Mapper since: October 23, 2007

Who am I?

  • I am a person in the south of England
  • I mostly ride a bicycle, walk, catch buses and trains
  • I’m a Committee Member of Cycle Basingstoke - we have been working with the Council on the Basingstoke Cycling Strategy - and OSM is useful to illustrate points (not least because it is more up-to-date than closed maps)

What do I use OSM for?

Map things that I’m interested in


  • Speed limits
  • Type of road
  • Number of lanes
  • surface=asphalt/concrete/compacted/gravel/dirt/sand/mud and tracktype (if not paved)
  • lit=yes/no
  • Ensuring that restrictions that actually apply only to one class of vehicle (e.g. motor vehicles) are not applied to all
  • Ensuring that private routes are tagged accordingly, so journey planners don’t use them
  • On-road cycling facilities and bus lanes
  • Roundabouts, oneway streets, dual carriageways - tend to have negative effects on my journeys
  • Names
  • Traffic calming

Footpaths, Public Rights of Way, and ORPAs

  • surface=asphalt/concrete/compacted/gravel/dirt/sand/mud and tracktype (for PROWs)
  • lit=yes/no
  • Who is allowed to use it (if it’s a right of way)
  • For footpaths where journey planners assume that dismounted bicycles can be pushed, mark impassable paths (e.g. ones with stiles, narrow kissing gates, or just too narrow) with bicycle=no to prevent routing
  • Barriers, such as gates, bollards, cycle barriers, that slow down cyclists


  • NCN, RCN, LCN - CycleStreets (at least) uses these
  • MTB - if something is part of an MTB relation, it’s probably not good for my bike
  • Bus routes and stops (sometimes)

Points of interest and landmarks

  • Farms, churches, and woods make good landmarks in the countryside, or to describe places to other people
  • Cafes, pubs, supermarkets, and stations are either destinations or landmarks
  • Benches and toilets


  • Developments (residential or commercial) affect routing and traffic flow


  • OnePlus 7 Pro and the OSMTracker app
  • Usually from a bicycle, a bus, or on foot
  • I got a cheap handlebar bag recently, so that should make it easier to make notes as I go
  • Mapillary (Mapillary description), either directly from my old phone (OnePlus 3T), or by converting the videos from my Cycliq or OLFI bike cameras
  • I almost exclusively use Potlatch 2, but will use Vespucci on my mobile phone. Sometimes I use iD, but mostly to make it easier to see Mapillary footage.



  • I avoid combining building/landuse/natural areas and linear barriers with routable highways - e.g. unless a fence actually reaches the centre-line of the road, I end it at the edge of the road. An exception is tunnel=building_passage, where the tunnel is effectively part of the building
  • I treat highways (which are recorded as 1D lines despite being 2D areas in reality) as representing the centre line of the road
  • For PROWs, I use the physical highway type (e.g. track), rather than the legal one. As a result, I then use multiple *=private to exclude certain types of traffic
  • For PROWs, I record the legal rights of way for foot, bicycle, horse, motor_vehicle (since journey planners do not generally use the designation tag)
  • For public highways that are not PROWs, if the access matches the default for that highway type, I don’t record the access
  • For Public Bridleways, I use the UK Tagging Guidelines (bicycle=yes, horse=designated, foot=designated)
  • Where an amenity (e.g. pub, shop, café, bed & breakfast) is the main occupant of a building (or a floor of that building) I tend to add the amenity tags to the building rather than having a separate disconnected node

Cycing infrastructure

  • For off-road cycle paths and cycle tracks, I generally aim for the following, which will allow bicycles and pedestrians to be routed along it: highway=cycleway/path (path for narrow paths or towpaths), bicycle=yes, foot=yes (unless it’s a cycle track with no pedestrian access), segregated=no/yes, surface=asphalt/concrete/compacted/gravel/dirt/sand/mud, lit=yes/no
  • For on-road stuff, I add cycleway=shared_lane/lane/track/share_busway (or cycleway:left/right). For contraflow cycle routes, I add oneway:bicycle=no as well as the type of cycleway. For cycleway=lane, I have started adding cycleway:lane=advisory/exclusive.
  • In both cases, cycleway:est_width/cycleway:width are important, to indicate paths or lanes that are too narrow (eg between Ottershaw and Woking - less than a metre wide for a two-way shared use footway)


  • I tend to tag traffic lights on the stop lines with traffic_signals:direction=forward/backward, and pelican/toucan/Pegasus crossings at the crossing point, rather than merging everything into one node
  • Crossings slow down traffic along a highway, but help pedestrian (and bicycle if relevant) traffic across the highway
  • Where the crossings are not simple (e.g. around roundabouts or dual carriageways), I add the footways for more accurate routing
  • I tend to end footways at dropped kerbs if possible (to cater for people with pushchairs, wheelchairs, luggage, etc.)

Contacting me

Changeset comments don’t always reach me for some reason (I don’t get emails notifying me of them). Please continue to leave changeset comments (so other people can see that there was a query), but send me a private message if you don’t get a reply within a reasonable amount of time.

You can also find me on Twitter @jonpsp