Breezer's diary

Recent diary entries

Farnham open source barcamp - Oggcamp11

Posted by Breezer on 14 July 2011 in English (English).

There's often an openstreetmap session and mapping party going on amongst the talks, so anyone around Farnham in Surrey who's curious, might well be worth coming along. There's limited space in the hall, but maybe a separate group could meet outside too - its got a good sized car park and there's plenty of greenery, and also they're planning a proper "camp" nearby and a lunch/nice time in the park just over the road alongside the river (in the main town bit still, not the far side of South St.)

I helped organise a Farnham mapping party a couple of years ago, to fill in many of the missing roads outside the immediate town centre, which really made a difference. But there's still more could be done.

Location: The Hatches, Farnham, Wrecclesham, Waverley, Surrey, South East England, England, GU9 8UE, United Kingdom


Posted by Breezer on 1 November 2009 in English (English).

I went to LugRadio Live 2009 last weekend and didn't go to the OpenStreetMap talk there, as I'd heard a (presumably) very similar one the year before; but I did turn up to the OggCamp osm meetup and do some mapping around Wolverhampton. Yay, first proper mapping with gps for a few months - have lots of video and photo data and some traces to upload/apply from the last 6 months or so though.

Should probably get round to doing those soon - maybe a few this weekend... Working again is much harder on your time than hanging out doing the odd bit of job-hunting....

Location: Goldthorn Hill, Wolverhampton, West Midlands Combined Authority, West Midlands, England, WV2 4PN, United Kingdom

Can I help in Oslo, Norway?

Posted by Breezer on 26 April 2009 in English (English).

Not with a huge effort, but if Oslo needs anything I might be able to add some traces or POIs when I'm there next month on a long weekend

Also a small town further North.

Got everything? Stuck for xmas pressy ideas?

Posted by Breezer on 7 December 2008 in English (English).

Then suggest people donate to openstreetmap instead! Whether cash or contributing content, what a great idea! I had this thought in the summer and decided I would suggest it to anyone looking for ideas (among other things); real bonus points for anyone who updates an area (whether near them or just one they know well). I also put Open Rights Group on the list, but I think that's more UK-specific.

I already have a nice gps unit so no need for any new technology on the osm front. But that's another option for ya.

Canada hols gpx-ing (Alberta:Calgary, Lethbridge, Olds)

Posted by Breezer on 20 October 2008 in English (English).

Spent 10 days on hols in south Alberta, and probably to slight annoyance of my relatives at times, made lots of notes and POI's; all main roads I could see were done already before - traced, I guess, but there's pretty much no POI's in the smaller towns and I guess some range roads missing so I tried to capture a few while driving past in the car and get more detailed info on areas I did much walking on - partly to help identify where I took some of my artistic pics of course too.

Filled up my logger (a Holux M-241) more than I've ever done before, a good 30000 points or so in total I suspect although a large range of frequencies, from 1Hz to 0.1Hz or less on some of the major roads. Well, when you're driving a straight line for miles and miles and there's little to no traffic to worry about, and the road is already on osm, why bother with any more frequent points?

I suspect it'll take me a while to coordinate all the hundreds of pics and traces and get it all in though (like, a few weeks probably). I'll submit the gpx's once they're cleaned a bit and less private.

Location: Downtown Commercial Core, Calgary, Alberta, T2P 0R2, Canada

the Sun vs. josm-ing for a while!

Posted by Breezer on 20 September 2008 in English (English).

Got a reasonable amount of Farnham mapping data to upload again and confirmed some data from the mini-meet last weekend. But its so sunny out! Actually I should swap my chain on my bike over first, especially with all the cycling I plan to do tomorrow.

London Freewheel - cycling on traffic-free city centre roads

Posted by Breezer on 20 September 2008 in English (English).

Anyone doing OSM-related stuff, promotion or evangelism at any of the hubs or elsewhere for London Freewheel tomorrow (Sun 21st)?

Location: St Clement Danes, Covent Garden, London, Westminster, England, WC2B 4AQ, United Kingdom

A bicycle shop so new it isn't on any maps yet

Posted by Breezer on 31 August 2008 in English (English).

