[Talk-GB] MapThePaths - new site focusing on OSM UK footpath mapping

Nick Whitelegg nick.whitelegg at solent.ac.uk
Fri Jun 8 14:04:15 UTC 2018

Hello everyone,

Following on from the recent discussions regarding rights of way and the licensing of council data, I would like to announce that the initial - and very much prototype - version of 'MapThePaths' is now available.


This site aims to be a platform to help map, and correctly tag, rights of way (and other walkable paths) in England and Wales.

Currently it is a viewer only, it does not yet offer editing facilities, and covers rural areas of England only for now (former metropolitan counties and urban unitary authorities have been largely excluded to minimise demands on the server).  It shows council rights of way (thanks to Barry Cornelius and rowmaps for this) superimposed on OSM paths (ways where highway=footway,path,bridleway,track,steps,cycleway or service). Both council data and OSM data is coloured by designation. OSM paths with no designation are shown as grey dashed lines.

You can click on the council paths (which are wider, transparent lines) to get the licensing status (is the data OGL?) - thanks to Robert Whittaker for this.

It uses various ECMAScript 6 features so needs an up-to-date browser (something from about the last two to three years, and not IE).

Future plans will include limited editing: in OGL areas only (this will be auto-detected, registered OSM users will be able to add designation and prow_ref to OSM ways without these tags).

It is also planned to allow users to easily find areas where there are large numbers of unmapped or untagged paths, and to allow non-expert users to leave notes (e.g.  'this is a permissive pat', 'footpath runs along left side of hedge') which can then be used by expert mappers.

At the moment, to minimise server constraints, OS VectorMap District has been used as the base layer. It's possible that this will be replaced by a Mapnik render if possible - the underlying database at the moment is MongoDB basically because it works very nicely with GeoJSON and can do geospatial queries.

It would also be good (as previously discussed) to allow an out-of-copyright OS map base layer - the project could also be used to help identify lost rights of way for 2026.

A companion Android app for in-the-field use will also begin development very soon.

Any other suggestions for features, or any suggestions for improvements on the colour scheme would be welcome.

Source code is on gitlab:



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