As the weather improves we are all going to be out and about tracing roads for OSM. Larger towns and bigger areas that need attention are fairly well known, but as the amount of content on the map improves it can be difficult to find smaller and more local places where a short session could make a difference quickly.
So I've been messing around with OSM data again, trying to figure out a way to highlight areas that look as though they need some attention. The result is here.
This is very much a first cut, and it doesn't always get things right, but I think it gets them right often enough to be useful.
It starts with a list of about 1,600 UK settlements, and then uses a variety of techniques based on road density, type of road, and population to try and guess which settlements seem to have a lot of roads on the map for their size, and which don't have many. The green areas look as though they are well covered, and the red areas look as though they could do with some attention. The grey areas fall somewhere between the two.
There is more detail on how it works, and the subsequent discussion on the Talk-GB mailing list
It needs more work to improve the process, and a number of good suggestions are coming in on how to do that. I'd welcome more comments and ideas. But more important than perfecting the measurement is to get more roads on the map. So what I really hope is that this will help members of the community to find some handy places where they can quickly make a difference by plugging a few gaps.
Please remember though that this is a little bit hit-and-miss. It's probably a good idea to check some other sources as well before rushing out to your nearest red blob with the GPS.