[OSM-talk] Labling places with Labels

Etienne Cherdlu openstreetmap-L at gj0.net
Fri Mar 3 01:13:22 GMT 2006

Thank you for your suggestions.  I agree that at the moment it looks like I
used a 5 year-old child with crayons to help me draw the map.

Since I've only so far spent about 2 hours doing this I know that there is
plenty that can be done.  But you are right - presentation is everything!

I've still got some very basic issues like projection that I need to get
right, not to mention performance.

My original objective in doing this was to be able to visually check that
I'd not missed labels on segments, particularly for some areas where roads,
cycle routes and footpaths seem to merge and split with gay abandon...  I
was suprised and pleased that the results actually looked like a map.

If I manage to make anything that looks better I'll be sure to update the
image and ask for more feedback.


On 3/3/06, Richard Fairhurst <richard at systemed.net> wrote:
> On 2 Mar 2006, at 23:16, Tom Carden wrote:
> > Of course, these things depend on map provider and country, but it
> > can't hurt to step in line a little bit.  If you post your code, I'd
> > be happy to try and pick out some better colours, as I'm sure would
> > Richard or other people with an eye for these things.
> I'd second the general approval you're getting for this, Etienne - it's
> a big step forward for OSM.
> A few really simple hints on choosing line styles:
> - Even if the map's destined for the web, I personally find it much
> easier to choose colours in a CMYK colourspace rather than an RGB one.
> You will almost certainly end up with colours that are closer to a
> printed map; and printed map colours still condition most people's
> ideas of what a map should look like. (You then, of course, convert to
> RGB once you've chosen the colours.)
>    This backs up Tom's point about muting the colours. You'll find that
> comes naturally with CMYK.
> - 'Casing', aka outlining, is also a good way to make something look
> more map-like. This would allow you to depict the minor roads as white
> with black casing, rather than the current dark grey.
>    The easiest way to do casing, as already mentioned, is to draw a
> separate layer behind, with each line drawn in black, slightly thicker.
> This won't work when you come to do bridges, but I don't think OSM can
> store bridges in the data model yet anyway, so you're safe for the time
> being.
>    The usual OSM map view (on the satellite images) already includes
> cased lines, of course.
> - If you're using software that can cope with it, try dotted or dashed
> lines for non-vehicle paths.
> - For what it's worth, here are the colours I used in the map at
> http://www.cotswoldcanals.com/CCT_map.pdf , converted to RGB:
>         motorways: 809BC0
>         primary A roads: 7FC97F
>         secondary A roads: FB805F
>         B roads: FDBF6F
>         minor roads: E6E6E6
>         (all with black casing)
>         waterways: D9F1F7
>         (casing 41B8D4)
> One possibility for the future is to think about the background.
> Obviously plain white is standard: but you'll find in some
> circumstances that using a very soft yellow tint (5% Y / FFFFE6, or
> maybe even lighter) can really lift a map.
> It would be good to import the VMAP0/DCW coverage of built-up areas
> into OSM at some point. This is a rough-and-ready set of polygons,
> which, when shaded in a gentle grey, can also give a map so much more
> context.
> Alternatively, you can get some lovely hill-shading from the SRTM
> elevation data, perhaps if used in conjunction with DEM2TOPO
> (http://people.uleth.ca/~brad.gom/dem2topo/), but that's way outside
> the compass of that discussion. I could go on about text labels, too,
> but I'll leave that for another day!
> I've mentioned it on the wiki, but for anyone on the list interested in
> cartographic design, I'd very strongly recommend 'Designing Better Maps
> - A Guide for GIS Users' (Cynthia A Brewer, published by ESRI Press).
> cheers
> Richard
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