Saturday, January 17, 2015

Improving the Canal Network Map

The Canal & River Trust are trialing a new national map of the UK canal network. You can preview the new map here and provide feedback and help improve the map by completing a short questionnaire.

Where the new map improves on the old Canal & River Trust map is in the handling of map markers and labels. In the old map a numbered marker clustering system is employed. This works reasonably well. However different features (locks, bridges, services) are all bundled in together within the number clustering therefore the numbers themselves provide no indication of the map features until you zoom in on the map.

The new map uses a much clearer marker and labeling system. Each feature gets its own marker and as you zoom in on the new map more detail is added to the map, including the names and numbers of the locks and bridges. If you zoom in on an ’S’ icon (for services) icons for each individual service (showers, water, toilets etc) will appear. Zoom in further still and you'll see a tap for each water point and a bollard for each visitor mooring.

The new map also shows towpaths for the first time. This is particularly useful where towpaths are missing from the canals. The new map shows where you can join or leave the towpath and often shows a route to work around missing sections of the towpath.

If you want to compare the trial Canal & River Trust map with the old map you can view the current canal map here.

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