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It Helps to be a Natterer when you Map

Posted by alexkemp on 11 October 2016 in English (English)

My father loved a good natter and I was born & grew up in Hull (a major sea-port in the East of England); these are two of my excuses for being able to talk the hind legs off a donkey. I do find it, however, to be a major asset whilst mapping as long as it is married with active listening (as we shall see shortly).

It was perfectly normal in my youth to strike up a conversation with a perfect stranger at a bus-stop. Or rather, normal for Hull. Indeed, on one of my first visits to London as a teenager (late 1960s) I was blanked by someone when I asked for directions, and was so upset by their ignorance that I chased after them & said in a loud voice “EXCUSE ME ..!”. I quickly learnt that such stand-offish behaviour was normal for London.

Nottingham is halfway between Hull & London and is capable of displaying either kind of reaction (warm or cold, with Hull as a warm place & London as most cold) (which makes Nottingham a bit tepid, of course). Nottingham folks have proven to respond very readily to my questions about their neighbourhood and have indulged my nosiness (another vital personal asset) without a qualm once they have settled themselves to my reasons. Intelligence supplied from householders is the very best asset for every mapper.

Today's small snippet of such intelligence concerns a rockery protected by CC&R (a small bet: that this is the only one like this on the UK map).


Declaration of Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions (CC&Rs) ... the rules of your neighbourhood (as found within House Deeds)

I was paying a second visit to a service road at the bottom of Anne's Close, Porchester Gardens. The householder from the end-of-terrace house was busy with a couple of others hauling wheelbarrows along a footpath that I'd mapped on my first visit. The state of that walk at the back of the houses had to be seen to be believed:

walk between houses walk at top

It was therefore natural for me to ask him “Oh! Are you clearing out the walk?”. He gave me a hard stare for a few moments, then said that no, he was emptying stuff from his back garden. I explained my purpose & previous experience. He explained that for a time the walk had had gates fitted at either end & thus ended up in the state it was now in (because no-one ever walked it). I took the opportunity to ask him about the front garden.

The three end-of-terrace houses extend beyond the service road. There is a walk-up in front of those houses (the terrace ascends a slope; the hill falls away steeply below Anne's Close). On the other side of the walk-up are concrete steps that climb steeply up to... something, presumably their garden. The top & sides of the steps were covered in so much brushwood that access was impossible. My spider senses were tingling.

The chap explained that there was a rockery on top of the steps. It was part of his & his neighbour's land but was subject to a CC&R in the Deeds which said that it could be kept clear, but could not be removed nor built on; it was part of the house. Most odd. I knew in that moment that I was going to add it to the map. Most excellent.

Why on earth was that codicil added to the house Deeds? What was so special about that rockery?

Location: Porchester Gardens, Arnold and Carlton, Gedling, Nottinghamshire, East Midlands, England, United Kingdom

Correciones en Chiclayo

Posted by Diego Sanguinetti on 10 October 2016 in Spanish (Español)

Estuve revisando el mapa de Chiclayo y ví algunos vacíos con las avenidas principales. Para evitar problemas a los nuevos editores, actualicé algunos puntos de la ciudad y, aunque sea casi grande en proporciones con otras ciudades, puse zonas resienciales, calles y puntos arqueológicos (como Chotuna-Chornancap).

PD: Ya finalicé algunos detalles de parques en Lima, faltaría las calles. Entretanto estoy enfocando en algunos puntos de Arequipa para viajes personales. Saludos.

Location: Manuel Arteaga, Chiclayo, Lambayeque, 074, Perú


Posted by Chhaihong SRUN on 10 October 2016 in Khmer (ភាសាខ្មែរ)


Location: ខណ្ឌចំការមន, សង្កាត់បឹងត្របែក, ខណ្ឌចំការមន, រាជធានីភ្នំពេញ, ព្រះរាជាណាចក្រកម្ពុជា

False labling of addresses

Posted by Elbert Leon Thompson on 9 October 2016 in English (English)

I live in Tarrant, Alabama, not Birmingham. Fix your errors or be sued!!!

Location: Tarrant City, Tarrant, Jefferson County, Alabama, United States of America

Why map universities?

Posted by Johnny Mapperseed on 9 October 2016 in English (English)

Since I do a bit of university mapping, I thought I might note a few reasons why you should map your local university, especially since universities provide their own maps.

Support disabled students.

