Published by breki on 19 Nov 2010

Maperitive vs. Adobe Illustrator

Maperitive -> SVG -> Adobe Illustrator

It’s been a hard fight, but I’ve finally worked out most (all?) of Adobe Illustrator’s quirks and bugs in SVG importing and ways to go around them. I can now officially say that Adobe’s support for SVG is lousy (so much for their professed commitment to open standards). I even managed to export SVGs from Illustrator which then could not be imported back into it (“Can’t open the illustration”).

Anyway, SVGs now look pretty nice in Illustrator, but there is a price to pay: they need to generated in a different way than for Inkscape, so there is a new setting available in the export-svg command. They certainly look better than SVGs produced by the Export tab on the OSM.org’s map site and they are structured in a more usable way (better layering and reuse of shapes, use of actual text lettering instead of graphic paths etc).

Here’s a sample SVG map of the Dublin’s center, so you can take a look (warning 1: do not try to open the file in a browser, it is a compressed SVG (SVGZ) file which only Illustrator and Inkscape know how to handle, warning 2: although the map file is not very large, it may take a while for Illustrator to open and show it).

Expect this feature to be available in the next Maperitive release (within days).

Published by breki on 16 Nov 2010

Fresh Catch For November 16th

These are my new delicious links for November 16th:

Published by breki on 11 Nov 2010

Fresh Catch For November 11th

These are my new delicious links for November 11th:

Published by breki on 09 Nov 2010

Fresh Catch For November 9th

These are my new delicious links for November 9th:

Published by breki on 08 Nov 2010

Fresh Catch For November 8th

These are my new delicious links for November 8th:

Published by breki on 03 Nov 2010

Fresh Catch For November 3rd

These are my new delicious links for November 3rd:

Published by breki on 23 Oct 2010

Fresh Catch For October 23rd

These are my new delicious links for October 23rd:

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Published by breki on 20 Oct 2010

Fresh Catch For October 20th

These are my new delicious links for October 20th:

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Published by breki on 20 Oct 2010

OpenStreetMap: What’s Wrong With The Picture

Justin O’Beirne wrote a couple of blog posts about his “outside” view on OpenStreetMap Web maps (Mapnik layer, basically). When I say “outside” view, I mean that he talks about how and what data is presented on the map from the point of a visitor to the OSM site, and not from the point of someone who is an active OSM mapper and knows the root causes of these problems.

And this is just the point: a well intentioned criticism from someone outside of the community should be received as such. I think the OSM community is more and more becoming self-centered and disregards some basic issues about why this project exists in the first place. Why should Justin (or anybody else) care what “Mapnik” or “Osmarender” means? Why should he care about the tagging mess which resulted from the anarchical way the project is (not) being led? Not everyone wants to become a mapper – most of people just want to find something on the map.

Reading through various OSM mailing lists and forums, one gets the feeling there is very little concern about how the data that is being collected by hardworking individuals will be useful in a practical way. I see two main problems here:

  • Inconsistency of how things are tagged. And the project’s inability to set some strict quality guidelines for tagging. The “everybody can tag the way she likes” slogan starts to wear off once you want to use such data for something more than just displaying it on the OSM web map.
  • High barrier to entry if you want to access the data. Sorry, but not everyone has the technical means and knowledge to import 12 GB of zipped planet.osm XML file into a database and then run queries just so he can access the latest data for his local area. OSMXAPI is great, but it’s unstable and has a limit of how much data can be retrieved. Country extracts help, but the problem is that they are country-oriented. What if I do not want my data to be cut along the border? Some time ago I suggested providing grid extracts instead of country ones – the user would choose which grid cells to download and then merge the data himself.

Anyway, enough ranting… Going back to coding.

Published by breki on 19 Oct 2010

Fresh Catch For October 19th

These are my new delicious links for October 19th:

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