[OSM-talk] The Proposed Great Colour Shift

Paul Johnson baloo at ursamundi.org
Thu Aug 20 16:35:56 UTC 2015

On Thu, Aug 20, 2015 at 9:59 AM, Lester Caine <lester at lsces.co.uk> wrote:

> On 20/08/15 02:16, Jóhannes Birgir Jensson wrote:
> > The question really arises if this change is beneficial or not for the
> > project. Many hours have gone into it and doing CartoCSS on all these
> > zoom levels is not trivial. But this is a major shift on the front page
> > of our website, a blow to those who use the default tiles through uMap
> > or similarly and depend on the UK rainbow road style and makes life
> > harder for mappers to visually confirm the type of road.
> >
> > Should this be a new, alternative style instead?
> That a UK version will appear is a simple fact. Ideally I would like
> anybody looking up OSM in the UK to be directed to that version. That
> may be a little more difficult to achieve, but removes the WTF provided
> by a more international solution? The problem of cause is that one has
> to switch to another server to get areas outside the UK unless we can
> provided a complete duplicate of the existing service ... retaining the
> current style base.
> For me, the new style is a pointless exercise since I NEED to retain a
> UK view of the data, and I am sure other countries would also prefer to
> retain their own road colour preferences so trying to provide an
> international style has a limited 'market'? If anything it simply drives
> us to provided more local styled services?

I don't have a problem with this, the (from a USian perspective) odd style
of the rather UK-centric style of the standard and cyclemap styles didn't
help with the learning curve.

> I'm not going to object to the current plans, simply because I don't
> have to live with it, but I don't think that it IS the right development
> path for many reasons. Just what is the convention in the US, Russia or
> China?

Along these lines, the standard style as it isn't too far off from what
Americans expect out of a motorist-oriented roadmap (though mapgeeks might
see it as a bit "German" by comparison to our maps).  Surface streets tend
to be all the same color (usually purple or red) with the thickness of the
lines tending to be rather thin, increasing in thickness up to primary or
sometimes trunk, with motorways tending to be purple with red borders.
Toll roads are *always* green, there's *never* ways that are green that are
not toll.  This style of rendering is almost certainly heavily influenced
by Rand McNally, given it's ubiquity for casual use maps, which
traditionally has favored as described above in a somewhat simplified,
stylized form (such as rather than each ramp mapped out in detail, an
entire, possibly almost absurdly complex junction, is simplified to a
single white square representing a motorway junction).  Rand McNally was,
for quite a long time, the official cartography provider for the American
Automobile Association, which probably helped propel this style as an
expectation.  Thomas Guide (still usually preferred by professional local
drivers even when equipped with a GPS in the US, as a single metro gets
published as a lay-flat atlas hundreds or thousands of pages long with
detailed annotation, sometimes down to building suite level, at a scale
roughly equal to z20 and handy for that "last thousand feet" navigation)
tends to use the same form, but rather than simplifying junctions, often
goes the map porn route by mapping out everything to scale without

Metro Regional Government (the regional government on the Oregon side of
the Portland metropolitian area) probably had the most influence on what
people expect out of a bicycle map in the US, with the above style for the
Thomas Guide being refitted to the same form factor, layout and scale as
one would expect from a Rand McNally metro level map (largely for sake of
being able to actually stow it conveniently on a bicycle) printed on
waterproof, ripstop paper similar to what you'd find on a land surveyor's
notebook, though anything that falls outside of the cycleway network is
"greyed out" like an unavailable menu item in a WIMP-style GUI.  Difficult
intersections and junctions get a red circle around them, dedicated
cycleways are purple, surface streets with bike lanes tend to be a thin
blue line, bicycle boulevards a thick blue line.  Streets in the network
that have no bicycle facilities are green if two or all three of these are
true:  Wide, low motorist speed, low motorist volume (mostly residential
side streets that aren't bike boulevards).  Yellow if two of the following
are true: High motorist speed, high motorist volume, or no escape space
(major arterial streets with wide outside lanes and freeways tend to make
this).  Red qualifies pretty much any situation yellow would if all three
yellow conditions are true or two of the yellow conditions but other
hazards are present (the kind of thing that only folks like Wolfpack Hustle
or someone going for full completion of every Strava KOM in the region are
willing to ride, yet somehow get included in the cycleway network).  This
style I've seen crop up in other places like Manhattan, Kansas...
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://lists.openstreetmap.org/pipermail/talk/attachments/20150820/2cd64059/attachment.html>

More information about the talk mailing list