User:Oli-Wan/PotW Draft/Project1

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This is a proposal for a Project of the week still in the making. Unless you want to ruin your surprise when it is eventually published, do not read on.

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You have been warned.


Project Proposal (still needs some catchy name)

Have you ever been asked for directions by strangers? Sure you have (stupid question). But wait... you may have missed a chance to promote OSM on those occasions.

How about this: next time someone asks you, instead of gesticulating wildly and scaring them with the apparent complexity of your place's road network, you might hand people a map and give them precise directions where to go.

This week's project of the week therefore is not about mapping itself, but about preparing a printed map covering your (part of) city, town, village etc. That map, of course, should give proper attribution to the OpenStreetMap project - that is, there should be a huge OSM banner on it. (You're not calling that usual fine print proper attribution, are you?) With a bit of luck, people will later on try out the URL and we may win another user (or even contributor).

Instructions

Depending on how much time you want to spend on this and how familiar you are with rendering, you may choose among different ways of preparing your map. (Of course, these instructions are just suggestions. If you prefer using different tools, a different design or even a completely different approach, that's fine as well, but maybe you will find useful hints here anyway. Perhaps you would like to share your ideas on the talk page?)

The quick and (mostly) painless way

Go to http://www.MapOSMatic.org, click "Create map" and choose the area you want to see on your paper map. If you select "Bounding box", a little "slippy map" pops up. Zoom in to the desired area and choose a custom rectangular box by holding down the Ctrl button and dragging your mouse. Type some nice title in the corresponding text box, hit "Generate" and... wait. Depending on the length of MapOSMatic's render queue, it may take just a few seconds or, well, somewhat longer for your map to be rendered.

When MapOSMatic is done, you will find your map on the web page in three different formats: as a bitmap (PNG), vector image (SVGZ), and the well-known PDF. (MapOSMatic also generates a street index, but we don't need it here.) For our purposes, the PDF will do fine. Open the PDF, print it, and you're done. Well, almost. We wanted a banner on the map, remember? If you have very little time, take the prepared PDF file which contains a simple banner in several different languages. Choose the page which suits you best and print it on your map's back side. If your time allows for it, you can design your own banner, of course. Fold the sheet of paper, and you're done. Really. Just make sure to always carry a printout with you.

If you want to learn more about rendering in general and the different renderers available, this link will get you started.

Some customization

Start out as described before. Maybe it makes sense to prepare more than one map: one for the city center, one for your neighbourhood, ... You might also contact other mappers from your local community (or elsewhere) and point them to this project (or even the PDF you just prepared). You might want to spend some more effort on the layout of your map and banner. For example, you might want your banner to appear not on the back side, but along with the map itself, or design your own banner. So open the PNG or SVG file in your favorite graphics application, add an OSM logo plus some funny slogan and arrange them on the drawing area. (No point in giving detailed instructions for all the countless different graphics tools out there...) If you're not familiar with any graphics tool, you could try one like InkScape for vector graphics or Gimp for bitmaps.

Don't want to install another program and prefer to stick with your regular office suite? No problem, a simple drawing program like Ooo Draw from the OpenOffice suite will do the job as well: Create a new drawing (via New from the File menu). You can insert images (like your PNG map, or the OSM logo) via Image from the Insert menu. Add some slogan within a text area and arrange everything until it looks fine. (If all else fails, there's also a stone age method: Print your map and this somewhat smaller banner and do the layouting using scissors and a copying machine.)

You could also include additional information and/or URLs on the map, like "Found a bug? Report via www.openstreetbugs.org", information about your local OSM community, your preferred OSM-based website or whatever you think fits best. How about some little images showing mapping progress in your particular area? Or some mapping aspect where OSM beats the whole competition (like completeness measured in terms of pizza places or ice cream parlors...)

If you're not happy with MapOSMatic's rendering style (or have some other excuse to dive deeper into rendering)

While MapOSMatic is very easy to use and allows you to create a rendered map with a few mouse clicks, it does not give you much flexibility. For full control over the map design and layout, you will have to set up a renderer on your own computer. Besides the most prominent ones, Mapnik and Osmarender, which are also used to render the main maps on OSM's website, you can find a large number of alternatives on the Rendering page. For this Project of the week, we shall only give some basic hints on Maperitive.

Maperitive is the successor to Kosmos. Its author claims that Maperitive is still in an early stage of development, but don't let that scare you. Maperitive is pretty stable, gives good results, and is fast enough for our little project. Its user interface is not very easy-to-use yet, but the same remark can be made about most other renderers as well. (You will always have to edit some plain text files and type some obscure commands...)

Setup is easy (which is a huge advantage over other rendering tools). Just follow the instructions from Maperitive's wiki page, where you also find how to use Maperitive for rendering.

Troubleshooting

  • The PDF comes out of my printer completely garbled.
Uh. I won't pretend to know the reason, but I've seen it before. Try using a different PDF reader, or print the PNG or SVG file instead. If you don't know any program to handle the SVG file, you might want to try Inkscape, which will also allow you to add logos, slogans etc. in one step. Ask for help in your local OSM Forum.

Resources

FIXMEFIXMEFIXME: missing - some example "B sides", plus the smaller banners