How to create maps of Wales: castles, rivers, post boxes, cycle routes, and more

Here’s an easy and fun guide on how to create maps of Wales (or anywhere) with pinned features.

You don’t need any previous experience of mapping or handling data. Creating maps is not an activity for specialists only. It’s easy.

Even though travel is not possible right now it’s nice to dream about visiting these places at some point.

It’s been very enjoyable to work as part of the Mapio Cymru project team to improve mapping and open data in Welsh over recent months. The guide is part of our effort to show OpenStreetMap as a resource to more people, and identify elements of the map which need improvement.

Have a go at the guide.

Tarian Cymru – some reflections on the work

About Tarian Cymru

A group of us have been running Tarian Cymru for over two months now, and over 1400 people have contributed over £74,000 towards PPE for health and care workers in Wales.

PPE is still needed. Have you donated yet?


Running Tarian Cymru is a lot of work: fundraising, comms and publicity, finding/procuring/buying/importing PPE, liaison with workers, packing, distribution.

The whole initiative has been a unique experience. It’s one of the best experiences I’ve ever had.

It’s amazing to think what’s possible when a group of people come together (remotely) to accomplish something specific rapidly.

It’s so encouraging to see how much activity there’s been for the goal, how generous people have been – with their time, money, skills, and resources. The list of music projects alone is staggering – to name one thing.

I’ll probably have to document the whole thing sometime. In the meantime I tend to make notes here about web projects…


The website is for donors, supporters, as well as the workers.

There was an obvious need for a memorable and clear name, and a simple domain name to share on radio, TV, etc. The web address of the GoFundMe page and social media addresses were not suitable for this.

Then the website had to be ready in an exceptionally short time – in minutes.

Usually I run WordPress software on a server. This means creating a theme, choosing plugins, writing code, maintenance… But I had to avoid the temptation to have so many options and setting and tweaks this time. There simply was too much else to think about on the Tarian Cymru initiative.

Everything runs on – there are two websites for the two languages, Cymraeg and English.

There is a language switch in the menu and in some of the pages and blog posts (the latter by hand). The interface in Welsh makes use of  translations people have done over the years.

Sometimes it’s best to just do things in the fastest possible way, and sacrifice flexibility/options.


If you’ve read this far then you should consider doing a challenge for the Tarian Cymru appeal.

Settled website: helping people with settled status applications

I’ve built a website for a brand new charity called Settled.

The charity helps people who need to make settled status applications to the Home Office to stay in British countries after Brexit.

The process is complicated and confusing already, and there are many of other factors which make things even more challenging like the life circumstances of the people applying.

The first version of the website is in English only with many languages to come very soon. There will also be a means to browse listings of face-to-face sessions, and a platform for volunteers with the charity as well.

On the way to Brittany for Gouel Broadel ar Brezhoneg 2019

This weekend I’ll be taking part in Gouel Broadel ar Brezhoneg which will be an event held in Langoned, Brittany.

There are two things on my schedule:

  • a presentation about digital media in under-resourced languages including some discussion of my Wikipedia work and Twitter bots
  • and a DJ set of music from Wales.

I am looking forward to learning a few more rudiments of the Breton language, which has some similarities to the Welsh language, and practising during my time there.

Google and Bing do not offer a machine translation service for the Breton language but there is a basic machine translation service through Apertium.

New MediaWiki skin for knowledge base has a new skin, Pivot, mainly because it has a responsive design and the previous one, Vector, does not. In other words it responds to screen sizes from laptop/desktop down to the smallest mobile phone.

I’m not sure why Wikipedia still runs Vector and continues to offer separate mobile and desktop versions. That’s another story.

If you want to check if a website design is responsive, just visit from a phone or tablet and compare it to laptop. Alternatively change the shape and size of the browser on your laptop and watch what happens.. is a wici which has been running continuously for nine years to provide a knowledge base for Welsh-language web resources, e.g. a list of blogs in Welsh, ideas and planning for Hacio’r Iaith unconference events, and WordPress resources for website developers.

I visit several times each week to access resources and look things up. Contributions are always welcome in the form of edits. I’m also trying to do more notetaking there as public-by-default, especially things which have no need to be kept private.

Cordon Sanitaire Wales: campaign website

Some organisations already follow a policy of ‘cordon sanitaire’ towards a particular UK political party which is well known for being racist and prejudiced.

I have created a simple bilingual website at which is an effort to persuade Assembly Members from other parties in Wales to opposite this particular party through refusing to work with them on any level.

The recent cases of racist statements from politicians as well as racism in our communities are reminders of the need to do more.

The website text is self-explanatory. Thanks to others for writing it.

If you are concerned, as I am, about the growth of the far right in Wales send a message to your Assembly Members to ask for clarification of their policies concerning non-cooperation with the party.

Many other things need to be done of course – that is one of them.

A new game called Petrus

Petrus is a brand new game, which is very addictive.

(Well, when I say ‘new’ I mean new adaptation of an old favourite…)

It should work on mobile phones as well as personal computers, etc.

It’s a Welsh-language adaptation of a game by Github user Chvin, which in turn is based on the original concept by Alexey Pajitnov and Vladimir Pokhilko.

It’s been an opportunity for me to practise version control in Git, and look at the React library for the first time.

Here’s the code.

Petrus is the second game in an occasional series. More to come soon!

Pŵl Cymru – a new game

Here’s a browser-based game for you to enjoy, Pŵl Cymru.

It is a Welsh-language adaptation of a game by Chen Shmilovich, and works on computers only. It won’t work on phonees or mobile devices.

If you’re not fluent in Welsh then you will probably figure it out. 🙂

Diolch i’r rhai sydd eisoes wedi ei phrofi, ac i Chen Shmilovich am ddatblygu’r gêm yn y lle cyntaf. / Thanks to those who have already tried it, and to Chen Shmilovich for developing the game in the first place.

The code is on Github. I learned a bit about creating games in JavaScript during the process of adapting and translating it.. There is a complete book about the subject and plenty of other resources online.

Welsh Language Vowel Locator, a new web app


Yn cyflwyno’r Welsh Language Vowel Locator.

This new web app is a fun way to learn that there are vowels in the Welsh language, despite what some online commentators insist!

It’s another one in the occasional series #GorauArfArfDysg.

Here are some of the recent tweets: