Recent diary entries
I took a day trip on a coach bus from Seville to Cádiz on Wednesday to visit the beach while staying for a week in Seville. I was surprised near the end of the trip when the bus's LCD screen started showing its current location using OpenStreetMap.
This bus has free wifi so it obviously has a cellular network connection and can determine its location as well as download the map tiles to display its current location.
It makes sense for the bus company to use OpenStreetMap: it is detailed and free, so the bus company doesn't have to license the map from Google, Navteq, TomTom, Nokia, Bing, etc.
I think airlines should switch to using OpenStreetMap for their base layer when they show the plane's position.
Photo originally posted on my Flickr.
The Chicago Bike Guide depends on directions from MapQuest Open Directions, a free service MapQuest offers that uses the OpenStreetMap database of streets. The service looks at how the streets are "tagged" to determine the relative bike-ability of a route between your current location and your inputted destination.
MapQuest Open Directions looks for the "cycleway" tag to see if the street has a bike lane that would increase a route's bike-ability. If that tag doesn't exist then it looks for the "bicycle" tag which has a value of "yes" (bicycles are allowed), "no" (bicycles are not allowed), or "designated" (bicycles are allowed and encouraged here).
The City of Chicago has added a lot of new bike lanes since May 2011, at a faster rate than the previous years. Yesterday I verified that all of the new buffered and protected bike lanes (called "cycle tracks" in OpenStreetMap parlance) were noted in OpenStreetMap's database to ensure that MapQuest Open Directions had the correct information to route Chicago Bike Guide users.
I used Active Transportation Alliance's bikeways tracker to know which streets to look at. I used my personal knowledge of that bike lane installation to note specifically in OpenStreetMap when it changed types – for example, when a protected bike lane has a buffered bike lane for a block.
Adding the Berteau Avenue neighborhood greenway was a little tricky. "Neighborhood greenway" isn't a type of infrastructure, but a concept involving a variety of infrastructure modifications. I tagged some parts as having a shared lane on one side of the street (sharrow) and a bike lane in the opposite direction of the main travel flow (a so-called contraflow bike lane). I also added a tag to denote the new speed limit of 20 MPH.
Cross-posted to my blog.
- Vincennes, 84th to 103rd, track
- South Chicago, Baltimore to 79th, buffered
- South Shore Drive, 71st to 79th, buffered
- Halsted, 69th to 75th, buffered
- Halsted, Pershing to Garfield, buffered
- King, 51st to 26th, buffered
- Ellsworth, Garfield to 51st, buffered
- Halsted, 26th to Lumber, buffered
- Archer, State to Cermak, buffered
- State, 18th St. to 26th St., buffered
- Wabash, Roosevelt to 18th, buffered
- Wabash, 18th to Cermak, buffered
- Wabash, Harrison to Roosevelt, buffered
- Desplaines, Harrison to Roosevelt, buffered
- Desplaines, Randolph to Harrison, track
- Halsted, Roosevelt to Van Buren, buffered
- Jackson, Oakley to Ogden, track
- Lake, Central Park to Damen, track
- Jackson, Hamlin to Central Park, track
- Hamlin/Independence, Douglas to Madison, buffered
- Douglas, Independence to Sacramento, buffered
- Sacramento, 19th to Douglas, track
- Marshall, 24th to 19th, track
- Madison, Central to Pulaski, buffered
- Franklink, Central Park to Sacramento, buffered
- Kedzie, North to Palmer, buffered
- Division, Western to California, buffered
- Milwaukee, Elston to Kinzie, lane, buffered, track
- Elston, Milwaukee to LeMoyne, buffered, track
- Halsted, Division to North, buffered
- Halsted, Fullerton to Wellington, buffered (except for next to Home Depot)
- Clark, Diversey to Addison, buffered
- Clybourn, North to Belmont, shared and buffered
- Berteau, Lincoln to Clark, greenway, 20 mph
- Roscoe/Campbell, Damen to Western to Belmont, lane, buffered
- Franklin, Harrison to Wacker, buffered
- Wells, Chicago to Wacker, buffered
- Clark, Walton to North, buffered and shared lane
I'm adding Chicago-area campgrounds to the Chicago Bike Guide to entice new users and to espouse the enjoyment of medium-distance bike camping. The Chicago Bike Guide is available for Android and iOS.
I'm taking a systematic approach to finding all the publicly-owned campgrounds in the area by looking at primary sources.
First, though, I've used Overpass Turbo to create a list of all existing campgrounds in OpenStreetMap. You can see a gist of these places.
The next method is to find out which campgrounds are operated by the county forest preserves, which are usually well-documented on their respective websites. Then I will look at state parks, operated by states' respective Departments of Natural Resources (DNR). Next I will look at national parks and finally commercial campgrounds.
I've so far mapped the campgrounds in two ways, as nodes and as areas. At the Greene Valley forest preserve in DuPage County, for example, I've mapped the 11 individual camp sites (see map), but at Blackwell forest preserve in the same county, I've mapped the area as a single camp site (see map).
Blackwell has over 50 sites in a discrete area and it's more efficient to map them as a single node, while Greene Valley had far fewer sites but scattered over a couple areas.
I visited Richmond, Indiana, in early August with my friend who grew up there. There isn't much to do there, but there are a lot of neat places to bike to. Richmond had more features mapped than I expected, but I was happy to contribute via Pushpin and JOSM. With Pushpin OSM, an app for iOS, I added a couple of venues I visited, including Firehouse BBQ & Blues.
With JOSM, though, I wanted to add the city's bike routes so they would appear in OpenCycleMap and could then be immediately embedded as a (somewhat) interactive map on the Bike Richmond website. I asked a city planner for a bike map and he gave me a GIS printout that showed the "recommended routes" (which are unsigned) and then he drew on the signed route that augment the recommended routes. The signed route essentially creates a loop.
I tagged all of the recommended routes as "bicycle=designated". After the tiles in OpenCycleMap updated to include my work in Richmond I realized that OCM doesn't symbolize "bicycle=designated" unless they're in a relation. I created a relation, calling it the "City of Richmond Signed Bike Route".
This was cross-posted to my urban planning blog, Steven Can Plan.