Don’t Lose Your Way – guidance for verifying lost ways

In just six-weeks we mapped the whole of England and Wales looking for lost rights of way. 154,000 squares were reviewed, each by two different people. We now need to reconcile and verify this data. The below guidance sets out how to use the path verification tool on the Don’t Lose Your Way mapping site, and what to look for to verify the data. The guidance is relevant once you have signed up as a verifier, and logged into your account. If you need help to do this, have any questions about verification, or any questions about Don’t Lose Your Way in general, please contact:

Section 1 – the verifier dashboard

When you log in, the verifier dashboard will appear as below. As you set about verifying squares, the ‘History’ on the right will fill up with the squares you’ve checked and submitted. Once you have verified a square you will not be able to go back and amend the submission.

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Section 2 – Selecting a square to verify

On the left of the verifier dashboard you can select a square to verify. Here you can skip to a different square, or view the one shown.

Please note that all squares to be verified are presented at random and it is not possible to choose a specific geographical area, or individual square, to verify. This is to help ensure that verification is consistently carried out against criteria, and not subject to personal preference or views. You will not be able to verify a square you originally helped map.

In the first instance we restricted the squares for verification to those with 8 or fewer lines drawn by the original two users (which represents over 95% of all squares to be verified). This limit has now been increased to 15 lines drawn per square.

Increasing the available squares to those with up to 15 paths will mean that some are more challenging to verify. All of the same criteria apply, but remember that you're welcome to skip a square if you would prefer to do one you're more confident with.

Section 3 – Verifying

Once you have selected a square to verify you will see the screen below.

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On the right-hand side of the screen you will see a list of all the paths identified by the two original users. Clicking on one of these will highlight the path on the map. You can use the yellow slider at the top to slide between the current OS map, and the historical maps. This allows you to slide the map back and forth, allowing you to see differences between what is recorded on each map.

You can also toggle between both historic maps by selecting this icon

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To change the transparency of paths drawn on the map, use this icon

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Veri guide 1

When verifying a square you should work through the following process:

  1. Review each path to see if the original drawing is valid - some users may accidently have drawn a feature which is not a path or have drawn a path which is already registered as a right of way. The criteria for correctly marking paths is in the next section of this guidance. If the line does not represent a valid path, please select the ‘X’ icon and the reason “This is not a valid path”. Remember to check both historic maps as the path which the user has drawn may only appear on one.

  2. Edit valid paths so that they are drawn as accurately as possible. You can edit a path by selecting the pencil icon. Some users may have drawn paths in sections. In this case please extend the line to cover the whole length of the lost path and reject the other lines as duplicates (see below).

  3. Reject duplicate paths. As two submitters have reviewed each square there will be many duplicates, if the squares have been mapped accurately there should be a duplicate for each path. Please reject one of the duplicate lines with the reason “This is a duplicate of another path”.

  4. If a path is valid, accurately follows the full length of the route of the lost path, and is not a duplicate, then please select the tick icon for that path to accept it.

  5. Once you have checked all the paths that were submitted, take a look at the criteria in the next section of this guidance and check to see whether any paths have been missed. If a path is missing, simple click on ‘add path’ to draw the path onto the map.

Once you have finished verifying the paths on the square, click on the ‘tick’ icon in the bottom right hand corner of the screen to submit.

Section 4 – Criteria

Below are the original criteria which we asked people to use when marking up lost rights of way. We know that these criteria will not pick up every single lost right of way, but we are expecting it will catch a large number. As we develop Don’t Lose Your Way further there will be the opportunity to add additional lost rights of way. Please do use the criteria below as objectively as you can. The first historical map you will see is the “Great Britain - OS Six Inch, 1888-1913" map. On this map, we are asking you to look out for paths which are marked historically as footpaths or bridleroads but which are missing on the current OS map.

We have added in labels for these from the historical map so if you see a F.P. or B.R. marker without a corresponding right of way (marked in green) on the current OS map, this might be a lost right of way and we want you to map it! Note that you will not see the map in a side by side view, but change between them using the yellow slider .

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Please mark the length of any paths which are missing by following the dashed lines. The paths will usually connect to a road or another right of way on the current map (shown in green).

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It is always worth looking out for rights of way (marked in green dashes/dots) which stop in the middle of nowhere – if you can see on the historical map where this path connected up with another right of way or a road please draw this as well.

Next switch to the “Bartholomew Half Inch, 1897-1907" map by clicking the button to change map layer. On this map we are mainly looking for roads which are not shown on the current map as either rights of way or roads. It is rare to find missing roads but it's good to check!

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On the historical map roads are shown in solid or dashed orange, or are uncoloured. Please compare these to the current OS map were roads are shown as yellow, orange or pink and where rights of way are shown in green. If you find an uncoloured road on the historical map which connects up at both ends to the road network and which is not marked on the current OS map please mark this on the map. Due to the differing scale of the two maps the roads might not match up exactly, but you can often see where the old road used to be on the current map.

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