Saturday, 22 November 2008

Winged Wheels

According to the latest figures released by the Department for Transport there are about 4,100 km of road in Berkshire (including Bracknell, Reading, Slough, Windsor, Maidenhead and Wokingham).

I have been playing around with the OSM database, and I reckon that about 4,300 km of Berkshire roads have been mapped on OSM. At first sight, that looks pretty good. However, in areas that have been intensively mapped on OSM (like Edinburgh and Brighton) the length of roads on OSM is more than 50% higher than the figures that the DfT publishes.

All of this is a bit rough and ready, but I'm guessing that the detailed geometry needed for the OSM map includes squiggles that the DfT doesn't count, which results in a higher figure for the length of a road. I can see no reason why the extra squiggles round here should be different from anywhere else, so as a rough guesstimate, perhaps a third of the roads in Berkshire are still waiting to be added to the map.

That's about the same as Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire, and Hampshire. It's slightly better than average for all areas of the UK that I have been able to extract.

If I am going to help improve the coverage of Berkshire, the trick is to find the remaining gaps. And from a selfish point of view, to find holes in the map that I can comfortably reach on the bike, and that promise a reasonably interesting outing.

Today I went hunting round Hurst, near Twyford, which was looking a bit thin, and I found quite a few gaps which I have now traced and added.

There are lots of quiet little lanes round there, and although it is close to the motorway, the area is pleasant enough. The landscape is a bit flat and uninteresting, but at least the lack of hills meant that I could keep up a decent pace. I needed to keep on the move today, because despite the sun, the wind was pretty cold. I hadn't been able to find my gloves when I was collecting all my stuff together, so by mid-afternoon I was getting uncomfortably cold, and I started to head back . About 5 miles from home, I realised that the reason I couldn't find my gloves was that they were in the pannier bag, on the back of the bike. So at least the last five miles was more comfortable.

In the end I had covered 35 miles, filled a bit of a hole in OSM, explored an area that I had never visited before, and discovered this old Cyclist Touring Club plaque on the pub in Hurst.


Anonymous said...

It's pretty blank round us. If I get a GPS thingy for christmas, though, that may change ...

Anonymous said...

Good Post