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nickjohnston's Diary Comments

Diary Comments added by nickjohnston

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No more daily changesets

What an incredible streak!

I managed about a year and half, and then one day I actually made a change in JOSM and even drafted a comment, but clean forgot to upload it!

I hope you feel better soon ☺.

100 OSM mapping days

Welcome to OpenStreetMap and well done on your achievements so far ☺

As for mapping buildings and POIs in one go or in stages, it depends on what you’re comfortable with. Personally I’d rather have the buildings in place first, as it makes it easier to position the POIs more correctly, but experiment and see what works for you.

Mapping all of Odisha is ambitious. Go for it! Even if you can’t complete it all, or if it takes a long time, you’re still improving the map in the meantime.

Perhaps also contact an experienced mapper in India like contrapunctus (more focused on the New Delhi area, but still) for advice and support too.

It’s great to see the map improving in India! (Haven’t been to Bhubaneswar or Bengaluru, but I’ve used OSM to navigate in Delhi, Mumbai, and Chennai.)

How should I tag paths suitable for off-road wheelchairs and mobility scooters?

Thank you for all the comments, they’ve been helpful and interesting. I’ve added smoothness=intermediate and wheelchair=limited.

Road Curve Mapping Tips

I broadly agree, but would like to point out that for those willing to use JOSM, UtilsPlugin2 provides the very useful Circle Arc tool. I use it a lot.

I like iD. Without it I most likely would have never started editing OpenStreetMap. But I advise people to learn JOSM. The investment will soon pay back.

My JOSM plugins and tag presets for ease of use and better mapping

Thanks for the NSI tip, I have just set that up ☺

I’m a huge of circle arc too, I wish more people would use it.

OverpassQL for downloading bus roads and bus stops data into JOSM

Thank you for taking the time to improve the map in Chennai :) I was lucky enough to visit the city for a few days in 2019 and enjoyed using OpenStreetMap there.

For OverpassQL documentation, are you aware of Leigh Dodds’ excellent Overpass tutorial? He is also building a collection of useful Overpass queries, see the “for local mappers” section as an example.

Goodbye 2021, and setting the targets for 2022

Congratulations on your excellent progress in 2021. Thank you for working so hard to improve the map in Ireland.

200,000 map changes in 60 days is incredible–it has taken me years to reach 212,000!

Revising urban blocks in Wrocław - a GIF collection

Great work. I never get tired of seeing improvements to the map like this. Please keep up the good work!

June 2021 Residential Build. Riverside Estate, Colchester UK

Thanks for your efforts. It’s great to see improvements to the map like this.

I notice you’re using iD. iD is a great way of getting started with OpenStreetMap editing (without iD, I likely never would have started editing), or for making quick changes, but for adding addresses, JOSM is much better.

JOSM takes a bit of getting used to, but it’ll pay back quickly.

The buildings tool allows you to easily and quickly draw buildings or change the shape of existing ones. See Mapbox’s fast building tracing article for a good explanation.

The JOSM Terracer plugin is a huge time-saver for adding terraced houses to the map, or even splitting buildings containing two semi-detached houses. You draw the outline for the whole terrace (rather than for all the houses) and then “terrace” that by entering the start and end numbers.

Another really useful tool in JOSM for address mapping is the “coloured streets” style. It colour codes buildings and the street they’re on (addr:street) in the same colour, letting you easily see at a glance which buildings do not have an addr:street or may have an incorrect addr:street. See also my diary entry about the coloured streets style.

JOSM’s validator can also help spot mistakes, like accidentally duplicating a house number on a street.

Rory McCann made a useful video showing some advanced building mapping tricks for JOSM.

I’ve also been adding lots of addresses in Cheltenham and without JOSM it would take many times longer, and the results wouldn’t be as good.

I've almost developed an alternative to Keypad Mapper 3, Streetcomplete and Osmpad for adding housenumbers

You can pretty easily do this in JOSM though. Simply select all the housesnumbers and buildings on a street using free-select, then press Ctrl-Shift-J to merge all the ADDRESS nodes with buildings.

Are you referring to this diary entry? I see the bit about free-select / lasso, but not about joining address nodes to building ways. Did I miss it?

In my version of JOSM, Ctrl-Shift-J switches to rotation mode. I have utilsplugin2 enabled.

I've almost developed an alternative to Keypad Mapper 3, Streetcomplete and Osmpad for adding housenumbers

Effectively, yes. The correct OSM terminology is nodes, so it is a file that effectively contains multiple housenumber nodes.

OK, I see. I usually place house numbers on the building ways themselves (it seems neater to me), so I suppose your app won’t be able to do that until if/when you start using OSM data. I understand that complicates things though.

I've almost developed an alternative to Keypad Mapper 3, Streetcomplete and Osmpad for adding housenumbers

As for Vespucci’s prediction logic, I don’t know how it works, but here is how mine works:

If the housenumber is an integer, I simply increment that integer. If it isn’t, I strip the housenumber of all of the non-integer characters, then increment the resulting integer.

