Recent diary entries
My tagging of RCN Route 66 has become obsessive. Whenever I see those little blue signs as I'm driving by, I'm hunting for the little white shield that indicates that I've stumbled upon another segment. Sooner or later I'm going to have to get on my bike and ride around the lot.
No, not THAT Route 66! Derby Regional Cycle Network Route 66, the Derby Ringway. Following a very enjoyable cycle ride along NCN 54 last weekend, I decided to try and improve some of the cycle route coverage on OSM, and Route 66 is along my school run so it was the obvious choice. I've had to take some detours to fill in some of the joins, but the Mickleover/Littleover/Heatherton part of it all joins up now.
Since getting my grubby little mitts on a GPS receiver, I've been a bit like a kid with a new toy. I don't have masses of free time to go out specifically for the purpose of gathering traces, so I promised myself I'd just do it as and when I was out and about.
So I did and it worked... to a point. I had a minor issue with the Dell BT-309 not working with GpsMid on the Nokia 6280 after I'd hooked it up to JOSM on my laptop. The GPS was showing it had a fix, but GpsMid was saying no fix. If I changed the mode to Sirf instead of NMEA then when I loaded GpsMid it would centre the map on my current position, but the position was never refreshed. It turned out that gpsd or JOSM (I'm still not sure which) had put the GPS into binary mode, while GpsMid was expecting plain old NMEA. Or something. So I lost a day's tracking to that little snag.
Since then I've broken my promise to myself and taken two expeditions for no other reason than I wanted to get some tracks. Monday night I took a walk around the back streets north of the A5111 and West of Upper Dale Road to fill in some of the GPS blanks and line up the streets I'd traced from the NPE. Tuesday night I took a drive around south of the A5111 and east of Stenson Road, filling in some of the bits that had been bugging me because I just couldn't get them to fit.
Those areas are taking shape now and I'm very pleased with the results so far. There are still more bits that need doing -- including a whole load of new (well, since the NPE!) developments south of Browning Circle I had no idea even existed -- but what's there now is, for the most part, accurate and has GPS data to support it.
Today I took a drive up to Mansfield to get my hair cut, see my dad and pick up a Bluetooth-enabled GPS receiver to use with GpsMid on my Nokia 6280. I was amazed at how simple it was to start collecting traces. As a first stab, I took a quick walk around the block and produced a trace encompassing Goldsmith Street, Chaucer Street, some of Bancroft Lane and Rosemary Street, Layton Avenue and Stanton Place (I think, I need to check that street name).
When I came to leave, I took an extended route to pick up the rest of Bancroft Lane, some of Ladybrook Lane and the remaining bit of the ring road. It was so cool when I was approaching Derby seeing the map approaching (I only had a very small area, barely covering Derby, downloaded to my phone) and this allowed me to again take a small detour to take in some of the back streets of Derby that I'm not so familiar with and struggled to trace from the NPE. I made sure to go right around the roundabout just down the road, as I've been wanting to fill that in accurately for a while now, and also to weave around Lewis Street, Birdwood Street, St Augustine Street and Vincent Street to get the important points to line them up.
I edited the first trace in JOSM and uploaded the results... then uploaded the raw GPX in case that's useful for others. The second trace for some reason didn't work out, possibly a problem with the GPX export as it displays OK on the phone. The third trace came out really well and I've now lined up Lewis Street, even if some of the other streets in the area need some more data and a little more tweaking.
With the help of GpsMid (http://gpsmid.sf.net), a J2ME Midlet to display vector maps on a Java-enabled mobile phone, I've been adding more detail to the areas that I've been mapping. Although I don't yet have a GPS receiver, GpsMid will interface with one via Bluetooth and I intend to take full advantage of that fact the next time I'm in Mansfield and I can nab my brother's. In the meantime I'm making extensive use of GpsMid's Save Waypoint feature to mark significant places by hand which can then be more accurately positioned when I have actual GPS data to align things.
All of the back streets I regularly walk on my way to and from work are now mapped, mostly by tracing over the NPE, some by tracing someone else's GPS data. I've started to venture further afield, taking different routes home and pounding different streets when taking the kids to the park or nipping down to the shops so I can add more streets and more details. There are still some significant gaps where I don't know enough about the layout of the streets to reliably trace the NPE, but again I'll cover those when I'm GPS-enabled.
My eldest son likes to see the map on Daddy's phone and seems to understand that we're helping to draw it. My wife and people in the office are probably sick to death of me banging on about it and constantly polling them (and even complete strangers in the street!) for details, always mindful of the need to draw on their own knowledge, not that gained from Google Maps or similar.
Following a comment from Mark Williamson on my last diary entry I was able to line up the NPE map with my ways and correct (hopefully!) some of my previous inaccuracies. I've also started playing tonight with JOSM, which highlighted a whole load of GPS data I didn't even know existed, so I was able to line up my ways with the GPS data in some instances. There's still a certain amount of interpolation where I have no GPS data (yet!) but it should be more accurate now.
Now if only I can stop myself spending so long doing this stuff... but it's so much FUN!
Well I decided it was high time I started making some actual contributions, notwithstanding the lack of a GPS unit or usable aerial imagery for my area. So I started tracing over the old out-of-copyright map using Potlatch, adding my street and the back streets around Derby that I know.
I noticed the overlay is somewhat misaligned when compared to the existing ways, so I expect that when I do get my Freerunner in the next few weeks and start adding some GPS traces I will have some editing to do to correct what I've entered so far. No matter, at least we officially exist on OSM now.
Having mentioned what I was doing to one person in the office, another colleague piped up that they were also a contributor. I suspect that if I asked around I'd find one or two more as well -- I've noticed GPS traces of the private on-site access roads here, so clearly someone is actively tracing and uploading.