Monday 29 December 2008

Speed zones

I've been reviewing a few areas in Hull that we mapped a while ago looking for amenities we missed and especially looking for restrictions such as speed limits. We meandered through the residential roads in Gypsyville and moved on to Newington. Here we found three speed limit signs that were missing because a transition from 30 to 20 was not consistent with the signs we found. I've sent an email to Hull City council highways team to let them know - lets see what they say.

I sent an email to the East Riding council about a similar issue and got an automated reply, but no other action yet, so lets see if Hull or ERoY councils are quickest off the mark, of course being a holiday period this will probably slow things down. Councils also have a financial year that runs until the end of March, so if they are strapped for cash they mey well procrastinate until then. In the meantime I have added the speed limits as I think they are. Since they don't render on the main maps these don't show, and my own rendering program is not ready yet.

Some of the speed limit signs for 20mph zones are designed by local children to add impact to the sign - it seems like a good idea to remind motorists why they should slow down.

Tuesday 23 December 2008

Poorhouse and abandoned railways

The economy is, apparently, riding to hell on horseback, so today we went to the poorhouse. This is not some festive Dickens story, but actually the home of Hull Kingston Rovers, or at least the road beside their stadium: Craven Park. We walked along the path beside and beyond Poorhouse Lane to the old railway line beyond. This has become a cycleway with a tarmac surface which heads out of the city eastwards towards Hedon (which we have yet to complete) and heads into the city. A little towards the city this splendid cycleway crosses under Marfleet Lane, the road goes over a fine arched bridge, and near here it becomes part of the NCN route 1.

There has been some talk on the mailing lists about tagging routes like this as abandoned railway lines, as they are. If anyone is in any doubt, a platform beside the cycleway is clear for all to see. I think this is a fine, except when there is a clash of names.

The new Talk-GB North has asked which of the northern cities should be the first to be completed next year, well it's too late, 'cos Hull's already done.

Wednesday 17 December 2008


We have been adding speed limits and other amenities we missed on the first pass on a few local villages. I have been adding them using maxspeed=**mph. I know some people think that it should be added as km/h (without the units) but I disagree. The signs says 30 not 48.28032 so I add what I see, adding the units to distinguish it from km/h. Personally I wish we used km/h on our road signs along with all of the other metric units, indeed I'd actually prefer to use m/s, but I doubt that will ever happen. If there is a need to change to some other style of tagging I'll be able to do it en masse - it's much better that the maxspeeds are tagged.

Trying to find the point that a thirty limit ends we came across a serious bit of lumberjacking.

Brough is a village that has grown quickly. A large housing estate has been built over the last few years, and is still growing, even in the face of the current financial problems and even though many houses remain unsold. An old school has been rebuilt, a new supermarket and health centre have been built and a new pub has been opened, bucking the trend of all the surrounding area for pubs to close down, although the two other pubs in the village are struggling to survive. I recommend the ale in the Buccaneer and the food across the road at the Ferry.

Wednesday 10 December 2008

Layers of shopping

We ventured into Hull to do some Christmas shopping this afternoon. With only a couple of weeks to go I was amazed how quiet the place was. We went to the Princes Quay shopping centre, mostly because I wanted to have a go at drawing it. The Y! images are very lo-res, so drawing buildings is a mixture of GPS tracks, photos and intuition. I had a stab at this with the shopping centre, but the first thing to note is that there was a dock there before the shopping centre was built, and it seems that it was built on stilts over the water.If you look at the picture you can see the huge concrete stilts that support the building. We walked through the centre where it has a glass roof and got a trace of some of the outer edge, even though the signal was poor. We walked around the edge of the dock where we could and used that to estimate the dock, then drew the building as layer=1, over the water. The map of the centre of the city looks much better with the local shopping landmark in place, even though it's not perfect. I want to do the same sort of job on some of the bigger buildings in the city if I can - but it would be so much easier with a decent Y! image.

We also managed to do some shopping.

Monday 1 December 2008

All roads in Hull

So today we completed the last road in the city of Kingston Upon Hull. We completed the last chunk of the Preston Road area in the south of the city without any problems. We corrected a previous error about where the name of a road changed because Jean spotted a name board we had missed. We found some more of the redevelopment of the area and it looks hugely better. I hope the very poor reputation the area has can be left behind.

The city's roads are now complete. The city of about 250,000 people has been done almost entirely by Jean and me - something I wouldn't have believed possible a year ago. We have added many POIs: schools, churches, pubs, sports grounds, cemeteries, allotments and some shops. There is, as always, more to do: loads of footways, cycle paths and cycle lanes and loads more detail in other POIs. I started adding speed limits rather late (useful for routing I think) and I haven't touched speed-calming at all. We will go back to Hull to extend all this, especially to add the Craven Park Hull KR Stadium which is the last part of the Preston Road area.

I might spend some time on the East Riding of Yorkshire now - that was what I set out to do, but Hull somehow got in the way.

Friday 28 November 2008


Friday afternoon traffic is not much fun in Hull, so we went into the countryside around and mapped Skirlaugh and Arnold. I corrected a few errors from a previous mapper whose 'work' I have come across before - I trust his tracks but I'm suspicious of the names he added, they bear an amazing similarity to Another Mapping Product, and often different to what I find on the ground. I wish that if he didn't record the name that he just left it blank.

One problem with mapping in the afternoons at this time of year is that the sun sets so early that photography becomes difficult, so we sometimes stop earlier than we might want to. We do get to see some sunsets, like this one over the river Humber.

Thursday 27 November 2008

Closing the gaps with a quiz

We've been out filling a few gaps in Hull. The goal of actually completing all of the named roads and the obvious points of interest is very close to complete now. So I have been wondering how to mark the event. Offices up and down the land get some Christmas quizzes passed or emailed around so I have wondered if this is a way to get people to look at the map. I have found a few odd street names to wrap up in cryptic clues but I've also thought that I could highlight the differences between OSM and Other Mapping Products.

I have come up with a handful of questions that include a few things that Ghoolly Flaps have got wrong - either missing, misnamed or one of their Easter Eggs, so I can check whose maps people got their answers from.

It might be a neat way to use a quiz in an email that gets sent around people to read the map and raise the profile of the project. Maybe Cloudmade will offer a prize for such a quiz, especially a more global list of questions, than mine about Hull.

Thursday 20 November 2008

A bridge over nothing

The Humber bridge was for many years the longest span suspension bridge in the world - I think it's now the fifth longest. Amongst its many names it was dubbed the bridge to nowhere, now it is just the most expensive river crossing in the UK. Today we once again crossed a bridge over nothing. It lies on Bude Road in Hull.

The bridge looks like a bailey bridge. I think there was a drain under it but now there's just an empty space. Maybe it would cost more to remove than to maintain, but there's no weight limit on it and it gets a lot of traffic for a small bridge. Nearby there is a weird junction. I think a simple junction or roundabout would do better, but it was interesting to get it laid out properly.

Friday 14 November 2008

Queens Gardens

We added Queens Gardens in Hull in a bit of a hurry. The outline was about right, but most of the detail was missing, so today we had a wander around the garden (which is really a little park) and the fountain next to it.

