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Improve mid-zoom levels and water color #2654

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merged 6 commits into from Jul 31, 2017

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matthijsmelissen commented Jun 3, 2017

This PR changes the following:

  • Landcover in z<12 is now less bright.
  • Built-up landcover areas are now rendered more prominently in z<12.
  • Unimportant roads are now white rather than gray.
  • Water is now a brighter blue (thakns @kocio-pl).
  • Low/midzoom roads are now rendered with bright halos.

This should improve the legibility and esthetics of the map. In particular:

  • Roads, esp. primary roads, are now better legible on zooms 8-11
  • Water areas are easier to recognize
  • Minor roads on mid-zoom levels are rendered more clearly
  • Residential areas are more prominent and easier to recognize
Improve mid-zoom levels and water color
This PR changes the following:
* Landcover in z<12 is now less bright.
* Built-up landcover areas are now rendered more prominently in z<12.
* Unimportant roads are now white rather than gray.
* Water is now a brighter blue (thakns @kocio-pl).
* Low/midzoom roads are now rendered with bright halos.

This should improve the legibility and esthetics of the map. In particular:
* Roads, esp. primary roads, are now better legible on zooms 8-11
* Water areas are easier to recognize
* Minor roads on mid-zoom levels are rendered more clearly
* Residential areas are more prominent and easier to recognize
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matthijsmelissen Jun 3, 2017

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I decided to lump these changes together as they (at least partially) depend each other.

Note that I used opacity for the landcover layer, to prevent duplication and dim the landuse colors in a uniform manner. This should not lead to problems with ugly colors as the landcover layer is the lowest layers on the relevant zoomlevels.

On the lowest zoomlevels, not all colors can be easily distinguished. In general I think using undistinguishable colors is a bad design practice, but as users in this case can zoom in to get more information, I don't think it's a big problem in this case.

I'll post some screenshots, but for a good impression it's really best to checkout the change yourself.

@pnorman Do you have the opportunity to load this branch into your tile server?

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matthijsmelissen commented Jun 3, 2017

I decided to lump these changes together as they (at least partially) depend each other.

Note that I used opacity for the landcover layer, to prevent duplication and dim the landuse colors in a uniform manner. This should not lead to problems with ugly colors as the landcover layer is the lowest layers on the relevant zoomlevels.

On the lowest zoomlevels, not all colors can be easily distinguished. In general I think using undistinguishable colors is a bad design practice, but as users in this case can zoom in to get more information, I don't think it's a big problem in this case.

I'll post some screenshots, but for a good impression it's really best to checkout the change yourself.

@pnorman Do you have the opportunity to load this branch into your tile server?

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matthijsmelissen commented Jun 3, 2017

screenshot_2017-06-03_15-46-01
screenshot_2017-06-03_15-45-45
screenshot from 2017-06-03 15-45-13

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matthijsmelissen Jun 3, 2017

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@pnorman Should I worry about the failing travis?

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matthijsmelissen commented Jun 3, 2017

@pnorman Should I worry about the failing travis?

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imagico Jun 3, 2017

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I have not tested this change yet so no comments yet on the actual design but a few general remarks here. This is a big change in several ways:

  • it changes the water color which alone is a fairly far reaching change for the overall map appearance and the color balance in this style. There has been a fairly lengthy but inconclusive discussion w.r.t. changing the water color in #1781 - however so far all water color ideas there have been developed for use in combination with the current landcover color scheme - and not also for use with separate low zoom color scheme as suggested in this PR.
  • the landcover color changes would mean departing from the basic design principle of this style that colors used are generally the same across all zoom levels. This would affect both map use (users would need to learn to read the map in different ways at different zoom levels) and map design (changing a color would become more complicated design wise).
  • it would also mean departing from the current principle not to use transparency to set colors when the transparency effect itself is not the aim. The statement that this should not lead to problems is not quite right because landcovers mapped above each other (like micromapping of landcovers in residential areas) and overlap between landcovers and water (which is not necessarily wrong, in particular at the coast) do practically occur and will lead to color mixing.

For info: after the 4.0 release has settled and been deployed i was planning to look into #2507 again and the changes that would be required to do this as well as looking into possibilities of low zoom landcover rendering (z<6) - without a fixed time frame, just this being high on my priority list. My idea was to split this into smaller changes as much as possible, re-ordering the water and landcover layers would be the start and actually changing colors would have been the last step to be made when it could be evaluated in full (including the low zoom levels) and when all options are actually available (including differentiating water color by waterbody type - which is not possible at the moment because of the drawing order).

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imagico commented Jun 3, 2017

I have not tested this change yet so no comments yet on the actual design but a few general remarks here. This is a big change in several ways:

  • it changes the water color which alone is a fairly far reaching change for the overall map appearance and the color balance in this style. There has been a fairly lengthy but inconclusive discussion w.r.t. changing the water color in #1781 - however so far all water color ideas there have been developed for use in combination with the current landcover color scheme - and not also for use with separate low zoom color scheme as suggested in this PR.
  • the landcover color changes would mean departing from the basic design principle of this style that colors used are generally the same across all zoom levels. This would affect both map use (users would need to learn to read the map in different ways at different zoom levels) and map design (changing a color would become more complicated design wise).
  • it would also mean departing from the current principle not to use transparency to set colors when the transparency effect itself is not the aim. The statement that this should not lead to problems is not quite right because landcovers mapped above each other (like micromapping of landcovers in residential areas) and overlap between landcovers and water (which is not necessarily wrong, in particular at the coast) do practically occur and will lead to color mixing.

For info: after the 4.0 release has settled and been deployed i was planning to look into #2507 again and the changes that would be required to do this as well as looking into possibilities of low zoom landcover rendering (z<6) - without a fixed time frame, just this being high on my priority list. My idea was to split this into smaller changes as much as possible, re-ordering the water and landcover layers would be the start and actually changing colors would have been the last step to be made when it could be evaluated in full (including the low zoom levels) and when all options are actually available (including differentiating water color by waterbody type - which is not possible at the moment because of the drawing order).

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kocio-pl Jun 3, 2017

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Related to or resolves: #1781, #2194, #1755, #1936.

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kocio-pl commented Jun 3, 2017

Related to or resolves: #1781, #2194, #1755, #1936.

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matthijsmelissen Jun 3, 2017

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Good points @imagico.

The statement that this should not lead to problems is not quite right because landcovers mapped above each other (like micromapping of landcovers in residential areas) and overlap between landcovers and water (which is not necessarily wrong, in particular at the coast) do practically occur and will lead to color mixing.

No, this is not true as transparency is applied at layer level, not feature level (transparency instead of polygon-transparency property).

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matthijsmelissen commented Jun 3, 2017

Good points @imagico.

The statement that this should not lead to problems is not quite right because landcovers mapped above each other (like micromapping of landcovers in residential areas) and overlap between landcovers and water (which is not necessarily wrong, in particular at the coast) do practically occur and will lead to color mixing.

