Saturday, 19 January 2019

Marton New Plymouth Line [0B]: Progress Report

The last few days working on the MNPL pushing things along towards New Plymouth have been a pretty hard slog, which is reflective of the nature of all the NZ Rail Maps project if I am going to produce full volumes that use current aerial photography as a background. When I first started doing maps in Google Earth I drew in all the routes and a lot of data using Google Earth's tools, which all had to be done from scratch. When it came to Qgis, I used the Linz data layers by default and brought in some traces of closed branch lines from GE. I don't recall there being any other data from GE that was going to be of any use.

When the maps were first done in Qgis it was relatively straightforward as I just assumed the Linz data layers were correct and that was that. But now with the Linz aerial photography and other data sources available I find that correcting the routes to match the aerial photography and fixing up all the other gaps and mistakes is a hard slog. It's almost as much work as doing it from scratch with GE and it effectively does have to be done from scratch for the first time.

As of this moment of writing this, I have just got past Normanby which is 138 km from Marton. That's about two weeks work to get that far. It's a lot of hard work. I would look at the past few days and say I have pushed through about 30 km a day. Extrapolate that to all NZ and it's clear there is going to be a great deal of work if I want to produce all the maps to this standard.

Because of that I am definitely going to stick to what had been planned previously which is on finishing this volume, going back with Volume 5, Volume 7 and Volume 12. Probably at least for this year all that will happen with other volumes is a reprint as diagrams rather than full maps with aerial backgrounds. I don't see any other full map work happening outside that programme because the above listed have been chosen for being especially interesting and by comparison, pushing through 30 km a day of boring farmland doesn't count for anything.

After non stop work over the past few days to get to where I am now, I am going to take a break for a few days before I finish off the rest of this volume. There is 70 km more to reach New Plymouth and then there is the SOL (143 km on its own) and all of the numerous branches. So it will still take until the end of the month or more to complete all of that. And I won't rule out taking a pause from Volume 4 and doing something else for a while. The SOL will be a lot faster to complete because I already did all the extended data on it some time ago, so it would just be alignment on the aerial photography and therefore could go faster than the MNPL itself has gone so far.