[Talk-GB] 'Easy' Speciality Map Rendering

Graham Jones grahamjones139 at gmail.com
Mon Feb 21 19:38:24 GMT 2011

Hi Folks,
We have had a few interesting discussions both on and off this list about
some speciality map overlays that I had put together to entertain myself
(things like canals, historical sites, railways, power stations etc.) - the
sort of things that I have on http://maps.webhop.net.  I have started moving
these to a commercial web host at http://maps3.org.uk, which will be faster.

A few people have commented that they would like to be able to do this sort
of thing to display the data they are most interested in, but setting up all
of the databases and rendering programs is too complicated.

I have been giving this some thought, and would like to develop a speciality
map rendering system to allow less technically minded people to create their
own map overlays to display over the standard OSM map rendering (ie without
having to set up your own postgresql database, import OSM data, keep it up
to date etc...) - all you will need to do is create the mapnik stylesheet to
tell the renderer what do display and how to display it (not that that is

I envisage having a shared web server to share these map overlays, and
provide customised editing facilities (potlatch2 tailored to the particular
things being displayed on the map).
It would also allow someone to create their own mapnik style sheet to show a
particular set of data, and add it to the map.

The idea would be that we would use a commercial web hosting service to keep
the cost down, and a separate computer to do the map rendering and upload
the map tiles to the server (I will use my old laptop for now, which should
cope unless things get very popular...but might start an appeal for a
community owned virtual server to do it if the load gets too high!).

I have put some thoughts on what this system would look like on my OSM user
page (http://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/User:Grahamjones#Speciality_Maps).

My question is whether many people would find this useful?   Or has someone
already done it but I have not found it?

If it is the sort of thing people are interested in I will look at getting
it set up - If anyone would like to help, that would be great!

(note that I have sent this to the GB list because my hardware is not up to
dealing with the whole world - there is no reason in principle why this
should not be international).



Graham Jones
Hartlepool, UK.
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