Amaroussi's diary

Recent diary entries

Germanwings Flight 9525 response

Posted by Amaroussi on 24 March 2015 in English (English)

Vlad and I have quickly rushed to the location of the crash. We are adding in, with available compatible sources, new details to the crash zone in order to help people who use OpenStreetMap know more about the area, and to advise of any features and landforms that may affect the search and rescue in the next few days.

Please join in to help us.

Our thoughts are for the friends and family of all those on board Germanwings flight 9525.

Location: La Combe, Prads-Haute-Bléone, Digne-les-Bains, Alpes-de-Haute-Provence, Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur, Metropolitan France, 04420, France

Declaration of Conflicts

Posted by Amaroussi on 24 March 2015 in English (English)

Quite recently I've noticed blog entries titled "Declaration of Conflicts" on my RSS feed. I hope that OpenStreetMap mappers aren't going into war with each other – that would be terrible, especially as we have done so much to date!

OSM now has routing as standard

Posted by Amaroussi on 17 February 2015 in English (English)

As of now, OSM now has routing on their website as standard: you can plan a simple journey from point A to point B, by car, foot or bicycle. GraphHopper, MapQuest and OSRM are the current routing information suppliers for this module.

I've already made a route to show you how it all works. I'm not sure when the "via" feature will come in.

P.S. at time of posting, Amaroussi's current exhaustion level is OVER 9,000 !!!

Location: Mayfair, Westminster, London, Greater London, England, United Kingdom

Firefox 35 update

Posted by Amaroussi on 26 January 2015 in English (English)

If you have version 35.0 of Firefox for Mac, kindly please update the browser to version 35.0.1 to resolve the glitchy-looking rendering issues when you drag the map on OpenStreetMap (Bug entry on Bugzilla).

Other operating systems should update anyway to keep ahead of any vulnerabilities.


Updated zoom level 12 rendering

Posted by Amaroussi on 30 October 2014 in English (English)

New Zoom 12 rendering

Accroding to the dev mailing list, the main change to the standard stylesheet shall involve the showing of tertiary roads at zoom level 12.

It may be a while for your location to receive the new zoom level 12 style.

Location: Borough, London Borough of Southwark, London, Greater London, England, United Kingdom

'We Fit' FAIL, Google FAIL, OpenStreetMap WIN

Posted by Amaroussi on 6 October 2014 in English (English)


The way in question, 55984002, had been tagged with the height restriction of 15'-3" since UrbanRambler added it on 20 April 2010...

...Yet Google doesn't even have a facility to put in height restrictions...

...Another reason to switch to OSM.

Location: West Wickham, Bromley, London, Greater London, England, United Kingdom

Oh, Amaroussi....

Posted by Amaroussi on 22 August 2014 in English (English)

This survey goes to eleven!

"We can't pay you to hold a mapping party at a location like that, even if it makes Knightsbridge less rubbish!"

Rest assured that it is not my intention to bankrupt OSM with surveys like this.

Location: Knightsbridge, Westminster, London, Greater London, England, United Kingdom

Happy 10th Birthday OSM. So where next?

Posted by Amaroussi on 8 August 2014 in English (English)

In nearly two years I've:

  • Added street light data to the roads of Athens, Barcelona, London and Paris.
  • Tried to turn Highbury into the densest area mapped globally by adding whatever notable feature there is.
  • Introduce a proper relation for the London Congestion Charge.
  • Introduce a proper standard for Greek Provincial Roads.
  • Mapped Bir Tawil despite facing the technical limitations as others did with Antarctica.
  • Kicked off a proper attempt at making London transport nodes "public_transport" ready.

And for my next endeavour:

  • I've started mapping the LEZ in London.
  • I've started mapping sidewalks in Barcelona and London.

So where next? Would it be nice to fork the OpenStreetMap engine for my roleplay on NationStates? Yes, I know OpenGeofiction but my priorities are different because it involves the real world map as a base and my visions have been bottled up for years.

Location: Mildmay Park, London Borough of Islington, London, Greater London, England, United Kingdom

Plymouth is really in the South West

Posted by Amaroussi on 11 July 2014 in English (English)

OpenStreetMap would like to assure the UK Department for Transport that we are not the data source that placed cities in the wrong regions. You might have confused us with OpenGeoFiction: the title of that map was so obviously clear.

OpenStreetMap is built by a community of mappers that contribute and maintain data about anything notable, from a stretch of motorway to a humble tree. A majority of what is on the map comes from what they actually saw. What you see is what you get.

