mabapla's Diary

Recent diary entries

Bangalore, India

Posted by mabapla on 13 March 2010 in English (English).

Hello everybody.

I'm currently in Bangalore, India.
I'm truly amazed by the quality that OSM has already reached here. I didn't think it would be that good.
Virtually all big roads, parks, most of the important sights - it's all there.
Even the residential road (in an area called HSR layout) where the friend that I'm visiting lives - it's there.
The names of smaller roads are often missing though, but so are the road signs.
On Thursday we were in Mysore (west of Bangalore, famous for its palace) which is also quite well covered.

Sure, there is still a lot of work to be done in India and in the cities that I mentioned, especially when you reach the outskirts and certainly when you get to truly rural areas (which I haven't). (Not to speak of agricultural tracks or hiking paths etc., but I think they are much less important than in Europe as people here, as far as I know, rarely go on a leisure tour by bike or foot from their home to some other place, which is the main reason to map these tracks in my opinion.)
POIs are also a rather weak point, even many fuel stations or other important places such as pharmacies, supermarkets and so on are still missing.
This is somewhere where I will make my contribution, but don't hold your breath as I won't get home for another two weeks (staying at the Maldives) and I still have really old trips that I should process first.

Best wishes, especially to the mappers of India!


Location: Sudhama Nagara, South Zone, Bengaluru, Bangalore North, Bangalore Urban, Karnataka, 560027, India

Ein Aufruf zu mehr Sorgfalt

Posted by mabapla on 3 January 2010 in German (Deutsch).

Hallo zusammen.

(Dies ist eine Übersetzung des vorherigen Blogeintrags auf Englisch.)
Ich möchte heute einen Appell machen weil ich mehrere Fälle hatte wo das falsch gemacht worden war:
Achtet bitte auf die Unterscheidung zwischen highway=track und highway=path/footway. Die Beschreibung von "path" beginnt mit folgendem Satz: "Ein Weg der nicht für zweispurige Fahrzeuge gedacht ist und für den noch kein spezialisiertes Tag existiert (..." Ich denke damit ist es klar dass highway=path nicht für Wege benutzt werden sollte, die für mehrspurige Fahrzeuge wie Traktoren, Holztransporter etc (oder Autos falls die erlaubt sind) gemacht sind.
Aber genau darum geht's mir, ich habe es jetzt schon oft gesehen dass guten Wege mit Schotter- oder sogar Asphaltoberfläche mit highway=path getaggt wurden. Bei highway=path nehme ich aber an, dass es sich um einen schmalen Pfad handelt, bei dem es gut sein kann dass er für mein normales Fahrrad nicht geeignet ist. highway=track ist aber normalerweise geeeignet und ich kann auch am tracktype sehen ob es ein guter Weg ist oder nicht.

Noch ein Appell weil ich grade dabei bin:
Bitte legt (Wege-)Stummel an sofern das möglich ist. Die helfen anderen Mappern ungemein dabei zu beurteilen ob da noch etwas fehlt oder ob es vielleicht doch eine Verbindung gibt, die nur noch nicht gemappt wurde, wenn da Stummel sind.
Klar, es gibt viele Fälle wo man sie nicht anlegen kann. Wenn man grade mit dem Fahrrad einen Berg runterheizt wird man nicht anhalten um Stummel zu markieren. Wenn man mit dem Auto fährt, ist es schwer, alle Stummel zu erfassen. Das weiss ich alles. Aber manchmal versuchen es die Leute offensichtlich nicht einmal, machen z.B. eine 90-Grad-Kurve nach links aber mappen nicht dass die Straße / der Weg auch noch geradeaus weitergeht.

Versteht mich nicht falsch, ich bin deswegen nicht sauer oder so. Es ist besser dass dort überhaupt ein Weg gemappt ist als gar keiner, auch ohne Stummel oder mit falscher Klassifizierung, keine Frage. Es ist nur ein Appell damit wir vielleicht schneller zu einer besseren Karte kommen als wenn diese zwei Punkte nicht berücksichtigt werden.

Danke fürs Durchlesen.


A plea for accuracy

Posted by mabapla on 3 January 2010 in English (English).

Hello everybody.

