I’m relatively green but I’d like to map some of the minor dirt road around where I live. What is a good editor that I can easily tap in the names of roads quickly while tracking? I don’t mind cleaning things up upon my return but need the software to know the names I entered and where I entered them (or what cross-road I passed)
I think the easiest way with a netbook is to install JOSM. Download the area where you are going before you leave. Add roads and their names as you go. There is a plugin for JOSM to get data from a GPS, but I don’t have experience with it.
What is a lot easier though, is to take a GPS along and a camera. Then use JOSM to stitch together your GPX file and the pictures you took of the roads and their names and put them in afterwards.
I did it like that for several years. Nowadays I run Vespucci on an Android device and edit on site. The Android needs 3G though. It’s quite dependent on an active internet connection… The nice thing is that one can verify right away what is already available in the OSM database. Before it happened I was taking too many pictures. The disadvantage is that it takes up quite a bit of time while out surveying. It’s most suitable for surveying on foot or as a ‘co-pilot’ or while travelling by bus. Even when I prefer to use something like OSMtracker or NoniGPSplot to simply type in data as POIs in a GPX file when doing it that way.
In a place where not much is mapped yet. I would simply go with the photo surveying method, taking many, many pictures and use a GPS that can last for several hours on a battery charge. I prefer to do this when mapping by bicycle or on horseback using the camera of a relatively inexpensive cell phone.
If you can show the existing OSM map on your GPS* while tracking and taking photos, you can check where the map is fairly complete and where it is worth taking extra pictures/notes.
To show the map on a GPS there are several solutions. I have (good) experiences with both a Garmin GPS unit with a converted planet file and Motion-X GPS on the iPhone. The latter works with a live connection, but also allows you to download tiles beforehand.
For photos you may want to check if you can find a camera that records the location with the photo. Some relatively inexpensive cameras (in phones) offer this functionality. This would save you stitching together photos and track.
For notes I’m afraid I’ve yet to discover the perfect solution. If you come across something that allows you to mark a spot, add a remark and save it with a minimum of hassle I would like to hear about it.