Thu 18 May 2017 11:16AM

UK Map - Functionality/Features/Coding

NW Nick Whitelegg Public Seen by 397

This thread is specifically for discussing functionality and features of the UK map. There is a separate thread for cartography; this thread is more about interactive features and discussing coding issues (including choosing a server-side language, etc)


Nick Whitelegg Thu 18 May 2017 11:52AM

Hello everyone,

This thread is for discussing functionality of the UK map - cartography is in a separate thread.

I'm thinking it would be really nice to have a highly interactive map, so that when logged in, users can interact with the map and (if possible) the map instantaneously updates.

Features I have in mind include the following. Not sure how feasible the instantaneous re-rendering I've suggested would be - but here are some ideas:

Editing data:

  • users login with their standard OSM account, uses oauth to authenticate with actual OSM server
  • an easy interface for adding new POIs. The ideal would be to allow users to add POIs with instantaneous feedback on the main rendered map. Users can add a POI to the map when logged in. This updates our copy of the database, syncs with the main osm database, and flags the current tile to be re-rendered.
  • addition of missing tags to rights of way etc. Maybe we have a mode which highlights ROWs with missing designation tags. Again, if instantaneous feedback (changing of rendering) could be implemented, that would be really nice. Same with correcting road designations (trunk, primary etc)
  • allow users to edit POIs directly from the map e.g. add website and wikipedia entries or other missing tags.
  • overlay council data to help identify where the missing ROWs are - though with a strict instruction not to copy this data!

Non-OSM features but maybe nice-to-have (many of these exist already in some form on Freemap, so could be implemented relatively rapidly; the real work here would be for UI specialists to provide a user-friendly interface):

  • Adding notes and annotations for walkers, e.g. path directions, hazards, interesting views?
  • Allow users to add walking routes. These could use data about the surface type, etc, in OSM, to give extra information for walkers
  • Self-describing walking routes

Programming languages/existing tools:

Renderer: Mapnik presumably? Client-side rendering to allow a more interactive map? kothic.js is nice though may not be mature enough right now; the client-side rendering approach is interesting though if we want an interactive and updatable map.

Tile server: look at existing tileservers, choose one which is scriptable allowing flexibility, e.g. composite data from different sources (OSM and OS height data) or efficiently switch between rendering styles

Server side languages: PHP? Node.js? Could we allow more in the way of instantaneous updates using WebSockets?

Anyway these are some initial ideas, feel free to add to this.



Alex McKee Fri 19 May 2017 7:36PM

Interactivity sounds good. I don't think another editing interface is necessary, people can use iD or Potlatch for editing-in-browser on osm.org. For me personally more frequent updates (e.g. minutely mapnik) would be highly desired, cyclemap takes a while to catch up with changes and as a walker a more sophisticated rendering of the footpath network would be great - so very much agree with your outline of self-describing walking routes, etc above.

Routing leaves a lot to be desired when it comes to walking and even cycling, and public transport is rather ignored on the routing side of things. I use public transport to get to work at the moment, so more advanced routing features in the actual map interface would be something I'd love as a user.

One thing OSM lacks is street view, not sure if we could maybe make use of Mapillary? Google Street View is the only reason I continue to use Google Maps.


Nick Whitelegg Sat 20 May 2017 7:52PM

@alexmckee good ideas, though I still think basic editing facility to add tags might be nice. Re StreetView-like functionality, yes definitely Mapillary would be good... or maybe there would be scope for resurrecting my ancient OpenTrailView project (SOTM 2010), which allowed users to contribute full panoramas and, later, photospheres, linked with the underlying OSM data to provide StreetView-like navigation.


Adam Hoyle Sun 4 Jun 2017 12:47PM

@nickwhitelegg one feature that would be handy for me - as I'm looking at building Mobile apps - would be some method to get the map into a mobile app. I confess I need to research this - Kort are using React Native, the same x-platform app platform that I'd like to use and I believe they are using a mapbox SDK, so I guess that's my starting point, but I have no idea whether that'll work with a custom map source.