Tag: OpenStreetMap

I’m leading a Transition Town project to bring Legible London to Crystal Palace. You’ll have noticed these signs around central London, conspicuously absent across most of the rest of the capital: At the local Transition Town AGM, somebody suggested we should try to bring these to Crystal Palace. But why wait on TfL? Using OpenStreetMap and TileMill, we can try to produce our own similar map style and stick them up ourselves! Here is my prototype for the wide area map: You’ll notice dark blue lines along the edges of roads and though the park. Those are pavements and footpaths, and indicate where you can walk. Here’s a prototype for the more detailed map of the local area, with local points of interest, pedestrian crossings and bus stops: You’ll notice that some roads don’t show any pavements. Eagle-eyed locals may also spot missing cut-throughs and wonder about missing points of…

Read More Bringing pedestrian maps to Crystal Palace

Following yesterday’s post on making London more dense, Tim Lund suggested I do a slightly more sophisticated analysis. Planners in London use a metric called the Public Transport Accessibility Level, or ‘PTAL’, which does pretty much what you’d expect. Rules for things like car parking levels and the density of housing you should build are based on these, because obviously if you’re in central London you have no need for a car and you can justify quite tall blocks of flats, but in low rise suburbia with only sporadic bus services it’s accepted that more car parking and less dense housing is appropriate. So if you were to follow these rules, how much more housing could you build in London? First, I took the data for PTAL levels (the map on the left). Then I took my wards, sliced up to remove any areas that cannot be built on, cut…

Read More Densifying London (part two)

How do we build more homes in London? The Mayor’s latest exercise assessing needs suggests we need up to 690,000 over the next ten years, but a parallel exercise looking for land only came up with sites for 420,000 homes. The usual debate is whether or not we build in London’s greenbelt to make up the difference. But there are at least three good reasons not to go down this route to solve our problems: there are an awful lot of protected habitats that we really cannot build on; building sustainable developments around transport hubs and avoiding those habitats could only deliver (in Andrew Lainton’s estimation) 72,000 homes; and if we ignore these,  it could lead to more low density, car-dependent urban sprawl, which the greenbelt was established to prevent. The alternative, or perhaps complementary, approach is to make London more dense, particularly around transport hubs in sprawling, low density…

Read More Making parts of London more dense

In the past couple of months I’ve been able to combine work and my mapping hobby, working on a web site about air pollution in London. I’m going to be speaking about this at the October geomob meeting. I’m lucky enough to live in one of Europe’s most polluted cities. Air pollution causes more early deaths than obesity and road collisions, and is only bested by smoking. The Mayor published some really good open data on pollution levels, which of course is incomprehensible to ordinary folk. So despite having a sense that it’s not the cleanest city, Londoners don’t know all that much about the problem or how it could be solved. We want to help change that. Our first splash was a map showing the quantities of some major pollutants dropped on sections of roads across the capital, so Londoners could find out – how polluted is my road?…

Read More Mapping dirty London

I started writing this as an email to Richard Fairhurst, but then thought I’d post it to my blog. I wrote something on a similar theme just over a year ago. Richard, I just wanted to say that I thought your talk at the SOTMUS conference was spot on. But when you talk about the cycling community, I think there’s an important caveat missing. Lots of people in our mapping community (or lots of the 5% who do 95% of the mapping) are enthusiastic cyclists, but few in the enthusiastic cyclist community are mappers. I’ve not come across the London Cycling Campaign or any of the borough groups really getting involved with cycle mapping. Some members (myself included) do, but my impression is that most don’t. Despite embedding CycleStreets on their homepage and collaborating on a cycle parking campaign with them, I’ve never come across a big concerted push from…

Read More Getting enthusiasts into OpenStreetMap

OpenEcoMaps, eco-living maps using OpenStreetMap data, is now working again. Hooray! I decided to sit down and work out why the OpenLayers interface wasn’t working and it turned out to be quite simple to fix. You can now browse around maps of low carbon energy generators in London, veggie restaurants in Edinburgh, allotments in Exeter, recycling facilities in Glasgow and more! The data is updated every hour, direct from OpenStreetMap, and is available on maps and downloadable/reusable KML and GeoJSON files. The code is also in Github, so you could set-up your own version for another country if you like. There are still some of the layers that aren’t working because the underlying data isn’t being extracted from OpenStreetMap properly. But I’m very glad that, after well over six months with it completely broken, the web site basically works again!

Read More OpenEcoMaps is back!

For almost a year now, my pet project OpenEcoMaps has been broken. The vagaries of unreliable XAPI servers meant the system couldn’t download OpenStreetMap data to create all the KML files, and (I think) some changes to OpenLayers meant the web maps also stopped working. It has taken me a long time to work up the energy to fix these. Today I can happily say one half of the system is now working again, and the underlying code is much improved. OpenEcoMaps KML files, and now GeoJSON files, are being created again. Hooray! I switched from XAPI to the Overpass API; grabbed JSON which enabled me to write a more powerful function to turn this into usable objects (for example building a complete Python object for an allotment merging data from relevant nodes, ways and relations); wrote a new library to create GeoJSON files; refactored everything else to fit with…

Read More OpenEcoMaps halfway back

The OpenStreetMap GB project aims to measure and improve the quality of OSM data in Great Britain, cleaning it up to get rid of silly little data errors, and to make this cleaned up version available in formats that local and central government types are used to. I have been exploring whether I could use 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 the data set). In the process I’ve found it’s actually a great way to identify gaps and problems in our data. Browse around the map on the OpenStreetMap homepage and you might think we have an impressive coverage of residential landuse, playing fields and parks. But probe around with the WFS and you can spot all sorts of missing…

Read More Fixing problems with OSM-GB’s web service

Following my map of London’s green and blue infrastructure, I have been working on some analysis of the land uses. I was inspired and encouraged to try this by Liliana’s interesting work called “imagining all of Southwark“. Lili and Ari have managed to get the council to release lots of data on properties and car parking, and they are producing analysis of this data by postal code area and by street. They haven’t managed to get anything on land uses, so I thought, why not produce this with OpenStreetMap data? A few evenings later, here is the result shared on Google docs (direct link) covering the eight postal code areas that between them cover most of the borough (SE1, SE5, SE15, SE16, SE17, SE21, SE22, SE24): [googleapps domain=”docs” dir=”spreadsheet/pub” query=”key=0Ago4j1EdZaOFdHlYTE9CNU15VUxGdDBLeVpPV0gxbFE&output=html&widget=true” width=”500″ height=”300″ /] What the data means The “summary” worksheet shows the total land area, expressed in hectares (10,000 m2),…

Read More Analysing Southwark’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: OpenStreetMap shapefiles for most features from Geofabrik, supplemented by… Manually retrieved commons and marshes using the Overpass API (not yet present in Geofabrik shapefiles) Natural England shapefiles for orchards, deciduous woodlands and sites of special scientific interest Ordnance Survey Boundary-Line shapefiles for the Greater London and London borough boundaries 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…

Read More London’s natural geography