apm-wa has commented on the following diary entries

Post When Comment
Updates to Lebap Welayat in Turkmenistan 3 days ago

Hi, Marych! Layer determines the hierarchy by which objects that overlap are displayed. A lower layer number (e.g., layer=-1) will be shown beneath a higher layer number (e.g., layer=0). Since the default for buildings and streets is 0, if I make the grounds of a school or hospital layer=-1, the grounds will be shown under the building, rather than covering up the building, in the standard layer of OSM. You can also then use the layer tag in applications, like Maperitive, for determining how to render objects (buildings above the ground, not underground, as one example).

Bagyr and Yanbash 8 days ago

Justin, wish you were here, too! We could use the help!

Bad Weather = Bad Imagery about 1 month ago

You are too kind, Philippe. I'm hoping for better (sunnier) weather on my next outings.

Ashgabat's western suburbs 2 months ago

Please see my earlier diary entry, with the map of newly defined boundaries of the Ashgabat city boroughs. I have used FieldNotes to create a map of the entire metropolitan area and superimposed this map over it. Not quite done yet, there is some more refining to be done, but it's getting better every time I have a few minutes to devote to it. The downtown boundaries were easy as the streets demarcating the boundaries are identifiable. The outer boundaries are proving more of a challenge.

Ashgabat's Boroughs Reduced to Four, New Boundaries Need to be Drawn 3 months ago

I have matched the Ashgabat city limit to the outer boundaries of the four boroughs (uly etraplar) of Ashgabat. Due to the lack of identifiable markers on the map above, the outer boundaries and the city limit are best guesses and subject to correction in the event better data is made available. It is in any event more accurate than the former city limit, and encompasses all the former villages annexed in 2010.

Ashgabat's Boroughs Reduced to Four, New Boundaries Need to be Drawn 3 months ago

More or less have finished the fourth etrap, Berkararlyk. The outer boundaries on all four are approximations based on the map above. Lacking definitive landmarks I have roughed in those outer boundaries. If anyone else wants to take a stab at refining them, please do! The ones along streets in the more central parts of the city are pretty good, I think, since I can identify which streets form those boundaries.

This map also provides authoritative boundaries for villages annexed into the city of Ashgabat, and that's the next project, after fixing the overall city limit.

Ashgabat's Boroughs Reduced to Four, New Boundaries Need to be Drawn 3 months ago

Yes, Claudius, that is the only source available for the boundaries. There were no previous data on borough boundaries in OSM. There is in OSM a boundary for the city that appears to be arbitrary and does not correspond to the map scan, which is authoritative since it is an annex to a decree of the national parliament. When done with the borough boundaries, I will correct the existing city limit boundary to correspond to the parliamentary decree.

No, there is no "Open Data" approach in Turkmenistan. This is a closed police state and such data are not shared with the public.

Just finished the Kopetdag etrap. One more to go. The boundaries outside the urban area (where there are streets) are rough estimates and may be subject to correction if and when more data come available.

Ashgabat's Boroughs Reduced to Four, New Boundaries Need to be Drawn 3 months ago

Finished a rough draw of Bagtyyarlyk etrap, the second largest (northwest quadrant). Power went out about halfway through so had to way for the lights to come back on before I could finish!

Ashgabat's Boroughs Reduced to Four, New Boundaries Need to be Drawn 3 months ago

Started tonight on Büzmeýin etrap, the largest of the four. Mostly done but will need some tweaking. Next I will tackle Bagtyýarlyk etrap. I redrew the boundaries of the suburb/neighborhood/former town of Büzmeýin (previously known as Abadan). More work ahead to get this all updated.

