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Hidden Historical Features

Posted by drnoble on 1 May 2014 in English (English).

While mapping the area south of Edinburgh, around Penicuik, Bilston, and Loanhead, I was aware of a linear man-made artefact following roughly the course of the A701, both from on the ground surveys and clearly visible on bing imagery

This had been already mapped in 2009 as a disused canal, but a web search brought up no results for a canal in this area, and it was not shown on historical OS mapping, so I was to sure this was correct. Current OS StreetView labels this feature as a Dismantled Railway, and again I did not think this was correct, as no trace of this is shown on historical OS mapping, and there is another railway nearby on a different alignment.

Finally, browsing other historical maps on the National Library of Scotland site [1], I found a clue, the feature was tagged on the Ordnance Survey Six-inch 1st edition, 1843-1882 map[2] as “Course of Conduit, Edinburgh Water Works”, and can be traced back to the nearby Glencorse Reservoir. It can also be traced in the other direction into Edinburgh, where it links up with a couple of other embankment features I had noticed before.

I have mapped the sections of the pipeline that are visible to some extent (by embankment or other feature) although have not connected the whole route up as much of it is covered by more recent development.

[1] [2]

Location: Bilston, Midlothian, Scotland, EH25 9SH, United Kingdom

Notes feature - A "treasure hunt" challenge

Posted by drnoble on 12 February 2014 in English (English).

With OpenStreetMap looking virtually complete around Edinburgh, it is sometimes difficult to spot where to map next. Obviously there are a lot of data still to be added to the map, and overlays such as those produced by ITO maps [1] are very useful in highlighting those areas with missing attributes.

However, recently I have been finding the notes feature on the main map has been a really good source of “this needs checking”. It then becomes a treasure hunt, to go to that location, and spot the discrepancy flagged up, check it out, and update the map as required. This gives me a great excuse to explore areas of the city that I would unlikely otherwise visit, and keeps me fit as an added bonus.

As the saying goes, “many hands make light work”, and I think this is certainly true for tracking changes in OpenStreetMap. If many people can flag up potential errors, even if some are false positives, then it gives more experienced mappers a good incentive to update the local area that may otherwise become stale.

Plus, I almost always find something else nearby that is not on the map, which I can add in addition to the flagger “error”. Something that I most likely would not have gone to visit if it were not for the OCD compulsion to close as many of the open notes as possible :)

So thanks to the developers who implemented the notes feature, and thanks to the anonymous contributor(s) that flag up possible shortcomings in the data.

[1] &

Location: Old Town, City of Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom

OSM has more road names than OSL in Glasgow again

Posted by drnoble on 30 June 2013 in English (English).

A couple of successful surveys of new development this weekend, combined with some other people adding a few missing road names means that there are once again more road names in OSM than there are in OS Locator for the Glasgow City area.

It’s useful to check the ITO OSM Analysis for new road names flagged up in OS Locator, as by the time they are surveyed for OSM, there can be new roads open. And as is sometimes the case, the road names are only mentioned on house number plates.

A never ending job though…

Location: Kelvinhaugh, Glasgow, Glasgow City, Scotland, G3 8SU, United Kingdom

The postman must hate Monteith Row

Posted by drnoble on 24 February 2013 in English (English).

I have been continuing with adding house numbers in Glasgow, and today took a walk down Monteith Row, which faces onto Glasgow Green.

As there are only houses on one side of the street, there are only odd numbers. Nothing unusual there, you may think. However, despite the street containing all consecutive odd numbers between 51 and 153. They are not all in order! They go 51, 53, 59, 57, 63, 61, 65, 67, 69, 71. (Although Mapnik doesn’t show every one)

I wasn’t able to confirm every house number, but either those missing fit into the pattern, or are completely random (which I suggest is not the case).

Location: Calton, Glasgow, Glasgow City, Scotland, G40 2LW, United Kingdom

Stepps. Scotland

Posted by drnoble on 29 September 2012 in English (English).

Made a serious dent today on the virtually blank spot on the map that was Stepps, just outside Glasgow. Missed a few POIs in the centre of town, and there are a couple of bits to go back and re-survey, but it’s looking a lot better now.

Location: Stepps, North Lanarkshire, Scotland, G33 6HA, United Kingdom

Running JOSM with OS X Mountain Lion Gatekeeper

Posted by drnoble on 1 September 2012 in English (English).

I downloaded the latest stable JOSM package last night, after being prompted to update to the latest version, but then was not able to run the application. I received the rather cryptic error message “ is damaged and can’t be opened. You should move it to the Trash.” What this actually means is that the Gatekeeper function in OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion was blocking the (unsigned) JOSM software.

To get round this, temporarily disable Gatekeeper by opening System Preferences > Security & Privacy, and set ‘Allow applications downloaded from:’ to ‘Anywhere’. Once you open the application, you can re-enable gatekeeper, and it appears that JOSM will open again without a problem. But this will likely have to be done for every update :(

I’m definitely not trying to blame the JOSM developers for not paying Apple for a developer licence to sign the software. In fact, they do a great job in continually developing the software to make it easier to edit OSM. Just thought I’d post this, in case it helps anyone else.