Main Street UK

GEMMA is the project I’ve been working on for the last six months, it’s one of the JISCgeo projects and it is now released – although consider it to be beta as there are lots of bugs and UI quirks that we are aware of. More about GEMMA can be found on the project’s blog.

One use of the OpenStreetMap feature highlighter in GEMMA, that was suggested by one of the participants at the JISCgeo Meeting earlier this week where we launched the web application, and augmented by a friend who was trying it out, was mapping the occurrences of the “High Street” road name – and a few regional variations, namely Main Street, Front Street, Market Street, Fore Street and The Street. Using GEMMA, and the high level of completion of OpenStreetMap in the UK and Ireland, allows us to visually show the spatial patterns of such street names.

Here’s a stitched-together screenshot of the GEMMA webpage showing the pattern throughout the UK and part of Ireland:

It turns out that Main Street is popular in the Midlands and in Scotland and Ireland, and Front Street is popular in the North-East of England (around Newcastle) while High Street is used nearly everywhere in the UK – but only sparingly in Ireland. Market Street is popular in the Manchester and Devon areas. Fore Street is popular in Cornwall and The Street very popular in Essex and Kent.

Note that many parts of Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, are not yet well mapped in OpenStreetMap, so the street names will be missing in some parts here. The base-map is copyright Google and the street data is CC-By-SA OpenStreetMap.

You can see the live version of the map here.