Delegates from around the world encouraged to arrive on two wheels

Delegates from around the world are being offered free entry to a digital mapping conference - if they cycle there.

OpenStreetMap’s 7th global annual conference, State of the Map 2013 is at Birmingham this year at Aston University from 6th-8th September 2013.

Organisers say: "The challenge is a great opportunity to use National Route 5 of the UK's National Cycle Network which passes through Birmingham. It is a long distance route connecting Reading and Holyhead via Oxford, Banbury, Stratford-upon-Avon. Birmingham, Walsall, Stafford, Stoke-on-Trent, Chester, Colwyn Bay and Bangor.

"However, the section between Walsall and Stafford is still under development. Participants are not restricted to using this route, for instance Birmingham is at the centre of the UK canal network whose towpaths can make excellent traffic-free routes"

The only rule is that proof of cycling in another European country prior to arriving in the UK. For UK delegates there are no guidelines, just contact the conference organisers with a route that should be similar in scale to cycling from another European country.

Wondering what OpenStreetMap is?

Brian Prangle, local organiser for State of the Map 2013 said: "Collecting, editing and publishing geographical data with a global army of over one million volunteers creates maps with levels of detail and dynamism unachievable by other means.

"Volunteers collect lots of data that is of specific interest to their communities, which might not otherwise be collected. Commercial processes can proceed very slowly in the world of digital maps, whereas being volunteer-based OpenStreetMap data is very responsive to changes.

"All of the data collected is published under an open licence so anyone may use the data freely.

“Adding data to OpenStreetMap from surveys adds new interest and motivation for getting out and about by bike.

"You are no longer reliant on the style or content of commercial maps. Cycling to our conference  will provide a rich set of data to produce a detailed map of the route and an even richer set of tales.

"I'm sure local mappers along the route will be only too glad to assist.”

To get in touch with the organisers, click here.


After an unpromising start, having to be bribed by her parents to learn to ride without stabilisers, Sarah became rather keener on cycling in her university years, and was eventually persuaded to upgrade to proper road cycling by the prospect of a shiny red Italian bike, which she promptly destroyed by trapping a pair of knickers in the rear derailleur. Sarah writes about about cycling every weekend on road.cc.