More cycle parking installed at Ipswich Waitrose/John Lewis

I was recently alerted to some new bicycle parking having been installed at the new Waitrose/John Lewis at Home in Ipswich after my recent blog post, so went to take a look.

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They have almost doubled the cycle parking since the previous time I visited after I emailed as pointed out that it was well used. It’s great to see them take such swift action. I wonder how long it’s going to take Sainsburys to repair the cycle parking outside their central Ipswich store. After contacting Sainsburys via Twitter, who passed it on to the store manager, however Cycle Ipswich have been unable to get a response from him.

I also noticed another sign on the access roads which was added under the street names to say “These roads and footpaths are not yet adopted please refer to developer”. I presume that the council has had complaints about those roads, and has thus added them.

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[mapsmarker marker=”2″]

Of course I have updated OpenStreetMap. I used Vespucci to update the data while I was there so that I didn’t need to remember to update it once I got home.

Videos of the talks at Wherecamp.eu Rome 2013

In January I was at the Wherecamp.eu in Rome, and recorded most of the talks that happened. I have now uploaded those talks to YouTube for the wider community to be able to watch. Here’s the videos in the order they were recorded:

Friday 18th Jan 2013

Tariffa and problem management in Africa

A demonstration of CartoDB

World Food Programme using OpenDataKit

GeoNode

FOSS4G conference introduction

37 Things you didn’t know about ESRI

CityMapper

Topology with PostGIS

An introduction to R for spatial analysis

The OSGeo Live CD and Virtual Machines

 

Saturday 19th Jan 2013

GeoAvalanche

GRASS

A Linear Sense of Place

Updating to the latest Carto in Tile Mill when running on an Ubuntu service

Currently there are some bug fixes in the Carto code base which isn’t in the currently released Tile Mill which I was wanting to make use of. This is the commands that are needed in case someone else needs that info when running Tile Mill as an Ubuntu Service.

cd /usr/share/tilemill
sudo npm install carto@latest

If that fails, read the error messages as some files may be in the way and npm isn’t wanting to overwrite them:

sudo rm /usr/share/tilemill/node_modules/.bin/mml2json.js
sudo rm /usr/share/tilemill/node_modules/.bin/carto

You then also need to restart Tile Mill, which if you are using the Ubuntu service, you can use the following command.

sudo restart tilemill

Lack of cycle parking at the new Ipswich Waitrose & John Lewis at Home stores

Last Sunday I headed out to map the new Waitrose and John Lewis at Home stores in Ipswich that recently opened. I also took a look at what the cycling facilities of the new store were like and got them mapped into OpenStreetMap. The building outlines were in OSM already, as were the roads that were previously in OSM as being under construction had already been converted to active roads by someone else already.

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The access roads all have shared legal cycling on the pavement that are a reasonable width, which is a great start. There is however only 2 sets of 6 spaces for parking bicycles at opposite ends of the store.

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When I visited, there had been so much demand that people were tying their bike against the sign telling them where the bike park was on the currently more obvious one to park at due to it being nearer the entrance.

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I’d have expected there to be more cycle parking especially when the car park was over flowing and encouraging more people to cycle would reduce the demands for their over full car park.

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Fix for being unable to connect to devices on Sky FTTC router

I’ve recently upgraded from Sky’s ADSL2+ product to their Fibre to the Cabinet (FTTC) internet package. This has a dramatically improved data speed from about 4Mb/sec downstream and 0.4-0.6 Mb/sec upstream, to just under 40 Mb/sec down and 10 Mb/sec upstream.

After the new router and BT Openreach modem had been installed I found that I couldn’t connect to devices that were connected to the Sky modem via ethernet, however connecting to them over wifi worked fine. Sky have setup their modems such that they can auto detect whether it’s a Fibre connection via a BT Openreach modem, or via ASDL and choose the right configuration.

I spent a week or so wondering what was going, and why I couldn’t connect to other devices on the local network even by ip address and port number, however if they had a service that had been setup through UPnP, then I could access them from  other external networks fine.

