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Hi, my second newbie question.

Do you have any advice on how to do preparation and planning for a survey, so that your time 'on site' is best used? Does anybody have a checklist or similar.

Any help would be appreciated.


asked 27 May '15, 08:35

BaldMapper's gravatar image

accept rate: 0%


Can you tell us more about what kind of survey you are talking about? Just going out for mapping or something different?

(27 May '15, 09:35) scai ♦

As others have said, it depends on what you want to do.

In saying that, this is what I do, regardless of what I am surveying

  • Add as much as you can from imagery before you go out surveying. this will make things a lot easier when you are out in the field.
  • Make sure you have the right gear with you and by gear that extends to apps, back-up power supply if you are on foot, clipboard if using paper notes or walking papers etc
  • If you are using an app for data collection, familiarize yourself with it before you go out so that you can work efficiently. Don't be afraid to try out different apps, some are good are certain things (again it depends on what you are surveying)
  • When you are surveying, survey only. Leave the mapping to when you return to your desk. This is especially applicable in places with a lot of poor weather. When I get a sunny day, I like to get out early and survey as much ground as I can cover before I run out of time as the number of days I can do this in a given year is less than 20.
  • When collecting data, break it into manageable sizes for inputting later. Example, if collecting addresses using an app which emails collected data to your inbox, send the data once you have a street or two done. Don't collect a mammoth file of data to try make sense of later. I did this once with address collecting and collected over 1,000 addresses spread over about a dozen housing estates, it was a nightmare to use later in JOSM as it covered such a large area.

Some will say to map while you are surveying, and if this is what you want to do, go for it, but keep in mind it will drastically reduce the amount of ground you will cover in a single survey trip.

Hopefully you are on android, if so you have a range of choices in terms of apps and each one is good at different things. A quick run-through

  • OSMTracker - My go-to app when driving. I use it to collect voice notes and photos mainly, but its presets are very useful.
  • KeypadMapper - Another go-to app, this time for address mapping. You can rapidly collect addresses at a walking pace
  • Mapillary - Create an open-licenced streetview of the area you are surveying. Very useful if you need to refer back to something without having to revisit the area again. This is a great one to leave running in the car when you are driving around. You'll collect thousands of images without much effort.
  • - Free, offline maps. Useful to have
  • Vespucci - Mobile editor, useful for doing all sorts of mapping on the go. Your edits upload direct to OSM. For the folks who prefer editing while surveying, this is the app of choice
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answered 27 May '15, 18:15

DaCor's gravatar image

accept rate: 2%

Baldmapper consider this too ,not just as a method but just to remember the situation later.

(27 May '15, 21:09) Hendrikklaas

As scai has said, this much depends on what type of survey you want to do. This might help you with some background and detail/options for your survey: see in our docu wiki about Mapping_techniques (do not forget the "see also" section there) and Contribute_map_data (the "mapping" and the "QA" section).

However, not every survey needs to be planned. Just be outside, do what you like to do (also a good use of "your time 'on site'"), and if you find something remarkable which is not in OSM yet, record it to add it later or add it directly. Useful for this pass-by mapping is to have a OSM-based map with you (e.g. on your mobile phone).

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answered 27 May '15, 10:55

aseerel4c26's gravatar image

aseerel4c26 ♦
accept rate: 18%

It also depends on what you want to add to the map. In case you want to map e.g. house numbers, it might be useful to know in which streets they are not yet mapped. As for POIs (shops, restaurants), it's always worth checking that they still exist, even when they are already on the map. House numbers are usually pretty stable and do not have to be rechecked that often. A list of open notes is also useful.

(27 May '15, 13:10) escada

I use a GPS unit to record highways, especially unmapped service roads, as well as logging waypoints for postboxes, telephone boxes, bicycle parking stands etc.

A camera is invaluable for a quick, accurate and easily referenced means of recording details of shops etc. I walk down one side of a street photographing what is on the opposite side - like a manual 'street view' if you like. Small details like opening hours of businesses can be captured by photographing signs in windows.

Don't try to do too much at any one time - you will become swamped in detail.

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answered 27 May '15, 22:01

NZGraham's gravatar image

accept rate: 17%

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question asked: 27 May '15, 08:35

question was seen: 5,369 times

last updated: 27 May '15, 22:01

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