Friday, 14 February 2020

NZ Rail Maps Project Development Report [2020C]

So a few days ago we completed Volume 5 of NZ Rail Maps. This is not the first time we have completed a volume in any format, but it is the first volume completed in the new online format. As previously noted, the maps in this photographic format are specifically designed to be used on handheld devices when actually travelling in the field, such as when riding on a train or travelling on adjacent roads.

Having had a few days to reflect, it is a big achievement. Volume 5 was issued in PDF format previously for the Napier-Gisborne section only, so it isn't so much a major achievement for Volume 5; it is much more of a major achievement for the whole project, being 1/12 of a methodical and planned megaproject of completing all of the maps in one year. 

When we planned this out, we didn't know how quickly we could do it, and therefore whether the maps would all be at basic level, with not very much of the historical aerial photos. There does seem to be, however, enough time to add some of the mosaic tiles for useful areas into the maps (at least for the stations that have official surveys) so we are adding as much of these as we can within time limits. In any case, it seems likely one or two volumes may take longer than planned, especially for example Volume 2 covering the NIMT, so a modest time overrun, say 2 months of next year, might be necessary. We will still be working to keep to time as much as possible with the rest of this year though.

Currently working is beginning on Volume 6, Wairarapa Line, with aerial mosaics of the Wellington end of the line currently being put together. This includes some work for Volume 2, NIMT. The first set of mosaics will cover Wellington yard and the Johnsonville Line for the NIMT, as well as Kaiwharawhara for both volumes, and Ngauranga for the WL. We had already done 1938 images of Wellington and 1944 of Johnsonville-Tawa a year or two back and to these we will add a 1941 view of Johnsonville station, 1971 views of the other stations on the Johnsonville Line, and stuff for Ngauranga from the 1960s and 1970s. Of Wellington itself, in addition to 1938, we will have an era for 1960, then 1988, and then 2000, the latter at quite a small scale but in colour as is 1988. There are a great many scans covering the Wellington railway yards at large scale in many cases (even for the highway surveys 1:3000 is not uncommon) which has given a lot of choice, and we already spent part of a day adding 1971 coverage of the yards and then dumped it the next day for the 1960 photos which were a motorway survey.

Once these are complete then the focus will be exclusively on the Wairarapa Line and pushing in additional coverage for all of the yards previously completed, although probably mostly just the official NZR surveys rather than the multiple generations and sources used for Wellington station. We anticipate starting the actual map drawing for the Wairarapa Line sometime next week and will be hoping the first set of maps produced doesn't need to be revised at all - unlike the Volume 5 situation where so many additionals were added from deciding at a late stage to add lots of extra historical stuff.