OpenStreetMap Orienteering

How to cycle for 25 miles without leaving the neighborhood

Here’s the GPS trace for a bike ride I did on Saturday:


It’s 25 miles long, but never I’m never more than a mile from the Bow Wharf complex.

Why? I’m organising a street orienteering race (“Street-O”) for Tuesday evening, and the map will be based entirely on OpenStreetMap data – probably the first time OSM data has been used for an orienteering map for a real race.

The cycle was to find as many missing roads, paths and alleyways as possible to try and make the map complete. Bow has a large number of social housing estates and some of these are a real rabbit warren of alleys.

The ways were then drawn in to the map, using Potlatch, and then the data was downloaded, converted using the script I developed for my MSc dissertation last year, and added into a custom build of Quantum GIS. The map was then “composed”, with adornments (scale bar, legend) added, and a PDF created. Because it’s a GIS, the map already knows its scale and the colours used in its symbology, so adding the scale bar and legend is just a case of selecting the area of the map you want the adornment to go on. Quantum GIS’s cartography isn’t perfect though – line capping is problematic, but it will do for tomorrow’s purposes.

The result will be seen, and hopefully used, by everyone who turns up for the event at the Royal Inn on the Park tomorrow evening. Come along if you can! The weather is looking good.

It’s good to finally put into practice the technique I outlined in the dissertation. I will post a couple of excerpts soon to this blog – namely the bits of the dissertation I referred to when creating the final map last night.

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