At the east end are the various parts of what is now Hull college. It used to be the Art college, the college of architecture the college of commerce and the college of technology. All of this has been merged into Hull college and new buildings are being added. I want to map these more accurately over the winter.

Much of the city centre is at or below sea level. The river Hull has a tidal barrier on it to prevent the very highest tides flooding the city as happened in the past. Some of the ground in the city is wet fairly close to the surface so foundations need to be deep and strong.

The statue pictured is one of the city's famous sons, William Wilberforce, the driving force behind the abolition of slavery in the British Empire. It was moved to its present home from a nearby spot being redeveloped. The soggy ground was not stable enough and the monument started to settle and lean and had to be hastily supported until the foundations were reinforced with a concrete raft.

The paths and ponds in Queens Gardens are now on the map. The garden is somewhat sunken in what was once Queens Dock. The dock was filled in but settled unevenly and has been progressively filled and levelled. It is a popular spot with the students from the college. There are various docks and dry docks around this part of the city. Princes Quay shopping centre is built over one (Princes dock) , and this is another little project.

Friday 7 November 2008

Spelling lessons for the council?

We are plodding through the estates left in Hull. Today we looked at part of Preston Road, an estate with a very grim reputation. Great swathes have been demolished or are boarded up waiting for demolition. Yet more have been rebuilt and seem to be much more community orientated little streets. Many of the original street names are the names of villages in the area, one of which is Aldbrough, but the street name is spelled Aldborough. There are a few places called Aldborough in the country, but not in the local area.

I checked with some older maps and the council have just copied the (wrongly spelled?) name from the old road onto the new road, so I suppose I'll let them off. To be honest it's good to find a distraction in this most boring part of the city, even if, as distractions go, it's pretty flimsy.

Monday 3 November 2008

Surprised and confused

The city of Hull is looking as though it really could be completely mapped soon and, much against my expectations, Jean and I have done just about all of it. When we mapped the first little bit I thought we would need lots of people to join in. Etienne (80n) suggested that we organise a mapping party - he went to Hull University and would like to return, but my health was dodgy and I didn't feel I could commit to organising an event when I might be out of action on the day. The work in Hull has surprised me even more because I really intended to work on East Yorkshire and leave Hull to someone else, still East Yorks is coming on too.

Today we looked at the north side of Holderness Road, joining up with some stuff we did a couple of weeks ago. This is one thing I like about the situation now, everywhere can be joined to somewhere else and the picture is closing.

We found a road with a loop today which has one of the occasional anomalies: the road has two name boards with slightly different names.

I tagged what I found

Sunday 2 November 2008

Sutton Park

This is the final weekend of the Formula 1 season and the qually and race are on late afternoon, so a spot of mapping just before watching these was in order for yesterday and today. We have mapped the roads of Sutton Park over the two days. It's an odd place because the front doors are off a small footway, with two rows of houses facing each other and very close to each other with the footway between them. The roads are at the back of the houses where many homes have a garage and a small garden. It was raining a bit and time was short, so we didn't map many of the footways, but the roads help give a structure to add the paths to later.

Friday 31 October 2008

Clocks and downpours

The west end of East Yorkshire was calling, so we set off to complete a few missing bits. I thought we would tidy up around Wressle and we did, but on the way we thought we could look at Airmyn too. As we crossed the river Ouse we saw that the tiny hamlet of Booth had a sign but the hamlet of Boothferry was nowhere to be seen. I think that there has been a confusion over these names and the fact that the bridge is called the Boothferry bridge. Maybe before the bridge there could have been a ferry at Booth - just a guess!

The rather affluent village of Airmyn sits just off the M62 and close to the bank of the river Aire. Alongside the High Street there is a clock tower that I first mistook for a church. The actual church is small and a bit wedged in by newish development.

We went out of the village to the south-west and joined up to the A645 which was tagged as a primary, but the sign was yellow and green so it should be trunk and I changed it. However we only saw a small part, so I need to follow more of it to be sure it is a trunk. I'm not completely happy with this trunk / primary definition: it seems that when a road sign is replaced they just get a green and yellow sign, so the black-and-white signs are just disappearing. I think we are nat making the most of the difference, but I think my ideas have been drowned out.

We popped up to Wressle and Newsholme and then into Howden - then the heavens opened in a big way. This makes taking photographs a problem, so we headed home. As the sky began to clear near home it makes for a dramatic sky.

Friday 24 October 2008


The howling wind had dropped and the sun had come out so we thought we would head out to the coast, filling a few roads in on the way. The village of Aldbrough on the East Yorkshire coast was our target.

This coast line is being washed away at a great rate, but Aldbrough is far enough inland to be safe for very many years. Near the coastline there are caravan sites, as there are along many of the villages up and down the coast. I was expecting to drive around the site roads, but the gates were closed, so I left them for another day. Then we decided to look at the beach, but the sign put us off ...
We polished off the village and then meandered home adding country roads as we went.

Tuesday 21 October 2008

You live and learn

You know how it is, you think you know something well, then someone asks a question that floors you. Well today I was walking in our village when someone asked me where a house in The Park was. I was stumped. He showed me the address, but I didn't know where the road was. I have lived in the village for twenty years, my family has lived in the village for five generations, I used to deliver stuff locally, I have mapped the village from end to end on foot and yet I didn't know where the road was.

I asked around and found that small entrance off West Leys is not the driveway I had assumed but is actually a short roadway called The Park. The road is not named at its entrance, but a house has the road name displayed on its name board. It is now on the map; my pride may take a little longer to recover.

Later we took a look at some more of Hull, which is slowly filling out. We added a chunk around Lambwath Road, including Gillshill Road which borders East Park that we looked at last week. This also joins Sutton to the rest of the city.

Thursday 16 October 2008

A walk in the park

We went to East Park yesterday. It was a a bit cold and damp, but the walk outside was pleasant. We walked around the paths which cover the park, some of them have only been added recently. There's a lake with a bridge over it and the expected pitches and playground. I had to improvise the southern edge until I've completed a few roads that make inroads into the park. Take a look.

Monday 13 October 2008

Electric fish, hedgehogs and spy cars.

We had some shopping to do this morning and on the way out we saw a strange car with a mast on the roof. The mast had a sort of box on it. In the afternoon we went out again and there was this car again (in a different place). Then it dawned on me that it might be the Google Streetview camera car. I thought that was on hold in the UK. Hmmmm. I wish I'd managed to get a picture of it.

We set off to map Preston, a village just east of Hull. On the way into the centre of the village we saw an odd sign at the entrance to the Cock and Bell pub carpark. I'm not really sure what Electric Fish and Chips are. Are they both electric? Why would you want them? And then there's the dilemma of how to map them. I chickened out and left them off the map for now.

A bit later we saw a hedgehog scuttling across the road. I picked it up from the road and put it back onto the grass verge. It seemed a bit small so it might not make it through the winter hibernation, but I didn't run it over.

It took longer than I expected, so the road to Sproatley and beyond will have to wait.

