ingalls's diary

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Collecting Addresses, What I've learned

Posted by ingalls on 23 August 2013 in English (English)

Over the course of the last couple of years, I have been extremely active in collecting addresses for several cities in New Brunswick, Canada.

Here are some different techniquques I have used over the course of the last few years and some things that I have learned.

When I started mapping, I was huge proponent of using my GPS for everything! I wouldn't leave the house without my GPS hanging faithfully at my side. During this period, my interest in addrress collection was kindled. I would leave the house and walk down one side of the street, making a POI for every single hoouse number. I would then go back, open up JOSM, and spend countless hours pouring over a relatively small dataset. This was due to the innacuracy of the recorded POIs. I is more time dragging around POIs, trying to figure which house they went with, than I would actually editing the map.

After several weeks of this method, the reward of seeing address points on the map was quickly dwarfed by the despair at how long it took to get them there.

This lead to a second method of address collection, a voice recorder and a GPS. This was by far my favourite way to collect data. It was fast, efficient, and got rid of me having to type in every address. It also allowed me to record notes, helping to offset the problem of figuring out which POI went with which house. When taking a poi, I could now say the house number, the color of the roof, and any other significant features.

Upon beginning to analyze the data I had collected, I realized that I had solved my complaints from the previous method of data collection but I had introduced a host of new ones. Before, the most time had been spent entering the house numbers into the GPS when collecting the data, and figuring out which POI went with which house due to innacuracies when recording the POI. These were effectively solved, being able to walk and talk sped up data collection, and having the color of the roof allowed me to more easily place POIs. Unfortunatley, I was spending just as much time as before listening to myself over and over again!

I kept this approach up for a number of months, unable to think of a more effective method in which I could collect data. I wanted something that could be used in any weather, any lighting condition, and would allow me to walk at my normal pace.

Innovations can come in strange ways. The allure of pen and paper, soon caught up to me. I was growing increasinly tired of listening to my own voice for hours on end. One day I ran out of batteries for my GPS.

Instead, I brought a clipboard, paper, and a pen out of hiding in a dusty cupboard and went to work. At the bottom of the sheet I would record the intersection where I was starting and at the top, the intersection of the city block in which I was heading.

I would then draw in the houses numbers that I walked past. This method allowed for extremely complicated houses to be recorded easily. For non-complicated blocks, ie one or two house numbers per building, it also allowed me to walk very close to my normal pace. Finally, when adding the data to OSM, confusion was kept to an absolute minimum as I was already looking at an overhead view.

When entering the data I would simply count the houses along one side of the block in the aerial phographs and ensure it corresponded to the number I had recorded on paper. Descrepancies were few and far between and usually occured because a house had been torn down but was still shown on the imagery.

Today, I use a legal pad of waterproof paper, a spacepen, a clipboard, and a small clip-on light for use during the night. A also carry my GPS along for uploading new tracks.

Here is a quick example of how I record the data on my sheet Sheet Sorry about the hand and the quality, I just used a webcam to grab the pic.

Hope the inspired more people to get out and start collecting addresses!

Cheers, ingalls

Starting the process of learning Ruby

Posted by ingalls on 18 March 2013 in English (English)

I'm in the process of getting myself caught up with the Ruby on Rails Port.

So far I've found this: Which claims to be able to get me set-up very quickly with the latest and greatest code.

I was just wondering if anyone had any suggestions on getting started or would be willing to put their name forward as someone who I could fire off question to as I had them?

Recent Addresses

Posted by ingalls on 25 February 2013 in English (English)

The blog has been awash with posts about address additions. I have been sitting on quite a pile of addresses that I have collected over the past year while I have been around Fredericton, NB. Today I have started the process of digitizing and uploading them! Lots more to come!

Location: Rabbit Town, Sunshine Gardens, Fredericton, York County, New Brunswick, E3B3E7, Canada

New Look

Posted by ingalls on 16 January 2013 in English (English)

I just want to give the devs credit for the new look! It looks amazing, a huge improvement!!

Fantastic Site!

Posted by ingalls on 16 September 2012 in English (English)

I've just finished watching a presentation by Richard Fairhurst - and he gives a fantastic site for visualizing live data. is fascinating to watch! It's hard to believe in the five minutes that I was watching it there were over 100 user contributions totalling over 30000 changes!

Apple... Please don't render FixMe's

Posted by ingalls on 25 June 2012 in English (English)

Just noticed apples lovely new maps of halifax... Except that they have decided to render FIXMEs as place names...

Apple Map

Inporting Canvec Data

Posted by ingalls on 16 April 2011 in English (English)

I'll be working on importing a large set of canvec data in the Saint John Region. I've been removing duplicate Canvec roads and features but I may miss a few. If you see duplicates of anything feel free to delete them!


Location: Round Lake Road, Grand Bay-Westfield, Saint John County, New Brunswick, E5K 1L4, Canada