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Skyberries and Voidmelons or Voidberries and Skymelons

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Open Street Mapping Party in South-East London

On the map, a number of roads existed in South-East London without names.

I wandered the streets of Blackheath, with a crumpled print-out, staring at the names on street signs and trying to decode them as if they were secret messages the roads were passing to me. Estates were full of tangled roads, blending too quickly into other roads, sometimes with different names, but sometimes the same. Other roads just weren't marked at all, not even with outlines on my print-out, and every time I found one of those, I felt like I was discovering somewhere new, as if that road had just sprung into existence as I reached it.

I glanced at boat stencils, advertising a Thames treasure hunt; I passed a graveyard containing the grave of Edmond Halley, who Halley's Comet was named after, as well as the grave of Robert Cocking, 'an early aeronaut who in 1837 fell to his death in a local field when his primitive parachute failed'; I found Celestial Gardens; I found the Queen of Clubs on the ground; I walked past streets that had been adopted and streets that hadn't; I was approached by a cute long-haired guy on a bike and wondered whether I was dreaming, but he was mapping too; I visited Kenya, Nigeria and Grenada; and then there was the most beautiful sunset with pinks and blues and oh, I couldn't stop staring at it.

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There's so much of a town or city that you normally wouldn't see, especially residential and industrial areas. In the 1970s through 1980s they built lots of complicated, winding and branching estates full of semi-detached houses and short terraces. Nobody would ever venture into these mazes if they didn't live there - nobody except intrepid explorers.

It's been quite strange to visit them, when mapping, because they all remind me of my childhood. Ungated alleyways between houses, paths long overgrown from disuse, cars parked everywhere - except the neatly mowed lawns. Some of these estates are younger than I am, but they are already trying to decay back into the landscape.

Open Street Maps looks a cool project. Will see if I can fix the area where I live on the map as a lot of the public footpaths are missing.

Now, that's one thing I didn't expect to find on the net.

Odd how things eventually (2 weeks late) get linked from planet OSM.

(via morwen's entry on the SE Mapping Party)

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