I want to make a plea today as I've seen several occasions where this was clearly done wrong:
Please be careful with the distinction between highway=track and highway=path/footway. The description of "path" starts with this sentence: "A route open to the public which is not intended for motor vehicles with four or more wheels." So I think it's clear that highway=path should not be used for ways which were made for vehicles such as tractors, wood transporters etc (or cars if they are permitted).
But that's exactly my point, I've seen it many times now that good tracks with gravel or even asphalt surface were tagged as highway=path.
This is an important distinction in my opinion, I'm sure not only for me as a bicyclist. You know, for highway=path I assume it's a narrow path that may well not be suitable for my normal bike, but highway=track usually is and I can see from the tracktype if it's a good track or not.

And another plea while I'm at this topic:
Please make stubs if possible. This helps other mappers so much to judge if there is stuff missing or if there is a chance to find a connection which just isn't mapped yet, if there are stubs.
Sure, there are many occasions when you can't make them. If you're racing downhill with the bike, you're not going to stop to mark a stub. If you're driving by car, it's hard to map all stubs. I know that. But sometimes people obviously don't even try, for example they make a 90 degree left turn but don't map that the road continues straight on, too.

Please don't get me wrong, I'm not angry about this or anything. It's better that there is a way mapped at all, without stubs or with the wrong classification, no question. It's just a plea so we will maybe get a better map faster than without people considering these two points.

Thank you very much for reading.


I'm proud that I can now announce that all power lines of 110 kV and above in the Landkreise (counties) Göppingen and Esslingen are now mapped, much of them done by me but also with help from other people, especially in the eastern part of the Landkreis Göppingen.

The last missing bit for Esslingen was a line north of the city of Esslingen where both ends go into underground cables, so I had overlooked it first.
I finished this on December 4.

In the Landkreis Göppingen, I wanted to check a line first that starts in Geislingen/Steige. It might have been 110 kV but I surveyed some of it a few days ago and it is probably 20 kV, maybe even less (the underground cable looks so small to me) but certainly not 110.
I haven't uploaded it yet and will only tag it with power=minor_line although its small masts are built with steel latticework.

I still wonder if there is really no connection between the power stations of Süßen and Geislingen. In Google Earth, you can see a (also small) second line but it is no longer there.
I think it would make a lot of sense though - look how many kilometers of line you need to travel to connect the two sub nets via Wendlingen and Laichingen.
On the other hand, this used to be two separate suppliers, Neckarwerke up to Süßen and Albwerk for Geislingen and down the valley to Gingen.
But if even they had this small connecting line, why would the EnBW, who bought the two, remove it without replacement? Would they replace it with a long underground line (which I doubt because of the cost)?
Well, it's always interesting to puzzle the power net together.

Location: Baden-Württemberg, 73079, Germany

Mountains are hard to map

Posted by mabapla on 24 August 2009 in English (English).

The weekend before (August 14 to 16) I was on a nice hiking tour with some colleagues. The weather couldn't have been better, it was sunny all the time.
Though if it's been raining recently you can probably see further.

The area (Kleinwalsertal in Austria, Mindelheimer Hütte etc, see the map) was already fairly well mapped. All the hiking trails we took were already there, though a gravel track that is used by a resident of a remote house was mapped as a footway.
And as always, there's still room for improvement. For example, along the way, two houses where you can get snacks and drinks were not mapped. They were originally used for keeping cows but nowadays they're mostly used to feed tourists. ;-)
Also, the forests were often wrong as it is hard to differentiate them from bushland or northern sides of mountains in the Landsat images.

One thing that made me think is this: Some peaks are very hard to reach. We went to the Liechelkopf (so now you find it in OSM) which was quite exhausting but still possible without climbing equipment.
If we need somebody to go to every mountain and take the coordinate so he can put it into OSM, it will take years and years until we will have comprehensive data of alpine mountains. Or maybe it will never happen if we don't have enough climbers in our community.
I wonder if there isn't a directory of alpine mountains that we can use. Maybe from some official bodies of the countries in question?
Else, as I said, we won't be able to provide good maps of alpine regions for quite some time and that would be a bummer.

Location: Bavaria, 87561, Germany

SOTM was great

Posted by mabapla on 16 July 2009 in English (English).

Hi everybody.

Just got back from Amsterdam where I spent 2.5 ;-) more days after SOTM to get around the city a little bit. But there's still a lot more to see, naturally. For example, I virtually wasn't East of the CCC where SOTM was held, spending all the time in the city center.

