July 07, 2015

" User's Diaries"

New ScoutSigns release - now with Mapillary power!

ScoutSigns is a JOSM plugin developed by my colleagues here at Telenav that displays speed limit signs (and a few other types) as a layer in JOSM. These signs are detected by users of our global Scout app if they opted in and have their phone mounted on the windshield. This is a pretty good source of sign information ready to be mapped!


JOSM showing Scout detected signs in ScoutSigns in Hamburg, Germany

Recently, Mapillary started detecting all kinds of signs in their millions of user-uploaded street view images. What would make more sense than collaborating with them to display their detected traffic signs right along with ours in Scout Signs? That's exactly what we did!


JOSM showing Scout (red) and Mapillary (blue) detected signs in ScoutSigns in Hamburg, Germany

With this new release, JOSM mappers can unleash the power of the fast growing Mapillary imagery right in your favorite OSM editor! I have updated the ScoutSigns manual with some details about the new Mapillary functionality.

I am excited to have worked with Mapillary to expose their fantastic number of recognized signs to the power JOSM mapping community! I am going to make this a brief blog post because I want to do some more speed limit mapping :)

If you have ScoutSigns installed already, it will update automatically the next time you start JOSM. If you haven't tried ScoutSigns yet, look for it in the JOSM Plugins preference pane.

Happy mapping!

by mvexel at July 07, 2015 08:24 PM

San Francisco data imports, anyone?

Thanks so much to the Mapbox Data Team who traced all the building footprints in San Francisco, California last year!

However, I think it's time to start giving our buildings the next bit of love: addresses. I checked and found a stagnant import proposal from 2010. Maybe it's time to reboot that? If you're interested in importing addresses for San Francisco, join in the conversation on the San Francisco Address Import wiki page

The other thing that our buildings lack is height data. Perhaps we could import that too? I started a page for that discussion here: San Francisco Building Height Import. Feel free to let me know if that's a terrible idea.

by Alan at July 07, 2015 02:35 AM

July 06, 2015

" User's Diaries"

OSMAnd+ for my too-Smartphone

I have avoided having and carrying a smartphone, for their lack of security, until now. I have a new CPO BMW X5 with a particularly uninformative dashboard engine display. I DL'd an app to display under the hood, and for that I needed a Galaxy S5.

Leveraging the value I DL'd OSMAnd+ intending to use it as general GPS tracker and route finder on my bicycle.

by Doug Huffman at July 06, 2015 10:34 PM

Hola Comunidad!

Buenas tardes chic@s, permitidme me presente:

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by Gafasdesolonline at July 06, 2015 04:57 PM

Outreachy - Week Six

Dear all,

Here is my weekly update on my Outreachy project.

#Week No: Six

##Target Milestone: Adding content to the Export Tool

###Summary: Help and About pages need revision and the coming week will be utilized in that.

by Arushi Vashist at July 06, 2015 07:59 AM

Relato do Encontro OSM Brasília - Julho/2015

 From left to right: Wille, Jadson, Linhares and Luiz Carlos.

Fizemos mais um encontro da comunidade OpenStreetMap de Brasília no último sábado! Além de mim e de Linhares, tivemos a presença de Jadson e Luiz Carlos, que nunca haviam editado, mas que já possuíam interesse no OpenStreetMap.

Após nos encontrarmos em um café, saímos para mapear uma quadra comercial de Brasília. Essa quadra fica próxima do Setor Bancário e do Setor de Autarquias Sul, assim possui muitos restaurantes e é uma área onde circula muita gente durante a semana. Fizemos o mapeamento de todos os pontos de interesse utilizando um mapa impresso no Field Papers. Após a caminhada pela quadra, retornamos ao café para inserir os dados no OSM utilizando o iD.

Results of the mapping party in Brasília. July-2015

No mês de agosto, pretendemos realizar mais um evento, dessa vez será no Calango Hacker Clube, o hackerspace de Brasília. Assim que confirmado, posto as informações aqui.

by wille at July 06, 2015 12:52 AM

July 05, 2015

" User's Diaries"

Potlatch 2: bookmarks

A new little feature for Potlatch 2: you can add a bookmark for your current location, accessible via a new 'Bookmarks' dropdown menu. Use the 'Add' button at the bottom of the menu to add a new one. It works pretty much like every bookmarks menu you've ever used, to be honest.

There's also a new trademark obscure keypress, 'N', which moves to the other end of the currently selected way.

by Richard at July 05, 2015 05:19 PM

Shaun McDonald

Cycle Ipswich Infrastructure Tour May 2015

On 30th May 2015, I led a Cycle Infrastructure Tour around Ipswich. It was an excellent day where we had people from Cambridge, London, and Edinburgh, along with locals including Andrea McMillan who is writing the Cycling Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) for Ipswich Borough Council.

There’s a route map shown at the bottom, and photos are clickable to either a larger version, or through to the Mapillary page so you have the location and nearby photos too.

We started at Ipswich Railway Station and had a discussion regarding the future plans, including the change to the layout inside Ipswich Station, and some of the current issues, such as the cycle parking being tucked away around the back, and not sign posted, which should hopefully be improved as part of the station redevelopment.

On departing the station, a couple of police officers noted that it was the first occasion that they had seen the Bike and Go bikes out in use. This isn’t surprising considering you can’t rock up at the station and hire a bike, instead you need to plan at least a week in advance to sign up online. There is no automated process at the station either, so you have to wait in the queue for a member of staff to get the key for you.

On departing the station we crossed the road and headed along to the cycle path on the pavement, to the side of the Encore hotel. It was noted there is a lot of cycle parking, however it’s not sign posted, sheltered, nor in an optimal configuration as some of the stands wouldn’t be able to be used when there were bikes in some of the stands. It’s almost as though the developer was required to include some cycle parking for the site (which includes residential and shops), so placed in one corner, rather than spread around the site.

