Thursday, August 14, 2008

I'm now self hosting my blog using wordpress

This will be my last blog post in blogger.

I have now imported all my blog posts into word press and am now hosting the blog on my own domain using wordpress. Hopefully I'll be able to manage the server without killing it.

Please update your feeds.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Moving web host, planet-osm moved

I'm currently moving my web and email hosting from ukhost4u to bytemark (who also host the svn, wiki, etc.) has now moved to Please update your feed readers.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Cycling: South London Critical Mass

Quick catchup post. On the First Friday of July 2008, the first South London Critical Mass was held. On the way I done some mapping for OSM, finding some unnamed roads. I find Critical Mass useful for learning your way around London (or wherever it is held), as through random route will take you to parts of the city you have never been before.

Some photos (Just noticed that the Geotagging of the last few failed):

P1030522.JPG P1030506.JPG
P1030555.JPG P1030583.JPG
P1030610.JPG P1030653.JPG
P1030660.JPG Seems that Critical Mass passes by fuel stations awaiting deliveries.
P1030673.JPG I wonder how Bird In Bush Road got its name.
P1030689.JPG You can try some unusual bikes.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

SOTM2008 Presentations

Can all presenters at State of the Map 2008 conference to please upload their slide to slideshare with the tag SOTM2008.

My Presentation at State of the Map 2008

I'm currently at SOTM2008 in Limerick, Ireland. Just done my Lightening Presentation about the London Mapping Marathon.

I have uploaded my lightening talk presentation to

I have been twittering the events of the conference as they happen.

I completely forgot to mention that CloudMade are providing no-names map tiles for the whole world. London on the nonames map. Edinburgh on the nonames map.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Cycling: London to Brighton

On Saturday I cycled from London to Brighton. It's the first day long cycle that I've done since I cycled from Bletchley to Bedford and back, over a month ago. Yeah I did lots of cycling at the Woking Mapping party, but there was lots of breaks and cul-de-sacs.

I couldn't even get 10 minutes away, and I managed to get totally confused by the signage for the National Cycle Network route 23. Having the Cycle Map and an intermittently working bluetooth GPS was really useful. Looking at the trace and where the sign posts were it appears that some of the signposts around the South end of South Norwood Country Park are totally ambiguous, alternatively the route has been changed recently. There was a few other places that I had to double back because I had missed a turn.

Further south there was some nice views across the hills.

I was quite surprised when I found that the national cycle route goes right through the middle of Gatwick airport

Had a little bit of a wander in Brighton before getting the train home.

I added a few extra pois, road names and the southern end of the ncn 20 into Brighton to the osm data.

In the future I should try and leave before lunchtime, for these day long cycles, which I should do more often.
P1030453.JPG P1030450.JPG P1030457.JPG P1030466.JPG P1030477.JPGP1030479.JPG
And finally Brighton Peir for the first time: P1030488.JPG


Last weekend I was at Mashed08. I stayed there overnight, so didn't get much sleep.

Didn't do any mashing up, though I did finally start writing a bit of ruby code to take a file with a list of street names, and ask the OSMXAPI whether that street exists within a specified bounding box.

It was interesting to see what people were doing. There was very few people doing anything with maps. There were a few groups who using high resolution satellite imagery rather than plain old maps. A lot of people were working on something that was tv or audio related, such as ripping the subtitles and translating them into another language in almost real time. Twitter seems to be rather popular.

The event was featured in this week's BBC News Click programme. (BBC iPlayer only works in the UK and programmes are only available for one week.)

I'm uploading the better photos to Flicker with the Mashed08 tag.

P1020874.JPG P1020881.JPG P1020869.JPG P1020892.JPG P1020899.JPG P1020919.JPG

When your at a station waiting on a delayed train, just get some bean bags out to sit on:
P1030112.JPG P1030115.JPG
(Kinda ideal for getting passers by ask were the bean bag sale is).

Sunday, June 08, 2008

OSM: GSoC blogs on Planet-OSM

All the OpenStreetMap Google Summer of Code 2008 student blogs are now on Planet-OSM, the feed aggregator for OpenStreetMap related blogs.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Screw in Tire

Originally uploaded by smsm1
Cycling to work, and get a screw in my tire. Just as well it wasn't my front tire otherwise I'd have had to walk the rest of the way, or find a bike shop. Instead I just unscrewed it (and took the screw with me so that the next cyclist doesn't run over it.

