London Critical Mass September 2008

On Friday I headed along to this Months Critical Mass. It was very strange that the Police weren’t there at all to do the corking of the junctions, and hold back any frustrated drivers. The two usual off-duty bike paramedics were there. It took a while for the mass to get used to the idea of corking the traffic themselves. There was a few times when some drivers tried to have a run at some of the cyclists, which was quite frightening. These possibly would have been less likely to happen with the bike police there. The key to preventing the drivers from being annoyed is to keep the whole ride moving all the time.

After Buckingham Palace the ride managed split in two, with both halves meeting up later. At one point we did bump into a bunch of organised roller skaters.

As the sun is setting around the time the ride starts off, so it becomes more difficult to get good photos, particularly with most people wearing reflective clothing.

Overall it turned out to be a good night without any major incident.

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Day Trip to Calais

On Saturday I took a random day trip to Calais on the train and ferry. It’s been eleven years since I last travelled on the Dover to Calais ferries. This time I was on foot instead of being in a car.

I learnt quite a few things that I should do differently the next time.

  • Don’t get lost in Dover by taking a wrong turn
  • Take the bike
  • There is a 45 minute check-in for foot passengers, while only 30 minutes for car vehicles
  • Aim for an earlier return ferry, so that I don’t have to take the 2304 from Dover to Faversham to change at 23:42 to arrive in London Victoria at 01:29, and then have to take a night bus home. (The stop before London Victoria on the last train is Dartford).
I did have a nice wander around Calais, and you will be able to see the trail of destruction next week when the data is rendered on the main map. So far it seems that someone has traced the railways from landsat, which isn’t particularly accurate.
P1060329.JPG The Dover Docks. (I’m sure that OpenStreetMap can do better than the commercial mapping agencies, however it isn’t going to be easy, as I doubt the port authority nor the border controls will allow you to wander round the port.)
P1060420.JPGP1060419.JPGP1060354.JPGP1060410.JPG Got 2 stations added.
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Last of the London Mapping Marathon Tomorrow

Tomorrow, will be the final installment of the Summer 2008 London Mapping Marathon. We will be moving to the Fortnightly Winter 2008-9 Random Pub Meetup. Each week will be a different pub in a potentially unmapped area, for those hard core mappers out there. I’m looking for suggestions on where we could go. On the 24th December we will be going to that thingy pub at latitude 90, longitude -0.12345.

Matt Amos has started organising a mapping party in the Wembly area of London on Sunday 12th October 2008. Hopefully we will have a few weekend mapping parties, in the more outlying parts of London, over the course of the winter.

Later in October I will be going to a mapping party in Kyiv.

Baker Street/Regents Park Mapping Party

This evening there will be a mapping party in the Baker Street/Regents Park area of London. I wonder if we will beat last week’s record 15 people at the Euston mapping party. Maybe we will even get a local paper publishing a small article about the event, like the Croydon Advertiser and the Croydon Guardian done for the Croydon mapping party.

As I mentioned on the talk-gb mailing list, it is now getting dark rather early (by about 8pm), so after the next 2 parties we’ll be moving the emphasis from mapping to a more social meetup. It will still be in some random place in London, and you will still have a change to some mapping, as I doubt we will find the whole of central london completely mapped. I’m looking for your ideas of which pubs we should go. Maybe we should do a mapping pub crawl to map as many pubs as possible in one evening (or check that all the pubs in an area are already mapped)?

Dragheda Mapping Party Review

Last weekend (22-25 August) I went over to Dublin for the Dragheda Mapping Party. I took the train and ferry over, instead of flying, so that I could take my bike. I did get some coding and catching up done on the train and ferry. I found it interesting that Virgin Trains run electric to Crewe, then attach a diesel locomotive on the front to continue into Holyhead. I also found that Virgin Trains now have “enhanced mobile reception” on their trains. I did have to give up trying to use the GPS as Virgins don’t have enhanced gps reception.

I was staying in Dublin and travelling up to Dragheda each day. There has been some considerable progress in the area over the weekend, going from only the main roads mapped to most of the town being mapped by the end of the weekend.

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There was some pre-event publicity in a local paper. However the original press release that went out somehow got completely mis-interpreted.

On the Saturday there was a lot of overlap between the mappers, so we got all the traces and photos loaded on to Dermot McNally’s Mac, and done the editing all at once. It prevented people adding the same roads multiple times.

P1050287.JPGOn the Sunday morning I was picked up by Dermot and we done some car mapping on the way to the venue. At one point we had to get out and hold the vegetation back so that we could take a picture of the street sign.

On the way back I hit the start of the 17 day closure of the west coast mainline for rail works, so had to change trains and get lost going from Birmingham New Street to Birmingham Moor Street. I did manage to get a trace all the way back, and map a few streets in Holyhead. Probably should have stayed in Holyhead to do some more mapping and take a later train.