No, this is not true as transparency is applied at layer level, not feature level (transparency instead of polygon-transparency property).

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No, this is not true as transparency is applied at layer level, not feature level (transparency instead of polygon-transparency property).

Ah - sorry, did not realize that.

I assume though the point about overlap with ocean still stands - this being in a different layer.

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imagico commented Jun 3, 2017

No, this is not true as transparency is applied at layer level, not feature level (transparency instead of polygon-transparency property).

Ah - sorry, did not realize that.

I assume though the point about overlap with ocean still stands - this being in a different layer.

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nebulon42 Jun 3, 2017

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The Travis error is due to a problem with mapnik-reference which is fixed in mapnik-reference 8.7.0 and carto 0.18.1.

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nebulon42 commented Jun 3, 2017

The Travis error is due to a problem with mapnik-reference which is fixed in mapnik-reference 8.7.0 and carto 0.18.1.

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All right, i tested the change in a few areas and here a few more specific comments design wise. I have not yet formed an opinion if i support this change overall or not, will need to contemplate it somewhat further first.

The change can essentially be split into two separate changes: the change of the water color and the low zoom land cover and roads changes. At z13 and above the change essentially amounts to only the water color change.

water color

The suggested water color is the same as the lakes color in the three color scheme i showed in #1781 (comment) - so my comments here essentially match the impression i had when working on that.

This color works nicely on lakes of intermediate size in combination with the current land cover colors. It is a much stronger blue tone than the current water color but the same lightness (see http://davidjohnstone.net/pages/lch-lab-colour-gradient-picker#b5d0d0,aad3df). This makes it IMO somewhat strong for very large water areas (which is why i suggested a weaker color for the ocean) and at the same time does not really solve the problem of bad visibility of small waterways in very structured environments (which is why i suggested a stronger color for rivers).

For the suggested weaker mid zoom colors i think it is too strong for the ocean leading to an overall unbalanced appearance in coastal areas and with islands.

weaker landcover colors at mid zoom

I think except for the previously mentioned problem of too strong large water areas when looked at in isolation the proposed look for z11/z12 looks fairly nice as a map style with strong focus on settlements and roads at mid latitude in temperate zone climate with landcover mostly limited to grass/wood/farmland. In areas with more diverse landcover or with a different landcover focus (like in the subtropics with farmland, grass and bare ground types dominating) as well as at z10 and below the coloring is no more differentiable though.

I find overall wetlands over land are too strong with this change at the mid zoom levels and would need to be faded in a similar way as landcovers, however wetlands over water and reefs should probably not be faded with the water color proposed. ;-)

the dark builtup areas and the bright minor roads

I think these are both ideas that would be worth pursuing independent of the other changes suggested. These would also be changes that are not as fundamental departures from the current design as the other changes. The dark urban landcover color for z12 and below kind of makes sense to darken the urban landcovers at the point where buildings are no more rendered. There are some problems with this, like the contrast between the dark color and water being much worse than with the old light color.

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imagico commented Jun 3, 2017

All right, i tested the change in a few areas and here a few more specific comments design wise. I have not yet formed an opinion if i support this change overall or not, will need to contemplate it somewhat further first.

The change can essentially be split into two separate changes: the change of the water color and the low zoom land cover and roads changes. At z13 and above the change essentially amounts to only the water color change.

water color

The suggested water color is the same as the lakes color in the three color scheme i showed in #1781 (comment) - so my comments here essentially match the impression i had when working on that.

This color works nicely on lakes of intermediate size in combination with the current land cover colors. It is a much stronger blue tone than the current water color but the same lightness (see http://davidjohnstone.net/pages/lch-lab-colour-gradient-picker#b5d0d0,aad3df). This makes it IMO somewhat strong for very large water areas (which is why i suggested a weaker color for the ocean) and at the same time does not really solve the problem of bad visibility of small waterways in very structured environments (which is why i suggested a stronger color for rivers).

For the suggested weaker mid zoom colors i think it is too strong for the ocean leading to an overall unbalanced appearance in coastal areas and with islands.

weaker landcover colors at mid zoom

I think except for the previously mentioned problem of too strong large water areas when looked at in isolation the proposed look for z11/z12 looks fairly nice as a map style with strong focus on settlements and roads at mid latitude in temperate zone climate with landcover mostly limited to grass/wood/farmland. In areas with more diverse landcover or with a different landcover focus (like in the subtropics with farmland, grass and bare ground types dominating) as well as at z10 and below the coloring is no more differentiable though.

I find overall wetlands over land are too strong with this change at the mid zoom levels and would need to be faded in a similar way as landcovers, however wetlands over water and reefs should probably not be faded with the water color proposed. ;-)

the dark builtup areas and the bright minor roads

I think these are both ideas that would be worth pursuing independent of the other changes suggested. These would also be changes that are not as fundamental departures from the current design as the other changes. The dark urban landcover color for z12 and below kind of makes sense to darken the urban landcovers at the point where buildings are no more rendered. There are some problems with this, like the contrast between the dark color and water being much worse than with the old light color.

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Thanks for the thorough review! I will address your points after we have a worldwide rendering example.

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matthijsmelissen commented Jun 3, 2017

Thanks for the thorough review! I will address your points after we have a worldwide rendering example.

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the landcover color changes would mean departing from the basic design principle of this style that colors used are generally the same across all zoom levels.

We could test mid zoom colors also on high and low zoom levels. This would make the change even bigger, but it would be good for me to redesign these colors consciously and transparently. Original design was not documented nor really discussed later, we just assume it's somehow proper, which makes me uncomfortable when talking about changes.

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kocio-pl commented Jun 3, 2017

the landcover color changes would mean departing from the basic design principle of this style that colors used are generally the same across all zoom levels.

We could test mid zoom colors also on high and low zoom levels. This would make the change even bigger, but it would be good for me to redesign these colors consciously and transparently. Original design was not documented nor really discussed later, we just assume it's somehow proper, which makes me uncomfortable when talking about changes.

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matthijsmelissen Jun 3, 2017

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We could test mid zoom colors also on high and low zoom levels

I tried this for high zoom levels, but the results didn't look satisfactory to me. On low zoom levels we don't have landcover.

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matthijsmelissen commented Jun 3, 2017

We could test mid zoom colors also on high and low zoom levels

I tried this for high zoom levels, but the results didn't look satisfactory to me. On low zoom levels we don't have landcover.

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Original design was not documented nor really discussed later, we just assume it's somehow proper, which makes me uncomfortable when talking about changes.

Most of the colors of the landcover layer have been changed at some point in the past during the history of this project. Even for those which are unchanged for a long time possible changes have often been discussed in the meantime.

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imagico commented Jun 3, 2017

Original design was not documented nor really discussed later, we just assume it's somehow proper, which makes me uncomfortable when talking about changes.

Most of the colors of the landcover layer have been changed at some point in the past during the history of this project. Even for those which are unchanged for a long time possible changes have often been discussed in the meantime.