The remainder comes from non-copyrighted sources, such as dataset donations from the likes of MapBox to help newbies get started, other ODbL compatible data like nananananananana NaPTAN!... and legislative texts from most countries.

This is why OpenStreetMap is one of the most accurate and up to date maps in the world. When the new Indian State of Telangana came into effect on 2 June 2014, PlaneMad immediately uploaded the necessary boundaries, in the right location. BAM! Just like that.

OpenStreetMap knows that because anyone can contribute to the map, vandalism can happen: however, OpenStreetMap will quickly revert such edits faster than the time it takes to top-up your Oyster card, and deal with them like the Terminator: Hasta la vista! The chances of downloading vandalised data is one in a googol, and even then the end user can catch and correct most vandalism in minutes.

Judging by the screenshots in the BBC article, the Maybe the UK Department for Transport should quit Google and come to us. Once you get used to OpenStreetMap, you'll never see Google in the same way.

Location: Pennycomequick, Plymouth, South West England, England, United Kingdom

I feel nostalgic

Posted by Amaroussi on 10 July 2014 in English (English)

The title explains most of this post: given that OpenStreetMap is 10 years old this month, I wonder if anyone still has the original default map style, so I can render today's London in 2004's Mapnik (or its predecessor), preferably in Maperitive?

I've only got Maperitive, so if it isn't possible then can the OSM community help me accomplish this?


Location: Mildmay Park, London Borough of Islington, London, Greater London, England, United Kingdom

Someone broke OpenStreetMap again

Posted by Amaroussi on 18 June 2014 in English (English)

It appears London appears flooded at least on the map. I can't see where the problem is: can anyone help please because I am getting too frustrated to do that.

...and if it is caused by a genuine vandal, please deal with them harshly. Thanks.

Location: Holborn, St Giles, London Borough of Camden, London, Greater London, England, WC2E, United Kingdom

Getting my familiar stations "public_transport" ready

Posted by Amaroussi on 20 May 2014 in English (English)

Alperton Station Image obviously created by myself.

I am currently working to get London tube stations ready for the long-term aim of making the network route-able. Alperton and Highbury & Islington are among the first stations to get a stop_area relation prototype. I will plan to publish more details about how I will be doing the mainstream conversion on the wiki later.

Location: Perivale, Ealing, London, Greater London, England, United Kingdom

CAPTCHA problems in the Wiki

Posted by Amaroussi on 17 May 2014 in English (English)

Hi, I have a little problem with the Wiki: when I add a new relation to the London Bus Routes list it asks me to solve a CAPTCHA even though I've registered for a long time. Can someone please check which domain name is triggering the CAPTCHA, and whether the whitelist is covering both HTTP and HTTPS versions of OpenStreetMap? I've tested the links in my user page and it seems that the OSM and wiki links are not involved, so could it be one of the tools in the relation template?


Postcode map

Posted by Amaroussi on 1 April 2014 in English (English)

Just a quick entry here:

I recently added a new postcodes from my recent surveys and corrected some format errors, so I was wondering if any one is still maintaining the OSM source layer in the Postcode map so that I can see how my edits have corrected the errors. Thanks.

Location: Canonbury, London Borough of Islington, London, Greater London, England, United Kingdom

Where have all the boundaries gone?

Posted by Amaroussi on 22 February 2014 in English (English)

Hi, nearly all boundaries in Athens, Greece, suddenly disappeared from the Mapnik map layer. It seems that the new method for rendering administrative boundaries seem to have forgotten relation-based boundaries.

What is the fate for the relation-based boundary standard as opposed to tag-based boundaries?

Location: Ring street, Municipality of Athens, Central section of Athens, Athens Prefecture, 10554, Greece

My new wishlist

Posted by Amaroussi on 15 February 2014 in English (English)

A lot of OSM-related things are in my head, so I should put them here in case anyone wants to help:

  1. Roll out route_master relations to London bus routes (Routes 21, 30 and 277 are starter conversions, for instructions see
  2. If the Central London Cycling Grid (CLG) gets introduced, then it's bye bye to the LCN for the area where the CLG will run... once the signs are up (source:
  3. Is the UK eligible for Humanitarian OSM Team attention given the recent events?
  4. Make my local area the densest in the world.

Bitcoins and Business Opportunists

Posted by Amaroussi on 14 January 2014 in English (English)

I recently removed a node in De Beauvoir Town that advertised a flat payable with bitcoins and litecoins. I did a search on Google about the tag and it seems that there may be an overall problem about the use of the tag. Then someone mentioned about people adding their businesses just so that they show up in a website called CoinMap.

