davespod's Diary

Recent diary entries

Returning to OSM

Posted by davespod on 29 August 2017 in English.

After a break of two years from mapping, apart from occasional POI update (and six years since regular mapping), I have got back to it. Partly prompted by moving house. I find it hard to resist when I move, and discover all the missing footpaths around me. I have always loved discovering how a horrid estate full of cul-de-sacs (like mine) is actually not nearly so horrid once you discover all the cul-de-sacs are joined together by footpaths, and you can actually walk through the estate. Fantastic to add these to the map.

Two things I enjoy are: 1. Realising that a long footpath through an estate is based on an ancient right of way (looking at historical maps), which has now taken on a new role as a major pedestrian link through an estate. You realise that the developers had to respect it, and that it has actually dictated the layout of the cul-de-sacs. Great when there are link paths from the cul-de-sacs. 2. Mapping the unofficial link paths, where there is no paved link, but the residents have taken a short cut, and this has become an established path. These are the paths that will never make it to any other geographic data set, and have the potential to make pedestrian navigation really great.

(Also enjoying converting the park from a block of green to something representing the fantastic amenity it is.)

Location: Newport, Telford and Wrekin, England, United Kingdom uses OSM

Posted by davespod on 30 January 2014 in English.

Muki Haklay’s blog post about ( ) has prompted me to revist said ancient relic. To my surprise, one of their zoom levels now uses a map in the tradtional street atlas style, based at least partly on OSM data:

By the positioning of the labels, etc., this does not look like an automated rendering, but the work of a Proper Cartographer. I like this map style. I have always found it easier to follow on the ground than a Google-style map rendering.

(On another note, not sure the copyright statements are exactly licence compliant)

I have finally got around to completing part 2 of the Potlatch 2
video tutorial. This one is only just over three-and-a-half
minutes, and covers tracing roads and areas from Bing aerial
imagery. I have also renamed the video (and uploaded a retitled
part 1) to “OpenStreetMap for Beginners” to make its intended
audience more obvious.

Part 1: Add points of interest (4:22):
(apologies for the lack of “HD” version – will upload next week)

Part 2: Trace roads and paths (3:32):

The two previous versions of part 1 have been viewed more than
1,000 times since February. However, I believe these (or others
along the same lines) should really be more prominent to new
users. We get a lot of people registering and never making a
single edit, and this is no surprise given that it is not as easy
as you might expect to find basic steps for having a go. As a
very small step in the right direction, I might be bold and put these
an “Absolute beginners” heading at the top of the "Video tutorials"
wiki page (the videos currently at the top are quite old and include
Potlatch 1).

This is it for my tutorial efforts for at least the rest of the
year. I will shortly be taking a six-month sabbatical from OSM
for family reasons. So, if you are thinking “what about the
advanced features?”, or “what about a GPS-related tutorial?”,
etc., the answer is: JFDI! I look forward to seeing the results!

Potlatch 2 POI video re-edited

Posted by davespod on 24 April 2011 in English.

After a mere aeon, I have finally got around to re-recording the voiceover for the Potlatch 2 POI tutorial. I have also trimmed out some of the dead time, thus cutting the length to 4:23, and added a couple of labels that pop up as I describe parts of the screen. I've uploaded an "HD" version to Vimeo:

I have linked it to the video wiki page and Potlatch 2 wiki pages.

I have also cut the first bit out for a shorter version (3:43) to be embedded in a future version of Potlatch 2, as it seems reasonable to assume that someone who is watching from within the application has already discovered how to get into it.

I'll never be 100% happy with the voiceover (if there are any voiceover artists in the OSM community - feel free to dub it!), but I have at least sorted out the bass issue. One day I might even get around to doing part 2. But you could always beat me to it!



The barrier to entry to OSM seems to be falling. Now we’ve got an awesome even easier-to-use online editor and hi-res imagery for much more of the world. We now need some basic tutorial videos to go with these.

