Mapper needed for North Thailand

Hi All,

Colin, aka Captain Slash has been riding in Thailand 3-4 months every year since at least 2010. He has saved all his tracks and annotated them for us and Russ McD and I have been putting them into OSM for the last 8 years. Russ has abandoned this in order to help clean up the Facebook mess, a task that I am not willing to do, simply because there are not enough days left in my life. So, I have fallen behind by two seasons.

We need a volunteer to help with this. If we don’t use his tracks he will probably stop posting and annotating them, a job that takes him about an hour per day. I will probably pick it up again when it gets too hot outside.

Check out his ride reports here:

Thanks for your time,

What needs to be done?

There may be different methods, but basically the “full” process involves :

  • Downloading the GPX file into Mapsource, one day at a time.
  • Either upload to OSM on a daily basis, or consolidate to about 15-20 tracks then upload (which I prefer)
  • Open the OSM editor and trace them, labelling as tracks, unless obviously different.
  • Most tracks are dead ends, & as the trace doubles back, while you can split and join, its often easier to just manually trace the average of the two.
  • Smooth jagged corners, straighten the straight sections, and connect nodes to the existing network.
  • Open Colin’s daily e-mail, and refine the input by adding POI’s and surface changes where he indicates, most usually changes from paved to unpaved, and track to path.
  • Make a note on the shared spreadsheet kept by Beddhist & myself, as a record of work accomplished

As of today, Colin has about 150 days of riding we have yet to add (but he is still providing more daily). As a rough guide, it takes me about 10 hours to input & trace 15 days worth of tracks, and a probably 5 more hours to add the POI/surface details. There may be quicker ways but this is what it takes me, and even then, I omit some of the really short dead ends.
To save you the math that equals 200 man hours.

A typical POI email from Colin, for one day would contain this info :

The Potlatch editor is not ideal for locating nodes by Lat/Long even with the co-ordinates displayed.

I hope this gives an idea of the work, and if we have any takers, I’m sure either me or Beddhist would gladly provide some initial help.


We most certainly will be here to help, but an experienced mapper will find it quite easy. Actually, the above example is exceptionally long. Most contain only a few lines and 5-10 POIs.

I have to agree with Russ, uploading the tracks in bulk is easier and I will do that from now on. Until now I have usually uploaded them with the josm plugin.

My workflow is a little different: I load a track into Mapsource, delete the rubbish tracks (you know, the spaghetti you get from being inside, etc.). Then I create the POIs, where I use abbreviations to orient myself, like D for dirt section, DE for dirt ends, etc. Next, I follow the tracks from either end and wherever there is no road/track on the map I cut the track section out and colour it red for sealed, magenta for unsealed, green for single track.

I find Mapsource really convenient for this, because it has lots of keyboard shortcuts. I tried Basecamp briefly, but they stuffed up the keyboard commands.

When done I save the file to disk as gpx, temporarily remove all non-coloured tracks and save as t.gpx. I then load both into josm, download OSM data as needed and convert t.gpx to an OSM layer, from which I cut and paste the tracks.

I really do hope we can keep this going. Colin is now systematically riding any tracks he can find. This data is accurate and there is lots of it.