Spotted a new bike shop and added it, also added another one that wasn't there (and isn't far away - is cycling getting really popular now?)... Cyclopolis in Balham, London; its not open yet so I checked up on the 'construction' tag/value. Its construction=yes, as a general-purpose one!

This was all due to my trip to play badminton this afternon near Battersea, and I walked back home! Well the journey up on the bus (bike out of action at the mo) was horribly slow up Trinity Road - really tempted to find a way of marking that as a horribly congested route most days and especially horribly at rush hour (serious estimate of average speed in bus down that section = 3-4mph, pedestrians were passing us and we never caught them up).

The bus back would have been much quicker ('cos that side of the road is mostly emptier) but I felt like exploring a bit and doing some osm-ing. Didn't plan it, didn't have a clue how good the data is (suspected all road names done though) so just made redundant video notes of the 'extras' (ie mentioning things multiple times and in ref to other things I was sure would be done). Post-boxes (my thing), tel boxes, some of the shops

Location: Balham, Tooting, London Borough of Wandsworth, England, SW12 9AR, United Kingdom

My OSM weekend (ish)

Posted by Breezer on 25 August 2008 in English (English).

So as well as doing a lot for Woolwich Royal Arsenal development, and (still to do) some around Greenwich, I checked out a village I know very well - Langham, north of Colchester, Essex (England). Put some missing roads/tracks in with aid of landsat imagery (and just knowing about where they should be, helps a lot when you're unsure whether a landsat jumble of pixels is anything solid or not!, and I do know the place well) and filled in many of the names that were missing and some big amenities.

Location: Langham, Colchester, Essex, East of England, England, United Kingdom

Unnamed roads

Posted by Breezer on 25 August 2008 in English (English).

Sometimes these are actually unnamed, or haven't been assigned one yet (maybe?); is there a way to distinguish these from the roads that we just don't know about yet? 'cos otherwise different people could end up making a point to visit them again and again, only to find out there is no listed name to see anywhere or they're too small to be noted as one.

People using the map might also think it doesn't look good to see roads without names (if they don't know its unnamed), or if you're on one of these roads and trying to figure out where the hell you are; you could spend ages looking for a name somewhere without realising its a fruitless search. If you knew it didnt list one, you'd then be able to hunt out another landmark earlier like postboxes with the ref. no (ok, just my personal thing!) or telephone box and its number (again...), or a pub/road crossing it/... You get the point.

So, has this been considered before?

Should I post on the wiki rather than suggest here?

name=unnamed/false/no/-1 doesn't work as programs won't know (although -1 isnt too bad, but its not consistent/following convention enough for me); unnamed=true might be ok.

PS: I asked in my immediate-last post about how to get a map of unnamed roads. I know you can search in josm for "label:highway -label:name" or similar; not sure how to convert that into tiles/a download for one of the progs I use on my phone (j2me, current faves are WhereAmI+ and GMJ, but Mom also possible). ie. in gpx or similar for waypoints (maybe start/end points? dunno how I'd do it).. Or tiles that I can hack into one of their db's.

London: Woolwich Royal Arsenal + the Thames Clipper jetty/pier(?)

Posted by Breezer on 25 August 2008 in English (English).

I had a go at whole residential development (+museums) last time I went to see my friend by the river; but my gps wasn't getting a good lock (inexperienced user + too-cloudy weather) so I went round a few roads again and actually got data good enough to create the missing streets on. Its one of the few areas around there that's missing a lot of detail, and almost none of the road names are filled in (well, I did several from memory but had to correct how far some of them went and when they became other roads this time). I feel privileged to be in a position to update it, like a little hidden secret that noone else got here first amongst a generally fairly-well-covered (the basics anyway) town. Anyone else get like that?

So its mostly done, added barriers in and the pier there - tag man_made=pier, but not sure how to go about marking it more specifically for the water way for thames clippers; have the open times somewhere in another pic taken ages ago when I was there more regularly and making use of it, but I know its changed a bit since. Just have to fix the east end of it, can't remember how far Duke of Wellington Avenue goes and it's a bit more of a walk...

