Wednesday, 25 October 2017

Online map options

As we all know this project is producing, basically, "offline" maps that can be accessed online if you choose, or that you can download to be used offline if you are somewhere where internet access is patchy or non-existent, or if you find the internet difficult to use. There is naturally a question of whether we can have access to any sort of online platform. I have investigated this and come to some conclusions:
  • OpenStreetMaps whilst being a free online map platform is not suitable for this project because it does not allow historical features to be marked on their maps.
  • Wikimapia allows historical places to be marked, but not corridors.
  • A third alternative is to provide map files than can be used with Google Earth or Google Maps. A variation of this is to publish a set of Google maps for the overall project.
  • Providing GPX files that can be loaded into a hand held GPS for navigational purposes is also an option.
As this project winds on, I think publishing a basic set of maps on Google Maps is likely to be a viable scenario. This will probably combine with producing KML and GPX files.

When this project first started everything was in KML files. This option was abandoned to produce the present GIS based mapping. This doesn't mean I am planning to go back to producing the KML files with everything in them as I did in the past. It simply means it is reasonably viable to export some of the corridors and locations that are in the GIS, into KML files that can be made available for download. The best download option is still being considered but it is possible this could either be Google Drive, Google Maps or the project's own website. Converting KMLs into GPXs is probably an automated step that can be further considered. Alternatively Google provides an option to export maps from Google Maps to KML.

Adding the locations of historical stations into Wikimapia is an option I will consider, but as they have to be marked manually, it may well be a low priority option.