Suboptimal cycle parking layout

Suboptimal cycle parking layout

We then headed over the Sir Bobbie Robson Bridge, which is a cycle and pedestrian bridge which was put in as part of the developer to the south of the river. At times it can be a bit on the narrow side thus significantly slowing down cyclists. A wider bridge would reduce the level of cycle/pedestrian conflict. After the bridge we turned left to join NCN51 westbound.

Sir Bobby Robson bridge

Sir Bobby Robson bridge

At the 2 large London Road junctions we had a short discussion highlighting that the junctions are designed for large amounts of motor vehicular traffic, with pedestrians and cyclists significantly inconvenienced by having to way 2 or 3 times to cross the road. On some of the lights it was difficult to see the red and green man when standing close to the signal due to the angle they were looked at. Due to the time that pedestrians have to wait they often cross in a gap in the traffic instead of waiting.

On heading up London Road, the visitors from London noted that there were already bus stop bypasses in existence as you were cycling along the pavement legally. However few people recognise them as such.

London Road bus stop bypass

London Road bus stop bypass

Just past the London Road allotments there is an pedestrian access route into the residential areas, however there are some significant barriers in the way, which make it difficult to use. Enabling this for cycle use and sign posting the route would mean that people have a mostly traffic free route from Chantry via London Road and NCN51 into Ipswich town centre.

At the junction of London Road and Robin Drive there was a discussion regarding the double dog leg crossing which makes it difficult for pedestrians and cyclists to cross as they have to wait 3 times to cross London Road. Also if you are on a bike with a long wheelbase or have a trailer, extreme care is required to get the corners right for the dog legs.

The parallel residential part of London Road is generally nice to cycle along due to the low levels of motor traffic, and the hedge between you and the main road. This separation is a common design element that is used in The Netherlands. However the road could do with being resurfaced as it’s getting uneven, so can be tough to cycle on.

London Road parallel residential road

London Road parallel residential road

At the next junction it was noted that the cycle path (on the pavement) that leads from Suffolk One just stops at the traffic lights, rather than there being a toucan crossing to allow people to cross the road safely. There is a significant issue where the students at Suffolk One drive there and there is no car parking for students. This was a deliberate decision to discourage driving, however due to the distances that students need to travel and little alternative transport, they just park in the local to the annoyance of the neighbours. Small things like a missing toucan crossing at the end of a cycle path contribute towards people not walking and cycling.

Cycling along Scrivener Drive, Shepherd Drive, and the start of Hawthorn Drive was rather intimidating due to the narrow road width and heavy traffic, particularly coming from the A12 and A14. Something needs to be done to make friendlier alternative routes in the area for people on bikes.

Shepherd Drive

Shepherd Drive

The rest of Hawthorn Drive has a significant issue which is resolvable with minimal impact on motor traffic. The road is wide with a houses on both sides, and occasionally shops, amenities, etc, with grass verges which are often parked on, even so there is space in most front gardens. There is also a problem of traffic islands, where drivers will try to squeeze past you. It’s a rather intimidating experience, especially if you are not able to cycle fast.

It would be possible to remodel the road such that there is the pavement, separate cycle path, parking, traffic lanes, parking, separate cycle path, and finally the pavement on the other side of the road. There would be some points where there would only be cycle parking on one side of the road only, or not at all near junctions. This design would be typical of a Dutch distributer road, and would mean that the local school children have a safe route to walk and cycle to school. There are many schools within a small area, so this would be a big impact, especially with the current significant complaints about the school run problem.

Hawthorn Drive

Hawthorn Drive

Hawthorn Drive

Hawthorn Drive

At the Hawthorn Drive/Mallard Way roundabout we had a discussion regarding the roundabout, as it’s significantly larger than many other busier roundabouts in the town, yet has very low traffic volumes, and has very wide corners so drivers can go round it with only small reduction of speed, and could easily injure a pedestrian or cyclist. Someone pointed out that the roads were probably originally designed so that the grass verges could be changed into an additional car lane instead at a later stage. Mallard Way could get a similar treatment to the suggestion for Hawthorn Drive.

Hawthorn Drive Roundabout

Hawthorn Drive Roundabout

We then heading along Stone Lodge Lane West, Birkfield Drive (which has the space for similar treat meant to Hawthorn Drive and Birkfield Drive), and into Carolbrook Road, where we followed a cycle path through Ellenbrook Open Space to reach National cycle network route 1 to head back into town. This section of NCN 1 is off road, and one of the better sections through Ipswich, however it’s very short before you are back on the road again.

Heading along NCN1 on Stoke Park Drive can be rather scary, and isn’t somewhere I would be keen on taking young children due to the cycle lanes stopping for traffic islands where motor vehicle drivers regularly try to squeeze past you. I’ve seen occasions where car drivers accelerate past on the other side of the road on the wrong side of the island, or cut in just before the island. The cycle lane is less than the 1.5 metres wide, and it’s hard to fit a bike in never mind  including some passing distance. Towards the end there is a right turn into Bourne Park, which wouldn’t be easy for less experienced cyclists.

Stoke Park Drive

Stoke Park Drive

The cycle path through Bourne Park is pretty rough gravel, and is tough going for adults, and extremely difficult for young children to learn to ride a bike. If there was a smooth surface through the park, and around it to make a circuit, there would be an ideal environment for children to learn to ride a bicycle, and play in the park. This is something that is really needed in this part of town, as there are few places which are safe traffic free environments for children to learn.

Bourne Park

Bourne Park

On heading out of Bourne Park the NCN route swings north just to run parallel to the rail line along a narrow path which is overgrown with vegetation, and sometimes has flytipping at the north end. It’s not a pretty sight considering it’s the flagship national cycle route 1, and non standard bikes would struggle to get along the route.