OSM includes tags that help blind and wheelchair bound students get around. Most proprietary maps ignore these users. Institutions that ignore OSM disabled tags or fail to help disabled users through another mapping solution are effectively discriminating against their disabled students through inaction.

Synergize with the community.

Often Universities and the town or cities that surround them have completely different cultures. By improving OSM on campus, outsiders not using a university's official app can still navigate effectively.

Encourage Student Creativity

Unlike proprietary maps, OpenStreetMap is free for anyone to use. Students may use OpenStreetMap data legally in their projects through the ODbL. Encouraging the use of proprietary maps on campus locks students out of that data, stunting their creativity.

Commitment to Transparency

Any university that wants to commit to open technologies should at least have a well mapped campus on OSM. Having a well mapped campus in Openstreetmap is like having a well written Wikipedia article. An easily accessible and honest source of information for the community can boost a university's reputation in the free and open source software communities, and elsewhere.

OpenStreetMap community in Albania

Posted by nshehu on 9 October 2016 in English (English)

At Open Labs Hackerspace ( ) we want to have a more active community for OSM so we will have an activity ( ) and event in facebook ( ). Join us.

Unmapped tertiary roads

Posted by Ganesh Dhamodkar on 9 October 2016 in English (English)

My job requires me to travel a lot in villages around my place of posting. I have added many GPS traces of tertiary roads that are unmapped on OSM. I have some internet access issues and time restraints. If there are any good people wanting to contribute, please check my traces around the location given below and map the roads.

(The traces are almost always travelled by a car).

Location: SH269, Udapur, Chandrapur, Maharashtra, 441206, India

Łączenie adresów z budynkami

Posted by Tomasz_R on 9 October 2016 in Polish (Polski)

Jestem przeciwnikiem łączenia punktów adresowym z obrysami budynków.

Najważniejsze argumenty przeciwko:

  1. Przy połączonym adresie, jeżeli budynek ma nazwę, to na mapie widoczna jest tylko nazwa, bez adresu. Wystarczy więc, że ktoś nada nazwę budynkowi, a na mapie niewidoczny jest już adres, a po to jest mapa z adresami, żeby te adresy były widoczne.

  2. Bywa, że zaimportowane są adresy dla bloku mieszkalnego, budynek ma przypisany adres, który na mapie znajduje się na środku budynku, a pozostałe są nie połączone z budynkiem.

  3. Numer budynku można umieścić w miejscu, gdzie znajduje się wejście do budynku (np. klatki schodowe) i korzystając z nawigacji skierować się dokładnie w to miejsce, gdzie znajduje się to wejście - co przy dużych budynkach na zbiegu dwóch ulic może mieć duże znaczenie.

OpenStreetMap daje duże możliwości - korzystajmy z tego.


Posted by ff5722 on 8 October 2016 in Chinese (China) (‪中文(中国大陆)‬)



我也用'amenity=driving school',可是,最多呈现没表示。此外,可能办公室是在别的地方。例如如果学校有体育场在别的地方,这个体育场不是'amenity=school'。所以,可能我应该只用'highway=raceway' tag.

In China, driving schools operate closed circuits where students practice. These may include tracks that can stretch for a kilometer or so. Currently I usually tag the grounds as 'amenity=driving_school' and the track with 'highway=raceway'. However, this may not be correct, as the driving school may have its main office elsewhere. You wouldn't tag a sports pitch as 'amenity=school' just because a school uses it. So maybe I only should use the 'highway=raceway' tag.



Location: 城关区, 兰州市, 城关区, 兰州市, 甘肃省, 中国

The Great Canadian Mailbox Heist

Posted by scruss on 7 October 2016 in English (English)

Dropping off a letter in the mailbox at the end of the street, I noticed this sticker was attached: Mailbox, aka node 551077710 So that means by the middle of the month my leisurely 400 metre round trip to post letters is going to be over a kilometre, either to Mailbox: Node 705233932 or to the suggested Mailbox: Node 4433576259.

I looked around on the map for more amenity=post_box nodes around me, and found coverage was patchy. Local mapper andrewpmk has done some sterling work adding mailboxes, but there are some neighbourhoods even he can't find time to go into. But there has to be a definitive list of mailbox locations in Canada, somewhere, right?

Wrong: Canada Post does not publish mailbox locations. There's no way of finding a list or map on their website, and Canada Post confirmed to me that “we do not have a map for street letter boxes”. So it looks like we're the only people mapping them, unless there's a list I can get via a Freedom of Information request.

