Dion Dock's diary

Recent diary entries

scrolling the map in JSOM on MacOS

Posted by Dion Dock on 22 April 2014 in English (English)

I've given up on JSOM for maybe a year ever since Option+Click+hold quit dragging/scrolling the map. While I've seen a lot of suggestions on how to get this working again, it appears the best solution is hardware: get a two button mouse and Right Click+hold to scroll.

turntable added just as it's removed

Posted by Dion Dock on 21 August 2013 in English (English)

I added a railroad=turntable a while back. About the same time mapnik started rendering the tag, I heard the turntable was removed. Maybe someone from Trimet can verify, it's close by.

Impressions of iD

Posted by Dion Dock on 17 August 2013 in English (English)

I've been slowly trying to use iD in place of Potlatch 2. (I'll get back to using JOSM when they allow scrolling when holding down the option key on Macs again.)

Here's a few observations now that I've spent some time with it. 1. It would be great if it had a "repeat last action" key like "r" in Potlatch. 2. I'm impressed that it supplies suggested feature types based on whether I've selected a node or a way. Potlatch (and JOSM) allow me to put node types (highway=turning_circle) on ways, leading to maplint. iD makes that mistake harder to accomplish. 3. I spend a lot of time changing highway=residential to highway=tertiary in the USA. At first, I expanded the "All tags" section and changed the highway type. However, a better way to do this is to select the way, click the "Residential way" box at the top of the list, then choose Road, followed by Tertiary Road. iD remembers this selection, and puts it at the top of the list next time. Nice. (Hint: even better if it had the repeat key from above). 4. I miss the ability to drag a way/area like Potlatch/JOSM can. It can be nice to see whether the highway has a center stripe. 5. I miss Potlatch's ability to "square" an area or "circle" an area. 6. I miss Potlatch's ability to "straighten" a way. 7. I like the JOSM like "dots" in the ways although JOSM seems easier to use. 8. It's probably better to have to force me to choose a node/way/area than to just start drawing.

What are your experiences?

thoughts on Austin, TX map

Posted by Dion Dock on 18 June 2013 in English (English)

After a brief trip to Austin, Texas, I made some OSM updates, particularly fixing some maplint from Keepright. Here are my brief observations:

  • Roads ending with a turning circle often have the title "Cove". Portland doesn't seem to use that designation at all.

  • There aren't many roads with center stripes...or at least the center stripes are hard to see in Bing!.

Keepright trends in my area

Posted by Dion Dock on 7 May 2013 in English (English)

All mappers, particularly newbies, should take a look at for sources of maplint.

I've noticed two maplint trends in Oregon: a) A bunch of "This node is not a member of any way and does not have any tags." Presumably, this lint was left behind after The Great License Change redactions. It seems like it would be a good thing to have a bot go through OSM and remove points that fit this description. Why is that not a good idea? b) I've seen a lot of people creating areas (playgrounds, buildings) then giving one of the nodes the tags. No no no. I believe if a business occupies an entire building, it's OK to tag the building, not just a node. In the case of playgrounds, it makes no sense at all to create an area then tag a node.

Anyone seen trends in their area?

the Alleys of Tacoma, WA

Posted by Dion Dock on 31 January 2013 in English (English)

For some reason--possibly because Portland is looking pretty good on the map--I've started adding the alleys of Tacoma, WA. I have to say, I thought Eugene, OR had a lot but that was before seeing this town.

For reasons only known to the TIGER folks, it appears that alleys weren't high on their list of things to map, although driveways on country roads were important.

So if you're in the Tacoma area, take a look at the alleys, particularly those that appear to be dead ends and verify whether they are.

thanks, -Dion

changing mapping interests

Posted by Dion Dock on 20 November 2012 in English (English)

When I started contributing to OSM, I used to be super stoked to add new roads to the map, either with satellite imagery or with GPS traces.

These days, that doesn't excite me so much. I suspect this is mainly because getting the roads names is either tedious (camera phone) or impossible (aerial imagery tracing).