Friday 10 October 2008

Mapping and blogs

We went out into Hull to divide up some of the remaining space by putting a few roads and roundabouts in. We added a few residential roads too. We mapped a rather strange junction which could have just been a simple T junction, or even a small roundabout, but it all adds to the mix.

Croda, a large multi-national, has built a large wind turbine for its plant in Hull. It's attracting some attention, partly because it's so big. The picture does not do it justice. I've yet to add it to the map - it will have to be a guesstimate based on triangulation because I can't get access to the site.

I've also been working on some code to draw tiles, entirely for my own pleasure and interest. I thought I'd write a blog about that too:

Saturday 4 October 2008

A tale of two villages

On the south side of Hull there used to be a glorious piece of waste ground, right against the Humber bank. At one time it had been a dock, but it was long abandoned and it was very overgrown. There was wildlife here in abundance, butterflies, moths, weasels, stoats and loads of birds. The river Humber is a magnet for migrating birds and this bit of waste ground was a good place to see some of them very close to the city centre and close to where I worked. That was was twenty years ago and now it has been developed into the Victoria Dock Village. I can't think of any where less like an English village, but still it is popular and this week we added it to the map. I have sketched in a footpath that I know runs along the riverbank, but I haven't walked it yet with a GPS to get an accurate track. I think the riverbank is a bit out so it would tidy that up too. Map

Today we took a look at Sutton. This is rather incongruous as it was a village on the outskirts of Hull but it has been subsumed into the city fairly quickly and yet retains the feel of a pleasant village, something the developers of places like Victoria Dock would probably give good money to know how to emulate. Map

Mapping Sutton has helped to improve the track of the national cycle network route 65 which passes through Sutton on its way to Hornsea. It follows an abandoned railway line which I traced originally from the low-res Yahoo photos and I've been slowly improving it. I also need to improve the Hornsea end too.

Tuesday 30 September 2008

Edging along

We've been working our way through Hull, and there's still quite a lot to do. I thought it might be a good idea to trace the outer edge of what remains, so we set off in the rain to check it out. We saw more new developments, though mostly small with a few unsold houses.

We followed the roads that are furthest east, some were the outer edge of the city like Noddle Hill Way but others were little residential roads. It was a bit of a different way to operate and I enjoyed it, but especially the result. We really now have the complete outside edge of the whole city on the map. It shows that the eastern boundary of the city is quite a long way from the edge of the houses. We just have to fill in the gaps towards the centre now ...

Monday 29 September 2008

Road to nowhere

We combined a shopping trip with a bit of mapping around the Kingswood area of north Hull. The estates around the Kingswood shopping area are still being built. I think it could take a long time to finish because lots of houses are standing complete but unsold. Still others are started as foundations and then covered. Yet more roads are laid out, with roundabouts and street lights in fields.

I couldn't get to all of the roads, some of the small roads are not yet complete. Some of the bigger routes that lead into these fields were blocked with a gate or drums. I think the fields will remain green for a couple of years yet as the building boom has drawn to an abrupt halt. There are a couple of developments that we have thought that we need to revisit when they are complete, but that might be a long time yet. Still, if new developments are at a standstill it's easier to keep the map up-to-date.

Tuesday 9 September 2008

Estates, bleak or not

We've been out a few times in the last week or so and the map of Hull is slowly improving. Greatfield is now complete, another chunk of Stoneferry is mapped and now a piece of Bransholme is on the map.

Greatfield was straightforward and went well. At the end of a road there was a large space for buses to turn round. I still haven't added it to the map - I'm not sure how. Greatfield is not the smartest part of city but there is a feeling of pride in some parts.

The part of Stoneferry we completed borders East Park, which we have not added yet. Westcott street was a bit of a pain, with many very short stubs sticking out at both sides, but they're on the map so we don't have to return there now.

Today we ventured to Bransholme again in the rain. We completed the roads of the northern part of the estate, but there are loads of footpaths that could be added, the whole estate is a maze of paths. There were more derelict houses on show. I read today that there is a shortage of social housing in Yorkshire, what I saw was that a large estate has a lot of empty houses. I don't suggest that people are housed there, just that the architect who replaces it understands that people want to live in communities not estates. There is a lot of large, empty grass spaces that look tidy enough, but the word that springs to my mind is bleak.

Saturday 30 August 2008

Greatfield and Rooks

The empty part of Hull is slowly shrinking. Yesterday we had a longish session in Greatfield. It is an estate on the eastern-most part of Hull. It takes us a while to get there, especially on a Friday afternoon. I don't really get it, but for years now the roads in Hull on Friday afternoons have been clogged. One of the roads ends at the edge of the Eastern Cemetery, which is pretty big. We need to take a wander around it to get its full extent and mark the roads and chapel in it. We might be able to see Greatfield off with one more visit. It borders Preston Road which has a grim reputation in the city.

Today we had a change and set off out into East Yorkshire. The East of the county is a large, flat plain - made, incidently, from boulder clay deposited when the glaciers retreated last time [1]. It is known as Holderness. We took in some of the villages and country roads that mark the northern (ill-defined) border of Holderness with the gently rolling hills of the Yorkshire Wolds. We completed about seven small villages and hamlets.

The weather has been cool and wet so the grain harvest has been delayed, but today we saw lots of evidence of fields in various stages of harvest, including some ploughed, with a flock of rooks foraging for food. Actually I think it's a parliament of rooks ...

[1] Some people would say at the end of the last ice-age, but technically we are in an inter-glacial period of the current ice age. Climate change may change things, but we are in an unusually cold period of our planet's history - very rarely have there been icecaps at the poles, and sea levels are low because of all of the water tied up in ice especially in Antarctica.

Wednesday 27 August 2008

Village and dereliction

We are slowly filling gaps in the East Riding. Wawne is a small village which is close to the outskirts of Hull. The river Hull separates it from the village of Thearne. On one side there is Ferry Lane and on the other Ferry Road, but no sign of the ferry.

We then crossed back into Hull and bit a small chunk out of the Bransholme estate. This was once Europe's largest housing estate. Some of it has been redeveloped even though much of it is only forty years old or less. I was surprised just how derelict many of the blocks of houses are. We got lots of pictures, but I've just included one

It will take a big effort to plough through the estate so I'll have a go and take breaks else where.

Tuesday 26 August 2008


A warm, muggy afternoon and we headed towards Tickton. It's a bit of a back-water now. The A1035 was diverted past the village some time ago. It's a small place and close to the town of Beverley - too close to have many amenities of its own, but far enough away to be a nuisance. The village is not growing, indeed it may be running down: the Methodist church has been boarded up.

We then went on about six miles to Leven. Here too the village has been bypassed, but it's a much different place. There is a lot of new housing, even spreading out into farmland. There are shops and other facilities and the place seems to be thriving. I suspect that being a bit further from a town has helped to maintain the facilities.

We crossed the Leven canal so when we got home I traced the canal from the low-res Yahoo aeriel view. There's a path along the towpath, so someone might walk or bike it to get a better track and get the position of the locks that must manage the join to the river Hull.