Location: Kennedy Park, Scarborough, Toronto, Ontario, M1P3J3, Canada

Latest Spam

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

Most spam gets quickly dealt with, but these three got through:
(later spam added Saturday + Sunday 8,9 Oct):

Some comments about the OpenStreetMap Awards

Posted by imagico on 7 October 2016 in English (English)

Recently the OpenStreetMap Foundation issued the OpenStreetMap Awards.

The whole thing was primarily organized by Ilya Zverev who deserves thanks for doing this and for the courage to try something new.

When this was first suggested it seemed like a good idea to me but during the process i already had some critical thoughts on the way it turned out. I did not want to speak up while the votes were still running not to influence the procedure but now i think it is time to bring this up.

First of all the whole process was quite biased towards English language activities. There were non-native English speakers among nominees and winners but almost everyone on the list was nominated for activities in English language. Since the whole process was done in English only it was not possible for someone who does not understand English to competently participate in nomination and voting and assessing someone nominated for activities in a language you don't understand is not really possible either - the few suggestions in the first nomination round that were formulated in languages other than English never stood a chance. This is a hard problem. But still i think this can be done better with not too much additional effort.

The three stage process - open nomination, preselection by committee and final open vote again - does not really work in reality. It gives an impression of manipulation since it appears the preselection is used to eliminate undesirable nominees and the final vote therefore appears staged. In the future i would probably either skip the committee selection (making it a fully open process) or eliminate the final open vote making the final choice by the committee - which would of course require this committee to be selected in an open process somehow.

Somewhat related to this the award categories do not really work either. The initial nomination round showed that people often simply wanted to nominate someone and put them into a category that seemed to fit best. As a result in many categories nominees were not really comparable because they were nominated for very different things which kind of defeats the purpose of having categories. The categories should either be more strictly defined or nomination should be across categories and votes decide on which category they are awarded for.

All of this of course does not mean the winners do not deserve their awards - all winners and nominees should be commended for their work. I have slight misgivings only about Frederik - who specifically said before he did not want the award and about Manuel Roth and Lukas Martinelli who certainly deserve an award although IMO not in the category 'Innovation'. The technology they thankfully make more accessible to a broad range of users is for the largest part the innovative work of others. Now i don't say that Mapbox employees should have been awarded here instead because awards like this should primarily be given to those who volunteer their free time and not to professionals who get paid for their work. However if you strictly evaluate the innovative merit of the nominees' work this seems a somewhat odd choice to me. But of course voters will usually consider who of the candidates they think deserves an award most and don't care what particular award this is.

I hope these comments will help improving future award processes and maybe start some further discussion on how the OSM community wants to reward and acknowledge contributions.

Ивановская область. Начало

Posted by hvMapper on 7 October 2016 in Russian (Русский)

Решил приступить к правке карты Ивановской области. На мой взгляд, там (как и в других регионах) не очень хорошо обстоят дела с природными объектами. Поэтому я взялся за отрисовку гидрографии — начал с реки Уводь, главной водной артерии города Иваново. Хорошо ещё, что на большую часть области есть подробные снимки Bing. Непонятно только, что делать с местами, на которые нет такого покрытия...

Tools I wish I had: smarter paved vs unpaved road defaults.

Posted by CloCkWeRX on 7 October 2016 in English (English)

OpenStreetMap has a few assumptions about road surfaces, based on the fact most western cities have paved roads.


For roads for motor vehicles there there is normally an assumption that the surface is surface=paved unless otherwise stated. Paved in OpenStreetMap is non-specific and may cover sealed, tarmac, asphalt, bitumen. surface=unpaved is treated as the opposite of paved. More specific tags can used used for surfaces which are normally classified into paved or unpaved for routing purposes. Navigation software should assume that roads-that-are-not-paved will have slower driving speed (and therefore longer driving time) and may be impassable in some weather conditions.

In South America (Rural), Rural Australia, Africa, Haiti and more this is not the default. During activities like a HOT activation, quite a lot of road data gets added without specific surface tags.

In places like South America, Strava route building a big thing - but knowing if you can go on a road bike or a mountain bike is not something routing engines can answer with much certainty.

Alternatively, knowing if you are likely to need a 4WD vehicle in disaster relief is another use case which can't be easily answered by a routing engine.