NCN1 by railway near Bourne Park

NCN1 by railway near Bourne Park

To save us going up and down a hill, and to also see another bit of cycle infrastructure, we headed off the NCN1 temporarily and headed along Wherstead Road. This is one of the main routes into town from the south, and connects with the A14. The road starts wide and gets narrower, particularly at the point where it goes under a rail bridge (for goods trains to get into the Port of Ipswich). Shortly after the rail bridge, there is a cycle access off on to the quieter residential streets and a toucan crossing. The cycle slip road requires you to come off the road at an angle which means that you either have to slow down and/or swing out in the middle of the road. Alternatively you can follow the route many in the group choose and head on to the pavement early which was a more natural route to follow. It would be a fairly cheap change to remove the railing and increase the dropped kerb, which would make it safer. The point where the cycle path joins the road is rather tight and there would be problems for people with cargo bikes or trailers.

Wherstead Road 1

Wherstead Road 1

Wherstead Road 2

Wherstead Road 2

Wherstead Road 2

Wherstead Road 3

Onwards we rejoined NCN1 again briefly and headed quickly to The Brewery Tap via the waterfront as we were running a little behind schedule at this point. The waterfront has some traffic free sections, and has some heavy pedestrian use. This makes is problematic at weekends and in the evenings when there are heavy pedestrian flows. I have come across a regular local cyclist who didn’t realise that it is two way for cyclists, whilst only one way for motor vehicles.


After lunch we headed up Cliff Lane and followed National Cycle Route 51 out to Ravenswood. At the junction of Cliff Lane and the entrance to Holywells Park we stopped for a chat. There’s a significant school run problem in the area (which has been on BBC Radio Suffolk in the past). There is also a similar issue with people driving to visit the park often with children.

During the cycle along NCN51 to Ravenswood, the Londoners on the ride noted how quiet the residential streets were. This is in part due to the route being filtered, and the residential roads being the furthest possible from the main access routes to the residential area. It is a much longer route, and many locals will choose shorter routes, such as Clapgate Land and Nacton Road instead, especially into town downhill, as it’s much faster and more direct. The NCN51 route is quieter, safer, and sign posted.

At the point the Morland Road joins to the cycle path through to Raeburn Road there is currently a confusing NCN51 sign for people coming from the east, which suggests the route is into town only. Either that sign should be taken down, or it should be updated to show the route goes in both directions. Turning right takes you into town, and left towards Ravenswood and Felixstowe.

Morland Road

Morland Road

Ravenswood is a fairly new build housing estate, built on the old Ipswich Airport (final flight January 1998). The estate was designed to be environmentally friendly with many cycle and foot paths, limited car space, traffic calming measures and a frequent bus link into the town centre.

Through Ravenswood the NCN51 cycle path is very good if you are passing through the area, as there is minimal interaction with motor vehicles. However if you are trying to get from the main cycle paths on to the residential streets, it is very difficult to do so, and the cycle paths are around half the width they need to be. Often you have to cycle on the road where drivers can be rather intimidating. Ravenswood has one of the highest cycle to school rates in the county.



On the edge of the Ravenswood estate there have been 4 new major chain restaurants built in the past year. Sheltered cycle parking has been provided, however little consideration has been given to how you get from the cycle paths of the car park to the cycle parking. It’s as though it’s been stuck in some unused corner as a requirement of the planning permission, rather than properly planning the cycle parking in so that it is easy to get to.

Ravenswood restaurant cycle parking

Ravenswood restaurant cycle parking

The staggered toucan crossing on Ravenswood Avenue by The Thrasher roundabout is quite tough to use on a bike, especially if you are in a group of people on bikes, have a trailer on the bike, or a cargo bike, the crossing becomes very difficult. Some of the tight corners at junctions within the estate are also very difficult with non-standard bikes.

We then headed through Futura Park which is a new retail area built in November 2012. There were some additional racks added by Waitrose and John Lewis shortly after they opened as they were fully utilised in the first week of opening. There is legalised pavement cycling for people to get to and from the shops, however once you get to the main road, Ransomes Way, the pavements get rather narrow. Also the plans for the junction outside the Sainsburys and Homebase will require people to plan ahead if they want to cross with the toucan crossing. Ransoms Way is also having the 2 lanes (1 each way) turned into 3 lanes (2 towards roundabouts, and one leaving roundabouts). I’d rather a cycle track or possibly a wider pavement to be implemented instead to reduce the conflict with pedestrians, and encourage more people to cycle to the shops.

Heading along Felixstowe Road back into town, cyclists start on the pavement, and around the borough boundary cyclists are taken on to the road in a cycle lane with heavy and fast (40 mph speed limit) traffic and no protection between cyclists and the motor vehicles. Just after the roundabout we stopped on Bixley Road for a quick discussion. I have seen families walking their bikes around the roundabout and then getting back on to cycle on the pavement afterwards. This roundabout is a stumbling point for encouraging more people to cycling due to the crucial link it provides with various parts of the town, including being on the main ring road route of the town.

Felixstowe Road

Felixstowe Road

Due to the heavy motor traffic on Bixley Road, I chose a route that took us on to quieter back roads pretty quickly along Princethorpe Road, Temple Road, Chilton Road, Foxhole Road, and Heath Lane where you get to a cycle path, which is a back entrance to Copleston High School, and the end of the back access road to the hospital. However it looks from the signage that you can’t cycle in this direction to get to the hospital, even so it would be a useful link to the hospital avoiding the main roads.

Hospital back entrance oddity

Hospital back entrance oddity

We stopped within the hospital grounds on NCN1 to discuss the hospital cycle access. The main A&E has some good quality sheltered cycle parking, however cyclists are expected to share the road with motor vehicles. Other departments have large cycle parks near their entrances, however it’s generally of the wheel bender designs, so people will try to lock their bike in a similar manner to a Sheffield stand, such that the bike is supported. Some of the cycle parking could be better sign posted for example similar to a bus stop flag post to encourage usage, and so that people can see the cycle parking from a distance. The north cycle path on to Woodbridge Road doesn’t connect with other cycle routes well, nor gives a nice transition back on to the road.

