Category Archives: OpenStreetMap

Apple’s Developer Site has Crashed

With the news that Apple has released the SDK for the iPhone, their developer site is currently unavailable. It seems to be have exceeded Apple’s expectations in terms of demand.

I’m currently wondering if there will be access to the Bluetooth in the SDK so that I can connect a bluetooth GPS and produce some nice mapping application for OpenStreetMap. With unlimited data, a fairly large (for a mobile device) touch display, it may well be an idea device to do the mapping in the field.
Hopefully I’ll earn a bit more soon, so that I can afford the mobile contract.

OSM cycle map of Shandwick Place, Edinburgh diversion

For the next five months Shandwick Place in the west of the centre of Edinburgh is closed for work to move the utilities for when the trams are going to be introduced in a few years time.
The council, TIE and Lothian Buses were quick enough to produce alternative routes for cars and buses, however their alternative route wasn’t suitable for cyclists.
On Friday they provided some written instructions without any maps, which they had done for the car drivers and bus routes.
See below for a map with the council’s route drawn on top of Andy Allan’s rendering of the OpenStreetMap cycle data.

Cycling: Edinburgh to Berwick and Back

Further to my previous post about my bike. I had problems getting a proper chainring from half the bike shops in Edinburgh, so instead I got a second hand bike that was similar to my old one.

Just over a year ago, I cycled from Edinburgh to Berwick-Upon-Tweed. Since then I have been trying to do it in both directions. However the past occasions that I tried to do it something came up. On Saturday I left home for a rather long cycle. Before I left I loaded TrekBuddy with a map of South East Scotland so that I had some idea of where I was.
The overall cycle was tough. First I headed out East from Edinburgh through Musselburgh on to the A199, out to Dunbar. Parts of the A199 have some nice cycle lanes. As the road is fairly flat and straight you can easily get the speed up to do a nice sprint. This was the easy part of the route, as I have done it before.

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At Dunbar I started to head south towards Berwick-Upon-Tweed. Parts of this part of the A1 can be scary, however it the only way south close to the coast that I know of. In the middle of the Borders, I decided to head through Pease Bay again. It is a steep road down to the bay, where the caravan park is, however it is even steeper on the other side heading out of the bay.
As I had the map in TrekBuddy, I was able to find the A1107, which joins the A1 with Eyemouth in a loop. This helped me to stay off the A1 for a lot longer than I did the last time. It was a nice road into Eyemouth, with some great views of the North Sea. From Eyemouth I headed along the “Berwickshire Coastal Route”, which meant that I was on the A1 for even less, and I’d have even more data to be able to add to OpenStreetMap.org.
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At the border between Scotland and England, I took a snack and photo break.
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From the Border, it is only a few miles more into Berwick, where I joined the National Cycle Network Route 1 to head back to Edinburgh.
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The National Cycle Network takes you on the quietest roads possible. This will usually mean that they are quite hilly, longer and going into the middle of nowhere.  There were some points where you could just see fields or trees, but no lights apart from my own bike or the occasional car. As you are heading west along the National Cycle Network, it does zig zag between Scotland and England a few times. At one point there is a bridge that was built in 1820, and still in use today.
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In Norham there was a sign that was rather confusing, as it had the wrong National Cycle Network Route number. Just as well I used the name of the city I wanted to head towards, rather than the route number.
Just before Galashiels, I stopped to check the GPS and found that the phone no longer seen it. Unfortunately the battery in the bluetooth GPS that I’m currently using only lasts for about 12 hours according to the manufacturer. It lasted about half an hour longer, than the manufacturer’s stated operating time, so should I be happy that I couldn’t get the last bit of the trip? The cold weather didn’t help either, as batteries tend to have a shorter life when they are cold.
From there on, there was no point in me taking any more pictures as I wouldn’t be able to Geotag them. Also it was dark so it was difficult to take any decent pictures. Finally stopping to take pictures does slow my average speed down considerably, and I was wanting to get home rather than be on the bike for a whole 24 hours.
From Galashiels I just hit the A7 north to Edinburgh. I did notice on the way that the signs appeared to change from green to white like a yo-yo. Is it a trunk road or a primary road?
Total Distance was about 150 miles in 17 and three quarter hours. Next up on the longer distance cycling is to head round the Forth again.
Now I just need to get the tracks from yesterday added to OSM (amongst the numerous other things I need to do).

Cycling: Edinburgh 20 miler

Yesterday I took part in the first Edinburgh 20 miler ride of 2008. It was an easy, slow paced, group ride of 12 people around the west of Edinburgh. In total for the day, including to and from the start/finish I cycled about 26 miles.