I created a proposal for amenity=veterinary, mostly because the Vet's practice in our village needed a tag. The votes are all positive and the voting time is up, so later today I'll go through the approved-tag process. It is good to add a simple, useful tag.

Saturday 23 August 2008

More interest

I met Gary and Kirsty today. They collected a 19 inch monitor that I offered on Freecycle. I sent them a link to the OSM map so they could find our house and they liked the site. They live in a part of Hull called Longhill, which we haven't yet added to the map and they seem interested to have a go. I hope they do.

Monday 18 August 2008

Moving to the suburbs?

I've been at home for a few days not feeling well. The Olympics in Beijing have kept me occupied much of the time, but I have looked at the map of the area. I noticed a slip-road missing in Hull - there was a GPS track, but they are easy to miss when slip-roads are close to the trunk road.

I've also been thinking about the areas on Hull and looking at the way other cities are rendered. I have ignored the districts of the city, but they have names and deserve to be added. I realised that people use the tag place=suburb to label districts in a city. It looks good, but if I'm being picky a suburb is a district on the outskirts of a city, not a district within it. I think we need place=district for the areas in cities, not suburb. It is probably pedantic but I might bring it up on the OSM-talk list.

Speaking of being a pedant: John Humphreys [BBC Radio 4 presenter] once told me that someone had described him as a pendant.

Monday 11 August 2008

Beverley is complete

We've finally completed the last part of Beverley. We left the main pedestrian area until the end and went on a Monday morning so it wasn't too busy. It was a matter of joining up a lots of roads that lead towards the pedestrian zone. There were more little alleys and footways than I expected. On Saturdays there is a market in, what the rest of the week, is a car park. We know the roads around it as Saturday Market. There was one small, old sign with that on and no others. Some of the banks had their address outside the premises and they all quoted Market Place, Beverley. No street signs showed Market Place. Also in Saturday Market is the oddly named Market cross which more like a band stand.

Friday 8 August 2008

Name that road

The saga of Beverley continues and now the end is in sight. We finished the housing estates and squeezed through some of the older parts of the town, there is just the town centre shopping areas to complete. We came across something that seems fairly rare: two name boards for the same street that differ from each other.

The top sign is fixed high on a wall and is typical of some of the older signs in the area. The lower sign faces the first across the street and, although looking tired, it is the more modern name board. I chose the first board to name the road on our map, but I may be wrong. I think I'll email the council and see what they have to say.

Thursday 7 August 2008

More of Beverley

Beverley is taking much longer than I thought it would. We have been working (again) on the southern estates and have made a lot of progress. These new estates are rather pleasant places, with lots of little footpaths and cycleways, some leading to much older footpaths. We've also mapped out the area around the nearby supermarket. I haven't seen the render yet so I need to check it.

I had to remove a small piece of highway=residential that someone had added around a small car park. I sent him a message so he knows what's going on.

I also had a message asking for help from Stephen O'Neill in Withernsea. He has just started out and needed a bit of help with JOSM, which I've tried to give. He contacted me because he had altered a bit of road that I added and it all went a bit wrong, mostly because he had tagged nodes rather than the ways. He is keen to map his local area which is good for me. I want to complete the East Riding and Hull (if anywhere can ever be complete) and the further flung parts like the East Coast are a long way to travel, so if Stephen does some of that it will help.

I hope that with one more visit I can finish Beverley - but it will probably be at least two.

Saturday 2 August 2008

Would you buy a house ...

We had a short visit to the south of Beverley. I realised that where some of the fairly new houses have been built was once a wet land area. The council, who choose the street names, have hinted at this with a couple of the names: Marsh Drive and Figham Springs Way.

Friday 1 August 2008

Hull milestone

We've made a couple of short trips into Hull and included some mapping of the city centre. The city is now mapped (fairly well) from the river Hull westwards. Some parts of the east of the city are also mapped so I guess that more than 50% of the city is complete. Much of what is left is the usual slog of housing estates. It's the side of the city we know least, so I look forward to surprises and discoveries.

Monday 28 July 2008

More of Beverley

We've returned to Beverley, but it is still not finished. After the last couple of visits to the somewhat tatty housing estates, today we worked around the Minster and further west. Beverley has a fine, large mediaeval church that rivals some cathedrals, but it is a minster so Beverley is a market town not a catherdral city. The photo is the view of the Minster from the Westwood - a large common with a golf course slotted in it. The greens have little fences around them to keep the cows off them.

Beverley is the county town of the East Riding of Yorkshire - sort of the capital of East Yorkshire. There was some talk on the mailing lists about adding a tag for capitals so they render better. I think adding a tag for a capital is fine - more data is usually good - but I'm not sure how the tag might work: capital=yes (capital of what). Maybe as part of a relation, but that would cover a large area ( relation marking Texas just to show the capital?). The is_in tag might be useful, but I still don't see how it marks a capital and it's not used consistently. Then there's rendering. Why show Beverley just because it's a county town rather than Bridlington or Goole. Population size or land area make more sense to me.

I ran into a long-standing problem again today - private roads. There's a road off Long Lane in Beverley called Old Manor Lawns. It has signs saying "Private - no entry without an appointment" and "Private no through road". I didn't go down the road to get a track to add it as a (access=private) road, so it's not on the map. I sometimes venture down a private road to get a track, but not when they have such a determined set of signs, so how to map it?

T@H maps are sometimes a bit of a pain. Requesting a render from InformationFreeway is sometimes hard work, but the renders are much quicker and, as always, invaluable as a check while the route is fresh in my mind. The Wiki says the T@H server needs a reboot - I could have flown to California to reboot it by now! The work Spaetz has done to manage the T@H server has helped the upload process, but serving tiles seems too hard work for it. The great thing about having so many people involved is that someone will contribute the answer. I just wish it was me - my 30 years experience is in all kinds of computer systems and languages, but not for Linux.

Beverley still needs a couple more visits at least.

Saturday 26 July 2008

A week has passed

We have been busy with all sorts for the last week - not least waiting for a plumber. After four visits they found the problem, ordered then fitted the parts then fixed another problem they had caused and the boiler works again.

So a week after our last foray, we went to Beverley again to continue where we left off. The map looks pretty good now, but there's still some other parts of the town to complete.

Beverley has a local reputation as a smart, market town, with expensive shops, but the estates we've mapped were rather run-down with people hanging around, drinking in the streets.

Saturday 19 July 2008

Living streets?

We had a brief foray into Beverley. It's an ancient market town with some narrow streets in some parts, but we did some of its housing estates off Grove Hill road. (Other map makers take note Grove Hill, not Grovehill).

Some of the residential roads have a 20mph limit and, in common with many roads in Hull, they have children's artwork built into the sign as a way of reminding drivers to take it easy. Of course, if they forget the speed bumps get them, but these are well made that reward slow driving with a gentle bump unlike some. I'm not sure this picture is the best one I've seen - there are many designs - but the idea is a good one.

When I got home I began to wonder if these are living streets rather than residential; I'm really not sure.

