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Public Rights of Way Progress

County Parishes RoWs LTotal LMapped % GIS Update
Cambridgeshire 233 4089 3218 km 697 km 21% 2017‑05‑04
Cornwall 213 6233 4422 km 0 km 0% 2018‑07‑04
Devon 425 6551 4999 km 1825 km 36% 2018‑07‑02
East Riding of Yorkshire 171 1821 1624 km 11 km 0% 2018‑06‑07
East Sussex 107 7838 3182 km 93 km 2% 2018‑06‑20
Gloucestershire 266 10008 5510 km 29 km 0% 2018‑08‑01
Hampshire 273 7263 4592 km 336 km 7% 2017‑09‑05
Hertfordshire 137 5363 3138 km 1019 km 32% 2017‑04‑05
Isle of Wight 20 1430 856 km 863 km 100% 2017‑07‑21
Kent 61 9687 6882 km 1114 km 16% 2017‑11‑01
Norfolk 546 5735 3844 km 3222 km 83% 2018‑04‑12
Oxfordshire 322 5936 4208 km 435 km 10% 2016‑10‑17
Suffolk 484 10390 5730 km 1382 km 24% 2018‑01‑10
Warwickshire 18 3280 2835 km 427 km 15% 2017‑10‑23
Worcestershire 198 15691 4590 km 348 km 7% 2018‑07‑13

About this tool

This tool takes information about Public Rights of Way from four sources and flags up possible errors / omissions / things to check. Currently only a handful of counties are available, but hopefully more will be added in due course. The data sources are:

  1. Official GIS data from County Councils. Many councils now digital versions of the legal 'Definitive Map' document they are obliged to maintain. The data includes vector routes, path numbers, designations, lengths and bounding boxes are extracted automatically from data files. I've started using the files from Barry Cornelius's rowmaps for this, as Barry has already done the hard work in converting the myriad of different formats from the councils into a standard KML format.
  2. Volunteer-Mapped data from OpenStreetMap. Path numbers, designations, lengths, bounding boxes, last update details, etc. can be extracted automatically on a parish by parish basis using the XAPI. The tool will extract all ways with a prow_ref=* tag within the parish's bounding box. The data from OSM is updated on a rolling basis with each parish getting an update roughly once a week. There is a button at the bottom of each parish page to request a quicker update.
  3. Definitive Statements. These are written documents providing textural descriptions of each Public Right of Way. Some councils have only paper records, but many now have digital versions. Sometimes these are unstructured formatted text documents (and so data needs to be manually extracted) but other councils have databases or spreadsheets (which allow automatic extraction of route numbers and statuses.
  4. Manual classification of OSM completion level. This would be entered by tool users, after comparing the official data with the current mapping in OSM.

I've got scripts to do the extraction from first two sources set up, but I currently have to initiate the updates manually. I can do the third and fourth behind the scenes, but eventually the plan is to have a public Web interface.

With the data the tool can then flag up issues such as:

The tool is currently under development, so various key bits of functionality are not implemented yet. For details see the Known Issues and To Do List.

Suggested uses for OSM Mapping

However, please do not use the PRoW GIS data alone to map routes in OSM. The data may not be completely accurate or well-aligned, and it is important that we capture the physical presence and accessibility of routes on the ground too. Simply copying the Council's GIS data into OSM adds very little to the map. Correctly mapping a path with the condition of the surface, adjacent hedges, gates and stiles is much more useful. See also my advice for routes not following the definitive line.

Adding new authorities

I intend to add more areas as and when I have time to do so. The main constraints though are having access to the data and it being available for re-use under a suitable licence for use in OpenStreetMap. The basic requirements are:

It is also useful if the authority makes available its Definitive Statements, List of Streets and a list of Traffic Regulation Orders affecting Public Rights of Way. See my Council PRoW Open Data page for an incomplete list of what is available from each authority.