In an idea world, it'd be great if:

  • ID had some notion of 'rural' vs 'metropolitan' mapping profiles; and allowed you to create a number of roads with the same surface properties as the last few you've traced.
  • QA tools (maproulette? similar?) existed that looked at specific countries, finding highway=unclassified and highway=residential without explicit surface tags; plus a relationship to any bounding residential landuse to suggest a value (Big city? Its more likely to be paved residential roads)
  • Something like DeepOSM that could guess the difference between "light, sandy coloured road" and "Dark, asphalt road" to suggest an appropriate classification.

Even if these tools weren't used to write out lots of surface data back into OSM, it would be interesting to see if they could be used to generate a likely profile of an area for routing engines - ie; better answering if a certain section of the planet is likely to be unpaved roads.

The Last Garden in Porchester Gardens, Nottingham

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

the last garden

(strictly, this is the last Allotment, but that did not scan so well)

All the houses on that side of the street are even-numbers, but Number 45, Moore Road is different from the others in more than one way. The most obvious thing is that, apart from a garden shed, there arn't any buildings on the plot at all. The space bounded by hedges is identical to all neighbouring plots (check the map). The photograph above lets you see in a glance all that was at one time available to the folks of Nottingham town:— a plot of land for them to grow stuff on.

Nottingham was a highly dangerous town on 26 March 1887 when Porchester Gardens began. The reason that the town was dangerous was because of water-born disease (dysentry, etc.). Far too many folks were crammed into far too small a space, whilst their medical men were ignorant of the basic facts of their own trade. A garden like the one above was an opportunity to grow fresh food & enjoy fresh air & water. [I published a more complete story of Porchester Gardens here in June]

The whole of Porchester Gardens was divided into lots like the one above, and anyone with the necessary funds could purchase or rent a little patch for themselves. The first houses were built two years later. Soon, roads began to be metalled and services laid in. Building work became extensive between the first & second world wars, and eventually all gardening plots were converted to building plots. Except the one above.

I learnt about this plot just a couple of days ago whilst mapping, and photographed it very shortly after. I haven't been able to talk to anyone locally about it. I've only mapped that side of Moore Road & will be mapping the other side soonish, so will have another go to find out more. One obvious fact is that it is significantly below the level of the road, and that is the same for all it's fellow plots locally, although the buildings are raised above the plot that they stand on.

Location: 45 Allotment Plot, Arnold and Carlton, Gedling, Nottinghamshire, East Midlands, England, United Kingdom


Posted by ChepeTrota on 6 October 2016 in Spanish (Español)

Gracias Marco Antonio (51114u9) Volví entrar a mi cuenta cambiando la contraseña y te aseguro que se me salgo ya no voy a poder entrar.

Creo que voy a volver a registrarme "si y solo si" realmente esto funciona. Mi interés (ademas de contribuir con la edición del mapa) es utilizar el OSM Tracker para Android. Trazar rutas y poder tomar notas (de texto y audio) así como fotos.

Te digo esto pues realice una prueba y subi una "Traza de GPS" con unas fotos, notas y audios, pero no hay forma de que pueda verlos en el mapa. Pareciera que el archivo GPX no funciona.

Tu podrías darme una rápida orientación de como hacer esto. Lo cierto es que no quiero gastar mucho tiempo en aprender todo al respecto y por ultimo decepcionarme de como se ve una track con información adicional (fotos, notas de texto y reportes de audio).

O si tu conoces alguna otra aplicación androide para documentar un viaje con este tipo de gráficos georeferenciados.

Cordiales saludos. Nota: No entiendo ni como funciona esto del "Diario de Usuario"


This one has got Castellations!

Posted by alexkemp on 6 October 2016 in English (English)

It's a house at the Porchester Road end of Moore Road in Porchester Gardens, Nottingham. Now, I have to warn you in advance: Moore Road is a rich vein for English oddness. My last post was based on the smallest road in Porchester Gardens and, naturally enough, it is also off Moore Road (although at the other end, near Westdale Road West).

