If I wanted to do my own walkability survey of my city, what tools could I use? I have map data from OpenStreetMap, but I have to consider that streets have two sides (which aren't always accessible from the other side of the street). I guess I need to make a sidewalk map.

I'd like to use path-finding algorithms against the data to provide walking directions that avoid sections of streets with poor walkability. Some blocks have sidewalks, some don't, and some streets have a sidewalk on one side but are too busy to cross. The directions would cross the highway at places where it's easier--very easy at the crosswalk, hard at several other streets, impossible at a few streets.

I know that weighted path-finding algorithms exist. I'm just wondering how to create this data. I've toyed with taking a map image, putting it in Inkscape, turning on grid lines, and overlaying paths along the sidewalks. With the grid lines, the points of paths connect for path-finding. Path color indicates difficulty of walking. Aside from the path-finding, it'd be a good map to show walkability in town.

Anyone have any ideas?

  • what GIS software are you looking to use? – artwork21 Jul 6 '11 at 1:14
  • I've been working a bit in qgis. I attempted to make the walkability map in Inkscape (just paths, saves in XML). Maybe if I could tell a program: "Take these paths, duplicate them, and move them away from each other." – charlesw Jul 6 '11 at 1:25
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    It's not as easy as "duplicate and move apart". Imagine what would happen at crossings. Realistically, you'll be fastest digitizing the sidewalks manually and adding all information you have about them at the same time. I'd recommend to do this step in a GIS and not in Inkscape. – underdark Jul 6 '11 at 8:11
  • Hello, you can to model your "blocks with sidewalks" by buffers? See modeling constraints at How to estimate the average width of a sidewalk? – Peter Krauss Sep 10 '12 at 14:00

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