OpenStreetMap Cycle Map

So those of you who don’t attentively follow the OpenStreetMap mailing lists will have missed my announcement of a new cycle map that I’ve made! It uses the National Cycle Network and local cycle network information that we have gathered to show a map specifically tuned for cyclists.

As you can see, it’s not entirely complete, but we’re getting there. The data for Putney is unsurprisingly quite good! From the talk on the mailing lists the map has spurred a few people to go back over areas where they know where the routes are, and add the right tags to make it show up. Spotting new cycle routes has turned into a hobby of mine now – it’s amazing how many of them there are if you keep your eyes peeled for the little stickers on lampposts and the slightly more obvious street signs.

Even though we need to gather loads more routes, I already think this is one of the best cycle maps I’ve found online – much better than ones based on tracing over google maps. It’s especially disappointing how poor the data is from Sustrans and the London Cycle Campaign themselves. Sustrans maps, if you use Internet Explorer and if their webserver isn’t grindingly slow, can be found online, but it’s fairly poor and you can’t reuse it (or link to it). The London Cycle Network is ten times worse, with their online map requiring registration and their pdf maps are completely rubbish.

So not exactly competition for the end result, but they’ve got a head start on the data collection (well, they choose where the routes are, so that could be counted as cheating!). If anyone fancies inviting me to come for a cycle ride and map out a cycle route in their area, then let me know and I’ll come and help. Other than that, sit back, and watch the weekly progress as the OpenStreetMap pixies come and map a cycle route near you!

21 thoughts on “OpenStreetMap Cycle Map

  1. Shaun McDonald

    Are cycleway=lane highlighted? That way roads that have cycle lanes will be highlighted. It isn’t mentioned in
    Should the sustrans regional routes be marked as lcn_ref, or would it not be better to mark them as rcn_ref? This would allow 3 grades of cycleway: The local city routes; the regional routes between towns; and then the national routes between cities. In the UK the national and regional would relate to the sustrans networks.

  2. Andy

    I’ve added cycleway=lane to the todo list for rendering some form of highlighting.

    I’d be much happier if the regional routes were marked as rcn – makes it much easier to distinguish them when rendering. I’m curious about these regional Sustrans routes though – I’ve never seen any when out and about. What do the signs look like?

  3. Shaun McDonald

    Great, time to get updated with correct information. I’ll do it in the next few days.

    I don’t know who it is that thinks that the national routes are single digit. That is plain wrong. Most national and all regional routes are double digits. No to routes of the same number cross each other. Istead of having a red background for the route number, it is blue. Though I’ve heard that in some areas, they don’t keep to this convention. See for more information about the route numbering.

    There are only 2 regional routes that I know of near me, and there are 3 national routes. There is one local route that has the reference RR (for ring road, as it follows a similar route to the City Bypass, otherwise known as the ring road).

  4. Andy

    I’ve updated it every Wednesday for the last month now – long before I told anyone about it. The tiles generally get updated two or three times a week – with a new planet file on Wednesdays, and at other times when I change the rendering. For example, they were all updated this evening with all buildings being rendered and cycle parking too.

    Cheers for sorting the wiki page out. I’d suggest putting the london cycle network sign in the lcn section – that’s how I’ve been tagging them, and Sustrans are responsible for numbering the national and regional networks around the UK, but not the London cycle network. It’s a pleasant coincidence that London and Local both start with ‘L’…

  5. Shaun McDonald

    I can’t wait for the next planet file on Wednesday, with all the great changes that I’ve recently done since finding this map 🙂

    Updated the map features page again. Got some pictures for the other 2, unfortunately they were taken at night with a phone camera, so aren’t that good. Being a wiki, someone else can put up better ones if they want.

  6. Shaun McDonald

    Can we also have cycleway=opposite? cycleway=opposite_lane is useless for one example that I have. It is the road heading north west from the Maybury road on is an example. (I can’t zoom in any further 😦 ) There is no lane for cyclists. is a picture of the entrance, though it doesn’t show much of the road. There are no road markings. Once you get to the bottom corner, the road widens and goes 2 way.

  7. Thomas Wood

    I’m rather confused about N/R/LCN, all the CN signs I have seen in London have ‘London Network’ on them. As far as I can see, there are really only two types of cycle route – national and regional, regional being decided upon by local bodies such as the London Cycle Network.

