NZ Rail Maps: NZRM Update 2021-02-18

First published on NZ Rail Maps
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Good morning. This week’s update is two updates combined, which accounts for it being later than usual. The reason for combining two updates is to allow the rest of this week to be focused on another part of the project whilst continuing to maintain the desired schedule of webmaps generation.

As of today the webmaps now covers the following sections:

  • North Island Main Trunk from Wellington to Hamilton (540 km) and the Johnsonville Line (16 km including closed sections)
  • Main North Line and branches (mainline section 348 km and about another 150 km of branches, or total about 500 km)
  • Main South Line from Lyttelton to Dunedin with no branches (380 km)
  • Midland Line from Rolleston to Greymouth with no branches (215 km).

So therefore a total of about 1600 km of the rail network is now included in the webmaps. This is roughly estimated to be about 50% of the NZ network.

As of now all layers are live except for the topographic maps layer which is still in production and will be available later today. This uses a new system to generate the layer which is easier to manage, but slower in operation, and steps will be taken for future updates to ensure additional time is allowed for this step so that it meets the release schedule.

The work for the rest of this week which will be reflected the update next Monday will be solely on the Main North Line as practical options for offline use of the maps are being tested out next week. The main options for offline use are as PDF or printed documents, static images, or implementing the webmaps in a form that allows for local access on a computer that is not connected to the network. With the first two of those options already more or less nailed down, the third option is offline webmaps. There is an Android app (MapTiler) that claims to be able to open mbtiles files for offline viewing. This will be evaluated alongside a second option, installing a local web server on a tablet or laptop to replicate browser access to Webmaps as is currently available online.

Wrapped into this week’s updates is the Main North Line from Christchurch to Waipara and from Waipara to Waiau. The Waiau Branch maps include all yard layouts and the locations of all known bridges.