After some prodding around in the Sky router settings, I came across the page for the router mode http://192.168.0.1/sky_wan_setup.html:

I thought I’d take a further look and see how it affected things. Simply changing it to “WANoE only” mode for FTTC and ensuring that the BT OpenReach router was plugged into the correct ethernet port as shown in the picture under the setting fixed the issue.

 

It seems that in auto mode the firewall is setup for all ethernet ports rather than just the one that the Openreach modem is connected to, until you change to the specific setup.

Hopefully this info will help someone else if they come across the same issue.

Update 22/11/2012: I’ve found that the router can seeming forget the above setting, even so being set to it, thus forcing the setting again is needed. Hopefully Sky will resolve the issue at some point.

My Talk at State of the Map Scotland 2012

This year at State of the Map Scotland 2012 I spoke about the ITO Map tool to highlight the more detailed OpenStreetMap data available, which generally isn’t shown on maps. I’ve mentioned a few other services that I find interesting that maybe aren’t so well known. This blog post is a summary of that talk. You can click the map images to see a bigger image.

State of the Map Scotland

First up, was the building classifications and building addressing ITO Map layers. It’s really useful to have address information on buildings as then you can find the specific address rather than just the street.

A lot of the buildings in OpenStreetMap at the moment are simply marked as building=yes, (94% of buildings don’t specify the building type), however if the buildings are marked with what they are used for then more interesting maps showing the building classification can be created, and you have information that can be useful for planning things.

Not many people have come across a speed limit map, as it’s very rare that this information has been readily available until people started adding it to OpenStreetMap. The ITO Map layer is great for showing the current data, and also highlighting where more data is needed, particularly residential streets and smaller roads. Most major roads in the UK already have speed limit data.

Next up I showed the Highway lanes map, which gives an idea of how busy or wide a road is. This data can be used by navigation devices to give advice on where to change lane on approach to a junction if it is required for example. I’ve also had someone suggest that it could be used by pedestrian and cycle campaigners to show how easy it is to cross a road, especially when used in combination with a map showing the pavements/sidewalks.

Having the barriers in an area mapped can be useful in some cases as it can for example explain that two roads don’t join due to a wall being in the way, thus someone who is looking at the data remotely thinking there is a connectivity error won’t try and fix it.

Barrier information is used by routing engines, for example CycleStreets will avoid  taking you across some types of barrier.

Many of the ITO Map layers are specifically aimed at helping OpenStreetMap Mappers to improve the tagging. For example the Building entrance fixup map layer highlights maps that are based on an older style of tagging building entrances. There was a change from simply say that there was an entrance to being able to specify the type of entrance. It’s also useful when people add other info like whether that particular entrance to the building is wheelchair accessible, which can then lead to wheelchair specific routing, and routing to a suitable building entrance, rather than the opposite side of the building which might mean a 5 minute walk.

How good are you at counting? Having the number of steps in a staircase can mean that routing engines can avoid long sets of steps for example. This could be useful for elderly  people who struggle walking up or down large flights of steps. I’m not sure OSM has come up with a consensus yet as to which direction is up or down, so that the routing engine could for example say go down 10 steps, walk 500 metres turn right and up 50 steps.

CycleStreets take the view that dismounting and walking your bike up or down a few steps may be preferable to huge diversion.

Another useful map for walking campaigners is the map showing where the pavements/sidewalks are. This more detailed information of roads is probably not so useful in towns and cities, but more so in more rural areas, where pedestrians will often be expected to walk along side motor vehicles travelling at 40 or more miles per hour, which can be a pretty daunting experience. There can be parts of towns and cities where there are urban motorways where there is no pavement, or only one on one side of the road.

The OpenCycleMap has shown cycle parking in OpenStreetMap for many years now, however it doesn’t highlight the data in OSM that is lacking the capacity of each cycle parking place so that you know how big the cycle park is. The ITO Map of cycle parking specifically highlights data that could be improved with a red dot or area. Gregory Williams from Spokes East Kent has created a heat map of cycle parking.