I have developed an interest in updating the TIGER import to show tertiary roads. When the USA census TIGER data was imported, roads less than secondary were typically tagged "highway=residential". However, if you know your neighborhood, you'll know that some of them are supposed to be arterials. I've been trying to go over Oregon (particularly NW, the Pacific coast, Central and NE) and tag the tertiary roads.

Maybe some of my changes will be useful for routing someday.

How have your mapping interests evolved?

Thing that drives me crazy

Posted by Dion Dock on 17 November 2012 in English (English)

JOSM on my Mac randomly decides to quit drawing lines between points. I think it's Java's fault, not JOSM but eesh.

surprising coicidence

Posted by Dion Dock on 6 November 2012 in English (English)

I noticed that Fort Rock, Oregon couldn't easily be found on the map and started making some edits in that area, including Christmast Valley. When the area finally got rendered, someone had already changed one of my edits (tracks to footways)! If you know this area of the state, you know it's remote. How strange to have someone else make an edit of the same are at the same time.

Speaking of remote, it's this sort of area where TIGER really scares me. Take a look at the map vs the satellite and ask yourself if you'd really want to drive around with nothing but a GPS for direction.

Less roads == better data?

Posted by Dion Dock on 19 October 2012 in English (English)

I saw a presentation on OSM at SOTM.US. They measured the quality of OSM pre and post redaction by looking at the number of highway miles. It got me to wondering, can we get higher quality data by removing roads?

In the US, the "base map" was the now famous import of US census TIGER data. The Census bureau has mapped Forest Service logging roads and driveways, and they were imported as highway=residential. However, they quite often seem to be wrong. Consider some of the Oregon coast range, how much value a driveway adds or even where it belongs, and changing roads in the desert.

I suspect these roads were created then abandoned. The only way to know for sure is to go out there and survey them.

This got me to thinking that the map might actually be improved by removing ways. What do you think?

JOSM workflow for tertiary roads

Posted by Dion Dock on 19 October 2012 in English (English)

I've been going around Oregon and marking roads as tertiary. The TIGER import generally gave most roads highway=residential. I've been trying to mark tertiary roads as ones that have a painted centerline.

The Mapquest OSM view is nice for this since it shows tertiary roads at one higher zoom level than Mapnik. That lets me see a larger area at a time.

My usual workflow is to download an area, get Bing imagery and then mark the roads. Since it's a real pain to select a road then add two tags (highway=tertiary and lanes=2), I added a button to JOSM. To do that, I've created an XML file with the following (forgive my markup)

<presets> <item name="Mark Tiger Reviewed"> <key key="tiger:reviewed"/> </item> <item name="bridge"> <key key="bridge" value="yes"/> <key key="layer" value="1"/> </item> <item name="Make Tertiary"> <key key="highway" value="tertiary"/> <key key="lanes" value="2"/> </item> </presets>

Use the Preferences-->Map Settings to include your XML file. Then go to Preferences-->Presets and add them to the toolbar as buttons. Voila. Now if only Java didn't quit drawing ways between points randomly....

neat finds: rerouted roads

Posted by Dion Dock on 7 September 2012 in English (English)

I really enjoy finding places where the roads have been relocated. It's living history to see how problem areas have been fixed. This seems to happen a fair amount with the TIGER import in the US; I guess it's hard for TIGER to know of every change over the years. Here's a good example of smoothing out a sharp corner (view the Bing! imagery to see where the road used to go). Something for the future archeologists to find too. :)

Redaction Sadness

Posted by Dion Dock on 16 August 2012 in English (English)

I noticed several of the highways around Crater Lake, Oregon had disappeared.

A quick look at the history of remaining points ('h' with Potlatch 1, no idea if there's an easy way to do this elsewhere) showed the licensing redaction bot removed them. So I added the highways back using the remaining points. That was slow going work and it really didn't make me feel like I'd added much. At least I was able to add a few extra details along the way (bridges).