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matthijsmelissen Jun 13, 2017

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@pnorman Do you have the chance to deploy this PR on your server? It is compatible with the 4.0 database layout.

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matthijsmelissen commented Jun 13, 2017

@pnorman Do you have the chance to deploy this PR on your server? It is compatible with the 4.0 database layout.

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Travis should be OK now. I would be also interested to see bigger area rendered, I like the idea to preview it live - Paul, what do you think about testing it?

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kocio-pl commented Jul 1, 2017

Travis should be OK now. I would be also interested to see bigger area rendered, I like the idea to preview it live - Paul, what do you think about testing it?

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matthijsmelissen Jul 2, 2017

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As @pnorman hasn't responded yet, are there others who would be able to check how this looks in their area?

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matthijsmelissen commented Jul 2, 2017

As @pnorman hasn't responded yet, are there others who would be able to check how this looks in their area?

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Full Warsaw area from Mapzen extract:

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z10 (click to see unscaled images)
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kocio-pl commented Jul 2, 2017

Full Warsaw area from Mapzen extract:

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z10 (click to see unscaled images)
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Full Berlin area from Mapzen extract (click to see unscaled images):

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kocio-pl commented Jul 2, 2017

Full Berlin area from Mapzen extract (click to see unscaled images):

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Full London area from Mapzen extract (click to see unscaled images):

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kocio-pl commented Jul 2, 2017

Full London area from Mapzen extract (click to see unscaled images):

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z9
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imagico Jul 2, 2017

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To avoid confusion with the samples and the PR description - this change modifies landcover colors up to and including z12.

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imagico commented Jul 2, 2017

To avoid confusion with the samples and the PR description - this change modifies landcover colors up to and including z12.

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Full Moscow area from Mapzen extract (click to see unscaled images):

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kocio-pl commented Jul 2, 2017

Full Moscow area from Mapzen extract (click to see unscaled images):

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zsfqgh55

z9
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znvfxdru
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t7wndjsc

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Full Dublin area from Mapzen extract (click to see unscaled images):

z10
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e5pklz0g

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kocio-pl commented Jul 2, 2017

Full Dublin area from Mapzen extract (click to see unscaled images):

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z11
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xlbfngfs

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Full Melbourne area from Mapzen extract (click to see unscaled images):

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pfgu18xl

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kocio-pl commented Jul 2, 2017

Full Melbourne area from Mapzen extract (click to see unscaled images):

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pfgu18xl

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Full Vancouver area from Mapzen extract (click to see unscaled images):

z11
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z5ihm_8w
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ule2sqb0

z12
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cd_xgday

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kocio-pl commented Jul 2, 2017

Full Vancouver area from Mapzen extract (click to see unscaled images):

z11
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ule2sqb0

z12
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lublie0o
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cd_xgday

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pnorman Jul 3, 2017

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I find z12 too dark between the roads when viewed at full size.

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pnorman commented Jul 3, 2017

I find z12 too dark between the roads when viewed at full size.

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Full Macedonia area from Mapzen extract (click to see unscaled images):

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kocio-pl commented Jul 3, 2017

Full Macedonia area from Mapzen extract (click to see unscaled images):

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matthijsmelissen Jul 3, 2017

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Thanks a lot for the rendering examples! Do you also have an example where we render landcover over oceans?

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matthijsmelissen commented Jul 3, 2017

Thanks a lot for the rendering examples! Do you also have an example where we render landcover over oceans?

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I'm not aware of such place, but I can render it too if somebody would show me where is it.

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kocio-pl commented Jul 3, 2017

I'm not aware of such place, but I can render it too if somebody would show me where is it.

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imagico Jul 3, 2017

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In the UK you have frequent beach over water for example like here:

http://www.openstreetmap.org/#map=10/53.6955/-2.9965

There is also military=danger_area:

http://www.openstreetmap.org/#map=11/54.6184/8.0379

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imagico commented Jul 3, 2017

In the UK you have frequent beach over water for example like here:

http://www.openstreetmap.org/#map=10/53.6955/-2.9965

There is also military=danger_area:

http://www.openstreetmap.org/#map=11/54.6184/8.0379

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Tokyo area (click to see unscaled images):

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kocio-pl commented Jul 4, 2017

Tokyo area (click to see unscaled images):

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tkwtii0y

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Tokyo centre (click to see unscaled images):

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anfxuogd

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kocio-pl commented Jul 4, 2017

Tokyo centre (click to see unscaled images):

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Nationalpark Schleswig-Holsteinisches Wattenmeer (click to see unscaled images):

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kocio-pl commented Jul 4, 2017

Nationalpark Schleswig-Holsteinisches Wattenmeer (click to see unscaled images):

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Full Liverpool area from Mapzen extract (click to see unscaled images):

z10
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kocio-pl commented Jul 4, 2017

Full Liverpool area from Mapzen extract (click to see unscaled images):

z10
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a5q9ideo
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matthijsmelissen Jul 4, 2017

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Thanks again!

In England, I see beaches outside of the coastline - is that correct tagging?

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matthijsmelissen commented Jul 4, 2017

Thanks again!

In England, I see beaches outside of the coastline - is that correct tagging?

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imagico Jul 4, 2017

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Yes, the larger part of a beach is almost always outside the coastline. There are opinions that mapping of beaches should be split at the coastline and the lower parts should possibly be tagged differently but that is not common practice and not intuitive or necessary and comes in conflict with One feature, one OSM element.

We already have preparations of a distinct rendering of parts of beaches over water in #1990 but this depends on water polygons for the ocean.

Of course significant parts of the beaches you see mapped in England are actually tidal flats.

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imagico commented Jul 4, 2017

Yes, the larger part of a beach is almost always outside the coastline. There are opinions that mapping of beaches should be split at the coastline and the lower parts should possibly be tagged differently but that is not common practice and not intuitive or necessary and comes in conflict with One feature, one OSM element.

We already have preparations of a distinct rendering of parts of beaches over water in #1990 but this depends on water polygons for the ocean.

Of course significant parts of the beaches you see mapped in England are actually tidal flats.

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I'm mostly happy with this PR. Just two general notes:

  1. In some cities readability is lower at z11-z12 (Dublin, Vancouver and Liverpool from my renderings) - big roads and placenames are harder to notice. This is probably because residential areas are darker and smaller roads are white, which makes the background more vivid. We could accept it in the name of better visibility of smaller cities or be more conservative with darkening residential areas - for example make it gradual or limit darkening only to z10.

  2. New water color is good for me in the above examples, but I would be interested in testing 3 water color set to see how big difference it makes. @imagico, would it be possible to port your water color code here?

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kocio-pl commented Jul 5, 2017

I'm mostly happy with this PR. Just two general notes:

  1. In some cities readability is lower at z11-z12 (Dublin, Vancouver and Liverpool from my renderings) - big roads and placenames are harder to notice. This is probably because residential areas are darker and smaller roads are white, which makes the background more vivid. We could accept it in the name of better visibility of smaller cities or be more conservative with darkening residential areas - for example make it gradual or limit darkening only to z10.

