[OSM-talk] recent changes in rendering the map make it worse

henk van der laan henk at mijneigen.net
Tue Sep 22 10:43:25 UTC 2015

Over the past couple of month some big changes in the rendering of the
map have been made.
These changes do not improve the readabillity of the map, and despite
it's good intentions do not seem to take into account the basics of map
rendering, but rather look at tagging and decide on that.

- the map lost it's contrast and colour-opposition. The total map is
dimmed, and looks flat. This is not an improvement: with the current
generation of mobile screens it is nearly impossible to read the map in
bright conditions, let alone in direct sunlight. 
- several highway-types have gotten a smaller line-width, up to a point
where the lines are impossible to see even on a high resolution screen.
In particular footway/path/cycleway are lost.
- The combining of footway/path ( apart from beeing wrong to start with )
led to little red dots. These do not stand out , especially against some
landuse colours. And again: especially on mobile device in bright
light they are invisible.
- dimmed colours seem to make the difference between highways less
visible: secundary, tertiary and unclassified do not stand out as
different as they used to.

Apart from this the underlying thoughts for the changes are a point of
concern: reading through the different threads I detect an alarming
trend to favor roads for motorized traffic over pedestrians/cyclist etc.
I even read one comment that suggests to get rid of bridleways in
rendering because there are no bridleways in his aerea ...
Others doubt the use of different colours for cycleways, because they 
do not form a special roadtype ..  only a legal distinction.
Following the last thought there would not be any reason to have a
distinction between primary/secundary/trunk etc. either.
Imo OSM is a general map, that is: no particular feature should be left
out or favored over another. I'm not really interested in powerlines,
but do not oppose rendering them on the map. 

So the conclusions:
- Currently the new rendering favors motorized traffic over others.
If the goal of OSM is to become a road-map like Google that would mean 
the loss of thousands of mappers who use OSM as the only complete map.
- Colourscheme does not adhere to even the basic cartographic rules. 
- Readabillity is rapidly becoming worse. In the past I directed many
to OSM, praising it's very complete and readable map over Google/Bing.
That is no longer true.
- The new rendering omits the hard work of many contributers who
walked/cycled miles to give OSM more than just highways.

I vote to re-enstate the old rendering, honouring the work of many and 
getting a readable map that is supports all users and contributers.

I wonder how many users would back me up on this. 

Henk ( Noordfiets on OSM )

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