I’m a newbie on OpenStreetMaps and have been digging around lately for data on cycling infrastructure around England. Recently, a colleague showed me this data set: http://data.gov.uk/dataset/47f0a282-3356-4530-8e7b-f67aaf4bec63. Just as a pointer, when unzipping the *.gz files, you need to change the extension to xml and then convert these to gml files in order to use them in your GIS platform.
Upon comparison with OpenStreetMap, we noticed that the data in this data.gov.uk has cycle routes that had not yet been incorporated in OpenStreetMap - does anybody know of an effort to merge this government information into it?
I did have a look at it at the time but frankly found too many errors in it to make much use of it locally to me (Derby/Notts border). Of course if it’s not that data, then it’d be useful to see some sort of comparison, like the one mentioned on the cyclestreets blog.
On a more general point, there does tend to be resistance to importing data into OSM for various reasons, based to some extent on previous experience (the TIGER import in the US for example). Personally my main objection is that the data being imported is generally of poorer quality than it would have been had someone surveyed surveyed on the ground instead. In some cases that’s difficult (inaccessible areas, for example) but by definition you should be able to cycle everywhere this data goes.
This data is actually available for use in OpenStreetMap editors (see SnapshotServer on the wiki), there was a push around 3-4 years ago to improve cycle mapping using this data. In areas where we have active cyclist mappers this was done. The aim was to use the data as an aid to completing a ground survey. It is still very useful for this purpose: I’ve noted cyclepaths and cyclelanes whilst driving and being able to pull the geometry from this data set into OSM.
Like many such data sets the data quality is variable (depending to an extent on the local providers) and in many places it is also fairly out-of-date. All of these are reasons why it is best used in conjunction with seeing the infrastructure for real.