Hospital cycle parking 1

Hospital cycle parking 1

Hospital Cycle parking 2

Hospital Cycle parking 2

Hospital Cycle parking 3

Hospital Cycle parking 3

From the hospital we followed National Cycle route 1 back into town, on the way we stopped off on Rope Walk, which is seen to be one of the best cycling facilities in the town as through motor traffic stopped on this section of road, and it means there is a safe reasonably quiet route from here into town. Just beforehand, Kings Avenue and Milner Street are a significant rat run in the morning peak, and need to have the rat run closed to through traffic to make the route more pleasant and also reduce motor vehicle congestion since drivers on St Helens Street are letting drivers out which then reduces the flow of vehicles from entering the traffic lights at the bottom of Grove Lane, Spring Road, and Warwick Road.

Rope Walk

Rope Walk

At the junction of Rope Walk, Waterworks Street and Bond Street, there is an interesting arrangement whereby cyclists just have to give way to traffic from the left and don’t need to wait for the green light. It can be a bit narrow to get through if you are on a wide cargo bike or have a bike trailer.

Rope Walk and Waterworks Street Junction

Rope Walk and Waterworks Street Junction

We headed through the town centre which was quite quiet with it being the end of the day. We stopped off in Arlingtons Cafe to have a final discussion and review of the day.

The was a lot to look at, and several other places I’d have liked to have gone to discuss too. I’m planning to run some more rides at a slower pace so that there can be more discussion at the stops.

by smsm1986 at July 05, 2015 05:08 PM

" User's Diaries"

Belgian Mapper of the Month: Escada

Since some members of the Mapper of the month team have been on holiday and the people we contacted for an interview prefered to stay anonymous, we have to use this backup scenario of an interview of Escada. Nevertheless, we hope you enjoy reading it. The French and Dutch translation will be available later this week on

Marc Gemis is a 48 year old software engineer for a multi-national in Mortsel. His largest passion are his dogs, which he walks every day. His nickname, escada is the name of one of his dogs.

When did you discover OpenStreetMap?

Marc and his dogs during a survey I have always walked a lot with the dogs. Until 2011 this were often the same walks, or walks that are described in the Lannoo-guides. We did not walk every weekend or evening because I also trained for and participated in agility-trails. Unfortunately my competition dog got injured and I had to stop with the sport. This meant that I would have more time for walks. Since I wanted to discover more of Belgium, I bought an outdoor GPS-device.

The idea was to download trails from and follow those. From the moment that I found out that a good map for walking costed as much as the device, I started looking for cheaper alternatives. That's I how I arrived at The map that was available via that site, seemed sufficient for my purposes.

Soon after installing the map on the device, I noticed that several smaller paths and tracks were missing in my home town. I subscribed to the Belgian maling list to learn how I could add those missing pieces. I got plenty of advice and one user, Polyglot also showed me which other data was missing and how that could be added. At that moment, he mainly talked about house numbers and bus stops.

Do you use OpenStreetMap yourself ?

From the above, you can deduce that I use OpenStreetMap on my Garmin-device, from the moment I discovered it. Furthermore, I will always use when I want to let my friends know about the start position of a walk. From time to time I use Grapphopper]( or OSRM, to find out beforehand how long a trip will take. Both routing engines are now also available on the website.

Recently, I bought my first smartphone. The main reason was to allow me to start using OsmAnd for car navigation. During our hollidays I also used it as a guide in some towns.

How do you map ?

As said in the introduction, I take the dogs out for a daily walk. This means that almost every day I find something new to map. The evening walks are usually close to home, while I make little trips all over Belgium during the weekend. Most of those trips are planned so I will discover a new part of some walking network. A walking network is layed out by the tourist office and allows each individual to create her own walk using short routes between numbered nodes. Those networks are one of the things I map.

The evening walks are totally different. Some of those walks were along calm paths, because the dogs enjoy them so much, while others were typical survey walks. That mean walking up and down each street and writing down information, mainly house numbers. I have collected several thousand house numbers that way. Since the Flemish house numbers can now be imported, I do not do this type of walks as much as before.

Because I keep learning about new stuff that can be mapped, even a walk that I have done several times before can expose new data. I also started to photograph those streets for Mapillary. Although that is not always easy, especially with 4 dogs on a lead and when the sun is going under.

Which Tools do you use ?

From the first day on, I use a GPS-device to collect waypoints with information that I want to map later on. This works well for short texts, such as house numbers or objects that one meets frequently such as benches or garbage cans. I developed a whole "new" language based on abbreviations for this purpose.

Since a year or so, I take more pictures and rely less on waypoints. After all the relative position of objects is easier to see on photos. Furthermore, photos might contain details that you have missed while you were there. I take most pictures with a reflex camera. Sometimes, I try to use the smartphone as well. But in the end the GPS device and the camera are handier, since you can hang them around your neck and they are operated easily with one hand. I need the other hand to hold the leads of the dogs. I always upload the pictures to my smugmug-website, as an archive.

I immediately started mapping with JOSM for the improvement of the data. I have used the online editors, but they do not fulfil my needs. iD came in handy when I was working on some Maproulette tasks. Level0 was useful to quickly correct some tagging mistakes I made on a number of objects. I wrote a diary entry about that a while ago.

I have been working on correcting errors detected by Osmose and KeepRight, but I prefer to add new stuff that I surveyed. It seems to be that going out and collect data is more valuable as I have the impression that not a lot of people do that.

On the other hand, I enjoyed trying to fix the mistakes in my neighborhood listed by Check The Monuments. Probably, because I am more interested in that topic.

When I do not need my smartphone for navigation, I try to use it to take pictures with Mapillary. This allows me to take photos while I'm driving.

Where do you map ?

I map almost exclusively in Belgium. Of course, I also map during my holidays abroad. I have also mapped a few villages in Mongolia and Uganda. That is very relaxing, just tracing houses and path from aerial images. However, I prefer to map locally, where I am familiar with the environment.

What do you map ?

When I started mapping, I only payed attention to missing paths and the traditional Points of Interest (POI) such as shops, banks and mailboxes. It did not take long before I started mapping house numbers and bus stops. The list kept on growing when I added garbage cans, benches, picnic sites, life buoys, bicycle parkings etc.