Saturday, April 26, 2008


From the 10th to 13th April I was in Prague, Czech Republic for GoOOCon, an conference hosted by Novell.

I done a presentation about the Buildbot system in I didn't have time to prepare new slides, due to my move to London, so I just recycled my slides from ooocon2007.

It was nice to see a bit of another country and to meet up with some of the developers in real life.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Device Removal

I don't touch anything, and my slow first generation MacBook will randomly come up with the above message. Maybe an uptime of 13 days is the cause? 

It is about time I rebooted into Kubuntu to get some updated maps on to my phone for TMJ. There has some considerable improvements in the maps in Edinburgh, and I don't know what actually needs to be mapped when I'm out in the field.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

OOO: Possible fix for the command timed out error on Leopard

With a change in the way that X11 works on Leopard, the X11 version of has been giving an error message on startup saying "command timed out". With previous versions of Mac OS X, had to make sure that X11 was running first be trying to start

The following change should work for 2.4, 2.3.1, 2.3, and possibly earlier versions. Open the file in "Script Editor". (You will need to control+click the application icon and choose "Show Package Contents".)

Then replace the code block "on openSoffice(aFile)"...."end openSoffice" with the following:

on openSoffice(aFile)
if (atLeastOSXVersion(10, 5, 0)) then
-- if we have leopard, we don't need to manually start the X server first
set theCmd to "sh " & (quoted form of (POSIX path of getOOProgramPath() & "soffice")) & " "
do shell script theCmd & aFile & shellTerminator()
set theDisplay to startXServer()
if (theDisplay is equal to "error") then
end if
set theEnv to "DISPLAY=" & theDisplay & " ; export DISPLAY; "
set theCmd to "sh " & (quoted form of (POSIX path of getOOProgramPath() & "soffice")) & " "
do shell script theEnv & theCmd & aFile & shellTerminator()
-- logEvent("open CMD: " & theEnv & theCmd & aFile)
end if
end openSoffice

Please comment on how this works for you.

Thursday, March 27, 2008 2.4 on Mac OS X [Update: now available]

The release of 2.4 (X11 version) is a little behind the other platforms due to a lack of resources in the QA process, as many of the resources have been placed on the upcoming aqua version. It will be another few days to week before they are available on the mirrors and the Mac Port download pages will be updated at that point.

Until then the new smart download pages will continue to give the link to the 2.4.0 build which isn't yet available.

UPDATE: X11 2.4.0 for both Mac OS X 10.4/10.5 PPC and Intel are now available from the Mac Porting Download pages.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

ITV Catch Up through the browser on a Mac

Today was the first time that I looked at the ITV site for a while, as I had heard on Virgin Radio that the next series of Heartbeat was starting tonight.

ITV are now using Microsoft's Silverlight to allow cross-platform multimedia support. This is different from the BBC's iPlayer, as the BBC iPlayer uses Adobe's Flash player.

It now means that I no longer run Mac OS X without Microsoft software installed on it.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

New Aqua Development Release

Head over to the Mac Porting web site for the latest development build.

This is the most stable build of running natively on Mac OS X that I have seen. I haven't yet had a crash with my basic usage. Mac OS X 10.4 or 10.5 is required.

The improvements include:
  • Printing now uses an aqua native print dialog
  • Various bugs, crashes, performance, and cosmetic improvements
  • The native file picker should work now (though there are 2 unlabeled checkboxes)
  • The QuickStarter is now supported on Mac OS X
  • Copy and Paste now works in the Hyperlink dialog
  • Icons are no longer shown in the menus by default on Mac OS X
  • Extentions can now be installed through the GUI
  • Improved scrolling when using a scroll wheel
  • Real version number is shown in the Mac OS X Finder's Get Info Window.
  • The recent items list in the Apple menu is now populated
  • Faster loading and saving of files
  • New Start Centre
The downloads are on the extended mirror network, and BitTorrent. Please don'tdirectly link to any of the mirrors, please link to the Aqua download page instead. 2.4 (X11), is currently in testing. 3.0 will be Aqua only.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Apple's Developer Site has Crashed

With the news that Apple has released the SDK for the iPhone, their developer site is currently unavailable. It seems to be have exceeded Apple's expectations in terms of demand.

