Mon 13 Mar 2017 10:51AM

App Idea: Walkers' App

NW Nick Whitelegg Public Seen by 395

As requested this is a separate thread to get ideas for an app to allow walkers to easily contribute data to OSM. There could of course be other apps for more general surveying, but want to focus on a walkers' app specifically here.


Nick Whitelegg Mon 13 Mar 2017 10:58AM

Hi, as requested here's a separate thread for a potential walkers' app.

This is something I've long thought about but never got round to doing anything with.

The idea is to produce something that walkers with limited technical experience, and who might be frightened off JOSM or even iD, could use to contribute data to OSM, in conjunction with expert editors as described below.

A user would do something like this. Set out on a walk, and every time the ROW changes, they select the ROW type - footpath, bridleway etc. They would also record POIs - stiles, gates, signposts etc. and maybe record things like "what side of the fence is the path on" where this is ambiguous.

The output of this would be a tagged GPX trace where each corresponds to a different ROW.

POIs could possibly be added directly to OSM - maybe through a proxy which detects if there is already a POI of similar type within a threshold distance.

The GPX trace is uploaded to an intermediate server.

Expert editors get alerted when there is a new upload in their area. They then use a JOSM plugin to download these tagged traces and then add them to OSM as actual ways. Tagging could possibly be automatic here.

There'd need to be a rendering to allow users to see where the missing paths are, without having to go to the OSM website. I have already developed something like this for my "opentrail" app (on my github space - nickw1) so this could be rolled in quite easily.



Robert Whittaker Mon 13 Mar 2017 11:09AM

For a quick win, you may be able to do something with a custom OSM tracker profile http://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/OSMTracker_(Android) . It wouldn't have the integration you want, but might be useful in the mean time for any experienced mappers wanting some of this functionality on their phone.


Dan S Tue 14 Mar 2017 8:52AM

Hi - does this mean that the OSMUK meetup chose UK walkers as an important group to try to get on board? I've never thought of them as the least-represented bunch in OSM, so this focus surprises me.

It doesn't seem to be a theme mentioned in the hackpad https://hackpad.com/OSM-UK-In-person-meeting-3VKrKyY0mQW

I don't object to the idea in general, but I'm confused about whether this is a general ambition of OSMUK or just an idea that someone is suggesting.


Nick Whitelegg Tue 14 Mar 2017 5:12PM

No - it was my own idea, was just trying to get feedback on how keen people would be in general on potential ideas for walkers' maps/apps - and suggesting that "official" OSM-UK apps/software might attract more contributors than an individual's own project. I can see, for example, that if a "casual" walker (someone non-techy but able to use a simple app where all they have to do is record a GPS trace and select the path types) was able to input data into OSM, coverage of paths might improve. I do know that in my part of the south, after exponential growth up to about 3 years ago, the rate of increase of new footpaths seems to have flattened out somewhat - presumably because current mappers have exhausted their 'patch'. This does suggest a slow uptake of new footpath mappers.


RobJN Tue 14 Mar 2017 9:32PM

@dans @nickwhitelegg :

We have the ideas from Saturday which @brianprangle is tidying up so that we can share it more widely for community input. So far however the idea of an app picked up a high number of "votes" (indications of priority area). Both @spiffy and @adamhoyle will work their magic to turn it from a series of ideas to a proposal. No doubt they will have some questions.


Adam Hoyle Mon 20 Mar 2017 5:51PM

Hi All,

Just to say that I still think this is a great idea and something worth pursuing, but for the short term, I'm working with Jon (@spiffy) on the Notes App idea (see the other thread) - primarily as it seems like it might be an easier app to put together. If all goes well I am keen to come back to this idea and work out how to take it forward, so if anyone reading this has any ideas then please share them here :-)