Map geeks collaborating with Southwark Council?

I met up with two map/GIS officers from Southwark Council this evening to continue a discussion about OpenStreetMap; they’re very interested in it. The obvious starting point, with some help from ITO, will be to use OpenStreetMap for the new web mapping service on all zoom levels up to the very detailed Ordnance Survey master maps (which have exact road shapes, buildings, etc.). That’s right – they might replace the commercial stuff with maps that were made by the community and shared for free!

Southwark has some pretty well known landmarks – Tower Bridge, the Globe Theatre, Peckham library and Nunhead Cemetery to name but a few. It will be exciting to have OpenStreetMap data of these on the Southwark web site.

But wait – it gets better. They’re also interested in discussing real, actual collaboration. To begin with, they might be able to provide data for OpenStreetMap and help us keep it up to date, for example sharing the street gazetteer so we can check if we have missed anything, seeing if they can let us know when roads change, and putting in all the cycle parking & recycling points they’ve gone around the borough finding themselves. They’re even interested in getting officers across the council to use and contribute OpenStreetMap where it is easy and helps them do their job.

It’s very early days, but look out for a hack or mapping party with Southwark Council later this year. Some of this might just come true, and establish a really interesting experiment where council officers and people in the community collaborate for their mutual benefit.


  1. Anna Plodowski said:

    That’s very interesting, many thanks for having that conversation with LBS officers. Fingers crossed something good develops out of it.

    Thinking about energy issues, it would be great to start mapping where renewable energy production sites are. Peckham Power have recently decided that it needs a map on our website showing where renewable energy production sites are in our locality – longer term, we need to start mapping those buildings that are suitable for solar thermal for hot water, or PV for solar electricity, so that we have an understanding of what our potential energy production capability is. [As a rough-and-ready start, a surveying project for lots of local schools perhaps?]

    4iP, Channel 4’s fund for new projects to “deliver publicly valuable content and services on digital media platforms with significant impact and in sustainable ways” announced funding for projects that would use government official data “to find out how Britian works and how it doesn’t”. There is however, no government data about decentralised energy production or its capability; this could be an excellent way of starting to build that data…

    26th March 2010
      • Anna Plodowski said:

        Hey, that would be fab Tom – Peckham Power would definitely be interested in be part of a bid with some OpenStreetMap people on mapping local renewable power.

        Actually, conversations with the energy team at Southwark Council have revealed that they don’t have any data on this – there’s no legal requirement for anyone to tell them if they install micro-renewables on their building [though they may need to get planning permission before doing so if in a conservation area]. But having planning permission isn’t the same as something actually being installed. So actually, councils don’t know what’s going on…

        I’ve been feeling so frustrated with the impending census – all that data collection, probably none of it about our energy production potential so a huge opportunity wasted – so working with OpenStreetMap would be fab.

        Would need some care however – not everyone who has installed micro-renewables has planning permission for them, so may need to include some disclaimer to prevent us getting people in unwanted bother!

        26th March 2010
  2. Chris Hill said:

    This is great news. I’ve had some discussions with the East Riding council and Hull City council, but not to the extent that you seem to have. When one enlightened council makes the jump to OSM, others will follow. I look forward to following where you lead.

    26th March 2010
    • Tom Chance said:

      Your work on bus stops is also a very useful case study, do you have it all written up anywhere in one place?

      It’s a bit more complex in London with TfL, but still useful to share with Southwark council officers.

      26th March 2010
  3. James Rutter said:

    At Surrey Heath we are already publishing all our street naming and numbering data to OSM down to individiual new buildings with their addresses (minus the postcode obviously).

    We are in the process of arranging a deal with the rest of the Surrey authorities to ‘open source’ a high resolution air survey for the whole of Surrey County to make it available to the public so that OSM’ers can access the data though JOSM, the primary digitising software for OSM.

    29th March 2010

Comments are closed.