London’s natural geography

I’ve been playing around with open data from OpenStreetMap and Natural England to make a pretty map of “green and blue infrastructure” in London. Here’s the result:

You can download a PDF version suitable for printing here: natural_london.

I’m pretty happy with the result, my first real attempt to produce something useful with QGIS. The data I used was:

There’s no reason the Natural England data couldn’t be manually added to OpenStreetMap, giving us a complete dataset of natural features. I just chose to get on and do it this way rather than wait, or try to add all the data across areas of the city I don’t know well and am not going to visit any time soon. I also didn’t really need to use the Ordnance Survey data for boundaries, but it’s slightly more accurate and complete than OpenStreetMap data.

The map is probably missing lots of smaller patches of green space, including grass verges, green roofs and biodiverse brownfield sites. The biggest omission is the humble private garden. They cover 24% of London’s land!

But the map at least shows the more obvious, visible, public green spaces, and is a nice example of what a geek with no GIS training (but years of playing with OpenStreetMap) can do with free software and free data these days.


  1. Graham Asher said:

    “The map is probably missing lots of smaller patches of green space” … and Regent’s Parks is missing too.

    1st November 2012
    • Tom Chance said:

      So it is, well spotted! That’s a defect in the Geofabrik shapefiles, I’ll let them know.

      2nd November 2012
  2. […] the Web Features Service as an easier source for landuse data (see my previous blogs on making a map of London’s green spaces and analysing Southwark’s landuse, which both required a somewhat complicated process to get […]

    8th November 2012
  3. Hi – have you updated the map to include Regent’s Park? I would love to use it (and accredit you) for a CPRE London publication if that’s poss – we are campaigning for Sustainable Urban Design and green spaces / infrastructure in London. Thanks!

    5th February 2013
    • Tom Chance said:

      Hi Rosalie, I haven’t, but can. When would you need it by?

      5th February 2013

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