source: trunk/npemap.org.uk/static/FAQ.html @ 756

Last change on this file since 756 was 756, checked in by Dominic Hargreaves, 8 years ago

soft-disable postcode submissions and update documentation accordingly

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1<!--#set var="title" value="FAQ" -->
2<!--#set var="link" value="/FAQ.html" -->
3<!--#set var="shownav" value="yes" -->
4<!--#include virtual="inc/header.shtml" -->
5
6<ul>
7<li><a href="#whatIsIt">What is it?</a></li>
8<li><a href="#licence">What licence does the data have?</a></li>
9<li><a href="#junkMail">Will I get more junk mail if I enter my postcode?</a></li>
10<li><a href="#whatMaps">What maps are you using?</a></li>
11<li><a href="#doAnything">So can I do what I like with your scans/tiles?</a></li>
12<li><a href="#download">Okay; I can use the tiles for some things; can I download the complete set?</a></li>
13<li><a href="#worldFiles">It'd be really great if I could get a world file / .jpw / etc</a></li>
14<li><a href="#orthorectifying">Isn't orthowotsiting an old map hard?</a></li>
15<li><a href="#openstreetmap">Why don't you use maps created from OpenStreetMap data?</a></li>
16<li><a href="#freethepostcode">Will this data be imported back into Free the Postcode?</a></li>
17<li><a href="#accuracy">If you are using scans of old maps, how accurate will the locations be?</a></li>
18<li><a href="#houseMissing">My house isn't on a 1950s map</a></li>
19<li><a href="#pickDecade">How do I view maps from different decades?</a></li>
20<li><a href="#gps">I know exactly where I am, and what my postcode is</a></li>
21<li><a href="#islands">I can't seem to find a certain island on your overview map</a></li>
22<li><a href="#howToUse">So, how do I use it?</a></li>
23<li><a href="#code">Is the code behind the site available?</a></li>
24<li><a href="#otherdata">Here's another source of free postcodes</a></li>
25<li><a href="#codepointBusiness">Won't you drive codepoint out of business?</a></li>
26<li><a href="#tileJoins">The map doesn't join up.</a></li>
27<li><a href="#helpOrthorectifying">The wonkiness is so annoying it drives me mad, and I have experience of orthrectifying maps. Please let me straighten your maps.</a></li>
28<li><a href="#gdal">Why didn't you use proj/gdal?</a></li>
29<li><a href="#scotland">Why did it take you so long to have good mapping data of Scotland?</a></li>
30<li><a href="#northernIreland">Why don't you have mapping data of Northern Ireland?</a></li>
31<li><a href="#who">Who did the work?</a></li>
32</ul>
33
34<hr />
35
36
37<a name="whatIsIt"></a>
38<h3>What is it?</h3>
39<p>This site was originally set up in order to compile a public domain
40database of postcode locations whilst people look at our old maps.
41Nowadays, there is a better, more complete set of data in the
42form of
43<a href="http://www.ordnancesurvey.co.uk/oswebsite/opendata/">OS OpenData</a>
44so there is less need of separate collection efforts. As a result, the
45postcode collection parts of this site have now been disabled, but you can
46still use it to browse some lovely old maps of the British Isles.
47</p>
48<p>
49Some of the later parts of this FAQ still refers to the data sets which
50can be still be downloaded if not updated.
51</p>
52
53<a name="licence"></a>
54<h3>What licence does the data have?</h3>
55
56<p>The data will be will be in the public domain; consequently, users
57submitting data agreed to their submission being in the public domain
58when they entered their postcode.</p>
59
60<a name="whatMaps"></a>
61<h3>What maps are you using?</h3>
62
63<p>We have scans of out of copyright OS maps of England, Scotland and Wales.
64You can <a href="scotlandAndNI.html">register interest in future projects
65involving Northern Ireland</a>.</p>
66
67
68<a name="doAnything"></a>
69<h3>So can I do what I like with your scans/tiles?</h3>
70
71<p>
72No. The scans and tiles have been placed under a
73<a href="tileLicence.html">licence</a>; they are not in the public
74domain.
75</p>
76
77
78<a name="download"></a>
79<h3>Okay; I can use the tiles for some things; can I download the complete set?</h3>
80
81<p>
82We have all the tiles available in a couple of different naming schemes, but
83not all of them are on machines with suitable internet connections for
84downloading from.</p>
85
86<p>If you <a href="reportBug.html">drop us an email</a> letting us know which
87areas you are interested in (ideally either sheet numbers, or the whole lot),
88and confirm that your use falls within <a href="#licence">the tile
89licence</a>, we can work out the best way to let you get the tiles. It may
90even be possible for us to post you a dvd of the tiles, but we'll normally
91request a donation to <a href="http://www.openstreetmap.org/">OpenStreetMap</a>
92in-leui of the postage.