    The LondonCN map is interesting for me, as the signage of cycle routes in Sutton is absolutely useless. National route 22 is not signed at all, and regional/local 24 is signed as a national route.
    The webmapping service has cleared up some of the queries I had with my local routes, for example, I know that the supposed national 24 is officially regional 192, and the correctly signed regional 75 is officially regional 191.

    I’m interested in how you serve the tiles and render. I assume the tiles are rendered by mapnik on the fly and cached for later retrieval? I’m pondering a similar map for London bus routes, although putting all that data onto OSM may be a little messy, since they’re rather more prone to change than cycle routes.
    A separate OSM data layer stored somewhere may fix that ‘issue’.

  8. Andy

    Thomas, as I said in the comments above, I’m treating NCN and potentially RCN as those routes defined by Sustrans, but the London cycle network isn’t done by sustrans so I’m calling that LCN instead.

    I’m glad you’ve noticed the farce that is the numbering of the Wandle Trail – it’s definitely LCN 24, NCN 22, but we found all kinds of numbering last weekend when we cycled from Wandsworth through to Carshalton.

    The tiles are rendered on a machine at home from the planet file, and then uploaded to a basic hosting site afterwards using rsync. It just does the dumb serving of pre-rendered tiles. I don’t have access to a high-powered server that can do rendering on the fly (or more accurately, I don’t have access to a machine like that which has a decent internet connection!).

  9. Gregory Williams

    I’ve updated the routes that I’ve input to follow the revision to the reference tagging that Shaun made. So, there are now several regional routes in Kent that are tagged with rcn_ref. Will these be rendered (ideally in blue, to follow the Sustrans colours) soon?

  10. Andy

    They’ll be rendered the next time the data is imported – I’ve set up all the rules for it today.

    Might have to think about the colour scheme though, since I’ve set up both rcn and lcn to use blue.

  11. Shaun McDonald

    I think that we need 5 different colours for the cycle routes:
    * national cycle routes
    * regional cycle routes
    * local cycle routes
    * other cycle routes
    * footpaths where bicycles are allowed

    I’m specifically making the note between other cycle routes and footpaths, since footpaths are generally narrower than cycle paths, and your more likely to need to go slower due to pedestrians and they are narrower and windier. For the cycle routes, you can denote whether they are on road or off-road through some form of dash or highlight.

  12. Gregory Williams

    The new rendering for the regional routes is looking good. However, some of the regional routes in Kent are fairly lengthy. I think that perhaps they ought to show up one or two zoom levels further out than they currently do. Also, perhaps the route numbers for the regional routes should appear two zoom levels further out than they currently do; they already occupy a substantial portion of the screen before the numbers currently appear.

    Also, where it’s a regional route but the old “route=ncn” hasn’t been removed from the route yet it shows up as if it were national route when it isn’t being explicitly rendered as a regional route. That’s probably a case of me needing to fix the tagging rather than the rendering being altered though…

  13. MJ Ray

    Please can there be a non-Javascript version of this map? The Sustrans map is useful on Any Browser, at least. Then there’d be some incentive for me to start cataloguing the roads and routes around here (OSM has almost none, not even all A- and B-roads in the nearest town).

    Also, a map key would be helpful (or making it more obvious if there is one).

    Thanks, MJR

  14. MJ Ray

    More and more people are using add-ons like NoScript for Firefox to disable most Javascript because it makes the browser a little more secure, a bit less power-hungry (and we all want to run the fans less and reduce electricity use, don’t we?) and much less annoying on some sites.

    It’d also be good to be able to generate fixed images to print easily in ride guides and so on.

  15. MJ Ray

    That tile map browser is blooming excellent! I think a click-to-zoom would make it easier to use, but that’s minor.

    Now, I’m green about OSM. What’s the quickest way to get your cycle data onto it? What’s the quickest way to contribute more roads and routes to the map? (I have no GPS just now.)

  16. Thomas Wood

    The javascript interface is much better, its quite lightweight, no security issue. Surely NoScript can allow some sites to use JS?

  17. MJ Ray

    Thomas, the fan still runs much more when using the JS interface and “slippy” map interfaces are very difficult to control when one’s hand shakes, as well as harder to link and print.

  18. Shaun McDonald

    For linking you can just click the view button on the openstreetmap home page, or on some other mapping site, click “peralink” to get the link for current location of the map.

    The difficulty to control when you have a shaky hand is a very good reason to go for an old style static map. This would help accessibility of the map to disabled people.

    Current browsers should be able to print the slippy map. (I was doing this recently well).

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