This works, for example, to increment “26a” to “27”, but it won’t work for something like “19-100” to “19-101”.

Thanks for the explanation. Given a few house numbers, the prediction in Vespucci handles odd and even numbers correctly too, which is useful.

This app currently doesn’t work with OSM data, I don’t see much reason for it to right now.

So the output is a .osm file which effectively just contains markers? For example, if I add numbers for three houses in the app, I’ll have to add those numbers to the houses again in JOSM?

I've almost developed an alternative to Keypad Mapper 3, Streetcomplete and Osmpad for adding housenumbers


This looks like a promising way for improving address coverage in OpenStreetMap. I’d probably lean towards “Address Mapper” or similar as the name. (I’m not sure about the “Housemapper” suggestion since the app presumably isn’t limited to just houses.)

I have a few other comments:

  • The address prediction logic in Vespucci works reasonably well. Have you looked at that?
  • Please support switching to a keyboard so that house names can be entered too.
  • You mention you want to add direct upload to OpenStreetMap. What happens with the data now? Also, I’m unclear if this is just adding markers, or actually changing OSM data directly. (Sorry if I’ve missed something.)
  • For imagery, can you use Editor Layer Index?
  • It would be great if the app could also support splitting buildings (like Terracer, and also splitting on arbitrary points, and at half way along one not necessarily straight edge).

Thanks :)

Whitechurch, Co. Cork map update

It’s not really an algorithm for detecting mismatched addr:street–it’s just a visualisation tool. Detecting the mismatches is left up to users for exactly the sort of reasons you mention: sometimes a property might appear to be on a particular road but is accessed from a different road. There are so many edge cases with addressing.

Whitechurch, Co. Cork map update

Great work! I never tire of seeing improvements to the map like this.

Recently I discovered the JOSM Coloured Streets style. This is really useful for address mapping. I wish I’d discovered it earlier. It shows streets, buildings, and address nodes on the same street in the same colour. This makes it easy to spot buildings tagged with the wrong addr:street at a glance. It also clearly shows buildings with addr:housenumber or addr:housename (you must enable the latter in the settings) but no addr:street. I know the JOSM validator does this check too, but with Coloured Streets you can see the problem immediately.

Since I’m probably not explaining it well, this screenshot should help:

JOSM Coloured Streets style illustration

Ashcombe House, Outwoods, and Beechwood are in pink and therefore have an addr:street of Stanley Road, when they should be on Ashley Road. The mistake would not be obvious otherwise.

As with any other JOSM style, it’s easy to toggle on and off, or to temporarily hide by switching to wireframe mode if the colours become overwhelming or distracting.

(EDIT: Only available 2023 onwards) High quality imagery of buildings and HOUSENUMBERS (!!!) available in London! Why is no-one talking about this?

@Richard: thanks for the correction. I’m glad to be wrong in this case :)

(EDIT: Only available 2023 onwards) High quality imagery of buildings and HOUSENUMBERS (!!!) available in London! Why is no-one talking about this?

I share your enthusiasm for improving UK address coverage, but alas I don’t think these maps can be used. The maps themselves are out of copyright, but the company who digitised them seems to assert copyright over the images.

Initial Mapper Experience

Great work! I never tire of seeing such progress on the map, and it’s all the more inspiring when it’s from a new mapper.

When I started mapping, I often wasn’t sure how to map things. I’ve found chatting to other mappers on IRC (particularly in #osm-gb) very helpful. There are some very experienced mappers in that channel.

Specifically for terraces, I think it’s better to have each house within a terrace mapped separately. For rectangular-shaped buildings, it’s quick and easy to do this with JOSM’s Terracer plugin. Adding addresses can be fiddly when the terrace name differs from the street name (see SK53’s interesting article about this), but this isn’t OpenStreetMap’s fault. Our world is complicated and messy, and if OpenStreetMap is to accurately reflect it, some complexity is unavoidable.

Please keep up the good mapping!

Three years with OSM.

Hi John,

Great work! I’ve had a look around Sheffield on the map and I see lots of your work.

I spent a long time adding public rights of way around Cheltenham, though not quite as systematically or rigorously as you. The sheer number and total length of rights of way in England never ceases to amaze me. In Gloucestershire alone, the total length is longer than the entire coastline of England.

It would be good if you could add the prow_ref tag. Robert Whittaker’s excellent site has more details about local authorities which have released details of their rights of way as open data. Map The Paths is useful too.

For anyone else reading this, a few years ago I published an article about mapping Britain’s paths in OpenStreetMap.


Updating the North Carolina Mountains-to-Sea Trail

Excellent work. I’ll probably never walk this trail (or even a significant part of it) but it makes me happy to see so many hiking trails being added to OpenStreetMap :)