Life on the bleeding edge

No, thankfully not a direct reference to my week of snowboarding, but the “bleeding edge” is a techie term for being so close to development that things go wrong as often as they go right. Which is more or less how the cycle map has been over the last fortnight.

Dave has bought new bits and pieces for the infamous “beerwarmer”, the server that does all the work behind the cycle map, and written lots of clever code to take advantage of the quad core processor – to the point where 726,795 tiles takes only 1hr29m to render. But the biggest improvements have been in the mapnik rendering library, making great improvements to the text placement handling and semi-transparent layering options. I’ve no idea whether people will notice things like cycle shops and toucan crossings now showing above the route highlights (see Putney for example), or much better displaced-text (see Stockholm) but it’s the little things that improve the quality, and with the recent work we’ve been doing with the mapnik developers there’s now many more bits of polish that can be applied.

There’s yet more areas added to the cycle map, including Trondheim in Norway and Bern in Switzerland. As ever, if there’s anywhere else in the world that you want rendered, please let me know. I try to keep an eye on where national cycle routes are appearing, but I don’t always notice all of them.

And my snowboarding trip didn’t go unnoticed – a few worried people piped up on the mailing list to enquire what was going on with the lack of updates – no rest for the wicked!