North Auckland Line [0H]: Volume 1 Progress Update 8

Good afternoon. Last week we outlined that we would take a week’s break to refresh ready for commencing the current update work on Volume 1. Volume 1 is the first volume of NZ Rail Maps that was ever published in any complete form, way back in January 2013. It was specifically completed for a group of railfans headed by Steve Watts, the owner of Watts Publications and someone we worked with for a number of years on proposals to the update of the NZ Railway and Tramway Atlas. In the event, the NZRTA has not been updated, but Watts Publications reprinted the fourth edition in a larger format after obtaining the rights and proofs from Quail Map Co several years ago. The first publication of Volume 1 was a 128 page PDF with a file size of 44 MB and has essentially defined the basic structure of our PDF form factor that we will eventually release all of the map volumes into. A number of other volumes were subsequently produced. The production of Volume 1 was the first fruit of our major decision that was taken mid 2012 to produce the maps using QGIS and the resulting realisation of how this software could advance the project.

Since the production of the PDF we have made considerable advances in the development of the maps in general and it would be possible not just to produce the other formats that we are now doing, but also reduce the size of the PDFs we are putting together in the project. In the past week we have done a low level of work on completing the mosaics needed to produce Volume 1 at the Basic+ level we are intending to produce this particular update at. As a result we have full historical mosaics for 1972 all the way from Westfield to Henderson, and from Henderson to Waimauku we have 1979 coverage. The other areas covered by previously completed mosaics will include (in distance order):

  • Helensville
  • Wellsford
  • Maungaturoto
  • Waiotira
  • Oakleigh (Marsden Pt branch junction)
  • Otiria
  • Moerewa
  • Kawakawa
  • Opua
  • Kawiti
  • Kaikohe
  • Okaihau

In addition we have previously started producing mosaics for the following areas, which will be completed for this volume:

  • Oakleigh (Marsden Pt branch junction)
  • Portland
  • Whangarei
  • Kamo

The following have been omitted from consideration to date but will be produced provided it is feasible to do so i.e. sufficiently high quality aerial photos available:

  • Dargaville
  • Kirokopuni
  • Te Wharau
  • Kamo Ballast Pit
  • Whangarei Colliery Siding
  • Rangiahua Section

Mosaics have not been produced for the following but it would be desirable to consider including them as major stations or industrial spurs in a historical context:

  • Tahekeroa
  • Ahuroa
  • Kaipara Flats
  • Topuni
  • Paparoa
  • Tauraroa
  • Hikurangi
  • Whakapara
  • Maromaku
  • Kaukapakapa Ballast Pit

Currently excluded for various reasons:

  • Kaihu Branch
  • Onerahi Branch
  • Riverhead Section

So there we have it, Priority 1 to 4 aerial mosaics for Volume 1. We expect the completion of Priority 1 (the first two groups mentioned above) will take another day or two. Priority 2, if we choose to advance it, will probably take another 2 days. Priority 3 is maybe another couple of days. We expect to find NZR corridor survey coverage of all of these stations, which were on the main line, so that isn’t a question, it is mostly the time needed. Priority 4 is just not happening, generally only lower resolution is available, or the lines were closed before aerial photography became widely available, making the routes difficult to trace. In saying that we will take another look at these areas to confirm this assessment.

This implies up to another week could be needed to complete all mosaics and after some consideration we have decided to focus on that first, before pushing ahead with Volume 1 in general. At this stage we are not expecting the completion to take any longer than previously scheduled. Having the mosaics doesn’t mean we will actually be drawing in all of the detail on them. The intention is simply to have them available for inclusion in the Basic+ level of maps, where they will be displayed, but the detail in them will not be included in the Diagram format. We already did complete part of a major update of Volume 1 last year that included production of the Priority 1 mosaics outside Auckland and drawing the historical detail of those areas, which means the details for those stations will be included. The major difference is that we started to use the Linz WMTS aerial photography recently and discovered the need to correct alignments from the Linz sourced rail corridor layers to what is shown in the current aerial photos so that we can get the most benefit out of those mosaics.

So in the coming week there will not be any published outputs anywhere, and updates will be sparse as we focus on completing some of the additional tasks (like the website) that we have been working on in the past week and finalising the mosaic content to be included at this level of Volume 1.