Monday 14 July 2008

Two sessions

We've had a couple of sessions in Hull, both in housing estates. The first, last Friday, was in the Fountain Road estate. It's a not very aptly named. It used to be an estate either side of Fountain Road, but now its an estate ringed by Bridlington Avenue. Most of the road that was Fountain Road is now a cycle track without a name, but it has cut the traffic out from the estate.

On Monday we revisited the Ice House Road estate. We had done some of this before, but not in any detail, so we filled in the detail today. There are some blocks of flats and we discovered a service road that ran around them right against the building, so getting a track was easy. Reception was very good today, so canyoning aside next to the flats, the tracks seemed very good.

Monday 7 July 2008

129 to go

I've been keeping a list of the places in East Yorkshire in the Wiki. I reckon that more than 50% of the villages in the county have been completed, but because it's a big county that still leaves 129 to do. This is an estimate; I took the first list from Wikipedia which was pretty good, but there have been various adjustments when the real situation is taken into account. Many villages are historic and don't exist any more, some were added from NPE and have since disappeared. A few have been absorbed into a bigger nearby place. Some new places have appeared too, most were just not in the original list but a couple are newly named places.

Today we completed eight (small) villages and added miles and miles of country lanes. Three of the hamlets were added to the map for the first time. All of this is in the plain of Holderness to the east of Hull. (Link to the map should go here).

I wanted to post a link to the area, but the t@h map just will not refresh and Mapnik will not include the new stuff until later this week. I hope the t@h server gets its new disks soon; not being able to see the work you've done is a recurring theme in the diary pages and is clearly putting people off contributing. I understand that the real value is in the API and the data, but most new contributors expect to see a rendered map, nicely updated with their work and quickly on demand. I like to check my work soon after I have uploaded it and it is fresh in my mind too.

Thursday 3 July 2008

Two schools and a funeral director

Back to the city of Hull today. We strayed over the river Hull to take a look at Garden Village. It was created by Sir James Reckitt as a pleasant place for his workers to live. It was opened in July 1908. It is still a pleasant place to live, close to the city centre. Sir James was a quaker, so there were no pubs built in Garden Village, and there still none today.

We added two schools, Mersey school and Buckingham school, both named after local streets. There were fairly easy to map, since they are surrounded by roads, so just filling the space gave the extent of the site.

On the corner of Jalland Street and Holderness Road there is a funeral directors, which I marked with the proposed tag amenity=mortuary, not sure about the tag but the name is pretty good.

Tuesday 1 July 2008

Warter and Fridaythorpe

A hot, sunny day tempted us out into the Yorkshire Wolds. This is a stunning part of the country that is widely ignored. It is very quiet with rolling hills, little wooded valleys and quaint little villages.

We set out to join up the country lanes around Warter. On the way we added a part of the route of the Kiplingcotes derby, which is England's oldest continuously run horse race on the flat, run since 1519. It is about four miles long and run in fields, on tracks and on country roads. There is more for to map yet, then I'll add the route.

In Fridaythorpe we found some roads with the wrong names in the OSM DB. The person who created the roads seems to have stopped mapping, and this is not the first time I have found his work with the wrong names. Maybe he made mistakes ...

The views in the area are superb.

Friday 27 June 2008


Gilberdyke is a village that we have ignored for too long, so we set off to sort it out. There's a lot of newish housing estates, with no real centre to the place. It used to lie on the A63 that connected Hull to the rest of the world. Then someone built the M62 and suddenly Gilberdyke was in the middle of nowhere, even the A63 is now the B1230.

There is a business park, actually an industrial estate, and I did some IT work there a few years ago for a company making really interesting plastic film {yawn}.

There was a new sports field out to the west, with vicious speed humps, and on the way out we spotted a wild tree mallow, which Jean likes. Her collection of wild flower photos already includes a tree mallow (Lavatera arborea), but you, dear reader, might like to see what one is so here it is:

We have done a lot of mapping in Hull recently, so it is refreshing to get back into the countryside.

Thursday 26 June 2008

Get the needle

With rain threatening I though we could add a bit more of the east side of Beverley Road in Hull. We found a few new residential roads, including a couple that were far from complete. Unusually, they had street names up even though the building work was still under way. Needlers used to make sweets, now the factory site is being made into a small housing estate, called Needlers Way.

Towards the end of our short session, we went past the Endeavour High School, just the kids were leaving. We wanted a photo of the sign, but a woman took our registration number - I think for taking a photo near a school. That needled me no end.

Yesterday I checked out the tiles I'd requested to re-render in Osmarender. I noticed that a cycle route (NCN 66) rendered as a red splodge over the roads at zoom 17. That doesn't make any sense - there is a lovely cycle map to show them. Names in the map were screwed up for example St. Mary's instead of St. Mary's. And then the areas of schools have an automatically inserted school symbol placed near the middle of the area. I have carefully drawn the areas, as best I can, and tried to place a school node where the building is. Now, suddenly, there are two icons, one for my node and one for the area. Now this lot really gave me the needle. Today the route splodge and the name nonsense are fixed, but not the school area.

I think Osmarender is quickly becoming the debug map, with Mapnik being the default 'official' render, so maybe these changes are to be expected, but as far as I can see these are unannounced, not discussed and just applied by someone. Most of the changes are good: quarries now render for example, but these changes suck.

Wednesday 25 June 2008

Ghost at home

The map of Hull is slowly improving. Today we covered the remaining part of the North of Hull that is alongside the West bank of the river Hull. It was the normal estate bashing, which is not too exciting but something always turns up.

Jean told me that the Mizzen Road estate was known as the Ghost Estate because no-one wanted to move in there. They were afraid of flooding being so close to the river. The irony is that the terrible flooding in the city - exactly one year ago today - was not caused by the river but by such heavy rain that the surface water couldn't run away fast enough. There are still people living in caravans in their front gardens while their homes are being rebuilt. We saw some today. You can view the map here.

We then moved to finish an area of Wincolmlee, nearer the heart of the city, but still near the river. This is an industrial area with the usual mix of new metal sheds and some old brick buildings with every type of business. In amongst this there is a slightly incongruous, rather splendid building being used as a care home.

We still need to add the landuse tags for the Wincolmlee area. We are getting close to completing half of the city.

Saturday 21 June 2008

Never trust what you think you know

On a damp Saturday afternoon, I thought a few bits or tidying up would help. We set out into Hull to check a couple of schools of Endyke Lane. I thought I knew their extent, but as usual it was worth checking. They occupy a triangle near the university, but in one corner there is a Jehovah's Witness church which I knew nothing about. One of the schools has changed its name too. We went to look at St. Mary's college, which is nearby. Again I thought it filled a space but some of the space is now a sport centre. A few photos and some way points help mark the edges, and a quick drive round the sports centre car park help mark the extent of the school.

Then we set off to Clough Road. It has a strip of warehouse-style shops surrounded by old industrial areas. It housed the first Comet pile-it-high in the country. A few short side roads help to judge where the retail ends and the industrial starts. It didn't take long, but a nice chunk of land up to the river Hull is now well tagged. Take a look.

