24th March 2015: OS OpenMap, OpenRivers, OpenRoads, OpenNames, StreetView

From all of the above, it should be that there is zero problem in releasing this info for use in OSM.

Location: Lace Market, St Ann's, Nottingham, East Midlands, England, United Kingdom

School Edit Tracker

Posted by Harry Wood on 28 April 2016 in English (English)

The "UK quarterly project" for the start of this year, was about schools. It was pretty popular and quite a few mappers got involved in editing and fixing up schools data in the UK. How many? Well...

I fired up my old "edit tracker" code to track School edits during the first quarter, and now it's frozen as a record. So we can see 362 people did a total of 15548 edits to UK schools data during the quarter.

And here's the rankings, showing that Robert Whittaker takes first prize with 1339 edits. The rankings also show a classic long tail curve. Not too uneven, but still with almost half of our 362 people only making a single school edit. But that's OK. Getting lots of people chipping in a little bit is a good thing.

That's why I created a new display called "New Starters". I hoped this might get people interested in the challenge of how to spread the word and get more people joining in.

Linked from there, and from the rankings, I made another new display for each user. So here's the school edits for the 'Harry Wood' user for example. We can see edits over time, so we can see my rather meagre contribution. We can also see that Robert Whitaker had a spurt of activity towards the end, while Yorvik Prestigitator seemed to take a break at the end, (and actually this allowed Robert to sneak ahead and take the top spot!)


This involved a bit of drawing of bar charts in javascript. Last time I did something like this, I generated static images using google charts API, but this time I wanted the interactive mouse-over effect which we see with so many web charting libraries these days. I just had to find a free open source one... which presented quite a big sorting the wheat from the chaff challenge. I chose c3.js, which was quite easy to get working for this. Sometimes the width of my bars goes a bit wrong. Look at the way they overlap on the this chart for example. Maybe someone can spot what I've done wrong. The source code for all this display logic is on github.

Behind the scenes, there's my "diffreader" logic. As the name suggests, it reads the diffs (OpenStreetMap minutely diffs) Some ruby, a bash script, and sticky-tape, doing all the fuddling around with diff files, sequence files, parsing XML badly (really badly Naughty Harry), and eventually writing a nice SQLite DB file full of school edits meta-data. That's all unchanged from back in the days of wimbledon edit tracking, and the Big Baseball project, but one big thing I had to add was the ability to isolate UK edits. Easier said than done because the diff XML will sometimes contain nodes, which have latitude and longitude... sometimes not. I think if you edit a school by only changing its tags, then it doesn't. So I had to make some other calls in some circumstances, hold onto some data which was read in from earlier in the file, and generally apply more sticky-tape to my code. ...Quite a lot of hassle just to decide if an edit is in the UK.

It all works pretty well though. I was hoping to point people at it a bit more (tweet about it etc) to whip up some competitive excitement in the closing few days of Q1 ...but then I was busy on a beach in Brazil :-) Actually I don't have a way to stop it automatically, so I had to remember to shut down the cron job at midnight UK time on March 31st, but as it happened I was also busy online getting an april fools blog post put together at the time!

The "UK Quarterly Project" is a thing the mappa-mercia guys have been running for quite a while now on their blog. I think Brian Prangle has been the main man behind them. There's been quite a few. I rejiggled the 'UK quarterly project' wiki page to list them all. But I think after all the excitement of editing schools, we've not announced a topic for Q2 yet (unless I missed it). I'm keen to see if it will be something I should unleash this edit tracker tool on again.

Trees (again)

Posted by SomeoneElse on 26 April 2016 in English (English)

A while back I described how I was showing tree types in woodland. The "unfinished business" there was "what about forest areas where the trees have been cleared?". Mapping of that is a bit hit and miss. "Forestry" has been suggested, but doesn't have many takers, and "forest" is actually often used for "the entire forestry area" (at least where I'm interested in rendering tiles for - I suspect it varies considerably worldwide). The wiki page and the standard style rendering discussion don't distinguish, but I thought it was worth trying to separate out "natural=wood" and "landuse=forest" where the latter is used for "the entire forestry area, including where there are currently no trees".

Here's the result:

Trees east of Bolsover

That corresponds to here in OSM's standard style. The dark green bit corresponds to "trees" (natural=wood; if there's a surveyed leaftype then obviously that is shown too). The lighter green bit means "forest, but no trees" (landuse=forest - the lighter green is only visible if there's no natural=wood also there). The forest and wood colours are defined here; here is the leaf_type handling in the stylesheet and here is where the natural and landuse tags are checked to see whether the current object should be treated as "trees with a known leaf type", "trees without a known leaf type" or "forest, but not necessarily trees".

Maps for children

Posted by bubix on 26 April 2016 in English (English)

The Barbara Petchenik Competition is a biennial map drawing competition for children. It was created by the International Cartographic Association (ICA) in 1993 as a memorial to Barbara Petchenik, a past Vice president of the ICA and a cartographer, who had a lifelong interest in maps for children. The aim of the contest is to promote the creative representation of the world in graphic form by children.

