[OSM-talk] OSM.org rendering and features [was Re: The Proposed Great Colour Shift]

Bryce Nesbitt bryce2 at obviously.com
Tue Aug 25 17:48:10 UTC 2015

On Thu, Aug 20, 2015 at 4:51 PM, Daniel Koć <daniel at koć.pl> wrote:

> We have very uncomfortable situation with rendering styles on our main
> website: out of 5 styles available only 2 are general, and only one -
> default one - is to some reasonable extent an OSM community effort
> (technically it's open, in practice not much people are active there, it is
> rather detached from other parts of OSM and is rather conservative
> socially).

I see it as a relatively unhappy situation as well.  The osm-carto
maintainers spent a lot of time fending off requests and demands from
outsiders: it looks like a castle with barbarians at the gate.  I think a
new style, as open as the tagging scheme and database, is a way out both
for osm-carto's maintainers and for meeting the wider community needs.


Separately there's tension over the "clutter of the map".  This really
should be broken down:

* Line styles and fills
* points of interest
* urban vs. rural areas.

New line styles and fills present a visual burden to understanding the
map.  Too many dashes dots and subtle color variations and everything looks
like mush.

New POI's, particularly obscure ones, impact few people because they are
usually not visible.  These often come with text labels that
help clarify the meaning of any symbol.  There really should be little
barrier to rendering more POI types.

Many issues are density dependent.  In a rural area showing everything is
generally just fine and desired.  For urban areas overload sets in by the
time the fire hydrants, manhole covers, electric lines, bike racks,  baby
hatches and crosswalks are all rendered. There's a lot of interesting work
to be done in the area of density specific rendering: rendering that's
sensitive to the scale density and land use type.

The map is also largely delivered in electronic form.  There's a lot of
potential for delivering dynamic legends and "click for more information",
resolving many issues of potential viewer confusion.  The flat static map
need not communicate everything.
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