Spancilhill's Diary

Recent diary entries

Why I'm Mapping

Posted by Spancilhill on 27 June 2013 in English (English).

This is to celebrate my 500th edit since joining the OSM community in ‘09.

I know, not much in 4 years, but the majority of those edits were done in the last 4 months!

I always enjoyed mapping but the arrival of Bing imagery and my local knowledge of the area I am mapping (the town of Ennis in Ireland) really got me excited! And certainly also the friendly and helpful OSM community and the brilliant tools that are available.

The mantra I kept hearing was: Do not tag (or map) for the renderer! And I bought into it. And I still believe it’s important and true.


I came to the conclusion that what actually made this creative work so compelling and addictive was to look at the rendered work! To see how your town’s representation on a map changes from the bare skeleton of roads into a living, colourful ‘painting’ is breathtakingly and satisfying. And to know that you played not a small part in it makes it even better!

So yes, “don’t map for the renderer”, but I love to see my work in a gaudy representation and my appreciation goes to all tools and web sites who …

… render for the mapper!


Happy mapping!


Location: Ennis No. 2 Urban ED, Ennis Municipal District, County Clare, Munster, V95 YV67, Ireland

Mapping of Ennis town and area along R352 (Ennis-Tulla)

Posted by Spancilhill on 5 April 2013 in English (English).

Back into mapping!

After a long time of inactivity, the mapping fever is back. The availability of Bing might have helped me along as well.

First, out of convenience, I started editing with Potlatch since it has a less steep learning curve. Meanwhile I’m back with JOSM, and am really getting into it now.

In Potlatch, I learned to use keyboard shortcuts that made mapping and tagging of power lines pretty easy. First, you start the power line as usual by creating nodes on each pole that is visible (recognizable) in Bing. Don’t tag the node as of now! That way you are really fast in recording the whole line. Once it’s finished, you start tagging the individual nodes - click on the first, tag it (as HV Pylon or just Pole), hit “B” to add “source=Bing” and, using the keyboard shortcuts “.” (dot) or “,” (comma) to get to the next node, hit “r” to repeat the last tags for this node! This way you can race through the power line pretty quickly by just hitting . and r in turns. However, some power lines have (single or double) poles on the straight and HV pylons on turns! Make sure to catch them properly!

Back in JOSM, I wonder whether there are similar shortcuts available!

However, what was very tedious in Potlatch is now a piece of cake (comparatively) in JOSM and that is - buildings! Only with the plyugins “buildings” and “utilsplugin” of course!

And OSM Inspector is a brilliant tool! ;-)

Have fun! Matthy

P.S.: This is my area of interest:

GPS tool used

Posted by Spancilhill on 13 March 2010 in English (English).

I'm using a rather awkward set of tools/software to edit OpenStreetMap.

Using a Samsung H1 smartphone with GPS and the app honeylocation from, I record my tracks and upload them via WLAN to the Internet on the same webpage. From there, I download them as KMZ-files (Google Earth file format) and prune them using PRUNE ( and export the data in GPX files. Using JOSM, I display my GPS data and upload changes/additions etc. to OSM.

I wish there was an easier way to create my GPS traces on that phone! :(

First few days @ OpenStreetMap

Posted by Spancilhill on 13 March 2010 in English (English).

Started uploading some GPS data, editing it and modified some existing date, like names of roundabouts and added POIs along the Tulla Road in Ennis.

This is really good fun!