Any Port in a Storm – A parking project epiphany…

It’s been a couple of months since we talked about parking. It’s still an issue, but we’ve just had one of those “ah ha!” moments.

Whilst the Enfys map, as we mentioned in the previous update, includes parking locations, a paper map or a large PDF is of little use if you are out and about looking for somewhere to anchor your steed.

As we don’t currently have funds, developing a Cardiff By Bike parking app, whilst awesome, is a little out of our reach right now. Having said that, there’s already an excellent open source mapping tool available in the form of OpenStreetMap that is now used as the base map on Garmin’s top-line bike computers, like the Edge 1000.

It’s not that scary…

The one thing that put us off OSM originally was the notion that it was difficult to edit. However, in reality this couldn’t be further from the truth.

Whilst some activities may be a little more complicated, we are essentially adding dots to a map where we know there are bike racks. This procedure is actually very simple indeed, but there’s a guide to most of the things you can do with OSM in the video below.

For our purposes, simply:

  1. Register for an account & login
  2. Navigate to the location you wish to edit
  3. In the top left corner, select the drop-down box marked Edit & select “Edit with iD
  4. Zoom in as low as you can go and select the “Point” button in the toolbar
  5. Select the location of the bike racks you wish to add
  6. In the search box, look up “bicycle parking” and select it
  7. Fill in any details you know on the left-hand panel – rack type, quantity etc
  8. Click “Save” when done.

We’ve already made a start adding the known locations of bike racks to OSM for Cardiff and the surrounding areas. However, if you are already using OSM, you are welcome to help out and also to add us as a friend if you wish.

One of the great things about OSM, aside from the data within it being open and community-driven, is that the cycle network layer around Cardiff is quite extensive, including both the largely theoretical Enfys routes and the NCN ones too. It has the potential to be an indispensable tool for planning trips by bike, be that local or much further afield.

Changes to OSM should, at least in theory, find their way into our Garmin’s eventually, so it may be worth making sure your favourite points of interest are represented on there too.

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