Do you know where your nearest cash machine is and does it charge a fee?

OpenStreetMap has some data for the ATMs, however I’m sure there are more out there.

 

 

Is your local school mapped with buildings, and the schools grounds? ITO have a map for the schools.

Next up I showed some of the Vector Map District comparison maps.

I started off with the main roads VMD comparison highlighting that it can help with showing where there may be some differences that need fixed. Sometimes the Ordnance Survey data sources can be out of date, thus shouldn’t be copied without thinking. The example above highlights the new M74 extension, which opened since the OS VMD data was released. The map highlights a lot of discrepancies in the tertiary roads (what used to be commonly C numbered).

Similarly for the railways, OpenStreetMap is more precise, having more railway types defined, and also having new rail lines, such as the Shotts Line between Edinburgh and Glasgow now open.

Recently at work I’ve been looking at what interesting things that I can do with ITO Maps. It turns out that having a random colour based on the road number works well at showing where there road numbers changing where I wouldn’t expect them, or thin black lines showing where there is a missing road number (or ref in terms of OSM tagging). Someone has gone and fixed up most of the references that were missing in Central Scotland since the talk.

Similarly for railways you can easily see where they change name. In many cases the rail line doesn’t have a name.

Or how about random waterway names? Do some of the names change unexpecedly?

Finally I covered various questions and highlighting other things from the floor. ITO’s OSM Analysis tool is useful for spotting differences between OpenStreetMap and the Ordnance Survey’s OS Locator dataset. OSM Mapper is great for showing what has happened recently in an area, or highlighting the types of data that has been mapped in the area.

ITO are able to create new map layers to support the validation of OpenStreetMap data. The best ways to get in touch are to either add a message to the ITO Map Ideas wiki page where it can be publicly discussed, or to email support@itoworld.com.

Some other OSM tools that you may be interested in:

Who did it? which highlights recent changes that have been happening, and whether you should take a closer look based on some heuristics.

OSMstats shows charts about the OSM data and how it’s changing over time with daily updates.

Richard Mann has come up with cycle map style that is distinctly different from the original OpenCycleMap. It highlights main roads that have residential roads along them as they are likely to be”nicer” for cycling along compared to more rural main roads.

And finally you may not have yet come across the Live OSM Edits site. It can be quite addictive to sit and watch where there are edits happening in the world.

A Dip in the River Gipping

Unfortunately I can’t say that I’ve managed to get distracted by something and end up cycling into the river. Sorry to disappoint.

On Sunday afternoon, I went for a cycle ride with my girlfriend, Andrea out along the River Gipping following the river as closely as possible. We got some of the way out, then as river heads out of Ipswich past the sea defences the path narrows and is no longer suitable for cycling on so we found a nice spot in the bushes and locked the bikes to the bushes and continued on foot.

A couple of hours later we got back from the walk [map]. I noticed a helmet in the water, looked at the other side of the path and realised that it was the point that we had left our bikes, at which point my girlfriend pointed out that it was her own helmet that was in the water. On closer inspection I noticed that there were two wheels beside the helmet and that it was our bikes that had been thrown in.

Bikes in the River Gipping

I took off my shoes, socks, trousers and jacket and slipped carefully into the river. It was slightly scary as I didn’t know how deep it was going to be or what else was going to be in the river. The edge of the river turned out to be about waist height and the river got deeper going further into the centre. I was quite surprised at how warm the water was, as I was expecting it to be colder. With the help of Andrea on the bank we managed to drag the bikes that were still chained together back onto the river foot path.

The bikes have some minor damage: my Brooks saddle including the seat post, the rear light on the bike rack and the top of the bell are all gone. The light and saddle would have both needed tools to get off, as I’m sure the water wouldn’t have loosened the nuts and bolts. My girlfriend’s bike has lost the lights, and a tire has gone soft.

