Marking boundaries

Posted: 23 January 2014 in Guides
Tags: , , ,

A problem I’ve encountered a few times since beginning my attempt to upgrade all of the London guides on Wikivoyage is the boundaries of districts.  In particular, checking the project’s Inner London map against each guide, it’s often hard to reverse-engineer the logic behind these divisions.  This makes it hard to decide on which guide a listing should be placed.  It certainly seems to have confused past editors, as I’ve found several misplaced listings so far and a few duplicated ones.

A chance discovery looks like it can fix that.  While checking some details with an eye towards my first itinerary, which may not be up for a little while yet, I noticed the “Adding boundaries and tracks” section of How to use dynamic maps (which I have read before but never really noticed this bit at the end).   Apparently, I can use a GPX trace to draw a border around the area on the attached dynamic map.  Possibly the reason why I didn’t get this earlier is that it is largely unused at the moment: there were only sixteen maps (guides and itineraries) on the project using this function before I added my own.

Map of South Kensington and Chelsa with a blue border

South Kensington-Chelsea map with the boundary.

Then, while exploring this system and trying to understand it fully, I came across another, complimentary function: the mapmask template.  It took a while to understand it; I thought the effect was generated by the previous function in some way but couldn’t work out how.  Eventually I found the template concerned.  This is actually used on fewer guides, eleven instances, and not all the same instances as the boundary trace.  The template uses the same GPX information but alters the map to slightly grey-out everything outside the boundary.

Map of South Kensington and Chelsa with a blue border and greyed area outside of it

South Kensington-Chelsea map with the boundary and the mask.

I think it looks quite good, and leaves no doubt about what’s inside or outside the district.  They could be used apart but I’ve used both for now, just in case.  I intend to roll this out to every guide for London eventually, although reverse-engineering the actual border from the map took a while here (it mostly follows the borders of the borough for a while, but leaves out half of it for another guide and annexes parts of Fulham and Westminster).  It might be even harder for some of the others.

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