Wednesday 11 June 2008

Nearly halfway

The sky looked black. All the jobs were done at home. The allotment was fairly tidy. So a spin out into the Yorkshire countryside seemed in order. I've been maintaining a list of the mapping progress through the East Yorkshire villages for many months. Some people have updated it too, but some people have put in loads of detail on the map, but the list has been left behind. I thought I'd check out some of the villages near Stamford Bridge. This is the north-west of East Yorkshire and has had a lot of work done over the last six months or so, but not by me.

We headed out to Low and High Catton and worked our way back home via Pocklington and Market Weighton. I wanted to check that the roads were all in place with names where possible and the amenities such as churches, pubs schools and the like were mapped. We added a few roads, especially a small estate in Full Sutton and a few minor country lanes. We added a few names to roads though it's surprising how many small villages don't have any street names on show. I wonder what their address is? We found a road called Feoffee Common Lane, which is a great name.

We followed part of the national cycle network route 66 on and off, adding a couple of missing country lanes it uses. The section from Market Weighton to Stamford bridge is now complete.

Oh yes, we're nearly halfway through the villages in East Yorkshire. Take a look.

Sunday 8 June 2008

Church or not

Buoyed up by the progress with the North Hull estate we decided to do some more. It's a bit of a slog, but the progress is visible. Now there is not much left to complete the estates, and with that almost all of Hull to the west of Beverley road (the main road heading north out of the city) will be complete. Take a look.

One point of confusion was the Holy Name church on Hall Road. It's a modest, rather unassuming church which I couldn't see much of sign for. The building right next door looked like a church hall so Jean snapped a photo for the name. When we got home I took a good look at the photo and it wasn't quite what I expected ...

Friday 6 June 2008

North Hull Estate

Every city has housing estates - that's what makes most cities more than just a town. Hull has various estates of various ages and with varying reputations. The North Hull Estate is next to the Orchard Park Estate and is one of the older estates.

The houses have had some refurbishments and the roads are smothered with vicious speed humps. All the roads are numbered avenues. I can see absolutely no system or reason for the way the numbers are chosen.

I had some surprises: a tiny park tucked away in the estate and the huge fifth avenue school that is now derelict. In its grounds, which used to be a large sports field, there's a new school, so not much sports field left. I don't see the sense of that.

There were some small cul-de-sacs off Endike Lane. They then allowed me to set the limits of the sports fields that lie to the south. There is more detail in the fields, but I haven't got any markers yet to distinguish them, so one big space will do for now, besides they are used for football, rugby and hockey in winter and cricket in summer so how to tag? There are some tennis courts in the space too, but again I haven't got any tracks yet, and poor resolution Yahoo! images so I can't trace them.

You can see the map here.

Monday 2 June 2008


We added a few more streets in Hull, especially around the university. I thought it might be a bit difficult to know the boundaries of things, but it was fine. The university has a girls school (Newland) next to it, but the school is beautifully framed by service road. There is also a police sports ground in the space too, but once again it has a framing road round most of it. The hi-tech business park was enclosed by a road and a stream, so it all went well.

We added some newish residential roads that sit where a teacher-training college used to be. A few more simple roads and we were done.

There are some other sports grounds and a couple of schools for special needs kids to add. Access is difficult, but the roads around should frame them too.

Take a look at the map.

Tuesday 27 May 2008

Cycle route

I've just added a little bit of ncn route 1 through Hutton Cranswick. I added the village a week ago, but I forgot to add all of the cycle route bits. I saw the cycle map added as a layer to the OSM maps and realised that I'd missed a bit, so it should be ready for the next render.

I've changed the way my pushbike handlebars fit so I can sit more upright which is more comfortable for my old bones. I want to follow the route 1 / 66 that leads from Cottingham to Beverley and beyond. I think I know which way it goes and it's somewhere I've not been, which is one of the best bits of OSM.

Monday 26 May 2008

Parish Boundaries

We've been working down the western edge of Molescroft and Beverley. Almost all of Molescroft is complete but there's still loads of Beverley to do. Some of it will have to be on foot. There is a fairly clear junction between the two, with a couple of signs for Molescroft and some roads that change there name on what I think is the boundary. I have tried to find a reference to the parish boundaries on-line, but nothing that is free from copyright restrictions. I took a look at out-of-copyright maps, but the boundaries are not clear at all, and they may have moved in the last fifty years.

I think I could sketch the boundary between Beverley and Molescroft, but as soon as the boundary goes out into the countryside it is completely lost. I wonder where else to look.

Friday 23 May 2008

Not so tidy

In the real world I'm not a tidy person (far from it) but in my virtual world my alter ego is tidy. I love to see tidy code with in-line documentation up-to-date and sensible. Better still carefully designed objects called from procedural code, with a matching database or file design. I hate to see disorganised databases or stupidly messy file structures, and flung together websites jar on me.

It's become the same with maps. When I come across other people's tidy work that reflects the real world it gladdens my heart, but when I come across lazily thrown together stuff it makes me shudder. I've seen roads drawn as primary or trunk, but with no name or reference. If the author knows it's a primary, he must have seen a sign, so why not tag it?

I have tidied up some crap work today, so I actually feel better about it now. I'm cross that someone took the trouble to tag a road with speed limits (two in km/h, yet one in m/h) yet they clearly copied the name from another on-line map. I've corrected the name from one of our photos and checked the track (which was good), but I didn't check the change points for the speed limit. There were some other tatty bits that now are complete, correctly named and tidy.

Let's get the basics right before we go for niceties.

Thursday 22 May 2008

Not so big

Yesterday we went to extend the map of Beverley. It's a smart market town on the edge of the Wolds and worth a visit. However, splendid as Beverley is, we didn't map much - most of what we recorded was Molescroft. We passed the sign for the village and realised that Molescroft was a lot bigger than I thought. I looked at their parish council website and found a map showing the village boundary. Quite a lot of what I thought was Beverley is actually Molescroft.

It would be useful to add the parish boundary, but I'm not sure where to get a copyright free source. I don't think parish boundaries are on the NPE maps.

Monday 19 May 2008

Hutton Cranswick

We paid a visit to Hutton Cranswick, a village just south of Driffield. It's not a village I knew at all, so we drove around trying to make sure we covered everywhere. The village is really two villages which, strangely enough, were called Hutton and Cranswick. Cranswick is the southern end. It's got a lot of very small, fairly new houses, bungalows and terraces. Some of it is a bit older. Hutton on the other hand is a bit more posh. The pubs, school and the station are in Cranswick, the grand church is in Hutton.

We moved on to Bainton, but on the way we looked for Eastburn. There was a farm called Eastburn, but no village. I think it is one of the medieval villages that have disappeared over the years. Eastburn was added from the NPE map which is about 50 years old, so in the intervening years it has gone.

Bainton was easy enough, especially because it was partly done already. The tally of places in East Yorkshire that are mapped rolls on. It now stands at about 47% complete.

The Wiki page now has a map added by the inimitable Wiki Wrangler Harry Wood, and much better it looks - thanks Harry.

Thursday 15 May 2008

All sorts

We've done a few short trips out, all around Hull. The industrial area along the A1033 to the east was fairly easy, with few public roads and a large area of industrial, including the docks. I added the outline of the docks from Y! photos with Potlatch. The level of detail is very poor in Hull, but for such a large area as the docks it's a good as I can manage - the docks are all closed to public access.

