[Talk-GB] Canal & River Trust maps

Richard Fairhurst richard at systemed.net
Thu Apr 2 20:36:55 UTC 2015

I'm on the other side of the world at the moment so this is only a brief
sketchy reply. My background in this is that I'm doing a little freelance
work for CRT helping them improve their website maps. I've been working on
canal maps in one form or another for 15+ years, long before OSM was
founded. Indeed, building the maps on a predecessor of the CRT website
(waterscape.com) was how I learned ActionScript, so you can blame Potlatch
on that. Obviously you know my OSM background; some of you will know my
general opinion of Google and others can probably guess. ;)

The principal content on the new CRT website maps is CRT's own GIS data:
canal centrelines, locks, bridges and so on. It would be terrific to have
this available for inclusion into OSM, particularly bridge names (where
we're very weak), and I'm confident this will happen in due course.

This is rendered using the OSM stack - Mapnik, PostGIS, mod_tile and

Google Maps are used as a discreet faded-out background, more for
orientation than for anything else. Obviously I would like OSM to be used
for this. However, my understanding is that CRT has a "corporate
partnership" with Google, so, for example, Google sends its StreetView
backpackers along the canals. Showcasing the canals on the biggest website
in the world, plus the attendant press coverage, is terrific publicity for a
young charity seeking to get more visitors to the canals, and not something
they can pass up. 

I think that's an entirely understandable decision on CRT's part, and if it
brings more visitors to the canals then I'm all for it - especially as
precedent (think cycling) suggests that dedicated boaters and towpath
walkers will then end up using apps and sites powered by OSM data. Of
course, before that happens we'll need to get our own house in order and
stop trying to reinvent lock-gate tagging for the 500th time in 10 years....

Could I also perhaps suggest that some of the more rabid voices on this list
are not exactly brilliant ambassadors for OSM, and sometimes a more
considered approach would gain OSM more friends (hello, Mr pmailkeey).

posting in a personal capacity only, obviously

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