OOMap 2.4 – Add Plaques from Open Plaques


OpenOrienteeringMap can now automatically import the locations and details, of public plaques, as suggested controls, into the area where you are creating a map. The service uses the API from Open Plaques, which is a global open-source database of public plaques. In the London, the most commonly known plaques are the “Blue Plaques“, which are put up by English Heritage and typically mark the houses where the great and good of times past live. However, there are many other types and colours of plaques which are also recorded in the database and accessible now on OpenOrienteeringMap. Thanks to Jez and the team at Open Plaques for building a comprehensive open database, with a fast and flexible API to access it. Once you’ve placed your map, just click “Add Plaques” and a control will be created to represent each plaque. The locations are sometimes imprecise so ground-truthing is always recommended.

If you discover plaques that are not in Open Plaques, then please add them to the project so that OOM and other services can benefit from the extra data. Additionally, if you discover more accurate locations for plaques, you can update Open Plaque with this information. If you take photos, add them to Flickr or WikiCommons, tagging with their Open Plaques ID to link each photo to its corresponding record.

The functionality is similar to importing postboxes, another popular control type for informal Street-O events, which was added in v2.3, except that the plaques are available across the global and other editions of OpenOrienteeringMap, as well as the UK edition. However, please note that, at the time of writing, plaques have been most widely recorded in the UK, USA and Germany, each of which has over 5000 plaques. Other countries have (a lot) fewer, so you are likely to see a “no plaques available” message when you try and import them in to places in other countries, except perhaps in the centre of major cities.

Also for v2.4 I’m using newer versions of the JQuery and JQuery-UI libraries, and have slightly tweaked the user interface for the new Plaques button. The paper orientation toggle also now has some nice logos, and some bugs relating to tip display have been fixed.

Try it out now. As ever, OpenOrienteeringMap is completely free to use, if you find it useful for your event, and it saved a lot of time for you or your club mapper, then feel free to tip, see the links in the pink box.

(N.B. The full plaque text is used as the control description, so this should be edited and partially removed, should you use the automated clue sheet option in OpenOrienteeringMap, so that the competitor has to prove they are there by writing an appropriate part of the text.)


London Prints


  1. 8 June 2015

    That’s great news! 🙂

    Are you using a bounding box query or data tiles? The tiled data excludes plaques that are approximate and should lead to a better response time.

    Drop me an email, or catch me at #Geomob

    • Ollie
      8 June 2015

      Hi Jez, I’m using the bounding box query. It seems quite fast at the moment, and I presume that the approximate plaques are fairly accurate (but I do mention that ground-truthing is always necessary.). Hopefully with luck this functionality will encourage the many people now using OOM for their events, to contribute new plaque finds (or photographs they take when ground-truthing) back to Open Plaques. I’ve amended the article to emphasise this possibility. This mutually-benficial user contribution cycle already happens a little bit for OpenStreetMap, as that’s the only (practical) way – short of editing the PDF itself – that people can get the underlying Street-O map to change.

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