I found parts of the route interesting because I hadn’t come across them before. I was also testing out my new GPS linked to my phone, using the TrekBuddy software. It seemed mostly reliable, though there was a couple of points where the phone locked up, or there was sporadic data. The sporadic data was easily filtered by gpsbabel. It was also nice to be able to have cached OSM data on my phone, so that I could see where there was changes required to the data.

The past 2 months

It has been a couple of months now since I’ve properly written a blog post. So here is a longish catchup post.

I have been busy doing agency work mostly in staff restaurants as a Kitchen Porter. I’ve even bumped into the Lead of the Marketing Project in our home town, rather than having to go to some OpenOffice.org conference. I did spend 3 weeks commuting by train (a novelty for me), to Stirling to work as a caretaker. Unfortunately the work is rather dull, though there are bills to be paid. Hopefully I’ll get around to updating my CV and sending it off to relevant people to hopefully get a degree related job.
Now back to 2 months ago.
I managed to get up and do my Buildbot presentation at ooocon2007 without any breakfast. The presentation has been really useful, as I have received some very useful feedback from developers on what they want from the system.
Code writers are interested in seeing if their code breaks on some other platform as early as possible. They want this to be reliable, and ideally the same configuration as the officially released builds.
The QA project are looking for install sets for testing new code that is about to be introduced into the main code line. Again they ideally want to have the same configuration as the officially released builds.
At the moment the source code statistics aren’t interesting enough for developers to want them. Also the basics don’t currently work well enough.
I have finally got around to Geotagging my photos from this years OpenOffice.org conference in the past few days. As I have upgraded to Mac OS X 10.5, I found that my previous geotagging solution (GPSPhotoLinker) has stopped working as a library has stopped working due to a perl version mismatch. So I have headed to the command line with a perl script. gpsPhoto.pl seems to do the trick, though it is a pain to get the command line right as it isn’t as easy to just drag a load of photos from iPhoto. I’m not upgrading to iLife 08, as there is no GPS tagging support. Leopard’s Preview has a feature that allows you to go to a Google map of where the photo was taken. However, what I really want it to tell iPhoto: look in this folder for GPS traces, and geo tag all these photos automatically.
For future reference (as I was in mainland Europe with daylight saving the offset from UTC is minus 2 hours):
./gpsPhoto.pl –gpsdir 2007-09 –timeoffset -7200 –maxtimediff 7200 –overwrite-geotagged –dir /Users/shaunmcdonald/Pictures/iPhoto\ Library/Originals/2007/ooocon2007/
Photos from ooocon2007. I’ve also added the photos to Flickr with the ooocon2007 tag.
As many people have already seen. I am now the lead for the Mac Port of the OpenOffice.org. Eric Bachard made the announcement some time ago. I have posted my vision to the Mac porting mailing list. Due to time constraints as mentioned at the start of this blog post, I won’t be spending as much time as Eric Bachard on the project. I’m sure Eric will do a great job as the lead of the Education project, which tries to get more students involved in the OpenOffice.org project.
I am currently moving broadband provider from VirginMedia to Be*. For the same price I’m getting about 4 times the speed, with a slightly greater dropout for the same £18 per month.
When I was working out in Stirling I cycled home, or part of the way home. I have managed to map and tag most of the National Cycle Network route 76 from Stirling to Kincardine/Grangemouth. The south of the Kincardine Bridge is rather difficult to map and cycle just now as there is a lot of major road works and changes to the road network happening there.
About a fortnight ago I cycle 73 miles from Edinburgh to Ayr along the A70. I left quite late just before midday, and took about 6 hours. With the winter setting in, the last hour was pitch black. I lazily took the train back home for £8.80 with my Young Person Railcard. (Rather than cycling back home.) I have mapped and tagged the A70 with my GPS trace for the OpenStreetMap project. My ride on MapMyRide.com. I probably won’t cycle the A71 to Kilmarnock as it is a more dangerous road.
I have created a count down dashboard widget to State of the Map 2008. Download the SOTM countdown widget
Finally, I have partnered with Manager-Pro. To translate and distribute and English version of their software. All exported reports require the usage of OpenOffice.org. Either as the document reader as the exported documents are in the OpenOffice.org 1 format. If a user wants the reports in PDF, Word or Excel formats, OpenOffice.org requires to be installed for the file format translators within OpenOffice.org.

OpenStreetMap: Edinburgh Mapping Party Review

Last weekend’s Edinburgh Mapping Party went well. We had around 10 mappers at the meet up. Most of FIXME land has now disappeared.

There was a few debates on what things should tagged. After some discussion it was decided the West Approach Road tagged highway=primary rather than tertiary, as it has all the characteristics of a primary, even so it doesn’t have a reference number. Also Princes Street hasn’t been a primary road since it was restricted some years ago to allow only buses along it east bound.
Hopefully there will be some more meetups in the future.