NZ Rail Maps Project Development Report [2020O]: New Site Under Development

Good evening. The new NZ Rail Maps site is currently taking shape ahead of its planned launch date of 1 January 2021. At this stage the live maps which are available at that point will include a subset of the Greater Christchurch area. The minimum area available will be the Main South Line between Christchurch station (c. 10 km) and Islington station (c. 21 km). Additional areas are being mapped and will be brought online as quickly as possible after 1 January. However, this depends on whether any design changes are needed. For example, a late design change has resulted in the maps being available at that time limited to the 10-21 km section, whereas with the original design the maps had been prepared for 17-39 km at the time the design was altered.

As stated, the Volume 1 and Volume 6 previews previously completed and available on the old web site will be available, and are ready now. They are at these addresses:

These areas will eventually be incorporated into the main webmaps, however this will not actually take place until sometime later in 2021. This is to allow time to fully test and evaluate the design of the main webmaps using the Greater Christchurch area only, before any new areas are added to it. When the design of the main webmaps has been finalised, new areas will radiate out from Christchurch, so the webmaps will expand to include initially the South Island, and the rail ferry route that links the two main islands of New Zealand will be added, then the North Island network from Wellington will be added.

At this stage, areas outside Greater Christchurch are officially going to be added from 1 February 2021 but it may start earlier, however the timeframe is being left flexible to allow for all the Greater Christchurch content to be added first, and any design changes made, tested and finalised, before other content is added. It is also expected that other content outside Greater Christchurch will be only Basic level around much of NZ to begin with, except in areas where it has already been completed to a higher standard. Since even the Basic level of coverage has not been completed in all of NZ, it will need to be developed in those areas where it has not been completed to date. Once Basic level coverage has been completed, the coverage will be expanded to higher levels around NZ. This will follow a volume-based schedule in order to complete the other formats that are planned.

Project management is excited about having a full set of webmaps available for the first time in just one website that covers the whole country seamlessly and seeing all the areas that have previously been developed as webmaps come online in 2021.

The next blog post on 1 January 2021 will officially announce the webmaps going live so stay tuned.

GPX files for GPSs are expected to be created for each separate volume of NZ Rail maps (i.e. volumes 1-12). After due consideration of the formats that can be supported, it is likely that the files will simply be a straight export of the Locations layer of each volume. This is guaranteed to be compatible with the Garmin eTrex 10 GPS. There are no plans to provide any other GPS formats and compatibility with other GPSs is not guaranteed as the project does not have the means to test other brands or models of GPS. It is expected for the time being that the maps and GPS files will be separately developed. Options for making the maps themselves available offline will be tested with any available apps for the Android platform or laptops but there is no timeline for this. GPX files will be produced as each volume is brought into the main maps at Basic level and the links to download these will be added to a GPS page on this site which will be created in the main menu in due course.