RichardB's Diary

Recent diary entries

Leek, Staffordshire

Posted by RichardB on 29 June 2009 in English (English).

After having virtually all of Cheshire complete to public road level, and having spent the last few weekends mapping footpaths, I decided it was time to get back on the bike and head into North Staffordshire - where there is plenty of roads still unmapped. Leek was my target this weekend.

Didn't have too much time to spare, but managed to get a couple of hours around the northern part of town, including Brough Park.

I did manage to find a residential street signed as a 20% gradient - which I duly mapped in both directions... Tough work uphill in such hot conditions. I seemed to miss any rain whilst I was there though - whilst several other nearby places had torrential thunderstorms.

Interestingly, on Saturday as I was just packing up to go home around 6:30pm, someone beeped their horn and waved whilst I had an OSM Surveyor jacket on. I wonder if that was anyone on here?

Location: Leek, Staffordshire Moorlands, Staffordshire, West Midlands, England, United Kingdom

Tidying things up

Posted by RichardB on 30 March 2009 in English (English).

I went out yesterday under glorious sunshine - just tidying up one of the last remaining unfinished areas. Although only a couple of miles from my house - I had been putting off doing the roads up on the Edge of Alderley Edge - probably a bit narrow to do on the car - but some steep uphill sections on the bike - and slippy cobbled descents.

The climbing wasn't half as bad as I remembered - but I was a bit surprised to come across several other cyclists on some of the narrow lanes parallel to the main road - with more appearing all the time. Turns out I had unknowingly found myself on the route of the "Cheshire Cat" - a "Cyclo-Sportive" event with more than 1800 entrants.

There were some visibly broken people - as some had already done 90 miles before the 1:7 Swiss Hill (with mossy cobbles and virtually no grip!). I was perhaps lucky to have only done around 10-15 miles by the time I made my way up.

Some 10-11 months ago, Chris Morley announced that Cheshire West and Chester - the new Unitary - was complete to public road level. It's taken some time, but with the addition of these last few roads in Alderley Edge - we're almost there with Cheshire East.

There are a small number of minor roads in urban Macclesfield left to do - and the odd road on the west side of Manchester airport.

With perhaps one more push - perhaps we can get Cheshire East complete to coincide with the creation of the new council - scheduled for this Wednesday.

Location: Saddlebole Farm, Alderley Edge, Cheshire East, North West England, England, SK9 7JF, United Kingdom

More Cheshire towns complete - Congleton and Knutsford

Posted by RichardB on 22 November 2008 in English (English).

Finally finished Knutsford today, a town of ~20,000 people - and Congleton last week, a town of ~23,000 people - both to public road level. It has taken a while to get both done, although I've been interrupted by mapping parties elsewhere, and holidays / other events.

I've not quite finished editing my last couple of visits yet, but within the next week or so, I should hopefully get this all done.

The map link provided is for Congleton. The map link for Knutsford is here;

Of course both locations have plenty of footpaths and other public rights of way to map - and I'm sure there are plenty of POIs which I've missed.

Chris Morley seems to be making good progress with Crewe in the South of the county, so in terms of the new Cheshire East unitary authority, this leaves the large town of Macclesfield (pop 51,000) and its satellite village Bollington (pop 7,000) as the major remaining holes in the map.

Location: Congleton, Cheshire East, North West England, England, United Kingdom

Alsager & Knutsford

Posted by RichardB on 2 September 2008 in English (English).

Alsager in Cheshire, with its surrounding villages should now be complete as far as public roads are concerned. I have also been able to nearly finish Knutsford over the past few weekends. Alsager was a bit bigger than my first impressions, so it took a couple more visits than I originally thought necessary. But with Congleton and Holmes Chapel not far off completion; Sandbach and Alsager now fully completed; and Middlewich looking complete, although I've not mapped there much myself; that only really leaves significant areas of Scholar Green and Mow Cop left in the borough of Conlgeton.

Location: Alsager, Cheshire East, North West England, England, United Kingdom

Routable Garmin Maps

Posted by RichardB on 28 July 2008 in English (English).

I happened to stumble across the "Routable garmin map" page on the wiki. Looks like routable OSM maps have been available for the last week and a bit. Interesting, I thought, so I duly loaded maps of the UK to my Garmin eTrex Vista. I already had a pretty good idea of where I was going this weekend, and the route I wanted to take, but I thought it would be interesting to see if they worked.

My personal feedback - I think it was giving perhaps too high a priority to "primary A-roads" - i.e. OSM trunk - compared with motorways.

It was trying to take me round the wrong way on 2 or 3 roundabouts. Perhaps this was a data issue however.

There were also times when it just ignored a few roundabout junctions - even if I was turning off what was the signed main route. Does it simplify some junctions for routing purposes - and just assume that you are travelling straight on?

Overall I would say it looks good - but there are some questions that need to be answered - e.g. how has it been done? Is it possible to create these yourself - perhaps with custom road styles or custom weightings for road types?

On the downside, the map I downloaded had "lock on road" set to on - and I forgot to turn it off until over an hour into my journey. As a result, I think that first hour of GPX trace will have to be deleted as useless (e.g. at one point I disobeyed it and carried on on the M6 rather than turning off - and the trace carries on up the sliproad until it realised I was still on the M6 - where it suddenly snapped back to the M6.)


Posted by RichardB on 10 June 2008 in English (English).

Sandbach in Cheshire - along with it's satellite villages Wheelock, Ettiley Heath, Elworth and Malkins Bank - should all now be complete to public road level. Didn't take as long as I was anticipating - completed over the past couple of weekends. Just need to finish tagging up some POI - and there are a few footpaths that I need to revisit. Another step on the road towards completion of the new Cheshire East council area to complement Chris Morley's work in the Cheshire West area.