  2. New water color is good for me in the above examples, but I would be interested in testing 3 water color set to see how big difference it makes. @imagico, would it be possible to port your water color code here?

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The three water colors scheme depends on layer reordering which depends on water polygons for the ocean which depends on #2101 which is why i try once again to get some movement into this (see #2101 (comment)).

I would prefer to do this in order because these changes all together would be too many to keep separated but in sync with other changes in this style from my perspective so this would mean a permanent fork and i would then be tempted to make other changes, esp. color wise, to that fork rather than the main branch (i know i would because i am already considering it).

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imagico commented Jul 5, 2017

The three water colors scheme depends on layer reordering which depends on water polygons for the ocean which depends on #2101 which is why i try once again to get some movement into this (see #2101 (comment)).

I would prefer to do this in order because these changes all together would be too many to keep separated but in sync with other changes in this style from my perspective so this would mean a permanent fork and i would then be tempted to make other changes, esp. color wise, to that fork rather than the main branch (i know i would because i am already considering it).

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I consider water colors scheme an interesting tuning, which I'm still not sure if is worth the hassle and code complexity, so no problem - I can test it later.

Changing global water color would be still an improvement for me, but I think this needs testing on all zoom levels around the planet.

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kocio-pl commented Jul 5, 2017

I consider water colors scheme an interesting tuning, which I'm still not sure if is worth the hassle and code complexity, so no problem - I can test it later.

Changing global water color would be still an improvement for me, but I think this needs testing on all zoom levels around the planet.

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rrzefox Jul 19, 2017

I made a small change: I felt secondary and tertiary roads on z11 and z12 were taking up too much space (especially in urban areas) so I made these narrower again.

Where? I would update the stylesheet on my demo server, but I see no commits in this branch since Jul 11. Did you not push that?

And just to add my two cents: I like the faded landuse very much, though I think it is maybe a bit too faint at Z8 it's definitely a huge improvement.
Coincidently, I experimented with showing landuse in the past, if you switch to the layer 'RRZE tileserver osm.org style with different lowzoom tiles' on the demoserver mentioned above, you can see landuse rendered in <= Z8. But this was done without fading, so it clutters the map too much. It would look much better with the fading.

rrzefox commented Jul 19, 2017

I made a small change: I felt secondary and tertiary roads on z11 and z12 were taking up too much space (especially in urban areas) so I made these narrower again.

Where? I would update the stylesheet on my demo server, but I see no commits in this branch since Jul 11. Did you not push that?

And just to add my two cents: I like the faded landuse very much, though I think it is maybe a bit too faint at Z8 it's definitely a huge improvement.
Coincidently, I experimented with showing landuse in the past, if you switch to the layer 'RRZE tileserver osm.org style with different lowzoom tiles' on the demoserver mentioned above, you can see landuse rendered in <= Z8. But this was done without fading, so it clutters the map too much. It would look much better with the fading.

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daganzdaanda Jul 19, 2017

I agree with @imagico that we should try to keep to a plan or strategy for where the main map style should be going. The discussion that started here already is a good thing, and I think we should ask people in the forums and mailing lists a few questions about the possible future direction:

  • What would you like to emphasize on the low zooms? Maybe some groups could help in thinking about this: We could emphasize landcover like forests, water, deserts, built-up areas... Or infrastructure like streets, railways, ferry lines... Or political borders, other borders, and cities...
    The map will probably show something from every group, but if there's a conflict, what would you prefer?

  • How important is the "Mapper feedback loop" to you? If we lower the visibility of eg forests on the lower zooms, you might not notice your changes there as easily - but a change in a road or river might be more visible than before.

  • Also for higher zooms, what about the "feedback" - should the map try to show as much as possible of the data in OSM, even if it may not be very readable in some places? Or should we value readability more, and sacrifice some things that we are already showing? If so, what would you remove?

I agree with @imagico that we should try to keep to a plan or strategy for where the main map style should be going. The discussion that started here already is a good thing, and I think we should ask people in the forums and mailing lists a few questions about the possible future direction:

  • What would you like to emphasize on the low zooms? Maybe some groups could help in thinking about this: We could emphasize landcover like forests, water, deserts, built-up areas... Or infrastructure like streets, railways, ferry lines... Or political borders, other borders, and cities...
    The map will probably show something from every group, but if there's a conflict, what would you prefer?

  • How important is the "Mapper feedback loop" to you? If we lower the visibility of eg forests on the lower zooms, you might not notice your changes there as easily - but a change in a road or river might be more visible than before.

  • Also for higher zooms, what about the "feedback" - should the map try to show as much as possible of the data in OSM, even if it may not be very readable in some places? Or should we value readability more, and sacrifice some things that we are already showing? If so, what would you remove?

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daganzdaanda Jul 19, 2017

More on-topic comments on this PR, without any strategy in mind:

I think the change in forests between z12 and 13 is too much. I would prefer forests on zooms 13+ paler, but z12 darker, and then darken z11-8 too. I think the current colour at z10 or even 11 could be a good end point for z8 (and lower, if we want to start showing forests earlier).

Also, I love the white roads without casing in theory, and in many places they are great. But they are not very visible over the default landuse. Yes, these are roads that are of lesser importance in each zoom level, but I guess most of the roads in the database don't run over a defined landuse. So we need to be careful here.

More on-topic comments on this PR, without any strategy in mind:

I think the change in forests between z12 and 13 is too much. I would prefer forests on zooms 13+ paler, but z12 darker, and then darken z11-8 too. I think the current colour at z10 or even 11 could be a good end point for z8 (and lower, if we want to start showing forests earlier).

Also, I love the white roads without casing in theory, and in many places they are great. But they are not very visible over the default landuse. Yes, these are roads that are of lesser importance in each zoom level, but I guess most of the roads in the database don't run over a defined landuse. So we need to be careful here.

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@rrzefox - is this rendered directly at target scale with Mapnik or resampled from a higher resolution render like in the french style?

Even if this is not ideal obviously in several aspects it IMO well illustrates the usefulness of readable low zoom landcover rendering for mapper feedback and for orientation on the map - despite wood/forest being the only landcover shown and in a styling that works poorly together with the water color.

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imagico commented Jul 19, 2017

@rrzefox - is this rendered directly at target scale with Mapnik or resampled from a higher resolution render like in the french style?

Even if this is not ideal obviously in several aspects it IMO well illustrates the usefulness of readable low zoom landcover rendering for mapper feedback and for orientation on the map - despite wood/forest being the only landcover shown and in a styling that works poorly together with the water color.

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matthijsmelissen Jul 19, 2017

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A few of you mention that the faded effect is too strong on z8. Based on the comments and rendering demo I've made the dimming at z8 and z9 a bit less extreme.

@rrzefox, would it be possible to update your tile server? The other commit should now have been pushed as well.

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matthijsmelissen commented Jul 19, 2017

A few of you mention that the faded effect is too strong on z8. Based on the comments and rendering demo I've made the dimming at z8 and z9 a bit less extreme.