In the spirit of the do-ocracy, I’ve had a go at getting started. I’ve created a short tutorial video for adding POIs using Potlatch 2. I envisage this being part of a series of 3 short videos. I see parts 2 and 3 covering tracing ways from Bing, possibly adding ways to route relations, creating areas (closed ways) and a few remaining features. The aim is to keep each video under five minutes long (as I personally would not sit through an online tutorial any longer than that!). I’ve also aimed to make it reasonably easy to re-edit once P2 is the default editor. If they are popular, perhaps we could also add some GPS-related tutorials in the future.

I haven’t yet attempted parts 2 and 3, because I thought I would get some feedback on the rough cut of part 1. Unfortunately, the sound quality is pretty poor due to my incompetent use of the audio settings, and I plan to re-record once I have some feedback (my intonation is a bit odd at times, too). I anticipate different people will have different views, so please don’t expect me to act on all suggestions (I’ll only act on the ones I think are a good idea!).

So let me know what you think:


David (davespod)

New A16 - OSM first again!

Posted by davespod on 11 October 2010 in English.

Had occasion to drive along the new A16 Crowland bypass, which opened in August, at the weekend and took a GPS trace and notes (while a passenger). But didn't think to check whether it had already been mapped - well, of course it has!

Well done user:pcaouolte! I note neither Google nor Bing have it yet. And neither does TomTom, so enjoy your new road, you lucky Skobbler users!

A man went to jail for this road, so mapping it is the least we could do:

Location: Manor Farm, Crowland, South Holland, Lincolnshire, England, PE6 0LU, United Kingdom

OpenStreetMap Gives Kashmir To China

Posted by davespod on 14 September 2010 in English.

Interesting news of disputed borders represented in different ways in Google and OSM (headline a little misleading!):

The way it is reported, I assumed it was just a straightforward cock-up, but actually looks like it is a question of point of view. I knew there was a serious border dispute regarding Kashmir, between India and Pakistan, but I didn't realise there was any dispute with China:

Location: Hotan County, Hotan Prefecture, Xinjiang, 848000, China

I moved from Altrincham in December, having met most of my OSM goals. Nevertheless there is still an awful lot for someone to do up there. Alty got me hooked - hidden networks of footpaths, historic industrial buildings and canal quays hidden among the boring housing estates.

I was lucky enough to move to a virtual blank spot. So, with a brief hiatus for Haiti mapping, I've been mapping some of the villages south of Shrewsbury by GPS survey, esp. Pontesbury and Minsterley, and got started on some footpath mapping. A neighbouring mapper has recently suddenly sprung into life and put my footpath efforts to shame.

Noticed some B-roads missing towards the East. Got started on my bike, then was lucky enough to need to drive to Welshpool, taking in the whole length of one of the missing B-roads. Sadly, I lost my GPS (gutted) before I had the chance to get the tracks off (lost a fair bit of Aberdovey, too). Not that it would have made any difference - by the time I returned, someone in New Zealand had traced most of my missing roads off OS Streetview! Fair enough, but it's killed my motivation to survey them - hard to muster the enthusiasm for the sake, probably, of a couple of post boxes and a pub. Doing the roads would have made it feel worth the trip. Ah well, perhaps one day (or maybe the guy from NZ is planning a trip?).

So no GPS - time to post diary entries, mess around fruitlessly trying to create an OSM file of contours from OS Landform Panorama (to use in Maperitive) and hit eBay for a new GPS.

Location: Pontesbury, Shropshire, England, United Kingdom


MapQuest, the No. 2 Internet-mapping service after Google’s, is
taking the first steps toward a Wikipedia-like model — in which
users would generate the maps themselves and combine the results
for everyone to use.

The company, a subsidiary of AOL, plans to announce Friday
morning that it is launching a site in the U.K. based on a
project called OpenStreetMap, which is dedicated to
user-created mapping.


The main MapQuest site will still use mapping data that the
company purchases, but the idea is that eventually, MapQuest maps
could rely on many users who keep track of their own corner of
the world.

