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.