Mapping Croydon

Posted by Pgd81 on 17 May 2013 in English (English)

Croydon takes a lot of stick -- it was heavily bombed during the war, with any remaining traditional aesthetics being destroyed in the '60s under a council masterplan to establish it as a centre of commerce. It's a "working-class" town in unfashionable South London, with high levels of poverty, and of course was hit by rioting in 2011.

But it's also cheap (for London) and easy to get around, generally friendly, and has various places of interest if you know where to look. It also has a number of local blogs and webpages, including the excellent Completists' Guide run by Kake Pugh ( -- a sometime OSM contributor herself I think). As you can see if you click through, it's a treasure trove of POI info. So instead of gathering POIs from scratch, I've been able to print off details from the site to take with me on surveys, making notes where needed (kinda like Walking Papers). I've now added building and shop info for all of central Croydon, with only London Road (aka West Croydon aka Broad Green) to go.

With a new shopping centre and various "public realm improvements" planned, hopefully the town is on the up, and maybe OSM (and the Completists' Guide) can help in some way, who knows.

Location: Broad Green, London Borough of Croydon, London, Greater London, England, CR0 2RL, United Kingdom

Comment from Pgd81 on 17 May 2013 at 11:13

Oh good lord -- "Location: Broad Green, Waddon, London Borough of Croydon, London, Greater London, England, SE25, United Kingdom" -- what a mess; some major work needed there I think!

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Comment from robert on 17 May 2013 at 12:30

Can't say it's not accurate though ;)

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Comment from Pgd81 on 17 May 2013 at 13:02

Well, yeah, I can't deny that aspects of it are a bit shit. But the point is, it's no more shit than countless other places. It's become a sort of byword for shit places, which becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. And since I happen to live there, that makes me sad. That's all :)

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Comment from Pgd81 on 17 May 2013 at 13:11

Or did you mean the map? That, of course, is very accurate indeed! ;-)

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Comment from Tom Chance on 17 May 2013 at 13:37

Good work!

From a sometime-visitor to Croydon living a few miles north.

It would be good to get post codes onto all those POIs, such a dense cluster plus all of the post codes in Matt Williams' tool would be a great asset.

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Comment from Pgd81 on 17 May 2013 at 14:20

Thanks, Tom!

Yep, postcodes are on my to-do list; I've already added a couple of obviously visible ones. A couple of questions, if you don't mind:

-- I've seen the CodePoint Open data at before, but not Matt Williams's page. I assume "missing postcodes" are those that appear on the Land Registry database but not CodePoint Open? Is that a problem? Are there any checks I should make on the Land Registry data before adding the relevant postcodes to OSM?

-- What sources (if any) for postcodes are acceptable other than on-the-ground surveys (incl. postboxes), and the Land Registry database? E.g. are business websites ok?

Thanks again.

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Comment from SK53 on 17 May 2013 at 14:41

The Food Hygiene ratings have a large number of shops, pubs, schools, hospitals (and a few oddities) with OGL address data including postcodes. Their lists exactly fulfil your idea of hunting down POIs from a list. The data for Croydon LB is here: (warning XML). You can read this with Excel or I could send you a CSV extract with the key info. The lat/lon are actually the postcode centroid.

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Comment from Pgd81 on 17 May 2013 at 14:47

SK53 -- Oh wow, that looks awesome, thanks! Should be able to read it ok.

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Comment from Tom Chance on 17 May 2013 at 16:47

Matt's tool compares the Land Registry entries to OSM, and lists them as missing (i.e. an object with the address exists in OSM but not with the post code), no match (i.e. no object found in OSM) and perfect match.

You can pretty much copy over every post code in the "missing postcode list" to your OSM objects.

The convention on other sources is that it's ok to take a post code off an individual business' web site or in-store literature, but not to start copying them out of a compiled database like the pub listing web sites.

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