blackadder has commented on the following diary entries

Post When Comment
Anyone using OSM data at utility companies? about 3 years ago

Jean-Marc Liotier, I agree, for network planning and management OSM is a very real alternative, especially if the map data is enhanced where required by the utility company or others along just the corridors and easements they are interested in.

Anyone using OSM data at utility companies? about 3 years ago

Tom, Dulwich & Peckham looking great :-)
Regarding the level of detail I think its very likely that in pockets the full details will appear very soon. It only takes one mapper to get the bug and a town is as good as done. As with getting the basic road structure into OSM many places will lag several months or even years behind other locations, but eventually It will appear to some degree or other. As an example, this last week one of the Staffs mappers (iain1940) mapped Penkridge ( ), which had been white space till now. It's take 5 years to get to it. Where might we be in 5 years time? Perhaps Penkridge will have just had its houses and addressing done, its certainly possible.

Anyone using OSM data at utility companies? about 3 years ago

Being involved in the utility industry I can put another slant on this. The accurate position of underground utilities is not well known, even by the utility companies themselves. That’s why the industry is investing in research and further development of underground mapping tools using GPR (Ground penetrating Radar), ultrasonics and other methods. For some the situation is better than for others but the myriad of old and disused utilities alongside live utilities in the same street space means that for major urban centres the situation is far from clear and results in each instance of an excavation in a street requiring careful investigation, notification and often hand searching to prove that the way ahead is clear.

The second issue is one of asset security and commercial sensitivity. Generally speaking the utility companies do not want us to know where their assets are. They would rather keep this information to themselves and is one of the reasons why in the UK the National Street Gazetteer (The NSG) is a closed environment open only to the utility companies and Local Authorities for the purposes of Street Works co-ordination.

Finally there is accuracy. Utility companies are always improving the accuracy of their data relating to the utilities themselves, both in terms of the information on the asset and its location. This requires a robust system that is built on the basis of quality first.
Looking at OSM there are some opportunities in the utility sector as there are for OSM generally in the old-school GIS industry. As a base map it’s possible to easily recreate land detail, even for the full width of a public right of way (where the utilities are principally located) though at the moment we do not do so. Take a look at my local area which is now principally mapped out ( ) and you will see that while the majority of the landmass is mapped as it is on the ground (traced from BING imagery) the roads and other highway ways are still the centreline vector data rather than the edge detail required to define the true arrangement on the ground. Of course though I could add these highway edge details and tag them appropriately and then ignore the traditional highway ways when using the data in another application.
If I were to do this I would then be left with the issue of positional accuracy. Companies that use OS MasterMap base mapping are relying on data that is positionally accurate (relative and global) to within just a few centimetres. With OSM even when tracing from BING we probably can't realise global accuracy below 2m at best. We might do better with relative accuracy, perhaps even sub metre where aerial imagery quality is good, but anything better requires more accurate surveying techniques. For these reasons OSM is not that useful where precise positioning is important. For general data (eg for utilities and other organisations that need to record/display general asset location) then OSM has some merits, for others its doubtful at best.

I’m sure with time we will see new organisations take on OSM as a landbase source, much in the same was as Surrey Heath has done, ie where the product fits. For those that need positional accuracy of features I don’t see how OSM can ever compete, not unless some third party is able to take OSM data and verify and adjust the accuracy to some guaranteed level. Where accuracy is less important but change updates are vital then OSM may offer a better alternative to the traditional commercial suppliers though being able to guarantee as to what date updates for a given area are valid will always be difficult without third party verification.


Lummerland on OpenStreetMap almost 5 years ago

Since we do not encourage fictional data, the user is being contacted asking that the data be removed. Its perhaps a fun prank but not a helpful addition to OSM. Please follow the wiki guidance at if you suspect similar activity. Cheers.

Village of Hathern in Leicestershire about 5 years ago

Alan, Great to see some new mapping and look forward to some more villages appearing. We need more village mappers!

Cheers, Andy

More about JOSM spelling about 5 years ago

JOSM does have a search function. Click on "Search" in the "Current Selection" window of JOSM and you will see a list of formats which will search the loaded data for just about anything.

First post - undergraduate geography dissertation. over 5 years ago

There is an OSM mapping party in Manchester scheduled for Oct 25/26. Keep an eye on the wiki for more details coming soon.

Good to be mapping again over 5 years ago

I normally go out for a morning. The 50km ride was only 30km of mapping because its now 10km each way to reach unmapped territory! So generally I'm starting to get tired, hungry or need a break after about 3 hours of mapping. So with the travel at each end its normally a 4 hour stint. Following that it takes me about a further 3 hours to do the editing (1 hour editing for every hour on the bike).

Wooo over 5 years ago

Welcome to OSM :-)

PS. be careful, its very addictive ;-)

NCN RR62 almost 6 years ago

darn, that missing link at the end should be to

Another area of Birmingham knocked off almost 6 years ago

I must have OCOSMD, otherwise maybe I would have stopped to watch :-)