TomH's diary

Recent diary entries

We're Back!

Posted by TomH on 21 April 2009 in English (English). Last updated on 30 December 2020.

OpenStreetMap is Back! Bigger and Better!

UK Post Boxes

Posted by TomH on 6 November 2008 in English (English).

The UK post office's response to a Freedom of Information Request ( asking for the location of post boxes was somewhat less helpful than had been hoped - they did provide a list but the locations were rather approximate.

So the obvious next step was to crowd source the job of working out where they really were, which somebody has now done, using OpenStreetMap maps of course.

So if you want to help pin match the official list of post boxes to the ones you've found while mapping, here's where you can do it:


Posted by TomH on 26 May 2008 in English (English).

A visit to my parents this weekend meant it was time to map a bit more of Crewkerne. The weather wasn't entirely cooperative, but I managed to get a chunk done on Saturday afternoon.

One or two of the roads off Furland Road will need another visit as the GPS was playing up a bit in the bottom of the valley, especially as the number of satellites available choose that moment to drop down to nine.

I managed to capture a new trace of Furland Road itself in the car on the way home today though so that should be good, but some of the roads off it are little more than estimates - they should be topologically correct but the position and alignment may not be accurate.

Location: Crewkerne, South Somerset, Somerset, South West England, England, United Kingdom


Posted by TomH on 21 May 2008 in English (English).

A further 17 mile run last Sunday added an additional chunk of Cheshunt to the map and allowed me to push down into Waltham Cross and reach the A121 thus making contact with the work already done by Steve8 for the first time.

I completed mapping the area to the east of the B176 and Steve8 has since done most of the area to the west, as far as the A10. Only the park remains to be mapped to the east of the A10.

Location: Cheshunt, Churchgate, Broxbourne, Hertfordshire, East of England, England, EN8 9BW, United Kingdom

GPSBabel 1.3.5

Posted by TomH on 13 May 2008 in English (English).

GPSBabel 1.3.5 was released a few days ago, and for those of you using the popular NaviGPS units I am pleased to be able to say that the new release of GPSBabel includes native support for the NaviGPS.

This includes both direct access to stored tracks, routes and waypoints via the USB cable as well as the ability to decode waypoints and tracks copied to the SD card if you are using a recent release of the NaviGPS firmware that supports that.

The code has been tested with my GT-11 unit but should work with the BGT-11 as well, and will hopefully work with the new GT-31 and BGT-31 units when they arrive - please let me know if you manage to test with one of those.

The name for the new driver is "navilink", so to recover waypoints over the USB cable on linux you would do something like:

gpsbabel -w -f navilink -i /dev/ttyUSB0 -F gpx -o waypoints.gpx

Any problems, give me a shout...


Posted by TomH on 11 May 2008 in English (English).

As this is the first weekend for months when the weather has been decent and I haven't had other things today I took advantage of the sun to do a 25 mile run on the bike and pike up another slice of central Cheshunt yesterday.

All the data should be in now, completing Cheshunt to the east of the A10 down as far as College Road/Windmill Lane.

Location: Cheshunt, Churchgate, Broxbourne, Hertfordshire, East of England, England, EN8 9BW, United Kingdom

A1/A57 Junction

Posted by TomH on 27 April 2008 in English (English).

On my way to Wakefield on Friday I discovered that the A1/A57 junction between Worksop and Retford is now open in it's new, grade separated form.

So on the way back last night I carefully orbited the roundabouts and got new traces and I've now provisionally rebuilt it in it's new form. We still need a trace for the southbound off slip from the A1 and the new northbound carriageway of the A1 (what I have put in is a guesstimate based on the new southbound carriageway that somebody had already captured).

Somebody also needs to work out what has happened to the B6420, which used to terminate on the A1 about where the southbound on slip now merges with it, so the B road has presumably been realigned, possibly to terminate on the eastern half of the new junction although I didn't notice a road coming in there.

Location: Ranby, Bassetlaw, Nottinghamshire, East Midlands, England, DN22 8HZ, United Kingdom

Turnford and Cheshunt

Posted by TomH on 11 February 2008 in English (English).

Took advantage of this weekend's excellent weather to get out on the bike and do some mapping - managed about 30 miles and filled in Turnford and the north-east corner of Cheshunt which helps to close the gap towards the work done by Steve8 coming out from Enfield into Hertfordshire.

Location: Turnford, Broxbourne, Hertfordshire, East of England, England, EN10 6DF, United Kingdom


Posted by TomH on 29 December 2007 in English (English).

Took advantage of a Christmas visit to my parent's in Somerset to map some more of Crewkerne and fill in some missing A roads.

On the way down I got the A357 between the A303 and A30, but it turned out somebody else had beaten me to that my a few days, but I still filled in the missing chunk of the A359 between the A303 and Yeovil so my strangely meandering route was not entirely pointless.

