Friday 31 July 2009

Secondaries and schools

Another chunk of Pocklington is wrapped up. We spent time trying to work out the extent of Pocklington School - a 500 year old boarding school. I think there are actually two schools on the campus, but without access or local knowledge I've wrapped up the area simply as one school. The sports grounds are extensive and I'm not sure if I've got it right. Maybe sorting it out properly would be a good little project for the school's geography department. There's a public footpath that is yet to be added and that might turn out to be the boundary of the school grounds. It also leads to the Gliding Club airfield. It's years since I flew from there in a glider; as a private pilot in a plane with an engine I wasn't welcome unless I could tow gliders skywards.

The town centre still needs some work. There are roads missing and nonames. There are lots of POIs waiting to be added. Then there's the secondary road that dries up. The B1246 passes through the town, but in a chunk in the middle of the town the signs for the road suddenly change to B1246 in brackets. I think that the original route includes Market Place which is now a low speed road for shoppers. It then goes up Union Street which has become a oneway street, so the route breaks in one direction. I'll see what else I can find next time.

There are other people who have done some work in the town, Al21 and Stevie D especially, so maybe they know how it works. The town might only need one more push to get the basic level complete.

Wednesday 29 July 2009


I've been working on getting the Yorkshire coastline up to scratch for a while. I've been gathering details from various sources and so on a very rainy day I thought I'd spend an hour trying to pull it together. I wanted to separate the existing coastline from the administrative boundary. The boundary had been added to the coastline as a starting point, but this is actually not right. The boundary of English counties generally lies along the mean low water mark - a completely impossible mark to discern by a visit. The best data we have that we can use is NPE, which shows the mean low water mark and high water mark for much of the coast.

On many coastlines this will be very good - easy to trace either in Potlatch or JOSM and accurate. On the Holderness coast it is easy to trace, but the accuracy can be poor because the coast has eroded so quickly that it could easily be 50 metres out and maybe more than 100 metres out in places.

I started untangling the relation for the county boundary and English region from the coastline and adding a way for the administrative boundary from the south northwards up the coast then adding the relations to the new way. Unbeknown to me Mickey (Warofdreams) was adding the beaches down the coast, also from NPE. The result is interesting and good, although it is still rendering.

The coastline way should be on the high water mark, which in many places it is not. This is leaving a gap showing water between the coast and the beach. Now the coastline is not tied to the boundary I'll have a go to nudging it into place to sort this out. It would be good to sort the coastline into its proper position before the next coastline update for Mapnik which only happens occasionally.

Monday 27 July 2009

Abandoned railways

I've been drawing up the data we collected today. There is an abandoned railway line which passes through the town. I've been trying to work out the position of the railway and moved it a bit based on the NPE map, and the line through the town. The hedge that bounds the old line creates a boundary of the sports ground, so working this out will help later. Only later did I realise that the abandoned line does not now render on the Mapnik view. Hooray! Who ever made the change - thank you.

Back to mapping

After a bit of a lay off we've got back to mapping again. Today we completed a little village called Hayton then moved on to another chunk of Pocklington. The newish estate to the south east was easy to complete and went well. The trickier centre of the town still awaits.

Thursday 23 July 2009

The mystery boundary

I have asked Hull City Council for details of their southern boundary along the Humber using the Freedom of Information Act. I asked:

I am interested in the boundaries of Hull, especially in the Humber. I therefore request where is the boundary of Hull UA along the Humber estuary? Does the boundary abut the boundary of North Lincolnshire or is there a gap between them?

They have answered my request. I'm not sure I can post their full answer because the email states that I should treat the email as confidential, so I'll paraphrase it:

They don't have any written records of where the boundary is.

They sent me a pdf with the inevitable, copyright OS map, which I cannot trace for OSM. It is interesting because the boundary doesn't follow the convention of being the mean low water mark, but this could be something to do with the docks. The docks used to be most of the extent of the city boundary along the Humber, so this might be why the boundary juts out into the river.

So, how to draw this onto OSM without breaching the OS copyright. Well the really good news is that the boundary looks the same as the one on the out-of-copyright map which we can trace. I now have what I need to have a go at improving some of the boundaries in the Humber.

Saturday 18 July 2009

Cliff and a chick

Holderness is a part of East Yorkshire between the coast and the rolling hills of the Wolds. It is peppered with small villages and very small rural roads. The land near the coast is being lost to the sea at nearly three metres each year and the villages, roads, farms, caravan sites or anything else just descends to the beach as the muddy cliffs collapse, usually in a winter storm.

We went around the little villages just north of Hornsea ending at Atwick on the coast where we saw the sign. The small villages are what we were expecting by now. Some don't have speed limits, most don't have any street names for the main drag through the village. The houses have names rather than numbers. They have a post box, maybe a church and maybe a pub. Occasionally there might be a pond, and where there's a pond there's often ducks. If you're lucky there might be a moorhen, or even a moorhem with a chick. The pond goes on the map, but not the moorhen, even if it has a chick.