To reiterate, the OSM policy regarding places of interests is that we map what we see, or have something that we can verify: that node did not have a shopfront or any visible advert, or a reliable listing as far as I can tell, hence ineligible for inclusion for now.

What is the current status on the issue?



Update: I have since been able to verify the location as part of a another, and improvements were made: the problem that rose suspicions was it was initially poorly named and poorly located, however, I have struggled to verify a marketing business near Finsbury Park.

Light up my way! (First Anniversary)

Posted by Amaroussi on 31 October 2013 in English (English)

This is a follow-up to my post from 21 December 2012

Street light data for London

Source: (Flickr)

London, the birthplace of OpenStreetMap, is already the largest city in the world to have lots of street light data. When I accepted the contributor terms a year ago today, it didn't have much.

This is the state of street lights, one year on – probably worthy of a mention on the weekly summary, but how do I get older snapshots of the OSM maps so I can compare it?

Happy Diwali everyone.

Location: Westminster, Whitehall, City of Westminster, London, Greater London, England, WC2E, United Kingdom

US Prism Surveillance Scandal

Posted by Amaroussi on 7 June 2013 in English (English)

You may have noticed a major scandal involving the United States surveillance of telephone records and internet servers.

May the OpenStreetMap Foundation please reassure all users over the situation. I understand that all of our servers are in the UK as far as I know, and I assume that the OSMF does not knowingly give out details to the PRISM programme.

You might also want to entice UK users to help US users speak out as well. Bilateral relations aren't always politics.


A Greek nightmare in road classification

Posted by Amaroussi on 14 May 2013 in English (English)


Amaroussi is working around the clock to resolve Greece's road classification nightmare.

OpenStreetMap users and editors may be aware that I am trying to solve a major issue regarding road numbers and classification in Greece, following my visit to the country last year. Additionally, I have discovered a very old government document regarding the classification of Greece's Provincial Roads.

The problem

At present, many of the National and Provincial roads are unnumbered, and I have been trying to introduce numbers based on interpolation and the 1963 list of national roads. As an interim measure, secondary roads had refs based on their destinations, whereas the Leonidos-Sparta road had ref=Leo-Spa (in Greek).

Last weekend I stumbled upon SkyscraperCity's forum topic on Greek highways and it appears that the road numbering system is very patchy.

Firstly, According to user ea1969, new numbers were added without proper consideration for the growing motorway network. Motorways then completely replaced National Roads without considering prohibited traffic.

Secondly, there is a provincial road numbering system and there is a pilot of the scheme at Alexandras Avenue since this morning using ref=EΠ8, based on the position it appeared for the entry regarding Attica's provincial roads. The problem is that it dates from 1956. Yes, 1956 - it has not been updated since.

This means that there going to be roads between towns and strategic municipality-maintained roads without the recently-discovered EΠ numbers, which makes the situation complex.

The solution (?)

The objective of OpenStreetMap is to be as useful to cyclists and pedestrians as much as motorists. In the UK, we know very well that road numbers are very useful and I hope to make it useful to our Greek users as well.

The advantage for OpenStreetMap over other Internet maps of Greece is that other maps either mistake Motorways for some National Roads, or simply just guess the route, which leads to overlapping sections. In both scenarios, they leave out Provincial Roads completely.

I have been doing actual research to figure out what the exact route of every National Road was and what it might look like today. That means that with consultation with actual government documents and Greek road enthusiasts, OpenStreetMap has the advantage to represent the most accurate road network of Greece to date in respect of road numbering.

As you will have noticed, I have been reviewing National Roads in Attica and the Peloponnese, as well as provincial roads between villages and towns. Over the next few months, I will be piloting a new provincial road system in the area with EΠ numbers, based on the position it appeared for the entry regarding each province's provincial roads at the time.

However, to implement this I am proposing major changes to how we classify roads Greece:

  1. National Roads may be re-tagged as Trunk roads instead of Primary roads, so that Provincial Roads will become Primary roads instead of Secondary roads. This will free up the Secondary road tag for key municipal roads and roads between towns that were built after 1956.
  2. To disambiguate between Expressways and National Roads, Expressways will be tagged with motorroad=yes. At present the trunk road tag is visually underused in Greece, and this has a negative effect of making National and Provincial Roads appear barely visible on MapQuest Open.

I just hope that one day the Greek Government will tidy up the road numbering system. Maybe our intervention will restore credibility to Greece's patchy road numbering system.


Just before I sign-off this post, I want to enquire how I could start my own OSM server for creative and testing purposes? Thank you.

Location: Ring street, Municipality of Athens, Central section of Athens, Athens Prefecture, 10554, Greece
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