Going crackers for cartography

Croydon Guardian: Making maps: Gregory Marler and friends in Croydon Making maps: Gregory Marler and friends in Croydon

A group of amateur web-mappers descended on Croydon in a bid to create the ultimate people’s map.

Gregory Marler and four friends arrived in Croydon last Wednesday with one intention in mind - to keep on mapping.

They were all contributing to a free online map, OpenStreetMap (OSM), which aims to be a user-friendly map with no copyright, compiled by the general public.

Gregory, who is studying computer science at Durham University, said: “With other maps someone has decided what colour things will be and what is shown.

“OSM allows you to personalise the map and put it on websites, blogs or anywhere without worrying about copyright.”

And the 21-year-old cartographer wants Croydon residents to come out in force and take pride in their local surroundings by mapping their neighbourhoods.

He added: “It’s great fun because you are outside and you can discover a lot of places you did not know.

“Croydon is quite well mapped but you have to walk down every single road and you find roads you did not even know existed.

“Discovering new places is fascinating and when it appears on the map you feel that’s your work and you did that bit.”

The mapping process is a simple one. You walk along each street with a GPS receiver which tells you exactly where you are, and while doing so note down every street name.

Those who want to go into more detail can put down the exact location of postboxes, churches, schools and other landmarks, providing a comprehensive map to locations in Croydon.

Gregory said: “We split Croydon into ten sections but only five of us were able to make it so there is still a lot that needs to be done.

“The map is linked to a Wiki page which means you can find out all sorts of details about your local area.”

Anyone interested in mapping their area should visit openstreetmap.org.

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