Evolving roads

Posted by joost schouppe on 18 January 2017 in English (English). Last updated on 27 January 2017.

In my quest to understand the growth of OSM, I had a little fun today.

I took the 1/1/2017 full history dump for Brussels and I extracted a shapefile with all the versions of all the highway=* that ever existed.

Then I wanted to visualize it to see if there was a pattern in how the roads get mapped: “first real roads, then paths” or “everything all the time”. So I styled the paths clear green, the roads thin black and used a gray background for the current highways. Then I rendered a slide for every month.

Brussels link

It looks really cool, because it doesn’t just show the chaos of our growth. As the black roads are drawn slightly transparent and the monthly slide shows every version of the road in that month, “active areas” show up in heavy black. I think it’s really pretty.

On the occasion that it was a featured image in the Weekly OSM, I made a new version without a gray background and with a more logical image size.

Brussels link

You can download the individual images here and the shapefile (ugh, a shapefile) here

Comment from tyr_asd on 18 January 2017 at 17:21

Very nice! Did you use osm-history-renderer to extract the geometries from the history dump, or something else?

Comment from joost schouppe on 18 January 2017 at 19:09

I do use the splitter and importer from that toolchain, but I used psql2shp to extract the data I needed. (I don’t know enough Postgres to be able to do much rendering directly from there, and the renderer itself uses the previous generation OSM rendering which I don’t know how to tweak)

Comment from derFred on 19 January 2017 at 07:22

Pretty cool ;-)

Comment from jinalfoflia on 30 January 2017 at 13:23

This is so cool! :-)

Comment from florinbadita_telenav on 13 September 2017 at 12:08

On what version of linux did you used the importer ?

I`m trying to compile on 16.04, with no luck :(

Comment from joost schouppe on 13 September 2017 at 15:05

I used Ubuntu 14 something. I have a vagrant file that does most of the installing, would that help you? That one does install a very old Postgress version, I’m not sure it would work with a newer version too. There’s also a recent thread (in Spanish); in Chile someone played around with this tool too.

Comment from florinbadita_telenav on 14 September 2017 at 07:19

Hei, it would help, installing directly with the instruction does not seem to work.

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