I'm currently wondering if there will be access to the Bluetooth in the SDK so that I can connect a bluetooth GPS and produce some nice mapping application for OpenStreetMap. With unlimited data, a fairly large (for a mobile device) touch display, it may well be an idea device to do the mapping in the field.

Hopefully I'll earn a bit more soon, so that I can afford the mobile contract.

Sorting Tables in a MediaWiki

I've noticed that a number of tables in the Wikipedia are sortable. Further research found that it is implemented through client side javascript, when a table has the class="sortable". It is available in MediaWiki 1.9 or later.

I have found adding the sorting to the Mac OS X Porting Roadmap really useful as you can now sort the table and easily see what is a high priority or already fixed. I wouldn't recommend it for full bug tracking. 

The next feature I'd like to see is row level editing of tables in the wiki, as I hate having to try and find the one or two rows in the table that I want to change.

If you would like to help the port by implementing one of the items on the road map, why not contact the MacPort team? Drop a mail to the mailing list (first subscribe by sending a mail to Or say drop by on IRC server on the channel #ooo_macport.

Monday, March 03, 2008

OSM cycle map of Shandwick Place, Edinburgh diversion

For the next five months Shandwick Place in the west of the centre of Edinburgh is closed for work to move the utilities for when the trams are going to be introduced in a few years time.

The council, TIE and Lothian Buses were quick enough to produce alternative routes for cars and buses, however their alternative route wasn't suitable for cyclists.

On Friday they provided some written instructions without any maps, which they had done for the car drivers and bus routes.
See below for a map with the council's route drawn on top of Andy Allan's rendering of the OpenStreetMap cycle data.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Ultra high detail mapping

Someone pointed out what some of the German mappers have been doing in Berlin. The buildings have outline, and the football pitch has the markings on it too.

OpenStreetMap tagged photos on Flickr

If you have any photos tagged openstreetmap on Flickr, they will now show up on the right hand side of planet-osm. There is currently 2,620 photos tagged with openstreetmap on Flickr.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Cycling: Edinburgh to Berwick and Back

Further to my previous post about my bike. I had problems getting a proper chainring from half the bike shops in Edinburgh, so instead I got a second hand bike that was similar to my old one. 

Just over a year ago, I cycled from Edinburgh to Berwick-Upon-Tweed. Since then I have been trying to do it in both directions. However the past occasions that I tried to do it something came up. On Saturday I left home for a rather long cycle. Before I left I loaded TrekBuddy with a map of South East Scotland so that I had some idea of where I was.

The overall cycle was tough. First I headed out East from Edinburgh through Musselburgh on to the A199, out to Dunbar. Parts of the A199 have some nice cycle lanes. As the road is fairly flat and straight you can easily get the speed up to do a nice sprint. This was the easy part of the route, as I have done it before.
P1000025.JPG P1000035.JPG

At Dunbar I started to head south towards Berwick-Upon-Tweed. Parts of this part of the A1 can be scary, however it the only way south close to the coast that I know of. In the middle of the Borders, I decided to head through Pease Bay again. It is a steep road down to the bay, where the caravan park is, however it is even steeper on the other side heading out of the bay.

As I had the map in TrekBuddy, I was able to find the A1107, which joins the A1 with Eyemouth in a loop. This helped me to stay off the A1 for a lot longer than I did the last time. It was a nice road into Eyemouth, with some great views of the North Sea. From Eyemouth I headed along the "Berwickshire Coastal Route", which meant that I was on the A1 for even less, and I'd have even more data to be able to add to

At the border between Scotland and England, I took a snack and photo break.
P1000175.JPG P1000181.JPG
From the Border, it is only a few miles more into Berwick, where I joined the National Cycle Network Route 1 to head back to Edinburgh.
P1000187.JPG P1000212.JPG
The National Cycle Network takes you on the quietest roads possible. This will usually mean that they are quite hilly, longer and going into the middle of nowhere.  There were some points where you could just see fields or trees, but no lights apart from my own bike or the occasional car. As you are heading west along the National Cycle Network, it does zig zag between Scotland and England a few times. At one point there is a bridge that was built in 1820, and still in use today.
P1000219.JPG P1000226.JPG

In Norham there was a sign that was rather confusing, as it had the wrong National Cycle Network Route number. Just as well I used the name of the city I wanted to head towards, rather than the route number.

