What is the best way to gather river data in mountainous terrain and enter that into the database. The area I am interested in the region around Vernonia, Oregon, USA. I'm completely new to OSM, so feel free to scold me for not reading all the manuals. I don't know the rules about USGS data, etc. Don't know what is practical for acquiring said data short of hiking it (which is impossible). Thanks

asked 05 Aug '13, 07:34

bruce503's gravatar image

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edited 05 Aug '13, 07:41

Most of the rivers and streams that I have mapped were from Bing aerial images. It is an ideal tool for water and lakes and other areas we can't get to. see http://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Bing
Bing is one of the backgrounds we can trace from. The quality and coverage of aerial varies from country to country and area to area it may not be good enough. I have just checked and in that area you have the choice of three aerial providers. Bing, MapBox and Mapquest which look useable. Other open source maps may be in among the background as well. more info http://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Aerial_imagery and

http://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Beginners_Guide this about aerial http://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Beginners_Guide_1.1.2

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answered 05 Aug '13, 08:05

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andy mackey
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edited 05 Aug '13, 08:19


... adding/more clear: @bruce503 says it is impossible to hike there. However, please note that looking in other maps to collect all the names and approximate positions river is not allowed (copyright!). So you need to find usable maps (be sure, discuss) and/or hike a bit. Making only guesses what might be a river without knowing anything of the reality would not be a good approach, unless you clearly see that there is a river (tracing from a big river upwards might help, but be sure to still have the way direction from the river source towards the sea).

(05 Aug '13, 15:20) aseerel4c26 ♦

I'll read the documentation and then post more questions if I have them. Thanks for the concise infomative reply.

(06 Aug '13, 07:23) bruce503

aseerel4c26: it is allowed to use USGS data and/or maps. In fact, USGS Topo Maps are a default layer in iD and Potlatch 2.

Just for completeness sake, I will also mention the National Hydrographic Dataset which is another potential datasource. You can view it at the National Map: http://viewer.nationalmap.gov/viewer/ Although it is technically possible to import from it, that is highly discouraged: http://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Nhd

(07 Aug '13, 15:58) neuhausr

@neuhausr: I don't know USGS - sure if it is allowed then it is fine (although the usual concerns about using other datasources arises - may contain errors).

(07 Aug '13, 22:59) aseerel4c26 ♦

One idea I have had for mapping rivers and streams is a floating GPS logger. ie attach a GPS logging device to a float, and waterproof it as required. Drop it in at the top of the river, and let it float downstream. Then retrieve it further downstream, and download the GPS track.

Of course the difficulty with this is finding where it is, so you can retrieve it. You could use some sort of GPS tracker, which transmits its current position to a phone, so you have an idea of where to look. There is still a risk of it getting stuck somewhere without a GPS signal or phone signal, so you might lose your expensive GPS device.

But still, it could be a way for mapping rivers which isn't otherwise possible. ie in areas not covered by aerial imagery, or where imagery is obscured by tree cover etc.

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answered 07 Aug '13, 21:21

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question asked: 05 Aug '13, 07:34

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last updated: 07 Aug '13, 22:59

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