I won't mention the lightning talk I held about GpsMid, or else you'll all go and watch the video which is probably quite embarassing. Oh wait, now I did tell you. D'oh! ;-)

I created almost 300 waypoints while I was there. I somewhat specialized on hotels as I didn't like that most of the hotels couldn't be found on OSM when I was booking my hotel so I decided to improve that. But I also mapped a lot of restaurants, pubs and other stuff.

I even found a small alley that was still unmapped, the Slijkstraat. But it was already uploaded by a Dutch mapper yesterday.

Serious question, how do you map these urinals in the streets which only men can use as there is no toilet seat or anything?

It will probably take me some time until I get round to upload the POIs. Today there's my company's summer party and on Saturday there's the first Esslingen mapping party ( Plus I still have quite a few old tracks to catch up with.

Location: Burgwallen-Oude Zijde, Centrum, Amsterdam, North Holland, Netherlands


Posted by mabapla on 27 June 2009 in English (English).

I wrote in my diary recently that I wondered if the power line going through Mittelstadt and Oferdingen will be removed.
Actually a farmer had told me that back in February so I wasn't just wondering.
Now I found a press release from the regional oligopolist EnBW:
So in July, they're going to remove the other part of this line because they have upgraded other parts of the grid to 380 kV to completely remove the 220 kV layer in the long run.
OK, so no need to map this line any further...

It was built in the 1940s and actually runs at 220 kV. I'd tagged it as 110 kV as I didn't recognize it as 220. They call it the Schwarzwaldleitung which would be the "black forest line" in English.
I also wrote that I still wondered what TRS stands for. Well, actually I had photos of signs on the masts saying "TRSNG-WDLNG" and that doesn't leave too much room for interpretation what it means - yes it does stand for the town of Trossingen. You just need to look at them, Markus. ;-)
It continues on until Tiengen, the press release says, which is also the end of a branch of the Nord-Süd-Leitung.

What they don't say in their press release is that the line wasn't used as a whole for some time - at least long enough to put plates on the towers which showed that near Mittelstadt, WDL-MEZ left this route and the (probably original) TRS-WDL was (and still is for a few more weeks) put on it.

So there's still nothing better than to go out and see for yourself what it looks like before putting it in OSM. ;-)
OSM currently shows the state of the line at least of June 13 and I'll certainly observe the removal work as this is something that you don't see every day. I already missed it for the part between Wendlingen and Mittelstadt. After all, the line's been there for more than 60 years now.

Location: Baden-Württemberg, 72766, Germany


Posted by mabapla on 25 June 2009 in English (English).

Yesterday I discovered a power station in the town where I work.
If somebody had told me a few days ago that there was a 110 kV power station in this town and that I always drive by bike on a field track only about 250 m away from it, I would have told him he must be crazy.
This makes me wonder what else I may have overlooked while mapping... After all, the front of the station is more than 50 m long.
I discovered it while trying to figure out where the Bombach, the stream that runs through the town, has its source. I think I know now, but I still have to figure out some parts of where it runs. Sadly, a lot of the stream is in coverts (Dole in German).
The track that runs next to the station I think was taken by someone else from the Yahoo images long ago (the "created_by" tag said "Potlatch 0.5d") so I think that was the first time I drove there.
So now I finally know where the 110 kV underground line that branches away from the line that runs along the B 27 goes. This was one of the things that I wanted to find out for a long time. I can't believe the answer was so easy to see.

Location: Baden-Württemberg, 70794, Germany

Abandoned power line

Posted by mabapla on 24 June 2009 in English (English).

On June 13th I was on a nice bike tour (about 65 km long) with fellow mapper vobs. We went to see the pump storage station Glems near Reutlingen.
By-product was the mapping of some residential streets in Mittelstadt and Reicheneck and of some forest tracks.
He told me that the line MEZGN-WDLNG (110 kV) from Wendlingen to Metzingen was being torn down. On the way back we saw that confirmed near Neckartenzlingen. The whole installation was already removed, including the foundations for the pylons leaving nothing but dug-up ground.

Boohoo! Don't get me wrong, despite my interest in the power grid I still think that power lines are no enrichment for the landscape and often clutter pretty views. But if you knew how much work it was to map this line for OSM you'd understand why I'm sad. Although we (some of the Yahoo painting was done by somebody else) could take a lot of it from Yahoo aerial images, the ends were outside the Yahoo area (I estimate 4 km) so I had to do them "manually".
Now I'll have to remove it from OSM again.