Only during the last half year or so, I also started mapping underground fire hydrants (before that I did not know how to find them), street cabinets, markers for pipelines and the electricity cables for the local distribution. In the latter case, pictures found on Mapillary come in handy. The poles that hold those cables are often too small to be recognised on aerial images. That is perhaps the reason that they are not mapped a lot so far. There is a nice map that shows them though.

Of course, I also map the traffic signs for one ways, speed limits etc.

Since April 2014, I have been mapping the turn lanes in Flanders. Back then, I mapped a few of them, just to see the JOSM Lanes and Roads attributes style of Martin Vonwald in action. But I realised that this data could be very helpful for a car navigation program, so I continued mapping them, all over Flanders. One day I hope to be able to start in Wallonia. When I was mapping them for half a year or so, OsmAnd announced the support for this type of data. A few months later, the German community announced a project to focus on this data. They also developed a tool to view this data. It gives a nice feeling that others find this data also important.

During this virtual tour through Flanders, I occasionally saw some badly mapped crossings. However, in general the data seems complete and correct. On the other hand, I think that the data regarding the bicycle paths and lanes can be improved a lot. I have seen a lot of bad connections between the cycleways and the main roads. I also have the impression that a lot of oneway tags are missing on those cycleways, although that is hard to see on an aerial image of course. I fear that the navigation for cyclist is lacking in quality.

Thanks to the pictures on Mapillary, it is easy to map the destination signs. Finding the right picture can take some time, because the quality is not always good enough to read the signs. I hope that this will improve when more pictures become available. Those destinations are also used by OsmAnd, both on the display and as spoken navigation aids.

I also mapped many of the postal code boundaries. I had read on the German forum how they did it. Those relations turned out to be the solution to instruct Nominatim to return the correct postal code for an address. Other mappers have picked up this method and completed the postal code boundaries for Flanders. Unfortunately the administrative boundaries are often missing in Wallonia, so we cannot map the postal code boundaries.

Via Check the Monuments I discovered the historical places map. During my walks I had seen many signs for listed buildings, but never took the time to map them. In the meantime all listed buildings in Antwerp, Mechelen, Ghent and Bruges are mapped.

For each walk that I plan via a walking network, I also make a list of all historical buildings in the neighbourhood. I use a Python script that I wrote to generate a waypoint for each building. I find the list of those buildings, e.g in Sint-Pieters-Leeuw per town on wikipedia. When I am there, I check whether the building still exists and try to take a good picture of it. Those photos are placed on wikimedia. I also adapt the wikipedia page. Of course, all details about the buildings are added to OpenStreetMap.! Historical buildings and the walking network in Sint-Pieters-Leeuw

After meeting someone that had mapped the Japanese Garden in Hasselt during a meetup, I though that it would be neat to do something similar. So I visited the Open-Air Museum Middelheim (map) near Antwerp a couple of times in order to collect the data about the statues. In the meantime I should revisit the place to check the position of the statues, since they then to be moved from time to time. I also started a similar project to map all flowerbeds in the rose garden of the Vrijbroekpark in Mechelen.

Art in Middelheim viewed in OsmAnd Rose garden in umap

Why do you map ?

I like to explore new areas. The surveys give me a good excuse to do that. And of course, mapping is more useful that endlessly watching YouTube movies of playing games. And I find it relaxing as well.

I also enjoy starting little projects and experiment with unknown tags, which is one of the reasons to start mapping new stuff. This keeps it interesting as well.

What is your biggest achievement as a mapper ?

It is hard to choose between my contributions to the walking networks, the protected monuments and the turn lane mapping.

Do you do other things than just mapping ?

I have given a few introductionary presentations, e.g on OpenBelgium 2015 and at some workshop organised by Nicolas Pettiaux at the ESI in Brussels.

Furthermore I have collected a few presets that I often use in JOSM with tagging specific for Belgium. Someone made that collection available under the name BENELUX. The name is not the best in the world, but I hope it is useful for some Belgian mappers.

I also made the original English translation for the Historic Places map and their JOSM preset. I still maintain the Dutch translation for that website. Not too long ago I translated a wiki page with Overpass examples from German to English. This should make it possible to use the page in a Google Summer of Code project.

I am also part of the Belgian Mapper of the Month Team. This idea was launched by Ben Abelshausen last winter. The purpose is to put another mapper into the spotlights every month. We hope that this helps to get to know each other better and improve the community feeling. The team looks for a mapper each month, writes him or her with the questions and makes the needed translations. In the end the text is available in Dutch and French on the Belgian OpenStreetMap website and in English in my diary. The latter is done to give more exposure to the idea.

From time to time I try to help people on the help website and on one of the fora.

I also made a few simple maps with umap. Via the "Doggy map", I tried to introduce my friends from the dog world to OpenStreetMap, in the hope they would start mapping e.g. off leash areas. The map Fritures was an attempt to give more exposure to a typical Belgian form of fast food restaurant. I think it motivated some existing mappers to add some missing fritures in their neighbourhood or to adapt some incorrect tags.

Do you have ideas to expand the OpenStreetMap community ? I think we need more user-friendly applications that use "our" data. OsmAnd and and Telenav's Scout (USA-only) are good examples of such programs. I think it is a pity that we do not have a possibility to plan walks along the walking route networks, something that is possible on the wandelknooppunt-website, but that is not using OpenStreetMap data. We have so much more data such a picnic sites, parkings, historical buildinds, taverns, etc. which might power a website that should allow a user to plan her walk much better in advance.

Too many website are still focussed on mappers and to do not pay enough attention to ordinary users. This seems like a problem to me, as most people just consume data, they do not produce data.

We might have to create some projects similar to the German "weekassignments" or the English "trimester assignments" for the Belgian mappers. Given the relative success of my posting about the umap with fritures, it might help to motivate the mappers.

What is the biggest feature of OpenStreetMap?

The large diversity of data that can be combined in interesting ways, see e.g. the article on the "Het Pad van Ad" by Polyglot that combines a walking route, public transport and tourism information.