Google data is horrible here too (unless the normal web client doesnt show everything at full zoom), missing names, roads too short/long, names in the wrong places and so on, roads that just dont seem to correlate all that well with what I know/see; so a great win for OSM!

Still editing, gonna scroll around and see what the other stops for the boat are marked as (and ps: the jetty/pier is rather a guess in how far it goes out/the angle it bends / how far to the boat stop...)
Unfortunately they keep the jetty closed until just before the boat arrives as they suffered vandalism a while ago and Im almost never there when I need to be (jetty maybe more appropriate but only seen it suggested on the wiki, not official). Plus its a covered walkway, so dunno how good the gps will be down it. Its on the map anyway - ya can't complain too much!

Also had a great photography club day out in Greenwich so will see what I can add there (had some unnamed roads marked which I went to check on but not sure if its just the renderer - please tell me how to get an unnamed roads map list, someone mentioned it at the Tulse Hill meet recently!)

Another post coming re: unnamed roads.

Location: Royal Arsenal Riverside, Woolwich, Royal Borough of Greenwich, England, United Kingdom

Grrrrrrr! Crashes... recoverable JOSM edits? probably not

Posted by Breezer on 22 August 2008 in English (English).

Using Josm and having input quite a few edits, I managed to cause my Ubuntu PC to kill X... I am guessing the "Keep backup files" only applies when saving files; I hadn't hit save yet, or uploaded stuff... Damn and blast. Damn and blast.

I'd been experimenting this time with

Location: Mayfair, London, Westminster, England, W1K 3DN, United Kingdom

Tulse Hill mapping meet

Posted by Breezer on 21 August 2008 in English (English).

My first time to meet anyone else into osm, and I didn't do a huge amount of mapping - ended up doing about as much on the way down from the city through Brixton as I did while there, and started some on the way home ~11pm but my phone battery died (luckily I had an idea where I was before, or I'd have been cycling round lost for too many hrs - wing and a prayer got me home eventually). Apologies to smsm1 for keeping him so late at the end (I did warn you I also tended to be among the last to leave anywhere!).

Err... my notes failed me for one bit though, and JOSM isn't behaving with the layers like it was the last couple of times (its a mystery, really it is.. black magic!). Which road is Peckford Place off the A204? There are some unmarked ones but I couldn't figure it out from what I wrote. Was going to mark Max Roach Park down too, off to the East about half-way down I think.

Discovered TrackMyLocation Java app for phones though thanks to err.. Stephen is it?! Seriously configurable (more so than WhereAmiI+ I think even, but more of a layered options menu to do it - good but also complex to find things in as a newbie to it). Yet to try getting maps onto it, so was testing out a black background and just the shiny blue trace.

That's all... bedtime... Seriously... now...

Location: Brixton, London, Greater London, England, SW2 1SS, United Kingdom

Earls Court through Battersea

Posted by Breezer on 20 August 2008 in English (English).

On my cycle back from the British Beer Festival (yes, a great time had by all - didn't quite find the Lonix meet but only heard about it an hr before and not the main reason, anyway, I digress), I made some notes about post/telephone boxes (including most of the postbox refs where possible. I've also happened around the same route since and finally got round to making the edits. I found a postbox without a ref - I kid you not! Corrected Rosenau Road->Crescent, different the other side of the junction; that had bugged me for a while. Added a pub and a church or two (Prince of Wales in particular, right on a not-amazingly-well-marked junction - very handy for locating yourself).

With phone-boxes, if they're all in a clump I've decided after checking existing tag use at, that I would go with 'count=N' rather than anything else or put multiple nodes in at the same spot. I even have a few other telephone boxes (not on these trips but elsewhere SW London) that I've stopped to mark down the telephone number. Haven't come across any of those yet that I've seen, although it appears usage has been made of various phone number fields. I'm going with phone=+44-20-..... as per the general recommendation in the wiki.

JOSM hitting a high-point (of addictiveness, for me anyway)

Posted by Breezer on 18 August 2008 in English (English).