Removing this line makes sense though. They have a 380 kV line running between the same stations (the one to the south of Nürtingen). Plus they made a branch from the famous "Nord-Süd-Leitung" (380 kV also) near Rommelsbach to Metzingen. So redundancy is still maintained.

I wonder if they're also going to touch the line WDL-TRS (also 110 kV) which runs right through Mittelstadt and Oferdingen. It would make even more sense to remove this one as it runs over residential areas.
They haven't maintained the towers for a long time obviously, the paint comes off so there are rusty spots. This might be an indication that they are going to abandon this line too. But when we passed under it on the bike tour that I mentioned, it was clearly hearable that it is still under voltage.
Btw, I still haven't figured out where this one eventually ends. One end is Wendlingen but I'm not sure what TRS could mean. It passes the stations Reutlingen-West and Nehren (south of Tübingen) but has no connection to them.

Location: Baden-Württemberg, 72654, Germany

On Monday, I was with my parents near Neuffen. My dad is very interested in orchids and knows a whole lot of places in our region where you can find them.
I thought there wouldn't be that much to map because Neuffen, after being an almost empty space through most of last year, has made big progress recently. Also, many tracks and paths have been surveyed already around the castle.
But most of the path through the heath that my father picked wasn't mapped yet. Great views, rare and pretty flowers and an unmapped path, what else could you want? :-)
And again this showed me that there's still a lot to discover and map even in places where you wouldn't expect it at first.
In case you're wondering, I haven't uploaded anything yet. I've got to see if I can figure out the outline of the heath (which is a natural reserve called the Neuffener Heide) as I really want to put that in.

Location: Baden-Württemberg, 72639, Germany

Power cowboys

Posted by mabapla on 2 June 2009 in English (English).

Göppingen now even has redundant power supply in OSM since I closed the gap in the 110 kV line from Hattenhofen to Bezgenriet. Via Kirchheim and Eislingen, Göppingen now has a second connection to the power grid.

The third connection runs, with a little guesswork from the abbreviations WAD and SHO, to the North via Waldhausen and Schorndorf in the Remstal. It's going to take quite a while to complete this as Waldhausen is about 20 km from the next mapped power line and I haven't even reached Waldhausen yet. Hopefully somebody will jump in to help but I know that I have a pretty special interest. (What I don't understand though is why so many more people find it interesting to turn around every stone and dead piece of wood at some given point somewhere to find a plastic box full of trash. ;-) )

Talking of redundant power supply and bringing me to the headline: On the weekend, I watched a part of one of these "Watch me, I'm spectacular"-type TV shows. It was called "The 10 toughest jobs in the world". (First rank were the fire jumpers who parachute off planes in the south-west USA to put out fires in the wilderness.)
Rank 3 were the "power cowboys" in the USA. These guys climb from a helicopter to the power line WHILE THERE IS POWER ON IT! The speaker said the lines ran up to 345 000 Volts. They wear a special suit with metal wires in the garment to make the current flow on the outside of the suit and not through the body. First they need to hook a pole up to the line to create equal potential between the helicopter and the line. You can see the electric arc when the hook comes close to the line. Then the guy climbs onto the cable (which consists of three or four individual wires, see the tag wires= in OSM :-) ) and walks to the power pylon. He is only almost crazy (for getting on the live line in the first place) but not totally so he has a safety rope in case he slips off the line. At the pylon, he checks if any of the clamps holding the wires has become loose from the 60 Hz vibrations that the AC creates in the lines and tightens them again. Finally, he needs to walk away from the pylon far enough so that the heli can pick him up again. This is so exhausting that he needs to take breaks in between.
The speaker said they need to do this on those lines in the USA that are the only line supplying a city or region. He also said that this job was quite well paid. Well, I wouldn't have guessed that. ;-)
In Germany they always switch off the line if they work on it. Or else I would have heard of the power cowboys of Germany before. They can because of - yes, you got it right - the redundant layout of the power grid.
There's one thing that made me think though: This is pretty complicated so I can't imagine they do this for routine checks. First thing is these guys have to check at least three phases per pylon. For each one, they need to repeat the whole procedure that I described above - they surely can't jump from one cable to the other. Plus they would have shown that in the report. So I'm quite sure they only go up if they have located a problem (probably by listening to the vibrations) from the ground.