@rrzefox, would it be possible to update your tile server? The other commit should now have been pushed as well.

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kocio-pl Jul 20, 2017

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The discussion that started here already is a good thing, and I think we should ask people in the forums and mailing lists a few questions about the possible future direction:

Great idea! Do you plan to post it?

I think it would be good to get in touch with people. We might have our visions here, but in the end we make default style for the whole OSM community, so it might be interesting/helping to know how they see it.

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kocio-pl commented Jul 20, 2017

The discussion that started here already is a good thing, and I think we should ask people in the forums and mailing lists a few questions about the possible future direction:

Great idea! Do you plan to post it?

I think it would be good to get in touch with people. We might have our visions here, but in the end we make default style for the whole OSM community, so it might be interesting/helping to know how they see it.

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We don't have one place to discuss long-term strategic issues, so I will also put this PR in the context of our goals:

Legibility and clarity - Midzoom with faded landuses is absolutely more clear for me. "We also aim for the map appearance to be esthetically pleasing." - this is also true for me.
Being understandable and supportive for mappers - nothing changes with being understandable IMO. We might take away some support for drawing forests and farmlands, but at the same time we add some for drawing rivers and residential areas, so overall support is not vanishing.
Diversity - it doesn't break anything if there are less mapped landuses, but helps a lot when there's a lot of them.
A rich map - please note that this rule is about the whole map, not any particular zoom level. Otherwise shifting objects from z17 to higher zooms would be not "clearing the mess" (for the sake of clarity), but "making map poor", which is not the case.
Maintainability - adding more code decreases it.
Adaptability and ease of use - adding more code decreases ease of use, but increases adaptability.

We have currently no more detailed rules, but in the old version we had: The colour palette should be moving towards pastel/light/desaturated for background layers and in the abandoned part 2 of guideline proposition there was: For area colors we prefer light and low saturation tones. Lines, individual symbols and labels also can be stronger in color. - which is exactly what this PR is doing.

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kocio-pl commented Jul 20, 2017

We don't have one place to discuss long-term strategic issues, so I will also put this PR in the context of our goals:

Legibility and clarity - Midzoom with faded landuses is absolutely more clear for me. "We also aim for the map appearance to be esthetically pleasing." - this is also true for me.
Being understandable and supportive for mappers - nothing changes with being understandable IMO. We might take away some support for drawing forests and farmlands, but at the same time we add some for drawing rivers and residential areas, so overall support is not vanishing.
Diversity - it doesn't break anything if there are less mapped landuses, but helps a lot when there's a lot of them.
A rich map - please note that this rule is about the whole map, not any particular zoom level. Otherwise shifting objects from z17 to higher zooms would be not "clearing the mess" (for the sake of clarity), but "making map poor", which is not the case.
Maintainability - adding more code decreases it.
Adaptability and ease of use - adding more code decreases ease of use, but increases adaptability.

We have currently no more detailed rules, but in the old version we had: The colour palette should be moving towards pastel/light/desaturated for background layers and in the abandoned part 2 of guideline proposition there was: For area colors we prefer light and low saturation tones. Lines, individual symbols and labels also can be stronger in color. - which is exactly what this PR is doing.

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Note stating that you think these changes (all of them together by the way - you did not in any way differentiate between them) are good and you think they work towards the goals as you see them does not really bring us forward here. For the water color change, the dark urban landcover and the bright minor roads i did not even argue that these are not improvements. But i tried very hard to explain in detail above the reasons why i think the landcover fading works against our goals and i think these reasons are mostly objectively verifiable. In other words: I don't simply state i think this is a change to the worse, i explain, partly even in specific numbers (in case of the inconsistency of the color fading function) why i think this is the case.

So far it seems to me no one seriously tried to argue any of the points i brought forward. @math1985 explained that for him my argument that changing the water color would prejudice future color changes for water is not true because this is not the case for him - which i can respect, but i also explained that not feeling bound by an overall strategy and a sense of direction in individual design decisions for me is a problem on its own.

I cannot even begin to understand at the moment how you can think that the landcover fading would not negatively affect the ability to design landcover colors or how you can think that fading the landcover colors at fixed zoom level thresholds does not negatively affect diversity when used with a variable scale Mercator projection (the landcovers fade at different scales if you zoom out in Nigeria or in Norway!) but i would be really interested if someone could explain this to me in a way i can understand.

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imagico commented Jul 20, 2017

Note stating that you think these changes (all of them together by the way - you did not in any way differentiate between them) are good and you think they work towards the goals as you see them does not really bring us forward here. For the water color change, the dark urban landcover and the bright minor roads i did not even argue that these are not improvements. But i tried very hard to explain in detail above the reasons why i think the landcover fading works against our goals and i think these reasons are mostly objectively verifiable. In other words: I don't simply state i think this is a change to the worse, i explain, partly even in specific numbers (in case of the inconsistency of the color fading function) why i think this is the case.

So far it seems to me no one seriously tried to argue any of the points i brought forward. @math1985 explained that for him my argument that changing the water color would prejudice future color changes for water is not true because this is not the case for him - which i can respect, but i also explained that not feeling bound by an overall strategy and a sense of direction in individual design decisions for me is a problem on its own.

I cannot even begin to understand at the moment how you can think that the landcover fading would not negatively affect the ability to design landcover colors or how you can think that fading the landcover colors at fixed zoom level thresholds does not negatively affect diversity when used with a variable scale Mercator projection (the landcovers fade at different scales if you zoom out in Nigeria or in Norway!) but i would be really interested if someone could explain this to me in a way i can understand.

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kocio-pl Jul 20, 2017

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Right, I was not specific enough: I've been talking about landuse fading. But please don't say that I'm not trying hard. Just reading your comments was challenging for me because of many topics and many words used - this PR is not my only activity in OSM and we spent 1,5 month here discussing and testing even older idea, so lack of attention is definitely showing. Trying to look from a long-term goals PoV also requires some effort, which I took, no matter how incomplete or wrong my take could be.

I cannot even begin to understand at the moment how you can think that the landcover fading would not negatively affect the ability to design landcover colors or how you can think that fading the landcover colors at fixed zoom level thresholds does not negatively affect diversity when used with a variable scale Mercator projection (the landcovers fade at different scales if you zoom out in Nigeria or in Norway!) but i would be really interested if someone could explain this to me in a way i can understand.

Shorter sentences and using lists would help me in reading your comments.

  1. Of course fading limits the colors we could use. But, as I said before, the main problem is we're out of colors anyway for about 2 years (new road colors scheme) or maybe even longer. We're left with just shades now and I wouldn't advise to use a shade of already used color for something different. Zoom-fading is the only practical use of them I see at this moment.

  2. I haven't thought about projection in this context. I think of it as a systematic error we have to live with until we make big effort to overcome Mercator one day. Color fading is not harsh method of dealing with well-mapped areas problems, so I accept it. There are other fields I can think of where we could help diversity in a more visible way.