What is the biggest Challenge for OpenStreetMap ?

I have the impression that too many mappers are too focused on what they see on But, there are so many websites and applications. We should promote all of them more. Maybe the German, French or Belgian approach is better. First explain the visitors of the website that it is about the data, and that this data is used on many different websites and in different apps. After that, you can still show them a large example map. Right now, this map is still compared with Google and too many people complain that their favorite feature is not rendered as they wish.

How do you stay on top of OpenStreetMap related news ?

I try to follow about 15 mailing lists in 4 different languages. I learned a lot from the German forum. I discovered the Wochennotiz a few years ago and it seems to me that it is essential for anybody interested in OpenStreetMap. Luckily it is now also translated in several other languages. I also configured an alert on Google, which send me a mail message with new web pages related to OpenStreetMap. From time to time it contains a page that I did not see elsewhere.

Do you stay in contact with other mappers ?

I am rather active on the Belgian mailing list. I still have a lot of email conversations with Polyglot, who teached me a lot in my early days.

I try to participate in all kinds of gatherings with other mappers, such as meetups or introduction days. Furthermore I organized a few hangouts to explain some basic JOSM functionality to novice mappers. Such an introduction is not always easy via email.

When I have problems to tag something, I might directly contact other mappers for help. Sometimes the specialist cannot be found in Belgium and I do not always need the discussions that a mail to a public list generates. So far, that experience was very positive, I assume the reason is that everybody wants to make the map better.

I have been contacted myself regarding a feature that I mapped incorrectly. I was not sure of what it was, but I added a tag to a photo of the "thing". This allowed the specialist in that area to contact me, and tell me that it was a underground water reservoir for the fire department. I thought it was just an underground fire hydrant.

Anything else you want to share ?

I would recommend all beginning mappers to subscribe to the mailing list and ask for advice before starting any serious work. Not all information is provided by the editors.

by escada at July 05, 2015 10:52 AM

Processing GPS traces from a Garmin GLO.

Having purchased a Garmin GLO to "fix" the GPS problem I was having with my Nexus 5 I discovered:

  • OSMtracker doesn't log fractions of a second, causing problems with points having the same time stamp and having tracks plot strangely in JOSM
  • 10 Hz updating makes for really big files

I tried both GpsPrune and the simply way tool in JOSM but neither were entirely satisfactory. GpsPrune requires you to enter a "span factor" that is specified as a fraction of the total span of the trace (so you can't just enter a distance, you have to figure out what magic factor gives you the desired result for each trace), using JOSM you loose all of the elevation and HDOP data, and both of them have no way of specifying a maximum segment length.

The solution:

  1. Log data in NMEA format using the Ultra GPS Logger app.
  2. Simplify the track using GPS Babel:

    gpsbabel -i nmea -f input.txt -x simplify,crosstrack,error=0.0005k -x interpolate,distance=0.195k -o gpx -F output.gpx
  3. Using GpsPrune cut off the bits of the track you don't want and export to GPX.

  4. Gzip the GPX file and upload it to OpenStreetMap.

The simplifying filter uses a cross track error of 0.5m which I've found to be a good compromise between the trace smoothness and the number of data points. The interpolation is needed because JOSM by default won't draw segments longer than 200 m. I originally used distance=0.2k but this gives you a dashed line effect as each alternative segment is just a little under and a little over 200 m and 0.195k ensures that every segment will be drawn.

Here is an example from a trip from Apollo Bay to Colac with 1900 points in just over an hour of travel.

by TheSwavu at July 05, 2015 02:44 AM

July 04, 2015

OpenStreetMap Weekly Update

During July and August weeklyOSM will be taking a short summer holiday, providing monthly summaries for July (in early August) and for August (in early September).

by Madalina at July 04, 2015 02:54 PM

weekly 258 23.06.-29.06.2015


Säulendiagramm des Spendenaufkommens, eine Säule pro Tag

Donations during the fundraising campaign to finance new hardware for OSM. Chart: Nakaner – data: Frederik Ramm. [1]

About us

  • The WeeklyOSM team sends greetings to our new Brazilian OSM friends (Brasilianisches Portugisisch), who joined the weeklyOSM team: Bemvindo – or in English “Welcome”, dear friends from the country of CapoeiraCopacabanaCaipirinhaJorge Amadao e Oskar Niemeyer: Vitor, Alexandre and John, sejam bemvindo 😉
  • During July and August weeklyOSM will be taking a short summer holiday, providing monthly summaries for July (in early August) and for August (in early September).


  • provides images for remote mapping in OSM for areas where MapBox or Bing have no or poor images. An overview can be procured in the browser and then embed the image service in JOSM.
  • Fernando Trebien starts a controversial discussion regarding the difficulty of understanding and using relations in OSM for novice mappers using current editors..
  • Ture Pålsson stumbles over a common misinterpretation of the Layer tag.


OpenStreetMap Foundation

  • The fundraising goal for new server hardware has been achieved and even exceeded. The Operations Working Group OWG says thank you! Frederik Ramm has compiled some interesting data.


  • Facts and figures on SotM US 2015.
  • From September 30 to October 04 the SotM Scotland will take place in Edinburgh. The program is already partially online.
  • User Gowin reported on an OSM workshop, which recently took place in Manila in the FEU Institute of Technology.
  • In a cooperation between geoimagina and the Instituto Panamericano de Geografía e Historia the following series of events will take place in Quito: July 09 – Introduction to OSM; July 21 – Creating geoportals using free software; July 28 – Producing Goestatistics with R; August 20 – risk scenarios for the threat from tsunamis. (Spanisch)
  • Frederik Ramm is looking for volunteers from Austria, which would assist in the planning and implementation of FOSSGIS 2016.

Humanitarian OSM

  • The Humanitarian OSM Team is recruiting a short-term research post for two months. Application deadline is July 03.
  • User dkunce has completed a first three hours “office hours” question and answer session for HOT. He sums up three important questions that were put to him.


