The Cleveland Neighborhood Map – Update and the past months in review

Behind the scenes, I’ve been relatively busy with the Cleveland Neighborhood Map.

Here’s the status of it… In Dec. 2011 while developing 5.14, I was soliciting for feedback from some professional cartographers over at cartotalk (a great place by the way). I received some good critiques, some of which I didn’t implement because I had decided I was already far enough in my workflow that it would delay the release by a couple weeks to implement the changes. So, I trucked ahead and released 5.14 on December 21st following my previous workflow.

Meanwhile during 2011, osmarender, the program that I had been using to style CNM, was no longer actively developed and other activity around it (people offering, seeking help using it, sharing map styles, fixing, reporting bugs, etc) dwindled. Its biggest user, the Openstreetmap, even dropped osmarender in March 2012 from its layer selection on its main website.

In the first couple weeks of 2012, I was devoting my time with CNM to soliciting price quotes for a printed copy of the CNM (Yes, A print version of the Cleveland Neighborhood Map is being implemented – more details to follow in a future post)had received some more feedback and then decided to implement a couple of the suggestions (increasing the width and style of the city borders, etc). While trying to alter the width and style of the city borders in osmarender, I had received a few errors; I solicited support, was falling on deaf ears.

Meanwhile, Tilemill and mapnik have come a long way in 2011. Mapnik has become the de facto map styling software library for openstreetmap. Tilemill is also becoming a great mapmaking program with an intuitive UI [although the docs could be better, and they’ve improved], and utilizes the mapnik libraries. Both also support other data formats (including postgis, geoJSON) besides OSM, unlike osmarender.
Additionally, I’ve changed my workflow to use store my data from OSM in a postgis which allows updates to be issued much more easier in the future.

All of this together, I started on a complete re-write of the Cleveland neighborhood map using tilemill and mapnik a couple weeks ago. I plan on releasing this in the coming weeks and currently looking for options to offer a printed copy for sale.

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