Stayed up all night learning to use JOSM properly (well, from about 1am anyway). Suddenly realised it was ~5am and that it wasn't worth going to bed. But I did a tonne of updates! Had only got node editing practice before, but now I'm getting happier adding/editing/splitting ways, and even did an area. It's really not the simplest interface to learn, but I can see how it can be quite quick to use when your fingers know the shortcut keys well. Still managed to hit Ctrl-Z too often while using Ctrl-Alt-Shift to add nodes near existing items. Honestly, 3 simultaneous fingers plus a mouse click! Maybe I need to check the manual or default options more. Also still not happy how to get the layers set up and having the ones I want visible at the same time (and actually usefully visible, not in grey/... I know I can mess with colours, not done that yet much except for my GPS traces). Why does it sometimes seem to make a layer invisible if I click on it and other times not, but if I test clicking on the left end of it rather than the name it doesn't make a difference!

JOSM rant...
I want to be able to move around the map using Search, or double-clicking on a node in the "commands" window to check it out... Or when the validation plugin pulls up a problem, to be able to go to it and highlight it for a second or so when I click on it! I don't really know enough Java to help out without it being slow and painful, but if I did I'd be v.tempted!

Localities Edited...
Woolwich Royal Arsenal development - improvements to one or two paths and tags, added the square on the main walkway down to the riverfront (but wasn't sure on how to tag it, so left a FIXME tag with a note).

south side of Vauxhall - road names in some of the residential areas there, one-way indicattors (meant reversing and splitting/re-combining a few way segments, so good practice!)

General random updates/edits to add postboxes, telephone boxes and the ref no's on them for some south west/central-west areas of London UK where I've cycled through (obsessively stopping for them in some cases.. oh dear!), and a little out towards Fenchurch Street station. Note to self: need to make sure gps has a better lock before making annotations (even though I'm good at noting which side of a junction/road a note is for even if the gps isn't accurate).

GPS tracking apps (Symbiam/S60)...
I like WhereAmI+ at the moment on my Nokia N95 8Gb, feels more developery and resiliant to accidental quits/hitting the wrong key; tried MGMaps but I think it seemed to lose my edits if I accidentally quit the app, happens sometimes. Need to look into more. If you have a (free cost-wise/v.good value for money) fave, suggestions welcomed.

Might even have to consider getting a good quality BlueTooth GPS 'mouse' if this carries on...

Bicycle parking (cycle racks) - capacity Q/wonderings

Posted by Breezer on 18 August 2008 in English (English).

When people come across bike racks, what do they put down as the capacity? Do you specify the number of hoops, or twice the number of hoops as you can usually comfortably fit 2 bikes per hoop, one on each side? My regular one I use for work usually ends up with many hoops having 3 bikes and on occasion even 4 per hoop (shows Westminster's cycle policy up against others - a trip through North West London/West End recently amazed me at how many racks there are, and not just near stations!)

Farnham, Surrey, England (GU9)

Posted by Breezer on 9 August 2008 in English (English).

I used to live here and thought I'd check it out; there are quite a few roads missing outside the town especially where my house was; still early to OSM editing so have never tried tracing yet (just been doing some node adding/setting extra details) but I'm due a visit there next month so will generate some gpx tracks.. If I felt more confident I'd add in the missing ones sooner.

Location: The Hatches, Farnham, Wrecclesham, Waverley, Surrey, South East England, England, GU9 8UE, United Kingdom

Big red postboxes

Posted by Breezer on 5 August 2008 in English (English).

I've just done my first bit of editing ever! Yay! Heard of OSM a year or two ago, but being at LugRadioLive '08 UK t'other weekend and then hearing someone from OSM chat about it on the Ubuntu-UK podcast, I was inspired. In particular by their mention of postvoxes. They never appear on any other maps, and I have done some part-time work for Post Office Ltd in a past life, so I'm taking it on myself to map all the ones I can find.

Firstly, between home (Balham/Tooting area, SW London) and work (the City, EC) on my daily cycle commute but I may go a little further afield/try to map others I remember from previous places I've lived at. May go some interesting routes/take minor detours to catch some others if I get bored on the regular path.

Location: -0.146, 51.436