Location: Baden-Württemberg, 73035, Germany

On Saturday I was on a big "let's close some OpenStreetBugs and fill in some names" tour.
My main destination was the town of Altenriet about 10 km cycling distance from my home. The streets had been drawn from Yahoo images about a year ago but nobody ever got there to put in the street names. But now the right time for me to go had come.
On the way there and back I wanted to close some OpenStreetBugs, especially one that I found was too close to my home to be left alone any longer. :-)
I also discovered the heath (called the Haberschlaiheide) in my neighbour town Bonlanden that I wanted to locate for quite a long time.

During the past weeks I somehow had the feeling that my surrounding had become boring and that I had to put my bike into the car to get to interesting places that I hadn't seen yet.
This tour proved me wrong and that's my message for everyone: Even if you think that all the interesting stuff around you has been mapped, go out and you'll probably discover nice new places such as an unknown clearing or small lake in the forest. Well, unless you've really been everywhere, but that would involve a raster of 50 m I'd say.
It also proved me wrong in thinking that all the (relevant) tracks in the forests to the south-west such as the Schönbuch had already been done.

Now I need to sit down during the week and actually put the names in Altenriet (and some in Schlaitdorf) into OSM.

Location: Baden-Württemberg, 70794, Germany

Enough to do

Posted by mabapla on 7 March 2009 in English (English).

Oh well. Some days ago I found some numbers from the electricity company EnBW which runs the power grid in the whole Bundesland Baden-Württemberg (and some more).
According to their brochure ( they run 1970 km of 380-kV-lines, 1674 km with 220 kV and 56 power stations (not counting those that only have 110 kV). Btw, the brochure also has a nice map of this part of their net.
If that isn't enough, there are 7600 km with 110 kV according to this web page:
That's quite a lot, even if I just look at the lines that are within reasonable distance from my home.
So, still a lot of stuff to map. I'm not sure if that's good or bad though. ;-)

The most interesting ones for me among the big ones are
-the famous Nord-Süd-Leitung (finished in 1929!) from Brauweiler near Cologne to Bludenz in Austria. The section between Hoheneck (north of Stuttgart) and Herbertingen (in the Danube valley) has already been done by other people, mostly from Yahoo images I think. But there are still things to discover like the brand-new branch that goes to Metzingen which I discovered just last weekend.
-the 380-kV-line Hoheneck - Wendlingen - Laichingen - Dellmensingen (south-west of Ulm). One half is run by RWE and the other by EnBW. The first piece after Hoheneck is still missing, otherwise it's complete up to Dellmensingen.

One year and some statistics

Posted by mabapla on 26 January 2009 in English (English).

It's a little bit more than a year now since I started mapping for OSM. Time for some statistics about the current state in my area. It's mainly meant as a reflexion for me where I can put my efforts in the future.
All distances are air distances from my home.

Nearest place with work to do: 2.4 km
It's about 200 m of track in the forest. Goes up the hill so I always postponed mapping it when I was close. Should probably set an OpenStreetBug.
Maybe there's a missing track even closer near Waldenbuch but I'm not sure.
(I'm leaving out POI in this contemplation.)

Nearest OpenStreetBug: 3.7 km
I always thought I'd get there some time on a bike tour, so I never drove there by car as it's not on the way to any of my destinations.

Nearest town with street names to put in: Altenriet, 7.5 km

Nearest town with serious mapping work to do (i.e. where there's almost nothing at the moment): Bempflingen (see map link), 10.5 km
This is an area with several white-spot-towns more.

Nearest unmapped power line (110 kV and above): MEZGN-WDLNG west of Bempflingen, 10.1 km
There's another one nearby (only 8.5 km away) but I'm not sure if it's 110 kV so it might not count. ;-)

The time is not far that all power lines (of 110 kV and more) in the Landkreis Esslingen will be mapped! A lot of them by me I can say without being unhumble. Some of them were easy as they were visible on the Yahoo aerial images.
I think it will take about 4 more weekends to get it done.
This is with one "trick" though: I only recently discovered the line Kirchheim - Unterlenningen which is fit for 110 kV but the connection to the station in Kirchheim cannot be 110 kV, it's probably only 20 kV. So I don't count it. ;-) About 6.5 km of this one still need to be done.

Another interesting number: I started in March to write down my trips and when I loaded them up. Since then, I made about 150 edits. So it must be more like 180 in my year of OSM. This sounds quite impressive (one every second day) but I made many of them on the same evening so it's probably more like two edits every week.

