Sunday 3 January 2016

Current Projects on NZ Rail Maps

During the current holiday period I am working on a lot of cleanup projects and other activities. Some of these include:
  • Reorganising and restructuring several projects, particularly Northland-Auckland and Canterbury-Westland, that have data in the old single purpose layer structures.
  • Adding information to a number of projects, especially Canterbury-Westland and Palmerston North Gisborne Line. New information from Kiwirail's GIS includes bridge locations and kilometre pegs.
These projects will be progressed from now through to the middle of January as due to it being a holiday period this is the best type of activity for this time. As various people are taking holidays and won't be available to contribute to the project group, the Otago Central work won't resume until towards the end of January.

The Palmerston North Gisborne Line and the lines on the West Coast are all being updated with bridges, distances and track layouts at stations. This time around the PNGL is being done all the way back to Palmerston North, so it won't just be the Gisborne line that gets updated; instead, the Napier line will be fully specced out as well. However there are no plans for new volumes of publications at this stage. On our Map Volumes Collection page that you can see a link to at the bottom of every page of this blog, you can see what has been published and there will be no revisions to those volumes. However, individual maps will be published and uploaded to the Individual Maps Collection that is also linked from the bottom of blog pages.

The focus for publications remains CreateSpace and the Otago Central volume which has top priority and will be assembled as soon as the maps have been completed for that project. My goal is to have that work finished by the end of 2016.

Friday 1 January 2016

Welcome to 2016

This blog has been slightly redesigned and in particular the stuff at the bottom each page has been improved. Amongst other things you will find
  • A set of links to all the sites that this project uses. The explanation of these is as follows
    - Individual map collection - Flickr slides of maps that have been published so far. 
    - Map volumes collection - what has been published so far as PDFs in complete volumes covering all lines in particular regions.
    - Project Files collection - this is where the project files are stored and can be obtained from, with one exception detailed below.
    - KML Files collection - these files are used with Google Earth and are basically historical as they have not been updated for many years and consequently contain a lot of inaccuracies. They were the forerunner to this project. I still use them all the time with the map development so that I can quickly find a particular location on the railways.
    - There will soon be a link to the online version of the map key so that you can find the keys quickly and easily. Older volumes use obsolete styles as there have been 32 major revisions of the keys, but it is largely stable now reflecting the maturity of the project's development.
  • A subscribe form for getting an RSS link to the posts. 
  • A follow by email form for getting updates emailed via Feedburner.
  • Site stats are not up there with Enzed Transport yet as the blog was only started this year, but are growing.
  • Links to my other blogs. This is just for consistency between all my blogs and the other blogs will not be of interest to many readers except for Enzed Transport.
As you will notice the project files collection link in particular is a new one, the bitly URL being This is a new bitly URL pointing to the new Google drive I recently set up and which is synchronised as it happens with updates from project work. The idea has been to have all of the project files in this location, whereas the previous online storage in OneDrive only stored the layers that I had created myself. With the change in the layers structure in general it has also been a good time to reorganise the storage. OneDrive has been dropped in capacity by MS to only 5 GB considering that the OneDrive I used for the project used to have 25 GB in it, which was guaranteed by MS never to be diminished as it was a special promotion, MS sucks. So the OneDrive storage is going to be removed eventually I think. Before MS deletes it. Due to the fact MS has got greedy again and dropped most of the useful stuff as well as capacity from OneDrive which is a huge backflip of late.

There is one exception to the GD storage folder in terms of project file storage, files that won't be available from that Drive for the present. There isn't quite enough capacity in the GD for all the project files completely, so the decision was taken to move the terrain relief files, which are big GeoTiffs, outside the GD storage structure. These files are not essential to a map; they just draw some nice 3D imagery in the background that fills in terrain; and they are the only files in the project that aren't vector graphics (they are raster files). So that is how they come to be excluded from online public storage. The files can of course be downloaded from Linz on the Koordinates website which is where I got them from. You will still see terrain relief on maps I produce, you just won't see the files in the online Google Drive public storage of the project.

Anyway the holiday period of the present is a great time to push things along and I am taking a look on multiple fronts. One of those is to update the maps of the entire PNGL from Palmerston to Gisborne with the bridge and distance data from Alcam. So I am also working with that.