August 27, 2008

Putting Rainford on the Map

As I mentioned in the previous entry, I've started playing around a little with the OpenStreetMap project. What's that then?

Well, it's kind-of Wikipedia for maps. It's a collaborative project where anyone and everyone can edit and improve a street map of the world.

Why not just use Google maps? Well, it means that over time the OSM will become much more detailed than any of the other maps because so many more people can maintain it; sometimes the OSM is much more up-to-date than the competitors; and because the data is free it means that people can produce specialized maps easily - like this excellent cycle map.

Anyway, given that I've had a few weeks living back in the village where I grew up, and as I've now got a phone with a built-in GPS, and because currently on the OSM Rainford looks like this:

Screenshot of the OSM map of Rainford before any of my mapping

I've been gathering some GPS trails ready to start putting Rainford on the map. I've found that TrailExplorer is a much better app for tracking where I've been using my N95, and far superior in that respect to the Nokia "give up after a kilometre or so" Sports Tracker app.

The next step is to start turning those GPS traces into actual streets and features on the map. You don't have to have access to a GPS to add to the map though, there are plenty of streets that no-one has named, and you can always trace the roads from the aerial view or add extra information like the location of post boxes or pubs, or mark which roads have cyclepaths alongside.

Have a poke round your neighbourhood on the OSM and see if there's anything you can add, and you can see how I get on by looking at the current state of Rainford.


Posted by Adrian at August 27, 2008 03:00 PM | TrackBack

This blog post is on the personal blog of Adrian McEwen. If you want to explore the site a bit further, it might be worth having a look at the most recent entries or look through the archives or categories over on the left.

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