Just before Galashiels, I stopped to check the GPS and found that the phone no longer seen it. Unfortunately the battery in the bluetooth GPS that I'm currently using only lasts for about 12 hours according to the manufacturer. It lasted about half an hour longer, than the manufacturer's stated operating time, so should I be happy that I couldn't get the last bit of the trip? The cold weather didn't help either, as batteries tend to have a shorter life when they are cold. 

From there on, there was no point in me taking any more pictures as I wouldn't be able to Geotag them. Also it was dark so it was difficult to take any decent pictures. Finally stopping to take pictures does slow my average speed down considerably, and I was wanting to get home rather than be on the bike for a whole 24 hours.

From Galashiels I just hit the A7 north to Edinburgh. I did notice on the way that the signs appeared to change from green to white like a yo-yo. Is it a trunk road or a primary road?

Total Distance was about 150 miles in 17 and three quarter hours. Next up on the longer distance cycling is to head round the Forth again.

Now I just need to get the tracks from yesterday added to OSM (amongst the numerous other things I need to do).

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Cycling: Bike off the road again

Seems that when I did my last bike repair a month ago, I didn't tighten the bolts that hold the cogs on properly. So the chain ring has managed to fatigue and break quite spectacularly. Luckily I was just setting of from some lights within walking distance from home, so it wasn't too bad.

Unfortunately to get a new one specifically for internal gears, which use a stronger, wider chain, is seen to be a specialist part by the bike shops I've been to so far in Edinburgh. This means that you need some thicker cogs. This means that it takes about a week to get specially ordered in, and means pushing my bike into the city centre to make sure I get the right bit ordered.

Yay I can now use Apple Spell check in Safari when writing blog posts, and it works.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Cycling:Saturday CTC cycle 2008-01-19

Today I took part on the CTC Saturday cycle for the first time. Total distance including getting to and from the start and finish was 51 miles.

As I raced to the meeting point of the Commonwealth Pool, I found the first part of the ride slow. Later on, especially with the head wind I found the pace of the group to be about right. I'm not able to sustain a high speed over a long enough distance to be able to move up to the next level of the road club.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Cycling: Edinburgh 20 miler

Yesterday I took part in the first Edinburgh 20 miler ride of 2008. It was an easy, slow paced, group ride of 12 people around the west of Edinburgh. In total for the day, including to and from the start/finish I cycled about 26 miles.

I found parts of the route interesting because I hadn't come across them before. I was also testing out my new GPS linked to my phone, using the TrekBuddy software. It seemed mostly reliable, though there was a couple of points where the phone locked up, or there was sporadic data. The sporadic data was easily filtered by gpsbabel. It was also nice to be able to have cached OSM data on my phone, so that I could see where there was changes required to the data.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Cycle Parking this way

Cycle Parking this way
Originally uploaded by smsm1
I noticed this sign at the Gyle Centre recently after they had move the cycle parking to another location. I wish there was more of these signs at supermarkets, as the bike parking is often hidden away so that you cannot find it. The same should apply to large offices, especially ones that don't like you chaining the bike to the railings at their front door, and instead you have to park your bike somewhere else that often isn't obvious.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Cycling: New chain and chain rings

I've finally got around to replacing my worn chain and chain rings/cogs on my bicycle. I have gone for 2 extra teeth on the front and one less on the back. This means I'll be getting a few extra turns of the wheel for each turn of the pedals. 

Before putting the new chain on, I compared the two, and the old one had stretched by nearly 2 links over the whole length. No wonder the teeth were wearing away so much, and making so much noise when pedalling. 

On my test ride this afternoon, I noticed it was running a lot smoother. Though it does appear that the hub requires to be pulled apart again to be fully re-greased, though I'm maybe thinking that it will need to be replaced due to the wear.

There are a couple of photos of the old cogs below. Take a look at how worn they are.

Old worn chain ring Compaing old and new chain rings

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Happy New Year

This year I headed into the centre of Edinburgh with some friends from university for a house party. Also went out to see the fireworks from a pedestrian bridge over the West Approach Road. This was a great spot as you can see the castle from the west.

There is a video below of the fireworks.