Location: Baden-Württemberg, 72658, Germany

Mapping in the new year

Posted by mabapla on 19 January 2009 in English (English).

Hello everybody.

I know I'm a bit late for it, but I still want to wish everybody a great new year 2009! I'm in good faith that we will still have OSM at the end of this year, so it can't get that bad after all, right? ;-)
I hope you also spent the holidays for the best thing you can spend your time on. And that's mapping of course! ;-)
I think the cold season is not that bad for mapping after all. Especially for me as my boots and trousers don't become so dirty if the ground is frozen when I have to walk into a field to map a power tower. :-)
OK, it is more difficult to determine the track grade (1-5) if there's snow on it. :-)
The thing that disturbs me the most is that it gets dark so soon. Especially as I'm a night person, so I don't manage to get up earlier to use the daylight. Believe me, it's quite difficult to find a power tower if it's so dark that you don't even see the line directly above your head. :-) Flashlights don't help much either. :-) And it's also so much easier to overlook a road sign if it's in a dark corner or next to a bush or tree...
But I never knew better about sunset times than now as a mapper. Here it was as bad as 16:29 on December 21st and has improved to 16:59 this weekend at about a rate of 1 minute per day.



Location: Baden-Württemberg, 73240, Germany

Playing with power lines

Posted by mabapla on 18 December 2008 in English (English).

I'm like a child playing with batteries, cables and light bulbs. (What, you didn't play with these as a child? ;-) )
Only that it's now with virtual power plants and lines in OSM. :-)
For example, I'm happy that the city of Esslingen now has electric power in OSM since I filled the last gap between it and the nearby coal power plant:
Next big milestone will be to complete the long line which (among other areas) supplies the city of Göppingen where I was born.
It's the one that runs to the West in this map:
(Yes I know that the lines are redundant and that the power doesn't simply come from one specific plant. :-) )

Power lines are addictive

Posted by mabapla on 20 November 2008 in English (English).

I have to admit that I'm somewhat addicted to mapping power lines. :-)
Look at this map link, most of the lines there are from me:
(I have to use this in addition to the coordinate as you can neither specify the zoom level nor the renderer to be used.)

And this is no area where you can simply draw the lines on top of aerial images!
(This was possible to the West towards Stuttgart. The lines there were done mostly by other people and are complete.)

The station shown is *the* big distribution station in the region, about 20 km from my home.
If you follow the lines to the Northwest, you'll hit a black coal power plant as well.
So, lots of lines to map and as you can see I'm far from finished, especially if you count all the lines that run for kilometer after kilometer through the countryside to the East.
And after that, I can go up to the Schwäbische Alb and map until I reach Ulm as it seems nobody else is there who's interested in power lines as much as I am.
Well, you need a long term motivation for your hobby, right? ;-)

If you are interested in my technique:
I try to walk up to most power towers to set a proper waypoint. If I'm sure the line is running straight I use only a bearing from a nearby way to get the position of the tower. In OSM, I mark these with "source=interpolated".
I add the reference of the mast whenever possible. In Germany, this is usually a number for the line and a number for the tower, e.g. "Anlage 370, Mast 7". I do this to be able to verify which masts are still missing, even if they're obscured by obstacles or when returning weeks later. (The hard thing here is to make a sketch which includes these numbers before going out to the field. ;-) )
I won't go into the details of naming the lines, maybe I'll write about that later.

You might say: What's the point, it would make more sense if you spent your time mapping streets as that's much more useful for the rest of the community.
I thought about that and here are my reasons for not making more streets instead of power lines.
I know I don't have to justify myself but I want to share my thoughts anyway.
1) I don't get paid, so I do what's the most fun for me.
2) I've already mapped quite a lot of places and didn't stop with that either.
3) I end up in remote places where few people would end up so they wouldn't get mapped for a long time.
4) I'm also mapping streets and a lot of farm and forest tracks etc. when I map power lines. I just don't map the whole nearby village until it's finished. I've even done this for some like Denkendorf and Berkheim because I was motivated to fill in the street names and gaps there, I just won't do it for the whole region.

Location: Baden-Württemberg, 73240, Germany

Interesting statistic

Posted by mabapla on 30 August 2008 in English (English).

There's an interesting article in the German magazine Spiegel about the length of road networks in the world:,1518,573827,00.html
(I don't think it's available in English (although they have English pages) but you can probably figure most out even if you don't understand German.)