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kocio-pl commented Jul 20, 2017

Right, I was not specific enough: I've been talking about landuse fading. But please don't say that I'm not trying hard. Just reading your comments was challenging for me because of many topics and many words used - this PR is not my only activity in OSM and we spent 1,5 month here discussing and testing even older idea, so lack of attention is definitely showing. Trying to look from a long-term goals PoV also requires some effort, which I took, no matter how incomplete or wrong my take could be.

I cannot even begin to understand at the moment how you can think that the landcover fading would not negatively affect the ability to design landcover colors or how you can think that fading the landcover colors at fixed zoom level thresholds does not negatively affect diversity when used with a variable scale Mercator projection (the landcovers fade at different scales if you zoom out in Nigeria or in Norway!) but i would be really interested if someone could explain this to me in a way i can understand.

Shorter sentences and using lists would help me in reading your comments.

  1. Of course fading limits the colors we could use. But, as I said before, the main problem is we're out of colors anyway for about 2 years (new road colors scheme) or maybe even longer. We're left with just shades now and I wouldn't advise to use a shade of already used color for something different. Zoom-fading is the only practical use of them I see at this moment.

  2. I haven't thought about projection in this context. I think of it as a systematic error we have to live with until we make big effort to overcome Mercator one day. Color fading is not harsh method of dealing with well-mapped areas problems, so I accept it. There are other fields I can think of where we could help diversity in a more visible way.

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Shorter sentences and using lists would help me in reading your comments.

+1.

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matthijsmelissen commented Jul 20, 2017

Shorter sentences and using lists would help me in reading your comments.

+1.

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I am sorry if i appeared to imply that you or others have not been trying to articulate their view. I just meant to say that i did not see any substantial counterarguments for the arguments i put behind my assessment.

If you have troubles understanding my arguments just ask (like @math1985 did). I try to make my points as clear as i can but a complex consideration cannot always be put into simple words.

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imagico commented Jul 20, 2017

I am sorry if i appeared to imply that you or others have not been trying to articulate their view. I just meant to say that i did not see any substantial counterarguments for the arguments i put behind my assessment.

If you have troubles understanding my arguments just ask (like @math1985 did). I try to make my points as clear as i can but a complex consideration cannot always be put into simple words.

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I am sorry if i appeared to imply that you or others have not been trying to articulate their view. I just meant to say that i did not see any substantial counterarguments for the arguments i put behind my assessment.

No offence taken. =} I felt you were upset with my arguments, so just showing that you're not being ignored.

If you have troubles understanding my arguments just ask (like @math1985 did). I try to make my points as clear as i can but a complex consideration cannot always be put into simple words.

I hope that when I'll try to look from your point of view and you try to be more concise, we may find common ground. There's no guarantee it can be done, even if we try, of course. But at least you know what could help it.

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kocio-pl commented Jul 20, 2017

I am sorry if i appeared to imply that you or others have not been trying to articulate their view. I just meant to say that i did not see any substantial counterarguments for the arguments i put behind my assessment.

No offence taken. =} I felt you were upset with my arguments, so just showing that you're not being ignored.

If you have troubles understanding my arguments just ask (like @math1985 did). I try to make my points as clear as i can but a complex consideration cannot always be put into simple words.

I hope that when I'll try to look from your point of view and you try to be more concise, we may find common ground. There's no guarantee it can be done, even if we try, of course. But at least you know what could help it.

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rrzefox Jul 20, 2017

is this rendered directly at target scale with Mapnik or resampled from a higher resolution render like in the french style?

It was rendered once in Z8 and then scaled from that. The script used contains an explanation at the top and can be found here:
http://git.rrze.uni-erlangen.de/gitweb/?p=osmrrze.git;a=blob;f=scripts/osm-mergemaptiles.pl;hb=HEAD

@rrzefox, would it be possible to update your tile server?

I have updated it and rerendered Z0-12. For Z13+ use /dirty as needed.

rrzefox commented Jul 20, 2017

is this rendered directly at target scale with Mapnik or resampled from a higher resolution render like in the french style?

It was rendered once in Z8 and then scaled from that. The script used contains an explanation at the top and can be found here:
http://git.rrze.uni-erlangen.de/gitweb/?p=osmrrze.git;a=blob;f=scripts/osm-mergemaptiles.pl;hb=HEAD

@rrzefox, would it be possible to update your tile server?

I have updated it and rerendered Z0-12. For Z13+ use /dirty as needed.

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It was rendered once in Z8 and then scaled from that. The script used contains an explanation at the top and can be found here:
http://git.rrze.uni-erlangen.de/gitweb/?p=osmrrze.git;a=blob;f=scripts/osm-mergemaptiles.pl;hb=HEAD

Thanks - like in case of the French style it could be worth trying different sampling methods.

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imagico commented Jul 20, 2017

It was rendered once in Z8 and then scaled from that. The script used contains an explanation at the top and can be found here:
http://git.rrze.uni-erlangen.de/gitweb/?p=osmrrze.git;a=blob;f=scripts/osm-mergemaptiles.pl;hb=HEAD

Thanks - like in case of the French style it could be worth trying different sampling methods.

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matthijsmelissen Jul 23, 2017

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Thank you for all feedback. Most of the remaining issues are things I don't intend to resolve now. Some specific comments:

On the one hand we have the idea of development being firmly guided by a long term strategy and goals so each change is designed to work towards this. On the other hand we have the more localized approach of making individual design decisions with little concern for the overall picuture in the hope that the ideas and preferences developers have on a case-by-case basis in sum lead towards the long term goals they share - even if individually these changes frequently contain a back and forth in terms of design choices made.

We have been working on this PR for more than a year. Constructing a long-term strategy first and then designing a stylesheet that adheres to this long-term vision across all zoom levels would likely take multiple years. And usually the best way to find out what works is to try it out, so I don't think constructing a vision without testing it in practice works either. So I think we can do much better than the current system, even it that involves undoing changes sometimes.

[..] i would for example likely propose either to roll back or side track several of the more recent color changes, airport buildings, playgrounds and dog parks for example (side track here means change them in a way that is not exactly back the way it was but clearly in a very different direction than the previous change). I did not do this so far because (a) i did not want to mess with the ideas and visions others had when making these changes just because i don't see them myself, (b) if these ideas turn out to be in error and the change turns out to have been a mistake i want to give those who made them the opportunity to recognize this and fix it themselves and (c) because it is tough to sell changes going non-systematically in different directions. But i don't think there would be any point in continuing to do so if everyone else follows a compartmentalized development approach.

This is really not the open-source way of doing things, I would really encourage you to make contributions whenever you feel like, and not to worry about somehow disrespecting the vision of others. In any case I'd encourage you to create more pull requests, concrete code makes discussing things much easier.

If i evaluate this change regarding the different goals we have formulated in CARTOGRAPHY.md i must say i fail to see a clear gain of the landcover fading in almost any of the goals stated there.

Yes, we gain a lot in legibility at the cost of some mapper support. See also the analysis of @kocio-pl.