“We fundamentally believe that community-contributed mapping will
be better than any closed platform,” said Jon Brod, the executive
vice president of AOL Ventures, Local and Mapping, in an
interview with Digits.

Aberdovey / Aberdyfi

Posted by davespod on 25 August 2009 in English.

I've been mapping the odd road and a few footpaths in Aberdovey (Aberdyfi), based on some traces while on holiday there a couple of weeks ago. Not a lot, and I didn't note down most of the names, so it is just what I can remember, but perhaps I'll add some more next time I'm there.

Quite a few of my traces go beyond the coastline, including the end of a residential street and a public garden, which I am pretty sure are above the high tide mark. However, I am bit dubious about starting to shift the coastline, as I could only shunt it a few metres to go around the edge of what I have traced; I wouldn't be able to confidently state that I am moving it to the real average high tide mark, so I'll probably leave said street and garden out for now.

Also, still trying to decide whether the windy road (showing in grey in Mapnik) is "residential" or "unclassified" - anyone with local knowledge want to chip in?

Location: Aberdovey, Gwynedd, Wales, United Kingdom

Oldfield Brow, Altrincham

Posted by davespod on 17 August 2009 in English.

When I first started mapping, 10 months ago, my very unambitious mini mapping project was to complete the Oldfield Brow estate in Altrincham. After a slow start, my efforts slowed to a crawl, partly due to lack of time, but more due to the really unreliable GPS of my Samsung Omnia phone, which somewhat sapped my motivation.

Having recently bought an iBlue 747A+ GPS logger, my momentum is back. I have _finally_ completed the estate (with the exception of the recreation ground, which I tracked this morning, and I might also retrack some of the estate as accuracy may be a bit suspect in places). I have also nearly finished the Thurlestone Road estate, including its recreation ground and playground (which I would never have guessed was there), and mapped most of the paths in John Leigh Park. Once I've done that lot, I can move on to finishing the area south of Oldfield Road.

So I'm extending my mini mapping project (still small, admittedly), to complete the non-Yahoo'd area of Altrincham between the A56 and the Bridgewater Canal (before I leave Altrincham, later this year). I am now getting addicted to early morning tracking sprees - exercise at last!

I can heartily recommend the 747A+ to anyone looking for a cheap GPS logger. I've got a lot more confidence in its accuracy than my old device, and its battery life is great, too. There is also a great freeware application available (BT747) for managing it.

Location: Oldfield Brow, Altrincham, Trafford, Greater Manchester, England, WA14 4JB, United Kingdom

River Clun

Posted by davespod on 10 July 2009 in English.

I have now traced the River Clun on NPE from Clunton to the Shropshire/Herefordshire border. Part of the south-east corner of that border follows the River Clun. Therefore, I could move the border to incorporate the river, but the NPE is not perfect and I don't want to mess up the border if the data source of the current boundary more accurate. Any advice?

Location: Leintwardine, Herefordshire, England, United Kingdom

Altrincham, UK

Posted by davespod on 15 November 2008 in English.

Very tentative steps in mapping out Oldfield Brow, Altrincham. I have now deleted my first attempt at Stokoe Avenue, as it seems the AGPS on my new phone was way out. However, I seem to have mastered getting it to lock on well enough now, so Taylor Road, Stokoe Avenue and Greenway are in place. I can now start filling in the gaps.

Location: Little Heath Farm, Dunham Massey, Dunham Town, Trafford, Greater Manchester, England, WA14 4SE, United Kingdom

Altrincham, UK

Posted by davespod on 11 October 2008 in English.

I'm new to OSM. I have lately been correcting and adding detail to the Altrincham map using the Yahoo aerial photo and lunchtime wanderings for street names, etc. I'll shortly be getting a TYTN II phone with GPS and I hope to install some tracking software. My plan then is to map a little more of the uncharted west of the town (including my own estate which does not feature at all at the moment).

Location: Hale, Altrincham, Trafford, Greater Manchester, England, WA15 9BJ, United Kingdom