MapThePaths app


There is now an experimental MapThePaths Android (API 23+ i.e. Marshmallow upwards) app available. The app will show OSM data and council ROWs in the current location, in the same way as the website does. This can be viewed under "View" mode. You have to download the data explicitly using the menu system.

Create/Edit mode allows you to live edit the designation of ways and (with caveats - see below) create new data. Again, you must explicitly download live OSM data via the menu system. You can then long-press an OSM way to update the designation tag, a useful way of adding or altering designations in the field.

There is also a very experimental feature to auto convert a GPS trace to OSM ways in Create/Edit mode. If you are walking along an unmapped path, you can perform a survey. Select its designation (public footpath, public bridleway etc) and type (grass path, dirt path, dirt track) etc and record your route (using the red dot icon under 'Create/Edit' mode).

When you have finished recording, you can press stop (the black square icon) and upload (the cloud icon) and your GPS trace will be simplified and autoconverted into OSM ways (with appropriate designation, highway and surface tags added), which will be auto-joined to the existing OSM highway network. The eventual aim of this feature is to make it easy for OSM newcomers to survey paths without having to worry about the details of tagging. It has not yet achieved this aim but it does allow established mappers to quickly survey paths in the field and upload them.

IT IS CURRENTLY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED (and the app tells you this) to then use JOSM or a similar editor to refine the auto-created ways as they may suffer from artefacts due to poor GPS signal, and the app is still a little buggy at handling the terminal nodes. Nonetheless it is a useful way of getting the designation and highway type recorded in the field without having to note them down, and get an initial version of your ways into OSM which can then be refined using JOSM.

Note that you have to grant location and storage permissions via the device's settings; this isn't yet fully done in-app.

It can be downloaded here. It's not quite ready for full release just yet; nonetheless I have made an early version available as people might find the "view" mode in particular useful if they are out in the field looking for paths to map during the current path mapping quarterly project.

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