Sun 12 Mar 2017

Walkers map - walking.openstreetmap.uk (or similar)

Nick Whitelegg Public Seen by 439

This thread is for discussing ideas for a specific walkers' map.


Nick Whitelegg Sun 12 Mar 2017

Hello everyone,

As you may know I've been taking an interest in OSM from a walker's perspective since the early days and I thought it would be a good time to gather ideas about a specific walkers' map (walking.openstreetmap.uk or similar as suggested in the other thread).

I would (time permitting) be keen to work on the coding side of this - but I do not have good web design/HCI/UX skills and there are better cartographers out there - so will leave those aspects to someone else. ;-)

In terms of my own ideas I'd imagine something a bit like the OS maps would work well, maybe Landranger colour scheme (red ROWs stick out nicely, augmented perhaps by magenta or orange permissive tracks) but with a detail level more like that of the 1:25000 maps. Contours/hill shading could come from OS Open Data - I have been using that myself.

In terms of features, the following are already implemented or partly implemented on my own Freemap site and so should be fairly easy to port:
- search (obviously!)
- Add information to map as markers e.g. footpath directions where path is hard to follow, sites of historical interest, good views, difficulties etc.
- Allow users to create walk routes - which could become self-describing by using the annotations above together with nearby OSM POIs e.g. pubs (show ales served by pub, etc)

Other features - not implemented yet:

  • highlight paths with no designation tag, to encourage people to add designation. Map should allow users to edit the live OSM database by attaching tags to existing paths
  • "league tables" of parishes etc to encourage people to survey
  • Overlay council data on the map. People should NOT just copy this verbatim, but it can be used to find non-existent paths. It should be made clear to people that DESIGNATION, COURSE OF PATH ETC CAN ONLY BE TAKEN FROM GROUND SURVEY!

Any further ideas?

Another, accompanying idea: an "easy ROW survey" app. This is something I've thought about for a while... a relatively non-techy user could go for a walk, and use a simple app where they select "footpath", "bridleway" etc each time the ROW type changes. They could also add POIs - stiles, gates etc. This then records a GPS trace with several segments (s), eachtagged with the designationsof that segment of the walk. This could be uploaded to a server, then "expert" users could add the ROW as an OSM way using standard editors (e.g. a JOSM plugin to show these 'tagged' GPS traces in different colours depending on ROW designation).

If people are keen on this project I'll start up a github repo for it. In initial stages of development, a plain OSM map will be used - obviously later a custom rendering will be in place.

Incidentally do we have server space? If not it can probably live on my own server.



Robert Whittaker Sun 12 Mar 2017

I'd definitely like to see better rendering of Rights of Way and named walking routes on a UK map. Whether this is best as a seperate walking map, or just included in a more general UK-specific rendering, I'm not sure.

Some of your "not implemented yet" features are already in my PRoW tools at http://robert.mathmos.net/osm/prow/ and http://robert.mathmos.net/osm/prow/progress/ in particular. Though admitedly the latter only covers two counties at the moment. (I'm waiting for other councils to release their GIS data under OGL3 so it's usable in OSM.)


Adam Hoyle Sun 12 Mar 2017

So far my primary interest with OSM has been from a walkers / footpaths angle, so I'm definitely up for assisting with this in anyway I can. I'm also not sure whether this should be a totally separate map or not, but maybe there is some detailed data (stiles etc) that might be better kept on a separate map.

At the initial meeting there was discussion of a making an app, so perhaps the app ideas above can be folded in - certainly it would be awesome if I could add details like stiles / kissing gates / direction signs / cough pubs etc when I'm out on a walk, as I don't always get around to it when I get back home.

I definitely agree on the colour scheme being heavily inspired by OS Landranger - anecdotally some walkers I have shown OSM to have found it hard to read, because it looks different to what they are used to - I suspect using land ranger inspired colours will reduce this confusion and may help to increase adoption.

Personally I'd like un-designated paths to show up, so I can fix them, but I'm slightly nervous about showing them to people wouldn't have the time / inclination to edit the map and putting them off using it.



RobJN Sun 12 Mar 2017

Have you see Grough maps? I think it may be close to what you want.


Incidentally do we have server space? If not it can probably live on my own server.

I'm curious - if you can host this yourself then how come the need for OSM UK company? I ask because we are going to have a very limited budget at first and need to validate all ideas against our Company aims. I think the app idea helps here maybe we focus on that first??


Nick Whitelegg Mon 13 Mar 2017

Yes, I think I saw the grough map a while back... something like that with additional features maybe good.

In terms of "why use OSM UK", I feel that if a project is an "official OSM UK" thing, it would invite more contributors (particularly, as I say, people who could help out on the design/UX aspects) rather than it just being my own project.

Maybe though as you say focus on the app. I have thought for a while, as I said, that an "easy" OSM surveyor that your casual user could contribute to easily, in the way that I described, would invite more contributors - ROWs are still missing in many parts of the country.

Directly "dumping in" a simplified GPX trace to OSM could of course lead to all sorts of problems, hence my idea of an approach to alert experienced editors to add the data in JOSM as I described above.

We'd need some sort of server to hold the traces from the app, which a JOSM plugin could talk to - would be happy to use my own server space for this.

I think we'd need a rendering to make this work (i.e. allow users to know where the gaps are) I already have an app which uses mapsforge to render UK ROWs, so this could be rolled in.

Easy surveying of POIs would of course be a good idea.

So maybe yes, we should focus on this first.



RobJN Mon 20 Mar 2017

In terms of "why use OSM UK", I feel that if a project is an "official OSM UK" thing, it would invite more contributors.

Thanks Nick. I understand that :-) Just got to see how we can do that without falling into any pitfalls (e.g. people leeching of our servers, lack of consensus on design etc). Will leave that to those with more experience than me.


Dan S Mon 13 Mar 2017

Hi - please could you start a separate thread about the "app"? I know there's overlap in the conversation, but it'd be better for the app proposal to be a clear topic.


Nick Whitelegg Mon 13 Mar 2017

OK will do.


Adam Hoyle Thu 20 Apr 2017

Hi @nickwhitelegg I'm not sure if this has been said out loud or not...

There's a strong desire for OSMUK to make a UK specific map render, which would of course include walking specific information, and having discussed it with the other OSMUK Directors, we'd really love it if you'd like to take the lead on this, with me providing support and a connection back to OSMUK. I have no real experience putting a custom map render (aside from a little tinkering with map box), but I'm keen to get my hands dirty. Do let me know if you'd be interested in doing this and hoping you say "yes", we can work out how to get it moving on :-)


Nick Whitelegg Wed 3 May 2017

Yes, I would very much like to - thanks. Sorry... I completely missed this !!! :-)