93</p>
94
95<p>One thing we do ask is that if you want to use the tiles; please don't
96try and crawl our tileserver to obtain the entire set.
97<a href="reportBug.html">Let us know</a> what you're after, and we can
98probably sort something out!
99</p>
100
101
102<a name="worldFiles"></a>
103<h3>It'd be really great if I could get a world file / .jpw / etc
104 for the tiles I'm looking at, so I can feed it to gdal / mapserv / etc</h3>
105
106<p>It's very easy to turn a tile's URL into the location of any of its
107 corners. We have a script that will happily spit out .jpw world files for
108 any of our tiles, which various people make use of.</p> 
109
110<p><a href="reportBug.html">Let us know</a> if you're interested, and we
111 can either send you a bunch of world files, or the magic perl script.</p>
112
113<p>You may also be interested in the WMS server of the tiles run by
114 <a href="http://www.blacksworld.net/">Nick Black</a>. He gives the details
115 of it in <a href="http://www.blacksworld.net/blog/?p=83">this blog post.</a>
116</p>
117
118
119<a name="orthorectifying"></a>
120<h3>Isn't orthowotsiting an old map hard?</h3>
121
122<p>Luckily we're going to work in the OSGB coordinate system that
123matches up with the grid lines on the map; this means we don't have to
124distort the maps too much. We also are not overly fussy about the
125accuracy, so this step can be done quickly.</p>
126
127
128<a name="openstreetmap"></a>
129<h3>Why don't you use maps created from <a
130href="http://www.openstreetmap.org">OpenStreetMap</a> or <a href="http://www.ordnancesurvey.co.uk/oswebsite/opendata/">OS OpenData</a> data?</h3>
131
132<p>Because they are licensed under Creative Commons Share-alike
133licences, so we wouldn't be able to make the postcode data public domain.</p>
134
135<p>There are people who believe that locating a point on a map creates a
136derived work, and hence requires a licence. We don't want to be the first
137to prove them wrong in a court, as that will be pricy.</p>
138
139<a name="accuracy"></a>
140<h3>If you are using scans of old maps, how accurate will the locations
141be?</h3>
142
143<p>Some of the scans are out by a degree or two but they are fairly
144good. We hope to be able to get better than 100 metres accuracy out of it in
145the end. This is more than good enough to locate a region as large as
146the first half of a postcode, and hopefully as much as the 'partial'
147postcodes described in the answer to 'What is it?' above.</p>
148
149
150<a name="pickDecade"></a>
151<h3>How do I view maps from different decades?</h3>
152
153<p>For many areas, we have maps from a number of different years. By default,
154 we always show you the most recent map we have. That gives you the best
155 chance to locate postcodes, and allows us to produce the best list
156 of free postcodes that we can.</p>
157
158<p>However, we do understand that sometimes people would like to be able
159 to compare how things have changed. For that reason, we provide a second
160 interface to view our maps. With this one, we allow you to browse all
161 of our maps from each decade.</p>
162
163<p>You can browse by decade by <a href="/pickDecade.html">going here</a>.
164 (We currently have maps from the 1920s, 1930s, 1940s and 1950s).
165 Please note that we do not have maps for all areas for all decades, so
166 you may find that you can only view a given place at only one or two
167 dates.</p>
168
169<p>If you have maps for an area for a decade that we currently don't,
170 please do contact us.</p>
171
172
173<a name="islands"></a>
174<h3>I can't seem to find a certain island on your overview map</h3>
175<p>We've put together a list of <a href="islands.html">hard to find
176 islands</a>, so you might well be able to find it from there.</p>
177
178
179<a name="code"></a>
180<h3>Is the code behind the site available?</h3>
181<p>Yes, the code that powers the site is available in a public
182svn repository. You're welcome to check out the code from
183<a href="https://urchin.earth.li/svn/npemap/">https://urchin.earth.li/svn/npemap/</a></p>
184<p>The code is all under an open, MIT like license, see
185<a href="https://urchin.earth.li/svn/npemap/trunk/COPYING">here</a>
186for details.</p>
187
188
189<a name="otherdata"></a>
190<h3>Here's another source of free postcodes</h3>
191
192<p>NEW: Don't worry, so do we. The OS has released some <a href="http://www.ordnancesurvey.co.uk/oswebsite/opendata/">data for free</a> - though it's not public domain, it should be free enough for most people's uses.
