One of the great things about editing OpenStreetMap is that it leads me to discover new bits of my local area. I’ve just come back from a lovely walk in North-East London, a walk which I would have never thought of doing if it hadn’t been for OSM. And what’s more, it led me to discover a really lovely seafood place for lunch!
Here’s how I do it:
- When it’s a nice day and I fancy a walk, I go and look at ITO’s FIXME map, which simply highlights all the objects in the map with “fixme” tags. Most of the time the issues described in the tags are things that can be fixed if someone goes to survey the place (e.g. “check name”, “does this footpath really exist”). I pick a few of these fixmes, not too far from home, as waypoints for my walk.
- I usually also go to walking-papers and print myself a simple walking map of the area. I note on this map, the things I need to check.
- Then I go and walk. These days I usually record the GPS trace of my route using my Android phone (I use the “OSMTracker” app) - it’s handy but not necessary; just walking around with the piece of paper is fine. For some purposes I prefer scribbling on paper, while sometimes it’s quite handy to store notes in the phone.
- When I come back, I upload the GPS trace and use my notes to update the map, fixing things and removing the “fixme” tag wherever I’ve actually fixed something. The aerial photos that OSM offers (via Bing etc) help to jog your memory as you edit, and often prompt me to add features that I didn’t explicitly note down while I was walking.
Really the best thing about this is that while I’m directly fixing things that people want fixing, I’m also discovering bits of my local area that I had no idea about. There was one walk where I discovered an entire park in North-East London that I had never heard of before (and wasn’t properly mapped yet, either).
The highlight of today was that my route led me past a fantastic seafood place, and just in time for lunch as well!