OpenStreetMap

Where's the nearest payphone?

Posted by CjMalone on 27 July 2020 in English (English)

I’ve recently decided to survey the payphone/phone boxes/amenity=telephone in OSM. To my surprise, they don’t exist any more, well 12 out of the 17 surveyed don’t.

It seems BT is in wave of removing them, publicly they are just “restructuring to save costs”, but in reality it seems they are just removing all phone boxes.

They don’t publish locations of payphones but if you contact them they have to give you a list of any in consultation to be removed, or any recent consultations. They’ll give you a PDF with a postcode and a vague-ish location description. You’ll then need to go out and survey them, if they’re gone, delete them, if they still exist add some metadata tags, ensure its operator tag is correct, add it’s incoming phone number.

I’m going to try and survey the 65 remaining payphones in OSM in my county, based on my last survey, it might only be 20 that actually exist! (75%)

StreetComplete may be helping in this area soon, Tobias Zwick is working on map maintenance through the app so I’ll defiantly be recommending this and bus stops to the list of verification quests.

Comment from andy mackey on 27 July 2020 at 18:36

I spend a lot of time rambling, that’s walking in the countryside, recording footpaths and mapping them. I haven’t seen a working red phone box for quite a while. The older ones are so heavy, i believe they have cast iron frames and it isn’t economic to remove them. Often ownership is transferred or sold for a small amount to the village. They then become put and take book exchanges or are used to house a defibrillator and remain a familiar landmark in the village. I have mapped five or six of them. Happy Mapping

Comment from CjMalone on 27 July 2020 at 20:53

I started surveying them a few weeks ago after I saw a KX100 get removed, they don’t seem to be as heavy.

I think I see the traditional phone boxes in gardens more often than functioning nowadays, I like that they are getting some use. One of the local ones may being getting turned into a defib storage unit like you said.

Happy rambling, don’t lose your way.

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