Proposed Admin Levels for Turkmenistan 3 months ago

Harry, thanks for the comment and the background. When I concocted this proposal, it was based on seeing how mappers before me had designed cities as admin_level=8 and then worked from there (the levels 0-7 seemed pretty cut and dried). The levels in Turkmenistan, as in particular the capital city of Ashgabat (which is run by the central government in reality), can be seen for example as

  • 4 provinces (welayat)
  • 5 districts of provinces (etrap in Turkmen, rayon in Russian)
  • 8 city of Ashgabat (has its own mayor, appointed by the president of the country)
  • 9 boroughs (etrap in Turkmen, rayon in Russian) of the city of Ashgabat (each of which has a mayor, also appointed by the president); this level also pertains to villages subordinated to level 5 districts of provinces
  • 10 municipal districts, which are administrative subdivisions of a city or borough (confusingly, the Turkmen term 'etrap' is used for these as well as for subdivisions of the provinces or 'welayat' as well as Ashgabat's boroughs; the Russian is a less confusing 'mikrorayon')

The 11th admin level arose when I discovered, while mapping street addresses, that some of the level 10 districts are not only further subdivided, but within them buildings numbers are unique and based on date of construction, not on location, meaning the address, for example, 3 Etrap, building 1 would be meaningless, since there is a building numbered 1 in both 3/1 Etrap and 3/2 Etrap. The only solution that presented itself to me was to create an 11th level.

Frederick Ramm and I corresponded briefly on this, and he commented that it is unusual for administrative subdivisions to be mapped in this level of detail (I recall he used the term 'granular'). I replied that it is necessary in this case if the street addresses are to be routable and not to duplicate each other, which is one of the objectives of my effort. Maps should not led the user astray, I firmly believe.

Was the mapping devised badly in the first place in Turkmenistan? Probably so. If cities had been level 7, the problem of an 11th level would have been avoided. I started mapping here shortly after arrival three years ago and inherited an existent but largely out of date database, which I have updated and expanded. To go in now and do a wholesale revamp of inherited admin levels at this point goes far beyond the amount of time I have to devote to this hobby. That said, if you are willing.... :-) Or if anyone else out there is willing... :-)

The New Digital Globe Premium Imagery...WOW! 3 months ago

Claudius, I agree with you that the alignment is better, much better. Not perfect across all locales but much better. Where possible I collect GPS traces and make them public to ease alignment.

Dinosaurs 6 months ago

Marych, yes, twice so far.


Dinosaurs 6 months ago

Marych, it does require border permission from the State Border Service since the plateau is in the border zone with Uzbekistan. That can take a few days to obtain, and so you are correct, it is effectively inaccessible to most tourists. It is also time-consuming to get there: a 17-hour train ride from Ashgabat to Atamyrat, 3 hours by car to Koyten obasy, and another hour from there to the foot of the plateau. Alternatively you can fly to Turkmenabat (about one hour from Ashgabat by air), then go by car (about seven or eight hours overland) if the Lebap government tourism agency is willing to provide a car and guide.

Overpass Turbo for Quality Control and a Gazetteer 8 months ago

Take a look at Overpass Turbo here:

The wiki article on it is here:

I am not fluent in the script language myself, but the instructions appear to direct Overpass Turbo to

  1. generate a .csv file consisting of the Turkmen names of specified ways,
  2. apply a filter (only include ways inside Ashgabat)
  3. apply a second filter (only include highways)
  4. send output to the screen
When the Hunting is Poor, Change Your Hunting Ground 8 months ago

Thanks for that--my Garmin GPS doesn't seem to have that software switch, so my only work around is to pull out the SD card. Next time I replace the GPS I'll look for that feature.

Day trip to Dashoguz 9 months ago

Yes, I do! It is so much easier to master than JOSM...

Day trip to Dashoguz 9 months ago

Marych, no, I haven't tried OSMTracker. Would you recommend it? I have a couple of Android devices but typically move around with one of them (the Samsung Galaxy phone) running Mapillary to capture imagery, and the other is a Samsung Galaxy tablet that would require more attention (and a much bigger pocket!) than my iPhone running Pocket Earth. Is there a particular advantage to OSMTracker over Pocket Earth for casual address and POI collection?

Day trip to Dashoguz 9 months ago

No, I don't. I export the GPX file by e-mail and download the attachment to my desktop PC, then upload the GPX file to OSM using the "Upload Traces" wizard and edit manually. My approach is 100% manual, not automated at all.

Yslam Karimow köçesi in Turkmenabat 10 months ago

There is now OpenStreetCam imagery of the automobile bridge across the Amu Darya, see here:

Mystery Monuments 11 months ago

There is also a monument at Garadamak and Atatürk that needs a name.