Some of the detail of Crewkerne was then filled in, along with some of the surrounding area, including the missing bit of the A3066 between the A30 and A356 to the east of Crewkerne.

Finally I manage to finish off the missing bits of A30 - the missing bits to the east of Crewkerne had recently been filled in but Crewkerne to Chard was still missing (or not as it turned out - all bar a few hundred meters was present but not tagged correctly).

Location: Crewkerne, South Somerset, Somerset, South West England, England, United Kingdom

GPX Traces

Posted by TomH on 11 December 2007 in English (English).

As people have probably noticed, we had a small accident about ten days ago which caused some of the metadata for uploaded GPX traces to be lost. We do still have the trace files, we just don't know who uploaded some of them.

In order to help associate the files we have with the right users it would be helpful if people could send me a list of the traces they have and some details about them so I can try and match them up to the files we have on the server.

To help with this there is a tool available in subversion - you can download it here:

It is a perl script which will generate an XML file listing all the traces it finds. You should run it as follows: [display-name] [public?] [directory]

It will recursively search the named directory for GPX traces and generate a file named tracelist.xml which you can review and then send to me at to be matched up against the files we hold.

The [display-name] argument should match your display name on OSM and the [public?] argument should be either 0 or 1 to indicate if you wish the traces to made public or not - ie whether they should be visible to people other than you on the site.

Thanks for your assistance,



Posted by TomH on 4 December 2007 in English (English).

This weekend I took advantage of a trip to Rugeley in Staffordshire to map both the A513 to the east of Rugeley as far as King's Bromley (from where it was already mapped) and the new A51 Rugeley bypass which opened two months ago on 28th September.

Mapping of the Rugeley bypass is another first for OpenStreetMap as none of the major commercial mapping sites have it mapped yet.

Location: Rugeley, Cannock Chase, Staffordshire, West Midlands, England, United Kingdom


Posted by TomH on 13 November 2007 in English (English).

Made two(!) more trips to Hertford this weekend.

The first one was on Saturday when I did 25 miles approaching Hertford via Mangrove Lane and mapping pretty much everything south of the A414 before returning via the B1502 (during which descent I hit 30mph for the first time ;-)).

Having Monday off I took the train over to Hertford and did another 15 miles mapping the residential areas between the A414 and the A119 to the east of the town centre.

Location: Hertford, East Hertfordshire, Hertfordshire, East of England, England, United Kingdom

NCN61 and a bit of Hertford

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

Having finished Ware I set off for Hertford along NCN61 this weekend, capturing the route from the A10 (where I left it when doing Ware) on to Hertford, through the town centre and out the far side on the Cole Green Way. As the Cole Green Way has already been done I stopped there and returned to Hertford.

Still having a few hours of daylight on my hands I surveyed the centre of Hertford, and the residential areas out towards the A10 between the Lea and the A119, as well as Folly Island.

A lot of Hertford has actually already been traced by somebody, but it's fairly roughly done and lots of streets don't have names so there is plenty more work to be done to complete it!

NCN61 should be complete from Rye House all the way round to somewhere west of Cole Green now anyway - there is then a gap before we pick it up again just east of St Albans. So the Welwyn Garden City/Hatfield stretch needs a survey.

Location: Hertford, East Hertfordshire, Hertfordshire, East of England, England, United Kingdom

Mapping Ware, Phase 4

Posted by TomH on 28 October 2007 in English (English).

So this weekend I went back to Ware again and after another 25 miles or so on the bike I believe it is pretty much complete...

Location: St George's Allotments, Ware, East Hertfordshire, Hertfordshire, East of England, England, United Kingdom

Mapping Ware, Phase 3

Posted by TomH on 22 October 2007 in English (English).

I went back to Ware this weekend to carry on where I left off last week - started by finishing off the little bit in the far north west that I didn't do before, including an unintended diversion along Poles Lane that wound up with me emerging on the old A10 somewhat to the north of Ware...

After that I started work to the east of the A1170 and, after getting somewhat confused about exactly what area I was working on wound up doing a broad stripe along the north edge of town and then down the eastern edge almost as far as the B1004 so the outline of the town is pretty much fixed now.

One or two more trips will probably be needed to fill in the area enclosed by the A1170 and the area done in this trip.

Location: Ware, East Hertfordshire, Hertfordshire, East of England, England, United Kingdom

Mapping Ware, Phase 2

Posted by TomH on 15 October 2007 in English (English).

After mapping Ware from the southern edge as far as the A119 last weekend this weekend I went back and after cycling 26 miles completed most of the western part of Ware - everything to the west of the A1170 bar a small piece at the extreme north end of the town.

As a side effect NCN61 should be marked all the way from where it leaves NCN1 somewhere (it's not entirely clear exactly where) near Hoddesdon north as far as where it goes under the A10 between Ware and Hertford.

Location: Ware, East Hertfordshire, Hertfordshire, East of England, England, United Kingdom