Author Archives: Steve Coast

My Birthday Map

So my birthday is usually a total waste of time because it’s very close to Christmas Day. It means two-in-one presents that are a bit rubbish and everyone’s gone to somehwere better for the holiday, but this yeah I got an awsome present:

It’s a map of central London, approximately similar to this openstreetmap. I used to stare at it whenever I went past the antiques shop in central London (it was on my way home) it hung in. I even tried to buy it once but then thought I was a bit mad and didn’t as I could buy a low-end laptop for the price. It’s about a meter and a bit across by about half a meter down. It’s framed in gold leaf and is original, though I’m unsure exactly what that means in this context.

There are a few things I like about this. Firstly, it’s where I used to live on the western rim of Regents Park. The building is in the map (dated 1834), along with favourite haunts and most of my paper round(s). It also has where I (nominally) went to university and several other places I lived, pubs I’ve died in. So I know the area fairly well and it’s nice comparing it to what it looks like today.

I like the wave of development. If you look at Regents park and then east and west of it along a parallel, you can see a wave of development heading northward turning farmland in to London. A lot of rich people were made as these fields were built upon and their great-great-great (* some big number) grandsons still own vast chunks of it.

It’s slightly later than the periods of history that I like to read about but still very related map-wise. It reminds me of openstreetmap. OSM is incomplete and expanding to conquer everything that is un-mapped – you can see a freeze-frame of our map by just browsing it today. Similarly, the map shows a freeze-frame of those same streets being laid down in the first place as they swallowed up villages to build London.

I have no idea if or how it could be scanned in but I’m open to ideas. A lot of the map is vastly different (Paddington, Marylebone, Euston and Kings Cross stations arn’t there for example!) so I havn’t used it (much) for deriving street names. Interesting anyway.

So a big thank you to all who bought it for me 🙂

OSMonth Day 13

Lucky 13 begins

  • Told list maintainers that they can change the language of their list pages (result of yesterdays stuff)
  • Doing tile stuff (they’re getting out of date, time to fix them)
  • Various party organising things (we have a room for sheffield thanks to sheflug it looks like!)
  • Went out and did some mapping whilst waiting for some tiles to generate (see below). Accidentally deleted the trace off the GPS. d’oh!
  • Tile stuff done for today. There’s a new layer on the map, ‘Mapnik db’, which is todays planet dump. All the tiles come from a database and 3 CPUs are rendering every tile from zoom 0-18 as I type. Currently it’s good down to about zoom 11, we’ll see where it is tomorrow.


OSMonth Day 12.5

Spent this morning doing boring tax things, so a half day to come. Stuff done

  • (actually a couple of days ago) moved map page to point at almiens new osmarender home on the dev server.
  • Map parties! Theres one in in London on 27-28th January. Then in Bristol on 24th-25th Feb. The another in Sheffield on 24th-25th March
  • Trying to confirm a good venue for london meet
  • More initial page and FIXMEs for Bristol meet. Mailed a bunch of people in Bristol for help with venues etc
  • Contacted sheflug (mail to their list is pending moderator approval) about help with organising the Sheffield party. Venue recommendations etc.
  • Replied to a ton of mail. Fixed link on freethepostcode and in svn
  • added lots of languages (all of ’em) to’s mailman, but I don’t see that it’s done any difference. (i18n on the info pages, not lots more lists).
  • Went out mapping for an hour, tagged it all up. I’m ashamed to say there is still stuff near me unmapped!

Have a great 2007

It’s my birthday tomorrow so I’m looking forward to the annual ‘joint Christmas-Birthday’ presents and getting very drunk (if you’re in London let me know). Then very soon I’m off for family-type things and I haven’t done any shopping yet.

Thanks so much for a great 2006. I’m sure I’ll be here before 2007 but not significantly, so at least have a great Christmas or other winter solstice festival. It’s been an amazing time and we’ve a long way to go – but just think, one day open maps will be as passée as Wikipedia. It’s our job to get there.

OSMonth 11.5


  • restarted gpx import
  • submitted an xtech proposal. And a mapping party tutorial proposal.
  • copying over a ton of tiles that RalfZ has rendered to the main map (in progress)
  • rm’d all the blank tiles with find -size 158c -exec rm ‘{}’ ;
  • Many updates on the applet due to Nick Burch, try it out!


No OSMonth today

Or yesterday. I got called away to do some other work relating to previous contracts I’ve worked on. Tomorrow is the winter solstice meetup in Birmingham, come along. My birthday is next week and then it’s xmas so whilst there won’t be many consecutive days work on OSMonth as I’d like they will of course all still happen and be blogged here. In the meantime here’s a map to contemplate:

OSMonth: Day 10.5

Thanks go to Edmund von der Burg and Nick Whitlegg

  • UTF8 hell today. Looks like data is broken in the db now. String.isutf8 is only in Ruby 1.8.5 (current stable for most distros is 1.8.4) so backport needed for checking.
  • patched cgi.rb due to a big hole
  • added PRCONDITION_FAILED on rails api if segs nodes arnt available, or ways segs

OSMonth: Day 10

It begins… (and I’m having a hard time reconciling a bunch of payments so I don’t know who to thank right now)

  • fixed the planet script, an old copy generated the broken planet last night – new one tomorrow
  • updated schema to reflect yesterdays db changes
  • applet hacking

I’ve had to do a bunch of stuff for tonights ALN2 so calling it a half day.