Monday, 22 March 2010


We went to Long Riston today on a wet and breezy day. On the way, one thing I noticed was a smooth new road. Stavely road is used as a part of a short cut between Hedon Road and Holderness Road. It used to be a spine crushing route full of pot holes and badly filled pot holes, with some ridges in the concrete slabs adding to the problem. The new surface is smooth and flat. It's not the usual lick of tar and stones, but a proper new layer of tarmac.

The Ordnance Survey recently asked for comments on the idea of releasing some of its data for public use. The process ended last week. Today, No. 10 announced that a substantial amount of OS data will be released for use without restriction. Details will follow in a week or so. So what was the consultation period for? Government processes take months not days to evaluate things, so it is not possible for a standard assessment process (if one really exists) to have been applied to the submissions, many of which came towards the end of the consultation period. I can only conclude that what ever data is released must have been decided some time ago. If that is the case, then why the consultation period?

Of course the imminent election may have led to short cuts in the process - I just hope that the route ahead will be a smooth as the new Stavely Road.

If the OS data is useful (that might be a big 'if') and freely available I wonder how it will be used in OSM. It largely depends on how it is released. If it is raster data then the process of tracing from a map already exists and is already well understood. It is also suited to our crowd sourced model - lots of people each add a bit and we get a great database.

If it is vector data (which I think is more likely) then we will need to process the vector data into a form that it can be used in OSM, probably not a difficult job given the expertise we have. Then we just need to decide how to use it ...

1 comment:

Harry Wood said...

At Richard Fairhurst's talk at WhereCamp EU ( ) he mentioned some ideas going into Potlatch 2 which will help us to perform more careful manual merging for data imports. This could be particularly helpful in the UK in the if some O.S. vector data comes available.