Three years with OSM.

Posted by John Stanworth on 4 October 2020 in English (English).

It’s now 3 years since I started mapping the footpaths near Sheffield. In that time the project has clarified. I now have a rough circle drawn around Sheffield on an OS map. It has a radius of about 10miles. Within that area I am trying to complete the mapping of all (or as near to all as I can get) of the countryside paths. I have completed the western half of the circle. I have found that less than half of the paths were mapped to the north and west of the city but some areas to the south of the city are almost completely mapped. My method is to take a small area of countryside, usually enclosed by roads and spend a day surveying and mapping all the paths in it. I map on my phone as I go using Go Map!! When I’m happy that all the paths are mapped to a reasonable standard I colour in that sector on the OS map. At the moment I am heading east and south from Wath Upon Dearne and heading east from Dronfield. If I keep going at the current rate I estimate that I will have coloured in the whole circle by 2023. That is if I don’t get distracted by other mapping projects. So far the footpath mapping has been interrupted by periods of post box mapping around Sheffield and more recently by defibrillator mapping.

Location: Park Hill, Sheffield, Yorkshire and the Humber, England, S2 5LX, United Kingdom

Comment from andy mackey on 5 October 2020 at 17:58

Hi John I have been adding footpaths in the Huntingdon Cambs area, since I started mapping almost ten years ago. Some of the paths were recorded on garmin gpses some on and android phones. I enjoy being out often and exploring something new is very good. I do shorter walks and surveys alone but longer ones have been with a few pals or have been on group walks of the many ramblers groups that are based within up to forty or so miles of home. This web site may yield some rights of way the other source is to look at the county councils interactive maps of rights of way which from time to time show footpath creations or changes. I like Ordnance Survey maps and usually carry one. If I see a farmer who look about to say “ ask are you lost “ I’ll try and beat him to it and ask “where have i gone wrong? “ they have always been fine in my experience. Th only problem with Ord Survey is that changes to rights of way take some time to be added or moved, often years! to be updated, I have in the past emailed Ord Surv and informed them of changes that Councils have made with landowners to paths. I tell then have look at openstreetmap that’s where they are now. Happy mapping Andy

Comment from John Stanworth on 5 October 2020 at 19:43

Hi Andy Good to hear from you. We have a great symbiotic relationship with OSM don’t we. The map gets improved while we get to walk in different areas and our walks have a purpose. I do feel under pressure though. Our son and daughter and all their friends depend on Strava/Komoot/Viewranger/AllTrails/ etc for their outdoor activities. ie OSM. And there are still areas around here with lots of public footpaths unmapped to say nothing of the unofficial paths. I use the MapThePaths site to help with public footpaths etc. Highly recommended. Cheers John

Comment from nickjohnston on 5 October 2020 at 20:03

Hi John,

Great work! I’ve had a look around Sheffield on the map and I see lots of your work.

I spent a long time adding public rights of way around Cheltenham, though not quite as systematically or rigorously as you. The sheer number and total length of rights of way in England never ceases to amaze me. In Gloucestershire alone, the total length is longer than the entire coastline of England.

It would be good if you could add the prow_ref tag. Robert Whittaker’s excellent site has more details about local authorities which have released details of their rights of way as open data. Map The Paths is useful too.

For anyone else reading this, a few years ago I published an article about mapping Britain’s paths in OpenStreetMap.


Comment from Rovastar on 5 October 2020 at 21:50

“Our son and daughter and all their friends depend on Strava/Komoot/Viewranger/AllTrails/ etc for their outdoor activities”

Well, I’m disappointed you haven’t got them mapping yet John.

I can’t believe it has been 3 years you have been mapping. I met you early on your mapping endeavours at all our pub meetups and you are one of the most enthusiastic mappers. Keep it up and hopefully we will meet up again soon.

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