Location: Sandbach, Cheshire East, North West England, England, United Kingdom

More Shrewsbury

Posted by RichardB on 12 May 2008 in English (English).

I also went to Shrewsbury. I've just finished tagging up all of my route.

I went North, and did the roads bounded by the new A5124 link road in the North, the A5112/A5191 in the east, and the A528 in the west.

I started from the outside and worked my way in. I didn't quite get into the centre of Shrewsbury, but what I've done is, I believe, complete in terms of the road network.

I had lunch by the river in lovely weather whilst watching some racing at the Shrewsbury Regatta, before it was back on the road again to get a few more roads before time caught up with me, and I had to be on my way to Congleton.

It was nice to meet a couple of other OSMers. Thanks to Higgy for organising the event.

Location: Shrewsbury, Shropshire, West Midlands, England, United Kingdom

Half a million GPX points

Posted by RichardB on 6 May 2008 in English (English).

Last week I uploaded my 500,000th GPX point made with my Garmin eTrex Vista HCx, which I've had since Christmas, the half-millionth point somewhere near Nottingham on a recent trip there. I've so far found it a very good GPS unit; usually gets a very good signal - the tracks I get look to be very close together if I have to go over the same road on another visit. The mass-storage mode makes it very easy to upload the tracks to OSM, and I've had no problems with the OSM on Garmin maps.

Having the GPS has enabled me to map the area outside the Manchester Yahoo imagery, and now, most of the rural areas of North and East Cheshire are approaching completeness, at least in terms of the road network. There are countless footpaths and bridleways to do - and then Macclesfield has hardly been touched yet, so that'll be a goal over the next couple of months.

I've started doing Congleton, which, until a couple of days ago just had the main A-roads.

A local town for local people, there's nothing for you here

Posted by RichardB on 28 January 2008 in English (English).

This week, I've embarked on a project in conjunction with OSM user PeterIto, in mapping the Longendale Valley.

I've started with the largest town in the area - Royston Vasey. Well, the real name is, of course, Hadfield, but the Derbyshire town's claim to fame was that it was the set for the BBC comedy series, the "League of Gentlemen".

It's mostly done after a couple of days mapping, apart from a bit in the North and East, and a couple of other bits to fill in here and there.

Location: Padfield, High Peak, Derbyshire, East Midlands, England, SK13 1EH, United Kingdom

Poynton, Cheshire - roads complete

Posted by RichardB on 17 January 2008 in English (English).

I think I can confidently say, I don't think I've missed a single road out of the main bit of Poynton in Cheshire, a fairly sizable village, although work remains on doing Higher Poynton and various connecting roads to other nearby places. My first area that I've managed to complete that doesn't have Yahoo! aerial imagery.

5 GPX files with a total of nearly 27,000 GPS points, nearly 7.5 hours of time gathering tracklogs, followed by a fair bit editing data.

I think I'll need to revisit to do several footpaths in the area and other features when it's a bit brighter in the evenings.

Location: Poynton-with-Worth, Poynton, Cheshire East, North West England, England, United Kingdom

Low Bridge heights

Posted by RichardB on 5 December 2007 in English (English).


I believe the maximum height that can appear on a low bridge sign is 16'6" - just over 5 metres. There is a bit of tolerance allowed - so in reality - I think it's 16'9" or about 5.1m before a bridge would go unsigned.

Under-construction roads

Posted by RichardB on 1 December 2007 in English (English).

Actually Morwen, although they do render, under-construction roads won't get rendered correctly yet on t@h.

The reason is that there is a bug in the code - it's ticket #539 on Trac.

A fix would be to remove the "stroke=#f8f8f8" part from the "under-construction" style

I don't have SVN commit, so can't make the change myself.

trunk / primary - my thoughts

Posted by RichardB on 6 November 2007 in English (English).

Mjd, to add to what everyone has already said, you can note that the current set of Ordnance Survey 1:50,000 maps of the UK treat A-roads in exactly the way that morwen (and others) have said. If they've got green signs, then they appear as green on OS landranger maps. If they've got black and white signs, then they appear as red on the map. That's exactly the same as OpenStreetMap has it.

And besides, when you survey a road, you have to actually go and visit it - for the GPS track or for the road name or number. What can be simpler than looking whether the sign has a green or white background whilst you're collecting your GPS track??

First mapping party

Posted by RichardB on 14 October 2007 in English (English).

With a few free hours, I headed over the Snake Pass to Sheffield this morning. Temporary traffic lights, Nissan Micras seemingly unable to take corners above 25mph and a slightly later set off than I was hoping for meant I arrived in Sheffield pretty late. Luckily, I just caught the other mappers on their way out of the Mappin Building (quite an apt name for the project!).

Up until now, I've either used other people's public GPS traces, or the Yahoo imagery to do my mapping. Today was the first with the GPS in hand. With a quick run-through of the GPS functions, it was onto the streets.

In the morning session, I think I'd covered almost 10 km on foot, but barely covered even a quarter of the land area inside the inner-ring road. Hopefully it should be reasonably complete - apart from a couple of roads where the street name-plate looks to have been stolen for the scrap metal value.

The afternoon session seemed to have been abandoned perhaps due to poorer than expected turnouts - and the possibility of an April re-meet in Sheffield.

Anyway, good to meet a couple of other OSMers. Maybe I'll be tempted to go to the Liverpool meet in mid-November.

Location: Saint George's, Sheffield, Yorkshire and the Humber, England, S3 7QA, United Kingdom