I agree with @imagico that fading midzoom area colors will put more emphasis on settlements and roads, will make the map more similar to automobile focused maps, hence is less suitable to showcase the depth and diversity of OSM. Fading landuses make the map less readable (landscape and cultural aspects) if you are not so much interested in the road network.

It is not only settlements and roads that are more legible now. Mid-zoom landuse was so prominent that it made everything that is not landuse hard to read, including rivers, toponyms etc. But I agree that we should not make the map too road-centered. In the future I hope to tone down roads on the lowest zoomlevels.

landuse=railway is no more rendered like landuse=industrial

True, on low zoom industrial landuse is rendered like urban landuse while railway is not. This seems acceptable to me.

landuse=quarry looks like urban landuse at about z12-z10.

Yes, we might need to change the quarry color. I think we can do that as a change separate from this PR.

I am not really sure what your intention actually is here - with the original opacity based approach you were essentially performing a mixture between the high zoom color and land-color (or water-color, which is why you changed it) - in sRGB of course. If scale-hsla() perfoms a rescaling of hsla lightness that is something completely different.

What we do in this proposal is move the landuse lightness towards the lightness of the background. As far as I'm concerned, this looks good - perhaps even a bit better than the mixing solution, as keeping saturation a bit higher makes it easier to tell the dimmed landuse colors apart.

Also, I love the white roads without casing in theory, and in many places they are great. But they are not very visible over the default landuse. Yes, these are roads that are of lesser importance in each zoom level, but I guess most of the roads in the database don't run over a defined landuse. So we need to be careful here.

It's something to keep in mind, but to me the contrast is currently strong enough.

Let me know if I forgot to respond to any comments.

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matthijsmelissen commented Jul 23, 2017

Thank you for all feedback. Most of the remaining issues are things I don't intend to resolve now. Some specific comments:

On the one hand we have the idea of development being firmly guided by a long term strategy and goals so each change is designed to work towards this. On the other hand we have the more localized approach of making individual design decisions with little concern for the overall picuture in the hope that the ideas and preferences developers have on a case-by-case basis in sum lead towards the long term goals they share - even if individually these changes frequently contain a back and forth in terms of design choices made.

We have been working on this PR for more than a year. Constructing a long-term strategy first and then designing a stylesheet that adheres to this long-term vision across all zoom levels would likely take multiple years. And usually the best way to find out what works is to try it out, so I don't think constructing a vision without testing it in practice works either. So I think we can do much better than the current system, even it that involves undoing changes sometimes.

[..] i would for example likely propose either to roll back or side track several of the more recent color changes, airport buildings, playgrounds and dog parks for example (side track here means change them in a way that is not exactly back the way it was but clearly in a very different direction than the previous change). I did not do this so far because (a) i did not want to mess with the ideas and visions others had when making these changes just because i don't see them myself, (b) if these ideas turn out to be in error and the change turns out to have been a mistake i want to give those who made them the opportunity to recognize this and fix it themselves and (c) because it is tough to sell changes going non-systematically in different directions. But i don't think there would be any point in continuing to do so if everyone else follows a compartmentalized development approach.

This is really not the open-source way of doing things, I would really encourage you to make contributions whenever you feel like, and not to worry about somehow disrespecting the vision of others. In any case I'd encourage you to create more pull requests, concrete code makes discussing things much easier.

If i evaluate this change regarding the different goals we have formulated in CARTOGRAPHY.md i must say i fail to see a clear gain of the landcover fading in almost any of the goals stated there.

Yes, we gain a lot in legibility at the cost of some mapper support. See also the analysis of @kocio-pl.

I agree with @imagico that fading midzoom area colors will put more emphasis on settlements and roads, will make the map more similar to automobile focused maps, hence is less suitable to showcase the depth and diversity of OSM. Fading landuses make the map less readable (landscape and cultural aspects) if you are not so much interested in the road network.

It is not only settlements and roads that are more legible now. Mid-zoom landuse was so prominent that it made everything that is not landuse hard to read, including rivers, toponyms etc. But I agree that we should not make the map too road-centered. In the future I hope to tone down roads on the lowest zoomlevels.

landuse=railway is no more rendered like landuse=industrial

True, on low zoom industrial landuse is rendered like urban landuse while railway is not. This seems acceptable to me.

landuse=quarry looks like urban landuse at about z12-z10.

Yes, we might need to change the quarry color. I think we can do that as a change separate from this PR.

I am not really sure what your intention actually is here - with the original opacity based approach you were essentially performing a mixture between the high zoom color and land-color (or water-color, which is why you changed it) - in sRGB of course. If scale-hsla() perfoms a rescaling of hsla lightness that is something completely different.

What we do in this proposal is move the landuse lightness towards the lightness of the background. As far as I'm concerned, this looks good - perhaps even a bit better than the mixing solution, as keeping saturation a bit higher makes it easier to tell the dimmed landuse colors apart.

Also, I love the white roads without casing in theory, and in many places they are great. But they are not very visible over the default landuse. Yes, these are roads that are of lesser importance in each zoom level, but I guess most of the roads in the database don't run over a defined landuse. So we need to be careful here.

It's something to keep in mind, but to me the contrast is currently strong enough.

Let me know if I forgot to respond to any comments.

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imagico Jul 24, 2017

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We have been working on this PR for more than a year.

I was not aware of that - who is 'we' here?

This is really not the open-source way of doing things [...]

May i remind you that this project - and in particular also this PR - is not primarily a software project but a cartographic design project. Divide and conquer is a very successful concept in software development but it does not really work that well in design.

Let me know if I forgot to respond to any comments.

I don't think you forgot to respond but as said before i am seriously missing counterarguments against most of the reasons i put forward why i think the landcover fading is a bad idea.

The only real argument i have seen for the landcover fading is improving visibility of the non-landcover features (which as said is trivial but which does not mean the same improvement cannot be accomplished by other means). Beyond that legibility and clarity would suffer because (a) landcover information is missing or badly readable and (b) because the changing meanings of colors and the changing color relationships make reading the map much harder. Reading colors strongly depends on context and color interactions and if you change the context by fading some colors while keeping others the same the map reading process gets all messed up. You would essentially have to learn reading the map separately for each of the fading steps.

I did not see any evidence at all that this change improves on our goals of maintainability, diversity, mapper support and map richness and i explained in detail why i think these points would suffer.

But i of course understand i cannot make you see the points i see - even if in some cases i even put them into numbers. So in the end i suppose we can only agree to disagree on a fairly fundamental level in this case. And independent of the question if this PR is actually an improvement or not and if it is merged or not i fear that our inability to actually substantially communicate about the issues seen prevents us from developing a better solution.

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imagico commented Jul 24, 2017

We have been working on this PR for more than a year.

I was not aware of that - who is 'we' here?

This is really not the open-source way of doing things [...]

May i remind you that this project - and in particular also this PR - is not primarily a software project but a cartographic design project. Divide and conquer is a very successful concept in software development but it does not really work that well in design.