This tweet from Bromley Cyclists is rather useful advice, though rather a little too late:

Hopefully we’ll both have working bikes for our trip up to Scotland next week, particularly with Andrea not having a spare bike.

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Time for Rowntree’s Randoms story….

Since I’m on a train and had a limited choice of sweets, I thought I’d make a little Rowntree’s Randoms story. Here’s the story I made based on the order of the items that came out the packet:

There once was a pink headed tortoise who went fishing with the help of his whistle to catch a button and a padlock. Afterwards he went for a beer with his friend, the tortoise. On his way home he got scared when he found some big paw prints. Luckily he had a tennis racket with him to be able to scare the big red R away. He then got an ice cream to help him recover from the scary experience, while he made a jigsaw with a picture of a fish on it.

Barnet Great Divide Ride Review

Last Sunday I went on the Barnet Great Divide Ride in North London. The roads up there do seem to be scarier than what I’m used to for London. As an experienced cyclist, I was glad that I was in the middle of a big group of 80 people on bicycles and not cycling through some of those junctions on my own.

The lack of patience in London’s driver’s never ceases to amaze me. For example there were a few drivers, who through their impatience were causing more of a traffic jam, whilst had they just paused for a moment to let someone else out, everyone would be further on in their journey. Or a driver who thought that he would be able to hit the accelerator and make us suddenly stop as we were crossing a junction, rather than waiting for less than two minutes for us to all pass. By being impatient he caused himself to have even more of a delay, due to where he ended up stopping in the middle of the road in front of us.

 

Barring a few minor issues, it was really nice ride. There were some drivers who where nice and held the traffic for use to get out at junctions, which deeply contrasts to some of the other impatient motorists. At the end of the ride we had a picnic in the park in the middle of the last junction. It could do with better pedestrian and cycle access, some trees and benches, and it’d be a much nice place.

 

Video from my handlebar camera, a Drift Innovation HD170 Stealth
showing the ride in 7 mins:

Charlie the ride leader wrote a succinct blog post showing how on the way back to South London after the ride, when we tried to use the cycle infrastructure on one of the junctions, that we cyclists needed to jump up on a wall to let some pedestrians past. Is it any wonder cyclists don’t use it? Is it any wonder that cyclists get killed when they take to the roads instead with the traffic moving so fast?

My photos from the ride.

OpenStreetMap UCL mapping party

On the afternoon of Friday 2nd March I was at the UCL mapping party for the MSc students on a development planning course. In a similar style to Andy Allan on various previous occasions, I found it pretty interesting to see the various issues that the students came across when starting to use OpenStreetMap data for their course work.

Here’s a list of things that people had a problem with:

  1. If there is an error loading an invalid GPS trace into Potlatch 2, then Potlatch 2 just stalled during the startup rather than displaying a useful error message and continuing to load.
  2. Many of the users when working in advanced mode managed to enter a value, and with the way that they clicked somewhere else before entering the value, which meant that the key would disappear and confuse users.
  3. It would be nice to be able to give a nice notice when a user enters a key or value in sentence case when lower case would be expected.
  4. It is very hard to select a node at the end of a way.
  5. There was confusion about the 3 editor options in the menu that drops down from the Edit tab.
  6. The lack of accessibility mapping features in the presets made it more difficult to get them up to speed quickly.
  7. Building entrances are missing from the presets.
  8. How are people supposed to know to shift click to add a node in the middle of a way.
  9. Potlach2 can’t handle more than one major feature at a time, for example a building and a place of worship.
  10. No highway crossing preset.
  11. Easier setup of custom Potlach 2 with custom MapCSS. Maybe some form of GUI to create those files?
  12. How do you take a scanned map and put it as a background?
  13. Many people had questions around why the detailed data they were adding wasn’t showing on the map, for example why were disabled parking spaces not showing up with a specific disable parking space symbol in Potlatch 2.
  14. The help font size in Potlatch 2 is a bit on the small side, thus can be difficult to read for some users.
  15. After creating a GPS trace in an app on the mobile, how to get it and the photos into the editor.