Which reminds me, JOSM has an annoying habit of suddenly not adding ways between new points; the most recent tested version seems to be the worst yet.

Anyway, the whole experience made me wish the redaction bot just went back to the original TIGER import.

Redaction Sadness

Posted by Dion Dock on 16 August 2012 in English (English)

I noticed some highways have disappeared from near Crater Lake, Oregon. A quick look at the history of the remaining dots (I can get it easily with 'h' in Potlatch 1, no idea if it's possible elsewhere) shows the licensing redaction bot removed them.

Anyway, I added them back (aside: anyone notice how JOSM eventually quits drawing lines between points? the current version is the worst yet) but it really made me sad, since it took a lot of time and really didn't add anything. It would have been nice to just revert back to the original TIGER import.

Maybe the only good that came of this was adding a few more details (bridges) as I went.


tertiary roads, TIGER and history

Posted by Dion Dock on 26 June 2012 in English (English)

I've heard some debate on the mailing lists about whether importing TIGER census maps into the US was a good idea. The con argument is people look at the map and figure it's good enough. The pro side is it put a lot of useful data in place.

Unfortunately, the quality of the TIGER data needs some improvement. For one thing, the highway= tag does not cover much ground between residential and motorway. There are lots of preferred roads, especially away from the cities, and you can't just look at a TIGER map and know which one to take.

I've been applying the highway=tertiary tag to lots of the backroads in Oregon. One thing I particularly like finding are roads that have been re-routed (which is a really neat thing to look for on old maps). Take a look at the underlying Bing! image and see how Seven Mile Hill Road used to take a bit of a meander to the south.

tertiary roads in Oregon

Posted by Dion Dock on 9 June 2012 in English (English)

I've been spending some time adding tertiary roads to the map of Oregon. The new Mapquest Open layer works really well for finding areas in need since it includes tertiary roads at a higher zoom level than the Mapnik default.

It's amazing at how many paved roads we have.

Central Oregon

Willamette Valley

English-only diaries

Posted by Dion Dock on 5 June 2012 in English (English)

Looking at the raw feed from the OSM diaries hasn't been too useful to me because, well, I only speak English. It turns out that I can see the filtered entries by looking at

things I've mapped: ski areas

Posted by Dion Dock on 5 June 2012 in English (English)

I've taken to alpine skiing over the last couple years and have started to map a few of the ski areas. The Bing! imagery is excellent, even way out in the mountains, and works really well for finding the chairlifts. So far, I've found * 49 Degrees North (WA) * Silver Mountain (ID) * Mt. Spokane (WA) * Hoodoo Ski Area (OR) * Mt. Bachelor (OR) * Timberline Lodge (OR) * Mt. Hood Meadows (OR) * Mt. Ashland (OR) * Mzaar (Lebanon !) A few of which I've been lucky enough to map with my GPS.

It looks like some other resorts actually have the forest mapped, which is pretty cool. Unfortunately, the current renderers, mainly Mapnik, don't show the runs like osmarenderer did.

I see a lot of name= tags on the ski runs when there should be piste:name= tags. The effect on Mapnik is a floating name with no other distinguishing features.

It would be extra cool if the renderer would color code the runs for the locals. I didn't realize this, but different areas of the world use different colors. Intermediate runs in the USA are blue but they are red in Europe (and JOSM).

Project of the Week Pitch Problems

Posted by Dion Dock on 17 August 2011 in English (English)

In my experience, the project of the week for adding tennis courts brought in a lot of tennis courts and a lot of maplint. The leisure=pitch tag is missing from a surprising number of them. Perhaps this convention wasn't well explained by the project, perhaps the hierarchy is too confusing. Does a sports_centre have a recreation_ground with pitches?

Do you see similar results in your area?

Magic Mouse problems

Posted by Dion Dock on 4 August 2011 in English (English)

Has anyone noticed that Apple's Magic Mouse does not play well with OSM? It seems to randomly zoom in and out and change my location, both in the slippy map and now in Potlatch.

Has anyone solved this problem?