Skip to main content

Garth mapping

Road names in English often end with "Road", "Street", "Way", "Lane", "Drive", "Rise", "Close" etc. In Leeds we have lots of streets ending with Garth. The word originates from Middle English/Old Norse and is defined as:

1. a yard, garden, or paddock;
2. an open quadrangle surrounded by a cloister

We had noticed that people from elsewhere in the UK often hadn't heard of Garths so we decided to find out just what the geographic distribution was. We turned to the excellent Open Street Map which has been compiled by volunteers since 2006. It is open, usable, and pretty complete. We downloaded extracts for Great Britain and Ireland and Northern Ireland from Geofabrik as PBF files then extracted every highway containing Garth using the ogr2ogr command-line tool and a osmconf.ini file:

ogr2ogr --config OSM_CONFIG_FILE osmconf.ini -where "highway IS NOT NULL AND name LIKE '%garth%'" -f GeoJSON garth-gb.geojson great-britain-latest.osm.pbf lines
ogr2ogr --config OSM_CONFIG_FILE osmconf.ini -where "highway IS NOT NULL AND name LIKE '%garth%'" -f GeoJSON garth-ie.geojson ireland-and-northern-ireland-latest.osm.pbf lines

We combined the two output geojson files and used the Leaflet.js library to draw them on a map. As a final touch we colour-coded them so that street names ending with Garth were distinct from those just containing those letters.

It turns out Leeds is a bit of a Garth hotspot and their distribution generally correlates with regions settled by the Vikings around 1000 years ago.

Party on!

The Garth map of the UK and Ireland