Anyway, you have your warning. I've just started putting Moore Road houses up on the map, and there are lots of odd things that I can choose to show. The first (strictly the second) is the very first house on the corner of Porchester Road and Moore Road. It looks fairly normal from Porchester Road, but round the corner on Moore Road it has an abutment and the abutment is castellated (for lovers of brick porn notice the Tamworth Blue Brick used both as a damp-proof course and also as decoration; very nice - the road is falling away from Porchester Road down the hill, so that damp-proof level is rather high at this point):—

castellations on 274 Porchester Road


Location: Porchester Gardens, Arnold and Carlton, Gedling, Nottinghamshire, East Midlands, England, United Kingdom

Rules for Robot/A.I. Mappers

Posted by ImreSamu on 6 October 2016 in English (English)


Robot Mappers , machine-learning and artificial intelligence (“robot”) techniques ;

Maybe, in the future we need some ethical suggestions, like

  • "Robot mappers must be designed to assist humanity" meaning human autonomy needs to be respected.
  • "Robot mappers must be transparent" meaning that humans should know and be able to understand how they work.
  • "Robot mappers must maximize efficiencies without destroying the dignity of people".
  • "Robot mappers must be designed for intelligent privacy" meaning that it earns trust through guarding their information.
  • "Robot mappers must have algorithmic accountability so that humans can undo unintended harm".
  • "Robot mappers must guard against bias" so that they must not discriminate people.

based on Satya Nadella's A.I. laws

ps. I added this to the OSM Wiki:Talk:Automated Edits code of conduct

Robot mappers?

Road Segments, naming streets and Town-land boundries

Posted by OscarBrownbread on 6 October 2016 in English (English)

I wanted to name a road. At one place, the road was split into 3 small straight segments and I was annoyed because I didn't want to name each one and there would be a small tag for each segment. "Ahhhh, I wiill just combine them" I said to myself! "Some idiot has left these segments alone" I thought again. Will ID let me combine these segments?..... yes! good. I was happy and my road was named.

I had a bad feeling, there was just this instant feeling of ohh, something is not right. Then it hit me boundaries, ..... you know those annoying blue lines that are everywhere in Ireland..... the ones that I have turned off under Map Data-> Map Features-> Others. The ones I try to forget about. I turned them on and yea, I had combined the boundary relations when I had combined my road. Damn, what a mess. It was too late to fix late at night so I waited until morning. So after a bit of local history in town-land names, I undid my mistake.

My message is to be careful when combining ways and naming roads. On one hand, I want to name every segment so every house has a matching street name, on the other hand, i wish i didn't have to name every little segment (this is especially true in housing estates with their little branch roads, all with the same street name).

I dunno, naming roads is funny, there are old road names, and official road names and there are the proper postal address names for the streets. Then there are the locals that have their own names for that part of town and if they are giving you directions, you better know them!! I prefer to keep the local names as long if they are well established. OSM is all about what is there right now, it can track the dynamic changing of a street name over time.... in theory....i think. What do you think local street names or strictly official street names??

I should probably go read the wiki and find out that it is all ruled out for me somewhere. I just started and I'm learning as I go and I am enjoying it, :)

Location: R310, Castlebar, County Mayo, Connacht, Ireland

The Smallest Street in Porchester Gardens, Nottingham

Posted by alexkemp on 5 October 2016 in English (English) called Ward Avenue and it is now back on the map. Here is the view from Moore Road, looking up the Avenue:

Ward Avenue

Those gates on the right are for a house on Moore Road and the fence straight ahead is the end of the road, which may help to show just how short this road is (there is only one house on the road; you can just see the left-hand front of the house tucked around the end on the right). On the other side of the fence on the left is Westmoore Close, and the reason that Ward Avenue has only just been re-instated onto the map is that a couple of years ago the straight bit of Westmoore was mistakenly renamed to Ward Avenue. Whoops.

I've talked to a few hundred people whilst mapping across the last 6 months. In all that time just two people had already heard of OpenStreetMap. The second one was Martin Dale, and I met him yesterday working outside his house on Ward Avenue. Martin was concerned because his house had been placed onto OpenStreetMap, then removed, reappeared & currently did not appear on either OpenStreetMap nor on Google maps. He was worried that there was some individual that was conducting a campaign against him. I was able to discover who had removed it (you know who you are!) and was able to send Martin an email reassuring him that no, it was an honest mistake & there is no such campaign.

Martin informed me that Ward Avenue used to be much longer, and was the service & access road for a set of Nurseries that were set up at the same time as the instigation of Porchester Gardens (approx 1880) (his own house has start_date=1929). He also knows the chap in the local history society that holds a map of all the allotments (with numbers) established in the Gardens (I think that OSM-Nottingham would like to use that).

Ward Avenue is yet another Unadopted Road (there are pots & pots of these within Porchester Gardens, and pots & pots of those are off Moore Road).

Location: Porchester Gardens, Arnold and Carlton, Gedling, Nottinghamshire, East Midlands, England, United Kingdom
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