[Talk-GB] 'Easy' Speciality Map Rendering

Graham Jones grahamjones139 at gmail.com
Wed Feb 23 22:40:52 GMT 2011

Hi All,
Quite a bit of the feedback I have had on this suggestion has pointed
towards the documentation for the map rendering tools being very complicated
and hard to follow.
I think there are quite a few good step-by-step tutorials on setting up the
tools, but I think we may be lacking a 'stand back' overview of how it all
fits together and the basic concepts.

I have had a go at this overview in a presentation format (I think this is
easier to follow than a wiki page, but will get this information into the
OSM wiki somehow once people have commented on it).

You should be able to see 'Draft A' of the presentation at

I would welcome any comments, in particular on the level I have pitched it -
I am concious that many that work with computers will consider terms like
XML and SQL obvious, but thought it worth a slide on each.   I think that
slide 7 (the picture showing the relationship between the tools and the
configuration files) is particularly important - please let me know if I
have missed something!

I am concious that there are more things that could be included - I think
that map projections and OpenLayers are two things that could use a basic
introduction too - I would welcome your thoughts.



On 21 February 2011 19:38, Graham Jones <grahamjones139 at gmail.com> wrote:

> 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 easy!).
> 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).
> Regards
> Graham.
> --
> Graham Jones
> Hartlepool, UK.

Graham Jones
Hartlepool, UK.
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