Free Birmingham WIFI Hotspot - Maps

I’ve been reading back over this thread and saw that OSM was rejected because OSM rejected the idea of mapping invisible death-rays or some-such. Now, I’m no expert on OSM but what’s to stop a local overlay of WiFi spots/zones on top of the map, in the way people might put a proposed housing devlopment on an OSM? No, I don’t know how that works either but I bet someone does.

I also discovered a couple of days ago that my local post box isn’t on OSM. Is yours?

@Woo first - Whats a postbox? Its just occured to me I haven’t used one for many, many years :smile:
Also I read the OSM page that was posted, and actually ended up agreeing that it shouldnt be on the main base layer when it comes to WiFi Zone areas. Drawing some kind of polygon for coverage is indeed not practical today. Maybe it will be within 10 year after the internet of things has taken off a bit more, and that old red post box is online both telling Royle Mail if it has ANY letters in it, and supplying a wifi stregth reading to open :smiley:

@stu_lester You know more than most what I was planning, and I’ll start with very manual tests of the BCC owned WiFi.
Are the all near pubs? :wink: Who wants to help me data collect the <20 locations in the city centre this weekend or next?

I’m stilll working on all the project spec details, which I’ll post as a new project idea here to make a reality asap.

I live in Staffordshire. My window cleaner puts a slip of paper through the door and likes to be paid by cheque. The local railway station just got a ticket machine because the trains from That Birmingham won’t take our cash money any more. We don’t have majical bus stops that predict the future but vandalised paper time-tables that are out of date. We are conservative and have a Conservative MP. We fear change.

I’ve added the Birmingham wifi hotspots to (thanks for the data :yum: )

You can also add and edit wifi hotspots (globally, not just Birmingham!).

I’d very much appreciate feedback on how to make this more useful for folk. (The site is “responsive”, so should be okay on mobile too.)

Because everyone hates creating accounts on sites :wink: (yeah, me too), I’ve create one for this forum.

user: bio
password: biorocks

Feel free to play, but keep in mind that it’s shared. And if you want to create your own account, please go ahead. It’s free!

To get to the wifi hotspots depends on where you are located. If you are in Brum, then you can use the #here tab. If not, then you can use the #home tab, which I have already set to be the centre of Birmingham (this tab will also work for folk located in Brum, of course).

You also need to set the filter (in the 4th tab) to “wifi hotspots”.

To get to the map that shows all the hotspots: click on the tab a second time. (I know this isn’t obvious, and I’m all ears for a better method.)

Click on a hotspot to get its data. (Note that there were no network names or passwords in the data, so those fields are always empty.)

Please go and play, and let me know your thoughts on making it more useful.


  • I’m not in Brum, so I’ve not tested the geo-location. Geo has worked on everything else, so it should be okay.
  • The “I used this!” button is a dummy. The idea being that there probably needs to be some way to “age” hotspots, so that they eventually get removed.
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I forgot. If you want to familiarise yourself with things a little, there’s a short tour. Go to Settings and the Account tab and click “Repeat the start-up tour”.

yeah it does :smiling_imp:

I’m a little bit confused by this page. I’m seeing a long list of unnamed wifi hotspots, but none of them are showing on the map, or providing any additional info. I don’t know if this is just an unfortunate location or something, but right now this page isn’t useful.

That map just shows a location that you can move around (there are two, arbitrarily named #home and #other).

The map with the wifi hotspots on it is accessed by clicking/touching the tab again. (As I mentioned, it’s not intuitive. Definitely open to suggestions on that.)

The hotspots are unnamed because I took the first column of the data as the name. (The data hasn’t been cleaned. There are duplicates, no consistent naming, etc.) I wanted to get something up for comment.

You should see something like this:

I wonder if this can be solved by turning the interface on it’s head? Why not have a map (the one with the markers on it) take centre stage, by having it fill all available space, and have the list of things be an overlay on it? Similar to what @etewiah has on Chatty Maps.

Alternatively, just have two defined buttons for each of the views, one linking to the list, the other to the map.

Alas, this isn’t my area of expertise.

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That makes sense for this display. Perhaps default to the map view instead of the list view for wifi.

For places, where there’s more associated info – and where you are likely to scan restaurants for type, etc. – I think a list makes more sense, although I could easily make this user configurable. (I’m one of those bad people who thinks that giving users options is a good thing;-) )

But in the case of wifi, you really just want the closest – rather than the one with the nicest name! – so the list is probably superfluous.

One tricky thing is making everything work on a big screen and on mobile – hence the map lock checkboxes, for example.

Nice idea for a website Marc! :smiley:
Google Maps aint all that when it comes to find all / filter for a ‘category of things’.

I’ll be happy to share any WiFi data I generate / find in return for a bit of plotting-stuff-on-a-map advice.
I’m just trying to organise myself a complete day of walking around birmingham to speedtest as much free wifi as I can.

@ukgav: if you’re interested in plotting things on a map, try Leaflet with Open Street Maps - there’s loads of plugins, and you can choose from a large set of map providers. Basically anyone except Google (who mandate their own library).

Cool! I’m more than happy to provide an API for the data collected. I’m 100% not trying to build a walled garden. Please let me know what you need, and I’ll build it.

Aside: That’s why I link to google for directions; yelp and tripadvisor for references, etc. It’s all about useful information in the real world.

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I use leaflet on It’s a decent library.

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What maps are there, apart from Google & Open Street map ?

Try this:

I think there’s also a few more providers that I don’t see there, e.g. Bing is here and a few more here.

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Thats a great offer I’m happy to accept as long as I learn how its all achieved.
I want to speedtest Birmingham’s wifi, not only because it’ll hopefully be useful to people (33% the reason), but also to use it as a project for me to learn new coding skills from (66% the reason)

I’m currently using:

The way I view it is: discovery (fndout) vs search (google et al).

Ah, I meant add to fndout. If you want me to add a speed test field to the wifi object then I can do that.

If you need help with leaflet, feel free to get in touch.

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