193
194<p style="text-decoration: line-through;">There are many unattributed postcodes sets on the web, but none others
195(apart from freethepostcode.org, which we are already working with) which
196are unambiguously free. In particular there is a <a href="http://www.jibble.org/ukpostcodes/">site</a> which lots of people have pointed at. Unfortunately
197there is no actual data there; the data was removed after the Post Office
198issued a take-down notice to this site. We're only interested in public
199domain database (or possibly databases with other unambiguously "free"
200licensing terms).
201</p>
202
203
204
205<a name="tileJoins"></a>
206<h3>The map doesn't join up.</h3>
207
208<p>Yes, it isn't perfect. The OS didn't publish a single map of the whole
209country, so you have to scan then stick together data from several maps.
210We don't really know how to correct it perfectly. It would be really cool
211if someone could write software to detect the gridlines and automatically
212cut the images up on the lines and make them square.</p> 
213
214
215<a name="helpOrthorectifying"></a>
216<h3>The wonkiness is so annoying it drives me mad, and I have experience of orthrectifying maps. Please let me straighten your maps.</h3>
217
218<p>Cool. Contact us, that would be great.</p>
219
220
221<a name="gdal"></a>
222<h3>Why didn't you use proj/gdal?</h3>
223
224<p>Because we don't know how to work them. If you feel like improving how this
225works, let us know. Update: We do use proj for the <a href="/postcodeine/">postcode display</a>.</p>
226
227
228<a name="scotland"></a>
229<h3>Why did it take you so long to have coverage of Scotland?</h3>
230
231<p>While the Ordnance Survey did create the New Popular Edition maps of
232 Scotland at 1 inch to the mile, these were never published, so we can't
233 buy them to scan in. Scotland was included in the Ordnance Survey
234 7<sup>th</sup> Edition at 1 inch to the mile, but almost all of these
235 maps remain in copyright for another few years, so we can't put them
236 online yet</p>
237<p>The Ordnance Survey did release some updates to the Popular Edition
238 of Scotland in the 1940s, which had the National Grid over-printed on.
239 them. (The War Office also published similar versions). While the grid
240 isn't parallel with the main map, it is possible to work with (just a
241 little bit more work). It has taken us much longer to track these down
242 than it took us to get the England and Wales New Popular Edition maps.
243 This is why we have only recently been able to offer a high degree of
244 coverage for Scotland.</p>
245
246<p>We now think we have completed our coverage of Scotland. Most of the
247 maps used are from the 1940s, but there are small numbers of earlier maps
248 (mostly 1920s), and small numbers of 7<sup>th</sup> edition maps from the
249 1950s. To see the coverage we have, visit the
250 <a href="/tiles/allmaps.html">large overview map.</a></p>
251
252
253<a name="northernIreland"></a>
254<h3>Why don't you have mapping data of Northern Ireland?</h3>
255
256<p>For Northern Ireland, the situation is harder than for Scotland,
257 because the Ordnance Survey of Northern Ireland didn't produce an
258 equivalent to the New Popular Edition, instead it produced a number of
259 updates without altering the name of the edition. So, many of the maps
260 from the Popular Edition of Northern Ireland are still in Copyright, so
261 it's hard to know if a given old map is out of copyright just from the
262 name.</p>
263<p>Compounding this, it is much harder to track down second hand maps
264 of Northern Ireland, compared to the difficulty of getting English,
265 Welsh and Scottish maps of the period. We have also yet to come across
266 any institutional holdings of old Northern Irish maps where the
267 holder will allow scans to be made. All we have been able to get is
268 quarter inch to the mile maps, which don't fit into our tiling scheme,
269 and are too small for finding postcodes on.</p>
270
271<p>If you would like to be notified when we do get out of copyright 1 inch
272 to the mile maps of Northern Ireland, please
273 <a href="scotlandAndNI.html">register your interest</a>.</p>
274
275
276<a name="who"></a>
277<h3>Who did the work?</h3>
278
279<ul>
280<li>Richard Fairhurst acquired and scanned the maps of England and Wales,</li>
281<li>Nick Burch, Andrew Rowbottom and Mike Calder have aquired and scanned
282 many of the maps of Scotland,</li>
283<li>The <a href="http://steve8.dev.openstreetmap.org/os7.htm">OpenStreetMap
284 7th Edition Project</a> have aquired and scanned some of the 7th
285 Edition maps of Scotland,</li>
286<li>Dominic Hargreaves, David Sheldon and Nick Burch straightened and tiled
287 the maps,</li>
288<li>Matthew Westcott, <a href="http://www.earth.li/~dave/">David Sheldon</a>,
289 Dominic Hargreaves and Nick Burch worked on the user interface and backend
290 software.</li>
291<li><a href="http://www.torchbox.com">Torchbox</a> has supported the project
292 with some development time and design work.</li>
293</ul>
294
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