Let me know if I forgot to respond to any comments.

I don't think you forgot to respond but as said before i am seriously missing counterarguments against most of the reasons i put forward why i think the landcover fading is a bad idea.

The only real argument i have seen for the landcover fading is improving visibility of the non-landcover features (which as said is trivial but which does not mean the same improvement cannot be accomplished by other means). Beyond that legibility and clarity would suffer because (a) landcover information is missing or badly readable and (b) because the changing meanings of colors and the changing color relationships make reading the map much harder. Reading colors strongly depends on context and color interactions and if you change the context by fading some colors while keeping others the same the map reading process gets all messed up. You would essentially have to learn reading the map separately for each of the fading steps.

I did not see any evidence at all that this change improves on our goals of maintainability, diversity, mapper support and map richness and i explained in detail why i think these points would suffer.

But i of course understand i cannot make you see the points i see - even if in some cases i even put them into numbers. So in the end i suppose we can only agree to disagree on a fairly fundamental level in this case. And independent of the question if this PR is actually an improvement or not and if it is merged or not i fear that our inability to actually substantially communicate about the issues seen prevents us from developing a better solution.

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kocio-pl Jul 24, 2017

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May i remind you that this project - and in particular also this PR - is not primarily a software project but a cartographic design project.

Don't underestimate it. It's a complex software project, even if we're just counting the LOC. I can easily design a killer feature like switching map language, which would hugely improve diversity, but deploying it would require big changes in the software.

Divide and conquer is a very successful concept in software development but it does not really work that well in design.

Please remember that it was not always this way, top-down approach was once standard in software creation too. But with complex projects (like this), evolving data and even data models, it performs poorly. That's the reason bottom-up approach is getting more traction. With accessible tools and more people interested in the subject, map designing is no different and OSM is the game changer on this field.

The only real argument i have seen for the landcover fading is improving visibility of the non-landcover features (which as said is trivial but which does not mean the same improvement cannot be accomplished by other means).

I don't remember other means you've ever mentioned. What would you propose then?

Beyond that legibility and clarity would suffer because (a) landcover information is missing or badly readable and (b) because the changing meanings of colors and the changing color relationships make reading the map much harder. Reading colors strongly depends on context and color interactions and if you change the context by fading some colors while keeping others the same the map reading process gets all messed up. You would essentially have to learn reading the map separately for each of the fading steps.

That's the point: changing zoom level changes the context in a fundamental way and legibility/clarity is not a property of just landuses. Fading is a natural thing for me when zooming out, I don't have to learn anything. It's much more natural than disappearing features. Currently on midzoom landuses are too strong (legibility and clarity of line and point features suffers a lot) and on low zoom they are invisible (so the roads are dominating z5). Fading allows us to solve both problems.

I did not see any evidence at all that this change improves on our goals of maintainability, diversity, mapper support and map richness and i explained in detail why i think these points would suffer.

In my opinion it greatly improves overall legibility and clarity (I don't know why you're talking only about landuses legibility and clarity - the map has more elements, why are you not mentioning them?) and map richness is preserved.

And independent of the question if this PR is actually an improvement or not and if it is merged or not i fear that our inability to actually substantially communicate about the issues seen prevents us from developing a better solution.

Please, propose some other solution if you have one.

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kocio-pl commented Jul 24, 2017

May i remind you that this project - and in particular also this PR - is not primarily a software project but a cartographic design project.

Don't underestimate it. It's a complex software project, even if we're just counting the LOC. I can easily design a killer feature like switching map language, which would hugely improve diversity, but deploying it would require big changes in the software.

Divide and conquer is a very successful concept in software development but it does not really work that well in design.

Please remember that it was not always this way, top-down approach was once standard in software creation too. But with complex projects (like this), evolving data and even data models, it performs poorly. That's the reason bottom-up approach is getting more traction. With accessible tools and more people interested in the subject, map designing is no different and OSM is the game changer on this field.

The only real argument i have seen for the landcover fading is improving visibility of the non-landcover features (which as said is trivial but which does not mean the same improvement cannot be accomplished by other means).

I don't remember other means you've ever mentioned. What would you propose then?

Beyond that legibility and clarity would suffer because (a) landcover information is missing or badly readable and (b) because the changing meanings of colors and the changing color relationships make reading the map much harder. Reading colors strongly depends on context and color interactions and if you change the context by fading some colors while keeping others the same the map reading process gets all messed up. You would essentially have to learn reading the map separately for each of the fading steps.

That's the point: changing zoom level changes the context in a fundamental way and legibility/clarity is not a property of just landuses. Fading is a natural thing for me when zooming out, I don't have to learn anything. It's much more natural than disappearing features. Currently on midzoom landuses are too strong (legibility and clarity of line and point features suffers a lot) and on low zoom they are invisible (so the roads are dominating z5). Fading allows us to solve both problems.

I did not see any evidence at all that this change improves on our goals of maintainability, diversity, mapper support and map richness and i explained in detail why i think these points would suffer.

In my opinion it greatly improves overall legibility and clarity (I don't know why you're talking only about landuses legibility and clarity - the map has more elements, why are you not mentioning them?) and map richness is preserved.

And independent of the question if this PR is actually an improvement or not and if it is merged or not i fear that our inability to actually substantially communicate about the issues seen prevents us from developing a better solution.

Please, propose some other solution if you have one.

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matthijsmelissen Jul 31, 2017

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I am going to merge this pull request. I would like to thank everybody for their contributions. In particular I would like to thank @kocio-pl and @imagico for their work on the water color, and @rrzefox for the rendering demo.

Of course, PRs for further finetuning are more than welcome.

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matthijsmelissen commented Jul 31, 2017

I am going to merge this pull request. I would like to thank everybody for their contributions. In particular I would like to thank @kocio-pl and @imagico for their work on the water color, and @rrzefox for the rendering demo.

Of course, PRs for further finetuning are more than welcome.

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jarlarntzen Sep 1, 2017

This is a fantastic change for the better! Thank you so much! It is finally possible to tell small lakes apart from the surrounding forest!

This is a fantastic change for the better! Thank you so much! It is finally possible to tell small lakes apart from the surrounding forest!

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kocio-pl Sep 1, 2017

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@jarlarntzen It all started with #1781, indeed. But it's interesting for me that nobody ever said a word about leaving original color, and we have plenty of disagreements about rendering, so it was probably really needed not only in relation to the forest.

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kocio-pl replied Sep 1, 2017

@jarlarntzen It all started with #1781, indeed. But it's interesting for me that nobody ever said a word about leaving original color, and we have plenty of disagreements about rendering, so it was probably really needed not only in relation to the forest.

@dhdl dhdl referenced this pull request Sep 7, 2017

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Direction of development #2812

@matthijsmelissen matthijsmelissen deleted the matthijsmelissen:midzoom branch Sep 14, 2017

@matthijsmelissen matthijsmelissen restored the matthijsmelissen:midzoom branch Nov 11, 2017

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