[Talk-us] Standard (mapnik) toolchain/processes: can we teach these better?

Clifford Snow clifford at snowandsnow.us
Sun May 25 21:25:22 UTC 2014

On Sun, May 25, 2014 at 12:46 PM, stevea <steveaOSM at softworkers.com> wrote:

> Thanks to the talk-us community for entertaining my grumpiness about this,
> but I truly believe there is a direct connection between asking OSMers to
> "map well" and the visual feedback (rewards? yes, I think so) we get by
> doing so.  Sure, it's great that beaches (and many other mapped objects,
> usually named polygons that describe an area, like a beach, shopping center
> or many other "things") can be easily found from OSM's main map via a
> simply-type-it-in Nominatim search: that IS good.  But when we see rendered
> labels disappearing, even when this is explained by the reason given, it
> can be disheartening. I DID "miss that" news/memo about this "since months"
> effort.  Where might I have learned this?
> I am (slowly, even after being an OSM volunteer for over five years)
> discovering there are ways to effect how our map looks (carto-issues bug
> reporting, the potential to enter a mapnik feature request -- where?).  But
> I do think it would be helpful if these "assumed to be known by everybody"
> facts (they aren't!) were better promulgated. Either in our wiki somewhere,
> or with a link from the main page, or some other relatively easily findable
> method.  I conscientiously read (and contribute to) our wiki pages, I
> follow talk-us, I explore code in github, I play around with rendering
> tools...yet about the machinations that make our map look and behave the
> way it does, on a day-to-day basis -- AND the changes that happen to it --
> I seem to learn absolutely nothing.  Until after the fact.
> Let's say I were to carefully consider that I DO think beaches (a polygon
> with tags natural=beach and name=*) should render in mapnik. What else?
>  Polygons tagged landuse=commercial that also have a name=Shopping Center
> tag?  (Maybe).  And a hundred other potential things that used to
> (accidentally) render, but are now not being rendered in the interests of
> not rendering "catch alls."  Do I enter a feature request for each and
> every one of them?  Maybe, as that means I considered each and every one of
> them.  But how do WE consider each and every one of them?  Do we even do
> that?  I ask sincerely.  It seems many mapnik render decisions on an
> ongoing basis are made in a vacuum.  That doesn't feel very OSM to me.
> In short:  how might intermediate mappers like me better learn how our map
> is built and the processes which influence and effect changes within it?
>  We should all have a stake in participating in these processes, should we
> wish to do so.  That starts with better learning about them in the first
> place.  I don't mean for it to seem like I think OSM's inner machinations
> are some big secret, I'm just asking for a bit of light to be shined along
> a path I can find this stuff out largely by myself.
> I'm pretty smart and resourceful, and can easily be pointed to the right
> places and told "Go."  But I don't know a whole heck of a lot of what and
> where are these resources.  Thanks in advance for a wide swath of pointers
> to get me (us) started.


OpenStreetMap: Maps with a human touch
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