I’ve been interested in this project for a while now, and today, after weeks of faffing about with USB to Serial connectors and drivers etc. I finally got my PC to talk to my GPS. Anyway, the point is I’ve finally added a few streets to the Open Street Map project. The idea is that there will be a free open access map of the whole country available, eventually. How this works is you take your GPS unit out, walk down some streets, and it logs a “trace” of where you’ve walked. You then download a bit of software which converts this trace to what’s called a GPX file, which you can then add to the map. (You can’t use existing maps because they’re all copyright.)
It’s not brilliant, because the GPS isn’t absolutely 100% accurate, and it’s quite hard to get all the twists and turns of a street absolutely right, because there a multiple waypoints recorded in the GPS trace and you’ve got to remember the exact configuration of the streets. The ones I walked down all had sort of a T configuration at the end, and even though I walked round this, it’s still quite hard to see the exact layout of the map. Still I think it’s a worthwhile little project, although given that its not all that easy for a novice computer user to get into, I think it might be some time before the whole country gets covered.
All the waypoints are superimposed on the map, and you then have to draw lines (which become the streets on the map) over your waypoints, classify the type of street it is, and then enter its name into the database. You can then add features like pubs and so on. (Which I did of course!). Anyway you can see my endeavours, (so far) by clicking on http://www.openstreetmap.org and searching for Skellingthorpe. Click on the village name in the list that appears and zoom in.
I’m afraid though I’ve quite a lot more streets to do! Gets me out of the house though, I suppose!