Saturday, 9 January 2021

Make a difference in 2021

It's 2021, and we are once again forced into lockdown because of the pandemic and have to stay close to home. 

We should all make the most of this by exploring our local areas and doing what we can to make a difference in 2021.

Three easy and simple ways we can make a difference are

  1. Report problems
  2. Upload photos to online mapping sites
  3. Update those online maps ourselves

1. Report problems.

When you venture out on your rides, keep an eye out for things like potholes, fly tipping. even overhanging bushes or incorrect or damaged signage, and report to local authority using

Fix my street allows you to easily take a photo and make a report online to the council. It is available as an app for your phone. You can even use it to see other issues reported.

It uses your location to know which authority to email, and take no time at all to do so. I've had responses back even on a weekend. I've used it to get;

  • Abandoned vehicles moved
  • Bushes cut back
  • Glass swept up
  • flytipping tackled

2. Upload photos to mapping sites

We're all now used to Google Streetview and Satellite mapping which can be great resources for route planning, but for most of us they, especially streetview are very road/vehicle oriented. 
As we all know cycle routes in UK vary enormously in quality and sometimes even have better, less obvious alternatives. has a very neat feature called photomap where you can upload photos and tag them which then appear on the map, and help others. You can give meaningful descriptions and some of the uses could be:
  • Highlight busy junctions or crossings
  • Signage and route guidance
  • Path surface quality
  • Cycle parking.
Again like Fixmystreet, there's an app which lets you browse and view as well as upload.
If you use the excellent routing and navigation from cyclestreets to plan a route, then in the desktop web browser, it inserts photos on the route into the directions.

3. Update those online maps ourselves

A lot of cycling sites which include mapping use OpenStreetMap as the base map. These include Cyclestreets, Komoot, Strava to name just 3 popular ones.
It is possible to edit those maps and add in new links as they are built.
Or add or correct existing links where maybe a path doesn't connect to the adjacent road which messes the navigation.
Enhance the data, by adding things like the surface type, path width and if it's lit or not. Certainly Cyclestreets can use that information to create better and safer routes to follow.

It's very easy to do. all you need is a web browser and to sign up to OpenStreetMap.
Cyclestreets produced a really great howto which is here

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