Open Data

  • The British Ministry of Environment has announced the release of 8000 UK datasets under a free license. (via @DefraGovUK)


  • A possible side effect of omitting attribution – prevention of vandalism?
  • Jan Erik Solem has questions about ODbL because Mapillary would like to use OSM data increasingly.


  • Using the OSMroute plugin it is possible to calculate routes through in QGIS.
  • The Wall Street Journal published a JavaScript library for easily creating maps with just a few clicks.
  • OsmAnd is five years old. WeeklyOSM congratulates the app, which is considered by many non-mappers as the OpenStreetMap app for Android.
  • A recent demonstration of OpenSfM to understand the smooth transition of Mapillary photos. (more but older examples in Mapillary’s blog).
  • MapBox ‘OpenGL-based map now supports a perspective view.
  • Richard Fairhurst has created Tilemaker a tool to generate vector tiles from PBF extracts.
  • Michael Zangl released a beta version of its OpenGL MapViews for JOSM, which he programmed in the context of his Google Summer of Code project.

Did you know …

Other “geo” things

by Madalina at July 04, 2015 02:36 PM

July 03, 2015

" User's Diaries"

DeepDream maps in OSM

Recently Google Research labs published details about "Deep Dream"

Its useful for visualizing how a neural net works - the neural net is asked to find images within other images. (usually its used to classify what's in an image) The result is hallucinatory, or dream like.

So I thought about how about what if we give it a map or two? here we go:

Liverpool Liverpool DeepDream

Leeds #1 leeds DeepDream

Leeds #2 leeds DeepDream Made using

by chippy at July 03, 2015 05:15 PM

OSM 3D, f4map

Колокольня и вечный огонь в Тамбове

Посмотреть на f4map

Здние университета им.Г.Р. Державина и здание Сбербанка

by lcat at July 03, 2015 04:56 PM

OpenStreetMap Spain

Añade una fuente 2015

Acabamos de entrar en verano, y este año ha comenzado de forma intensa con una ola de calor. De ahí que queramos retomar la campaña del verano 2014 Añade una fuente.Añade una fuente

¿Cómo podemos ayudar desde OpenStreetMap? Añadiendo esas fuentes que conocemos en nuestro barrio o pueblo en ya que al añadirlas se podrá consultar la ubicación de ellas desde la capa ciclista o en las diversas aplicaciones (OsmAnd, Maps Me, …) que usan los datos de OpenStreetMap.

Ejemplo: Fuentes en Sevilla

Volvemos a hacer hincapié, la idea es tan simple como añadir un nodo con la etiqueta amenity=drinking_water en aquellas localizaciones que sepamos que hay una fuente. Si quieres añadir un manantial es la etiqueta natural=spring. ¡Cuidado no confundir con las fuentes ornamentales que son amenity=fountain!


Sino sabes como funciona OpenStreetMap, no te preocupes, aquí te dejamos un manual para ello. Si quieres algo mas rápido: Manual rápido para añadir una fuente (PDF).


Gráfico con las fuentes en OpenStreetMap:

Gráfico con las fuentes por Comunidades Autónomas a fecha 3 de Julio de 2015:

¿Nos echas una mano? Muchas gracias.

vía Óscar Zorrilla

by OpenStreetMap Burgos at July 03, 2015 04:34 PM

" User's Diaries"

Playing around with 3D buildings

OSM is 3D capable, is sad that still the main page doesn't support 3D rendering with WebGL. Fortunately there are 3rth partners that do it like f4map. Kendzi plugin of JOSM is good but not enough and it only works in JOSM. After several reads the wiki of 3D buildings and trying to figure it out how the stuff works, and a lot of tries and errors, finally get some decent renders.

This is Torre Kuadra, a nice building of Quisqueya:

torre kuadra example

by renesigma at July 03, 2015 04:23 PM

First OpenStreetMap Workshop, Ghana


I was glad to lead an OpenStreetMap Workshop in Madina, Ghana. It was an introduction session and also building upon local community.

Published summary here

by Enock4seth at July 03, 2015 10:46 AM

Terroranschlag auf eine Fabrik in Saint-Aint-Quentin-Fallavier nahe Lyon

Gut eine Woche nach dem vermutlichen Terroranschlag auf eine Fabrik in Saint-Aint-Quentin-Fallavier nahe Lyon hat die französische Tageszeitung "Le Dauphiné" diese Tragödie in einer interaktiven Karte mit sämtlichen Schlüsselmomenten publiziert.

Als Grundlage dient das Kartenmaterial von OSM.

Den Beitrag kann man hier finden:

by jaltux at July 03, 2015 10:24 AM

GPS Traces for Regina

I uploaded all the GPS traces I collected while systematically biking every road in Regina last year. It should be useful for newer areas until the satellite imagery gets a refresh.

Roads added after mid-July 2014 won't have traces uploaded. I have traces for most of the new ones as I periodically bike through the areas under construction. But its a matter of figuring out which day I biked those roads. Its usually easier to just go back and ride them again.

by gecho111 at July 03, 2015 12:33 AM

July 02, 2015

Russion live OSM radio

2 июля: еженедельные задания

Bing Imagery Team куплен Uber
Ричард Фэйрхёрст написал скрипт для перевода pbf в векторные тайлы
Вышел GDAL 2.0

В гостях — Эдуард «edward17», организатор украинских еженедельных заданий. Запись первых 10 минут новостей утеряна.

Лог чатика

July 02, 2015 10:30 PM

" User's Diaries"

After the release is before the release :-)

Now that 0.9.6 is out, my focus is, naturally, on the next version. Hopefully 0.9.7 wont take quite as long to be ready, I'm fairly optimistic that we will be able to hit the planned release time frame of end of September. The larger operations on the guts of the app have already happened and should have enough time to stabilize till then.

If you are interested in what is planned see Two of the items have already progressed pretty far: putting the code in place for translating the presets and the integration of notification support.

