“Don’t Lose Your Way”: How 4000 volunteers found 50,000 miles of lost historic paths in England and Wales using OSGeo technology
2021-10-01, 09:30–10:00, Puerto Madryn

Across the UK there are a network of footpaths and bridleways on which members of the public are free to walk, accessing some of the country’s most beautiful landscapes and places of historic interest.

However, thousands of miles of historic paths were missed when the UK’s definitive “rights of way” map was first created in the 1950’s. The UK Government has set a deadline of 2026 when applications for them to be reinstated will close, and they will be lost forever.

In 2020, the Ramblers, a UK walking charity, embarked on a crowd source campaign to find, map and save these historic paths. Using a web application built with OS-Geo tech, around 4000 members of the public undertook a “spot the difference” comparison of every square kilometre of England and Wales, comparing the historic maps with those published today. A remarkable 50,000 miles of paths were found across the country, generating significant interest in the UK media. The project is now moving on to the next stage of building up supplementary historic evidence to support applications for their reinstatement.

In this talk and interactive demonstration by the Ramblers and their geospatial partner Astun Technology, we will look at the background of the project, the technical solution, the results and what happens next.

If you love the outdoors, historic maps and OSGeo technology including PostGIS and OpenLayers, and want to find out about an ancient route called the Fosse Way, then this is the talk for you!

During the talk we will include a presentation of the project and also a live demonstration of how OSGeo technology was used to map our historic path network.

You will discover more about the project, get to see some beautiful historic maps of England and Wales, and understand how OSGeo technology made the project a reality.

Authors and Affiliations

Jack Cornish, Ramblers
Dan Ormsby, Astun Technology
Matt Walker, Astun Technology

Requirements for the Attendees



Use cases & applications


FOSS4G implementations in strategic application domains: land management, crisis/disaster response, smart cities, population mapping, climate change, ocean and marine monitoring, etc.


1 - Principiants. No required specific knowledge is needed.

Language of the Presentation


Dan Ormsby is the Head of Operations at Astun Technology, the geospatial partners of the Ramblers on whose behalf this talk is being delivered.