For two years after the Nov 2016 edition of the world overview maps I have worked on the curation of additional content to be put on top of the variouis background maps for the different zoom levels. Why ? I am a curious traveler to places where “always on” is (still) a lie. In the case of interest in something about a country or region or province, too much jumping back and forth from offline Wikipedia (like Aard2 or Kiwix) is annoyance. So, I put a number of information directly into the world overview maps:
– The capitals of countries, states and provinces of many countries are shown in 3 different colours, in English and local language (if significantly different).
– Islands and archipelagos, in particular the remote ones, are hard to spot on maps – here is remedy by highlighting them, from zoom level 3 up.
– Triggered by an OAM forum discussion about visibility of peaks, and with the help of Max’ algorithm to select, 100s of important peaks are highlighted.
– Also the major ocean deeps are shown.

Some insights into the process: the current MOBAC rendering tool with the Mapsforge library embedded does not provide a proper visibility of labels like settlement names. Even big cities may not show up at all. Using Maperitive in addition allows to take control of the label renditions in a predictable way. Unfortunately, Maperitive has a bug omitting the leftmost or rightmost of a label for a fraction of a label. Playing with scope and zoom around the affected place the missing parts can be added in a manual patch step (at least for the most visible cases like highlighted capitals – I hope I caught those all). Once you go this route, this opens an additional option: make larger settlements dominate the label display in a much more accurate way than the simple city-town-village-… attributes in OSM would allow. Hence now also the size of the settlement labels increases by population (in 11 catagories), if provided in the OSM data set (hopefully correctly!), otherwise a minimum assumption is made for the OSM categories city, town and village. As Maperitive is an OSM tool, this is achieved by amending the original data with categories of population sizes. Those “PopCat” tags are now also embedded in Christian’s OAM maps. They can be used by themes to select (restrict) the settlement names to be displayed. The adaption of the latest Elevate theme is on my list for 2018, but maybe somebody else is faster :-)

Bottom line: the intent behind all that is to have essential geo information at a finger tip, fully OFFLINE. A sort of companion for Offline Wikipedia. Enjoy!

Michael Bechtold

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