The later was mainly written as a proof of concept early this year at the Karlsruhe hack weekend but needed some work to be really useful. Some images from Karlsruhe:

Alert on a watch (naturally works on phone too) from an error detected in the nearby OSM data

the same for a Note

and navigating to the location with OSMand

A test build with the inital (still needs a bit or work for production) alert support is available here: . You will need to turn on alert support in the advanced preferences and have "auto download" enabled in the GPS menu (if auto-download doesn't initially work try toggling the setting).

While I have your attention: one of the work items is redoing the Notes code to work more like the rest of Vespucci and allow offline use. Are there any specific wishes for how it should behave (I will likely leave a way to immediately save and close a note in the app, but the normal mode will be a bulk upload at the end of your surveying/editing session). If you have some suggestions please add them to:

by SimonPoole at July 02, 2015 08:58 PM

Gammalt nedlagt slakteri

Idag har jag provat använda openstreetmap. Försökte märka ut ett gammalt slakteri i Vilhelmina som jag vart in i, men hittade inte exakt vart det var. Hittade åt det förra hösten när jag var ute och gick på en skogsväg och träffade en gubbe i skogen som tyckte vi skulle gå dit och kolla. Det hängde krokar i taket och på väggarna stod det "the dead end" osv. Tror inte dom är så intresserad av kultur på den orten annars hade det vart perfekt kulturhus. Det är ju många däruppe som köper upp billiga hus med stora källare som dom kan odla hasch i. Det hade vart en bra och naturlig brygga mellan alla hippieanarkister och skoter- och jaktmänniskor.

Gubben bodde i en husbil. Vi avslutade vår upptäcktsfärd med att titta på filmen "Jakten för livet" i hans husvagn. Det var ganska smutsigt därinne, när jag kom hem stoppade jag in strumpbyxorna i frysen och gick och duschade.

by Nidron at July 02, 2015 01:11 PM

July 01, 2015

" User's Diaries"

Недельное задание 16: статистика

На прошлой неделе мы занимались образовательными учреждениями: школами, детскими садами и не только.

Ниже представлена статистика по этой теме с пояснениями.

Количество школ, обозначенных просто точками, уменьшилось, а линиями или отношениями - возросло. Это хороший результат: карта стала чуть более детальнее. Также может показаться странным, что общее количество школ уменьшилось. Но в этом нет ничего страшного: дело в том, что многие учреждения дополнительного образования и детские сады имели тег amenity=school.


Аналогичная ситуация с детскими садами:


Уже давно есть пропозал по обозначению заведений дополнительного образования. К ним относятся художественные, музыкальные, спортивные школы, а также автошколы и многое другое. В рамках этого недельного задания применялся данный тег, что показано на диаграмме ниже.


Кроме того, Kikenni предложил пойти ещё дальше и использовать теги из пропозала Реформы образования. Прирост в их количестве показан ниже. Надеюсь, количество этих объектов сыграет роль при голосовании за это предложение.


Ещё одним аспектом данного задания было исправление уже нанесённых школ, в частности стандартизация их названий. Об этом - на слайде:


И, традиционно, активность участников (количество отредактированных объектов каждым участником):


Кроме маппинга, была немного дополнена вики-статья о школах.

По данным сайта ResultMaps, участие приняли 5 человек. Они отправили 45 пакетов правок.

В данный момент: исправляем area=yes

by edward17 at July 01, 2015 06:37 PM

Creating .obf files for OsmAnd using Overpass Turbo API and OsmMapCreator

This is probably a tutorial you want to look at when you have just created a changeset somewhere and you want to view it in OsmAnd on your phone offline. There is another tutorial but I tried to follow the instructions and I just didn't get it. So, apologies to the authors of that tutorial if I am basically repeating them, but here we go.

Getting the Data

  1. Go to
  2. Zoom to your area of interest (if need be do a search in the search toolbar)
  3. Push "Load", which is one of the options on the top bar; go to Examples, and hit Map Call. A query will appear in the left window pane
  4. In the map window, choose "manually select bbox" (there is a little box icon under the magnifying glass and random round "locate me" thing that does this)
  5. Move the bounding box with your mouse to reflect the area you want 5a. (optional) If you want to see what this will do in your browser, hit "Run". This will, however, take time, download more data (bad if you have a poor internet connection) and possibly complain about downloading too much data
  6. Hit "Export raw data directly from Overpass API"

Converting the Data

  1. A file will download, probably called "interpreter". Move that file to wherever you are working, and rename it (we suggest using the date of download and name of the area of interest as a file name). Remember to add the extension .osm to the end of your filename (example "2015-09-21 mytown.osm"). This is important is OsmMapCreator will not recognize it otherwise.
  2. Open OsmMapCreator - instructions for this can be found in the tutorial I mentioned before. If you are having problems with it, just download the file, unzip it and run the "batch" file in that folder. (You will have to see which of those items type=batch)
  3. In OsmMapCreator, choose File > Create .obf from .osm file
  4. Choose the .osm file that you just downloaded
  5. Wait
  6. Wait more
  7. It will eventually show you a dialogue saying that it's created a file in a folder (probably something like c:/users/Yourname/osmand. You will need to locate this folder, and go find the .obf file, which will have the same name as your osm download, but with the .obf extension. Use cut and paste to get them into your working directory.

Putting it on your Phone

1.Close Osmand on your phone, put the .obf file on your phone in the osmand folder, and restart Osmand.

Hope this works for you :) Feedback appreciated!

by ccalista at July 01, 2015 06:13 PM

Points of interest in the town of Lefkas

Συμπληρωματικά δεδομένα σημεία ενδιαφέροντος για τήν πόλη της Λευκάδας του ομώνυμου νησιού. Ομάδα αλλαγών: 32333358 Additional data points of interest for the city of Lefkada island tha. Group changes: 32333358

by evgaios at July 01, 2015 02:52 PM

Unknown Pleasures

Unknown pleasures preview (Sneak preview of new data visualisation work. While playing with HOT-related time series data I realised that Harold D. Craft's classic visualisation technique was a very suitable means of illustrating certain temporal patterns...)

by dekstop at July 01, 2015 01:09 PM