The competition is run first at the national level. The national winners then compete in the international round, which takes place the following year during the International Cartographic Conference. The maps are exhibited during the conference, and the international winners are selected.

All the beautiful designs are available in the address

Mapping Thorneywood Mount

Posted by alexkemp on 25 April 2016 in English (English)


Watch Out for the Middle-Class

I've been mapping regularly since 21 March 2016, but this is my first Diary entry since then. I'll attempt to blog as often as I can from now on. Meanwhile, my most recent trace was uploaded a few minutes back. The longest vertical trace is Thorneywood Mount, starting & finishing at the bottom, at the junction of Donkey Hill†, Thorneywood Mount & Thorneywood Rise, and covering it's entire length up to it's junction with Porchester Road. The trace was made this afternoon as I gathered house number info, etc. from Thorneywood Mount & all streets between it & Porchester Road.

Most of the OSM street info for my neck of the woods (NG3:- St. Anns, Nottingham, England) seems complete, but not the houses nor the house number/names. Across the last month or so I've filled in most of that information for a section of St Anns bounded by Donkey Hill, Thorneywood Rise, Carlton Road, Saint Matthias Road, Southampton Street & Saint Ann's Well Road. After the April 2016 Pub Meetup I reviewed the whole thing & decided to continue – it seems that I like having to deal with the middle-class chewing at my neck – and began to extend the mapping to the north-east of Donkey Hill‡.

A good deal of the houses covered by myself so far have been terraces; classic working class housing stock, although since Maggie Thatcher increasingly colonised by the middle-class. Some of it has been much more hoity-toity than that (what in my days at Newcastle University the locals called “all fur coats & nae knickers”); a typical example was the upper part of Bluebell Hill Road. However, today's patch was entirely of the latter variety. I could tell that by the number of folks that called me out with “What do you think you are doing?”. A classic example occurred on Thorneywood Mount near the top at Porchester Road. These are institutions operated by an NHS Trust that I provided Network Support for 10 years ago. Prior to Maggie Thatcher nurses were almost entirely working class. Today they are all middle-class (witness their degrees) and it shows.

There is a GPS tracker available called OSMTracker; I use the Android version. Mostly, I take voice notes (20 secs seems best for me) + take photos whilst tracking. The latter are particularly useful for building-/house-names as belt'n'braces for if the voice-note fails. I did that for 145, 106 & 114 Thorneywood Mount. Prominent on the pictures is a notice saying that there is “24-Hour CCTV”. 5 minutes later I realised that I'd forgotten to record the traffic chokes & back-tracked towards them; whilst doing so I passed 5 nurses talking on the street outside those institutions. They were talking about me! They collared me, and I spent 20 minutes explaining my actions & displaying the photos to reassure them that I had their best interests at heart.

Here are examples of things to have upfront in your mind to avoid problems + demonstrate your probity whilst taking photos as you track for OSM:-

  • Public notices are public property; keep private matters out of your photos
  • Limit the scope of your photo
    (eg if you photograph a housename, keep the front window out of it)
  • Pictures of people are a no-no
  • The same goes for car licence plates
  • Where you are standing when taking the photo is one of the biggest issues
    (no issue if that is public property - thanks LivingWithDragons)
  • Next is why you are taking the photos (thanks LivingWithDragons)
  • Next what you are photographing
    (my endless photos of 20 mph signs tends to disarm criticism – thanks LivingWithDragons)

One thing that keeps becoming clear is that I need Cards to id myself & give to others, plus, perhaps some literature to give to save myself 5 or 10 minutes explaining each time what the hell OSM is.

The ‘official’ name for Donkey Hill is “Saint Bartholomews Road”, but no-one locally calls it that, and particularly as the church that it was named after was pulled down in the 1970s. The local legend is that the name comes from an entrepreneur who lived in Victorian times & stood with a donkey at the foot of the road at it's juncture with Saint Ann's Well Road. That fact makes more sense when you know that:-

  1. Donkey Hill is the steepest road in Nottingham.
  2. Saint Ann's Well Road used to be the busiest shopping road in Nottingham (killed as such by the council via clearances in the 1970s as to protect the new city-centre Victoria Centre shopping arcade).
  3. Roads near the top of Donkey Hill housed a large number of wealthy widows.

In my recent comment-to-changesets I put “Additions east of Donkey Hill...”. The area I was working in each time was actually north-east of Donkey Hill.


28 April 2016: I just came across a July 2011 diary entry from Eriks Zelenka (based in Wokingham, in SE England). He got collared whilst tracking by a middle-class ‘paranoid guy’ who called the police. 6 police turned up in 3 cars & Eriks ended up arrested because he could not prove that his bike was his property; they took his fingerprints & DNA + searched his flat.

One of the comments contained a very useful link to a Citizen's Advice page setting out the scope of police powers of arrest, etc. in England (there are differing variations on this in Scotland, Northern Ireland & Wales).

Location: Thorneywood, Sneinton, Nottingham, East Midlands, England, United Kingdom
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