We added some of the roads around the new St Stephens shopping centre. No other maps have any of this, it's too new. Some of the road names were missing, but we knew the names from before the development. We'll check later in the year to see if any names boards have gone up in case we got any wrong. The shopping centre will still be a challenge because it's all enclosed so there may well be no GPS signal. There's no aerial photos yet so I'll do my best.

We also added some of the roads around the Hull Royal Infirmary. I'll add some more to then get the boundaries of the buildings. From a distance it looks like a tall thin tower (which there is) but the ground area of the much lower buildings are much bigger than the tower.

I haven't heard anything yet from Cloudmade about the grant I applied for. Maybe they're overrun or maybe they don't like my proposal, but an acknowledgement would be a good idea just to be sure they received by application. The blog on their website hasn't been posted to since March, so maybe they've taken their funding to some beach somewhere. :-)

Tuesday 6 May 2008

Riverside cycle route

We took a turn along a little bit of the national cycle network route 65. It runs from the Humber bridge to North Ferriby along the bank of the Humber. It's a firm, well made stone path between the river and the railway and it's as level as can be. It runs from a pub near the bridge to the small park in Ferriby which used to be a landfill site many years ago.

This is an alternative route for NCN 65 which also goes around the villages further north. I like the riverside route.

Monday 5 May 2008

Got it

More from my dabbling with OpenLayers: I've found why the marker disappears, or at least how to keep it from disappearing. There is an undocumented parameter on the marker constructor that determines how higher zoom level the marker is displayed to. Now the map works well. A quick drawing session to create a png image of an arrow to use as the marker and it is done.

Overall the OpenLayers is very neat. It works well, there is some documentation which is readable and it is flexible and usable.

Sis now has a slippy map embedded in her prototype web site. Now if we can get the remaining 10 pages defined, written and checked we can then maybe go live.

Sunday 4 May 2008


I've been playing around with OpenLayers. I want to embed a map into my sister's web site. She has a Physio clinic and I've offered to build her web site (we're still discussing the details). I thought I'd just plonk a bitmap extracted from OSM to help people find her clinic.

Firstly the village she lives and works was not mapped. I added a couple of roads with Yahoo putting the names on from memory, but it was only a small part of the village. She lives 250 miles away, so a quick mapping trip was not really on. To my surprise when I looked today, TallGuy has added much more of the village. Thanks!

Then I extracted a bitmap, but it just doesn't cut it. I'm so used to zooming and scrolling around that a flat, static bitmap is crap. So OpenLayers then.

I copied some stuff from the wiki and embedded a div to display the map, and bingo, a lovely map. I then put a marker on it to mark the clinic and here's the rub: when you zoom in beyond level 14 the marker disappears. I can't find out what causes it. Wading through the OpenLayers Javascript is guaranteed to give you a sore head and no joy, so I'll sleep on it.

Thursday 1 May 2008

Too much detail?

We've spent time mapping parts of Hull, today was around Argyle Street. The tiles on the map are getting full for the west part of the city and that is now a problem. The data is turned into tiles by different means for different maps.

The Mapnik map renders once per week. I like the way it looks, but when I have entered data I may have made a mistake, so I want to see a rendered map to find those mistakes while the route is fresh in my mind. So I always request an Osmarender version first.

Osmarender used to render a page in few minutes, but recently it always takes t least an hour and often more. As we fill the space of a tile, the tile gets more complex to render so it takes longer. The tile data is downloaded to a PC run by someone who has kindly set their machine up to render tiles (tiles@home). When the tile is drawn it is uploaded to the server to replace the tile to display on the map. In fact it is more complex than that because all of the tiles at higher zoom levels are rendered, zipped and uploaded which adds up to a lot of tiles. After a period of time, maybe one and a half to two hours, if the rendered tiles have not been uploaded the renderer (or maybe the server) gives up and the process starts again. It has taken all evening sometimes, just to find that I've made errors which need correcting and then the render process starts again.

On the mailing list there have been messages about how this might be improved, but I think they miss the point. Most requested tiles are automatically requested by various processes. If I request a tile render, the automatic render will still get requested some time later, even though the tile is already up-to-date. This massive overkill on auto-render is clogging the system.

While have typed this the two tiles I have requested have timed-out and started again. If I had the resource to run tiles@home I would be cross when the rendered tile-set is rejected.

Wednesday 30 April 2008

Hessle road

We went out in the rain today to fill in the gaps south of Hessle Road in Hull. What a palaver. Hessle Road runs east west, with Witty Street and Goulton Street running parallel to the south. Between them there is a network of small streets running north south, except they don't. Most of the streets don't connect at one end or another and some are one way streets too. Subway street is blocked at both ends with access only midway down from a side street.

The whole area is mostly industrial except for a ribbon of shops down Hessle Road. This was a frustrating and not a very exciting session, but it advances the progress through Hull.

Monday 28 April 2008

Lorries, photos and unease

We had some pretty big thunder storms yesterday, well big for round here - nothing like tropical storms I know, so I thought a quick trip in the car might be in order. I need a trip outside, my brain hurts, writing PIC assembler is a great way to get headache.

There is a village just north of Beverley called Leconfield which has not been mapped. The village is small, but it has a large military base called Normandy Barracks right next door. The barracks is Europe's largest military driving school, we see white 7½ tonne trucks with learner plates all around the area. There is still an Air-sea rescue helicopter based here too. The site used to be an RAF airfield.

We toured the little village, but when we got close to the barracks I was uncomfortable about taking photos since all military bases are touchy and there have been instances locally of people being questioned by the police about taking photos in the street. We took our photos of the street signs and drove around the residential streets close to the base then beat a hasty retreat.

It is crap feeling uneasy about doing something which is wholly legal and indeed generally helpful, but that's what it's like to be screwed by Bush and Blair.

Thursday 24 April 2008

Another town

We've been to South Cave. It's not a hole in the cliff (though there is a place call South Cliffe close by), it is a small town in the East Riding of Yorkshire. Some of the villages in the area are at least as big, but it is a town, with a town hall too.

It was very straightforward, the streets were pretty quiet and most of the layouts of the roads were simple. The name boards were easy to find with little ambiguity. This was not what I was expecting, which is why I have put off mapping the place.

Sorry South Cave, you should have been on the map sooner, I got you wrong.

Tuesday 22 April 2008

Go west

We branched out to the west of East Yorkshire, mapping Barmby on the Marsh and a few other places around Howden. It seems that the A614 was not tagged correctly, so I changed some of it. I think I need to follow more of it to check it out. The OSM 'rule' is that in the UK, primary roads that are signed with a green and yellow sign are highway=trunk, primary roads with black and white signs are highway=primary. I don't really like this, but I follow the guidelines to be consistent.

The rules about whether the Highways Agency looks after the road or the local authority does have slowly changed and so the distinction has blurred. It seems to me that all primary routes are getting green and yellow signs when they are renewed, so the useful distinction between primary and trunk is being lost. A good example is the ring road around York. If you were planning a route from Leeds to Scarborough, it looks as though the route to the north of York is as good as the one to the south. In fact the route to the north is horrendously slow, with bottle necks at every junction. I think this should be a primary to distinguish it, but the signs are yellow and green so ...