Thursday 16 July 2009

The Snuffy

We went out again for a little, fairly local session. The temperature rose to 25°C, in spite of the forecast predicting 20°C, the sun has shone all day and the forecast showers were nowhere to be seen. I was glad of the fresh air, so we went to join up the Snuffy.

Snuff Mill Lane (the Snuffy) is a footpath that joins Cottingham to the outskirts of Hull. It crosses the Hull to Scarborough railway line on a little foot crossing. Satellite reception was very good, much of the time showing six feet, so I went to sort out a few more footpaths and cycleways that we had missed or we had really lousy tracks of before. In the process we found a public car park that I didn't know about.

Another pleasant couple of hours in the sun, I'm just waiting to see the Snuffy rendered.

Monday 13 July 2009

Micro parks

After a couple of uncomfortable days, I wanted to get out, so we went to check up a couple of things we had noticed in Cottingham. This very big village is mapped to a basic level, but we have seen a few small patches of green, public space that we could add and a footpath we had missed. They all quickly fell under the unblinking gaze of my GPSr and camera. We saw a few benches as you might expect in small parks. I do add amenity=bench when I can but one caught my eye with a rose arbour behind it, it got the extra tag arbour=yes. Now I will know we have an amazing map when the renderers come up with a special icon for that tag. We found a small residential couryard we had missed too, so a useful little foray as well as being nice to be in the sun.

Friday 10 July 2009

Formal and informal

I have asked the East Riding council for details of where their boundary lies on the coast and in the River Humber. I got a rather formal reply that was informative. Part of their reply says that they lease the land that lies between mean high water mark and mean low water mark from the Crown Estates for much of their North Sea coastal boundary. This led me yesterday, at Peter's suggestion, to ask the Crown Estates for more information.

This morning I got a friendly reply with some suggestions and some information. There were helpful questions which may lead to receiving more information, including, perhaps, a map. The guy who answered had read this blog to try to find what I was interested in and seems to be trying to help rather than being forced to help.

One thing he has offered is that they will show a visitor to their London office the extent of their land in their GIS system. I don't go to London much nowadays, but maybe some other OSMer who is interested might like to.

I'll see what his final response is but I expect it will be good given his helpful start so far.

Thursday 9 July 2009


Another gentle outing took us to Alderman Kneeshaw Playing Fields. It is a council playing field on the Eastern edge of Hull. Its Eastern edge is on the boundary. It appears to be fairly well kept, but not well used. There used to be a running track, but the surface is not maintained. There are big spaces for football pitches and there are goal posts, but no lines to mark the pitch - it is outside the season so maybe they will be marked later in the year. There were a couple of well kept bowling greens, one was in use, but there were other spaces that looked like disused greens.

Around the edge of the space is an embankment with wooded sides. We walked around the embankment and it turned into a lovely place. There were warblers singing from the trees, wild flowers at every turn and butterflies a-plenty. We saw red admirals, a coma, our first painted lady of the season, green-veined white, gatekeepers, small whites, ringlets and small tortoise-shells. I only had my compact camera, so photos were awkward.

The rest of the playing fields seemed quite tame after that stroll. The wildlife is not keen on big areas of mown grass. I'm glad the wilder bit is out of reach of the mowers.

Wednesday 8 July 2009

Wolds and a bridge

Yesterday we took a look at some more of the villages in the Wolds. There are a few less requiring a basic level of attention now. It's a great place to meander around and the views are good too. There were a few little extra roads and POIs to add, but much of it was pretty good already.

Today we stayed nearer home and took a walk around parts of the Humber Bridge country park. I've been adding cycle routes when I can and today I added a bit of both the National Byway and NCN route 1. They both cross the Humber bridge (for free on a bike or on foot). The way they join up to the quiet roads in Hessle is a bit of a wiggle, but it did take us past a viewpoint for the bridge, which was worth a photo. I really can say that the National Byway is complete in East Yorkshire, but there are a couple of small gaps still of NCN 1, but that's for another day.

Saturday 4 July 2009


I've seen other people adding to the data in my local area and it's great to see. A couple of people have been adding streets to the town of Pocklington and the surrounding area. I think their main impetus is to add footpaths and bridleways, so the streets they added were not named. I thought we could look at the village of Barmby Moor to the south west of Pocklington, then try to add names to some of the streets in the town. Barmby Moor is a small place with the usual winding roads of an older English village. There were no problems so we set off for Pocklington.

Pocklington is a small town in the Vale of York at the foot of the Wolds. It is a pleasant place and the surrounding countryside is lovely. It's main drawback, to me, is that the main road to Hull or York is the A1079. This is a dreadful road that is busy and dangerous, and one that I avoid when I can.

We ended up re-tracing many of the roads already on the map to be sure of where the name changes were, then struck out into areas not yet mapped. We have not finished the town, it will take at least two more visits to get a basic coverage.