[OSM-talk] Milestone

Richard Fairhurst richard at systemeD.net
Tue Jul 29 00:30:04 BST 2008

Andy Robinson (blackadder-lists) wrote:

> Steve, you and everyone else whose worked hard on the cartography  
> aspects of
> the Mapnik layer deserve a big pat on the back. But your note clearly
> demonstrates that we really should not have the Mapnik stylesheet  
> maintained
> and managed by one or two people.

Well, there was a discussion on IRC today among some of the T at H chaps  
along the lines of "what we really need is a benevolent dictator, like  
the Mapnik stylesheet has". I've got a lot of sympathy with that -  
most of the reason the Mapnik layer looks so cool is because it's  
driven by one person with a clear vision and genuine cartographic  
skill, rather than "ooh, I want to see pound shops on the map, let me  
add my nice MS Paint icon".

(For the avoidance of doubt I'm not accusing t at h of this, but I've  
seen enough committee-designed maps that do look like an utter  

> I'm really wondering if it wouldn't be a good time to get a separate  
> project
> kicked off that's separate from OSM core. One that is specifically  
> aimed at
> developing methods of layering and filtering the OSM data to produce
> customisable maps. It's clear there are loads of people that want to  
> put
> their oar in on it and maybe taking it out of a core OSM function  
> might free
> up ideas and development. Obviously new and cool ideas can get  
> incorporated
> back at OSM render central but at least having cartography development
> outside of central control would stir up the pot and take some of  
> the heat
> out of the issue within OSM itself.
> I assume the big problem doing this is getting suitable bandwidth  
> for a tile
> server?

Amazon EC2/S3.

With a readymade image containing an OSM rendering toolchain - Mapnik,  
osm2pgsql and TileCache - plus some instructions on the wiki, we'd  
have a "roll your own cartography kit". A WYSIWYG stylesheet editor  
would be the icing on the cake but not necessary at the start. I am  
way out of my depth here technically, but wouldn't that be so, so cool?


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