Some stuff on the mailing lists made me smile today. Someone is manning a stand at a show to demonstrate OSM, and good on him. A local supplier has offered to lend him some Macs to use on the stand, but he's not a Mac user. He asked how OSM works on a Mac and a flurry of people (Mac users can still be described as people) leapt in with comments about how to make their wonderful Mac work well, especially how to configure the mouse to allow a right-click. A Mac has nowadays grown up into being a PC running Linux with a nice GUI, so all should be well if you plug in a proper mouse.

Friday 18 April 2008

Name that space

I have been plugging away at the west of Hull. I think that what I would call west Hull is completed to my first-pass standard. Roads are drawn and named, obvious amenities such as pubs, schools churches, sports fields and the like are added. I'm now working towards north Hull, which I don't know well.

The OSM mailing lists are busy as always and, as happens, some chap has popped up with suggestions that make me cringe. He seems to think that namespaces are the best thing ever and seems to want to change everything to use them. I think he thinks that namespaces add structure to the database but I think it adds complexity without any benefit.

Still, I expect that he'll get bored and move on, I just hope he's a bit more relaxed when he's climbing.

Friday 11 April 2008


We've spent a bit of time checking out the area of Hull known as Newington. It is the collection of terraced streets between Hessle Road and Anlaby Road, with the main railway line to Hull running through it. Chunks of the streets have been demolished with a reported £12m being spent on new developments, though it looks a very small area compared to the total area. It just looks like a bomb-site at the moment. There are also some rows of houses boarded up, but with a house here and there still occupied.

We looked for Amy Johnson school off Hawthorne Avenue, but it turns out that it was closed a few years ago. The whole area has a strange mixture of being run-down with glimpses of new bits here and there.

Two of the National Cycle Routes (1 and 65) run through here on the same route and on towards the centre of Hull. Oddly it cuts through an alley between Coltman Street and Bean Street which tells cyclists to dismount because it is a footpath.

Tuesday 8 April 2008

Even more cycle routes

What a difference a day makes. We set out to explore some more of the National Cycle Network route 65. We set out west from Melton. After our last foray along the very badly signed route 1, I was not sure what we would find. To my great surprise the route was beautifully marked with not an ambiguity nor a problem at all on the section we followed to Broomfleet.

The signs looked quite new and that maybe points to the great improvement. Maybe the route signs were not so well placed for route 1, or maybe they have been removed.

The next section follows a track by the Humber which will be interesting, but not for a while yet.

Monday 7 April 2008

More cycle routes

I went to the Sustrans website to look at the National Cycle Network map again, to find some more detail of the cycle routes close to home. The link to the maps had been taken off the site. I used the history list from my browser to go to the page, which was still there. The grind of using the Sustrans map wasn't any easier, but it showed an alternative route for NCN route 1 that leaves the Humber Bridge and heads north, eventually to Beverley, rather than the variation that head east into Hull. I went out to follow it and photograph the signs.

There was absolutely no evidence on the ground. The map even shows a bridal path in a substantially wrong place (an Easter Egg?) . I stuck at it and eventually I found a route 66 sign coming out of Hull heading towards Cottingham. I followed it towards Beverley and at a couple of points it has signs also showing route 1, as well as route 66. I followed the route through Beverley but it petered out in the north of Beverley. The odd thing is that route 66 is supposed to start in Beverley and head west to Manchester via Leeds, yet the signs show it starts south east of Beverley.

I will try to find more of routes 1, 65 and 66 another day, but I am disappointed with the Sustrans information. They have received millions of pounds of public money as well as other donations to promote, amongst other things, these cycle routes. The web site and the evidence on the ground are contradictory. If I bought a map from them it might make everything clear, but the web site and signage just puts me off.

Saturday 5 April 2008

Cycle routes

I noticed that a national cycle route passes right through our village. It is marked by a blue sign with a cycle on it and a white number in a red box. The sign is for route 65. I went onto the Sustrans website to check it out. The maps they provide are pants. They are deadly slow to respond, they are not slippy maps (you have to keep clicking a scroll button and the whole page refreshes) and they are out of date. They also give no written detail, so it took me a while to realise that there are alternative routes. Route 65 is from Hull to Middlesborough. Nearby there is also route 1 and route 66.

I guess they don't tell you too much on the web site because they want you to buy the route guide - this seems to a common ploy, especially with charities and maybe that's fair enough.

After a bit of poking around I worked out that one option of route 65 takes a path along the Humber bank from the Humber Bridge to North Ferriby. It then appears to go up Swanland Hill to Swanland, West Ella, KirkElla, Anlaby, Hessle and into Hull, which is perverse. But I got it wrong this is two alternative routes that meet at the crossroads in Ferriby by Medici's restaurant and then head west to Melton and beyond.

I followed the route from Hessle to Hull which it shares with route 1. Route 1 runs from Dover to Shetland up the east side of the country. It crosses the Humber Bridge which is why it appears in Hessle. I traced the routes into Hull as far as Ann Street where I lost them, so I'll try that again another day.

Now I just have to figure out how to add them to the map.

Monday 31 March 2008

Boundaries and builders

Over the last week or so we have been plugging away at the areas that make up the boundary between Hull and East Yorkshire. Today we finished Anlaby Common, which makes a solid swath from the Humber to the edge of Cottingham. This boundary-following strategy helps define a target to work towards, which increases the satisfaction when they are done.

Once again we saw street after street lined with caravans that people were living in while builders repaired their homes after the floods last June. A few hours of torrential rain, nine months to repair and counting.

Sunday 23 March 2008

Easter Eggs

Over the past couple of weeks we have had little forays into Hull to add the streets and amenities to the map. My aim is to add streets, with their names, and such amenities as are obvious, especially churches, pubs, schools, petrol stations and any obvious landmark such as a large building. Any extras such as restaurants are added if we notice them. I've also been also been trying to add land areas, such as school fields, allotments, parks and sports pitches. All of this makes a much richer map.

Open Street Map is an open map. Anyone can add to it and anyone can use it free of charge, subject to a simple licence. Not so most other maps either on paper or t'interweb. The commercial maps are prone to being copied so the companies sometimes put extras or tweaks into their maps, so that if they are copied they can point to the extras and prove that it must have come from their map, because they don't exist anywhere else. This can be little stubs of roads, small names changes or other little things that don't really exist on the ground. Today I've found two (they could be simple mistakes). Spring Gardens have an old sign showing its name, A Famous Web Search Engine's mapping page shows it as Spring Gardens South, East and West. Similarly Plantation Drive has a two parallel(ish) roads which FWSE map shows Plantation Drive East and Plantation Drive West. To make it even stranger, the most easterly of the two roads is actually called Plantation Drive West (!?)

These little tweaks are important tools to maintain a company's intellectual property. So what are these subtle and small changes called? They're known, appropriately enough, as Easter Eggs - today is Easter Sunday.