Seems the biggest chunk of OSM road data is already there thanks to the TIGER import.
And we're not too bad off in Germany, only a meagre 231500 km of roads to map and quite a few active people.
Once we're done and don't even have any farm and forest tracks or hiking paths left, we can all move to India or China and have work there for the rest of our lives. ;-) But I think I'll rather go to Brazil and map the Copacabana really well. ;-)
(Actually I'm astonished there is data of China at all. Last I heard was that the regime there didn't want geo data to leave the country.)

P.S.: There's another article of the "10 most..." series about cost of parking space. Also very interesting. I thought Manhattan would be more to the top of the list...,1518,566264,00.html

So long,

Small cause, big impact

Posted by mabapla on 28 July 2008 in English (English).

Hello everybody.

Have you noticed OpenRouteService ( already?
It's really cool and works quite well already, better than I thought it would as it's still pretty new AFAIK.
I already found some mistakes by trying several route calculations:
-The end of the A 23 near Heide had the oneway flag of the very last piece of road at the end of the Autobahn wrong in northern direction. So a big detour is calculated for Hamburg -> Tönning. It's corrected in OSM but OpenRouteService didn't update their data yet so you can still see it.
-A piece of the A 7 north of Northeim (which is north of Göttingen) in southern direction had been deleted. I put a mark in OpenStreetBugs ( and somebody brought it back - thanks!
-The bridge of the A 8 over the B 313 near Wendlingen (east of Stuttgart) in eastern direction also had the oneway flag wrong. So the route sent you on the exit ramp and then back on the Autobahn. Subtle, so I'm glad I noticed it.

I'm sure we'll find many more mistakes like that as route calculations are much more sensitive to errors in the OSM data than the map renderers.
Especially, I see a lot of ways that should have a connection with another way but actually they don't. The distance is usually so small that you don't see it in the rendered maps but route calculations reveal them.
This seems to be a problem with Potlatch not snapping the way to the other way in some cases as all the cases where I've seen this were created_by=Potlatch 0.XY.
Also, people sometimes just draw a way across another way without connecting them which is very bad for routing algorithms. If two ways intersect, it should be clear in the OSM data what it is: An actual road crossing, a bridge or a tunnel.
I'm not pointing at any examples as I don't want to fingerpoint at anybody's work here. Also these errors are so frequent that I'm sure you'll find some near you so you can check my claims.

CU, Markus

Hello fellow OSM mappers.

I'm proud to say that, with my humble contribution, the area called the Fildern south of the Stuttgart Airport (Germany) has reached a pretty good mapping state now. What's especially nice is that pretty much all the asphalt tracks for agriculture that are so nice for cycling are mapped. vobs has done a lot of this.

This is how the area looks in detail:
-Stetten: Mostly drawn and most names put in by ColinMarquardt. Rest filled in by me.
-Bernhausen: Same as Stetten. Some stuff also done by GeorgL.
-Plattenhardt: This is where I live. It was a white spot when I started in the middle of January. That is, only some of the through streets were there. Now (since beginning of April, actually) it's 100% complete.
-Bonlanden: Same state as Plattenhardt.
-Harthausen: Didn't even have a road connection in January. Now it's 100% complete thanks to Simon Kokolakis drawing the streets and me filling in the names.
-Sielmingen: Mostly done by GeorgL and Plum, some stuff added by me. Now almost complete.
-Neuhausen: Also mostly drawn by Simon Kokolakis. I'm now filling in the names and small roads and footways.
-Wolfschlugen: Same as Neuhausen but I haven't entered any names yet.
-Aichtal (Neuenhaus, Aich, Grötzingen): Work done by different people but not complete yet. Neuenhaus is probably the most complete, AFAICT all that's missing are some street names.

To track the progress and for folks to be able to see where they can help, I have set up a Wiki page for the Landkreis Esslingen. If you work in this area, please track your progress there. I'm quite sure it will become increasingly difficult to see which areas are finished and where there's still work to be done without pages like this.
I have also made a similar page for the Landkreis Göppingen where I'm also mapping when I visit my parents.

Anyway, help is always welcome and it's nice to see that new people have signed up in my area. Given enough hands, we can map everything we want!

Cheers, Markus

Location: Binsachhof, Sielmingen, Filderstadt, Landkreis Esslingen, Baden-Württemberg, 70794, Germany