The power of OSM

Posted by rene78 on 24 May 2018 in English (English)

I would like to recount an interesting encounter I had during a bike trip in Myanmar. In December 2016 I cycled from Yangon/Myanmar to Kuala Lumpur/Malaysia. Beforehand I was armchair mapping some tracks east of Bago, Myanmar in order to avoid the stinky and noisy main road and slightly short-cut the trip. Later I used OsmAnd+ to navigate those tracks.

It was precisely on these roads in the middle of nowhere - Google Maps is literally blank there - where I met a female solo bike traveller. She used to navigate and was using ‘my’ roads to go into the opposite direction.

Quite entertaining to see the real world impact of all our mapping efforts.

Here is a picture of one of those newly mapped roads at a slightly different location.

Location: Waw Township, Bago District, East Bago Region, Bago Region, Myanmar

Comment from Firefishy on 24 May 2018 at 22:18

Awesome! Happy mapping.

Comment from Warin61 on 24 May 2018 at 22:58

Wish more people would ‘virtually visit’ and adding anything they can see to OSM before physically visiting places. This aids their trip, helps them add things while they are there too.

Comment from bdiscoe on 30 May 2018 at 15:47

As the third-most-contribution armchair mapper in OSM, this story delights me. My countless mapping hours count!

Comment from Werner17a on 7 December 2018 at 10:11

Hi Rene

you do have a lot of edits! I do it the same way as you, first armchair and then riding - here in Bali and other islands. And I also ran into some bikers using my work on some 3rd party apps. One question I have to you as an experienced mapper (and biker): I would like to highlight roads/paths which are great alternatives to busy congested ones. Is there a way in OSM to do that? I know there is the MTB classification, but that only applies to off-road. Any other idea?

Comment from Warin61 on 7 December 2018 at 10:41

The only road bicycle specific one is to make a bicycle route relation. The wiki says something about it having to be marked. It also says something about it being in use. I take the view that it must be helpfull to bicycle riders. The parts of the world ‘we’ are talking about don’t have the infrastructure nor funds to mark out these routes .. they would rather feed their populations. So I would ignore the requirement that the route be marked. You will probably find local cyclist use it too. I look forward to how others would mark it so as to identify it as a bicycle friendly way to go.

Comment from rene78 on 9 December 2018 at 00:44

Hi Werner,

I’m pretty sure that there used to be tags to describe the “sexyness” of a road for cyclists. I just tried to find some information about the tags but couldn’t find any. Strange. But definitely very useful once apps actually start to take advantage of this information!

Regards Rene

Comment from Werner17a on 9 December 2018 at 22:54

Thanks Rene! I did in the past as you suggested, making a route relation. It showed up in many navigation apps as a highlighted route - similar to those Michelin maps that had a green shadow under the roads that were very scenic. But some of the OSM community rebuked that and it was deleted when there was a HOT operation here in Bali after the volcano eruption.

You are right - here in Asia there are no signposted bicycle routes and it would be great if we could use that feature.

Happy mapping & biking….Werner

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