Oh look! The NZ Rail Maps project has a Facebook page again! Didn’t it have one before? Why did it get deleted and why is there a new page there now?
Those are all good questions even if the answers are very complex. This project has happened over ten years so far and different means have evolved of producing content from it. And a lot of it has been tied up with my own struggles and challenges finding the best ways of using the available web platforms to assemble content.
Because of some issues created by these challenges, earlier this year I chose to delete my existing Facebook personal profile and create a completely new one. This was originally done because I wanted to have a Facebook username that more resembled my real name, instead of a made up avatar, but it ended up through circumstances being a situation where I had to quickly delete the old profile because some well-meaning person reported the new profile as a fake. However, the deletion of the old profile also deleted every single post or photo or any other content I had ever posted on Facebook under that username. Therefore, there is no trace of any of the old content anywhere on Facebook. This does have a slight advantage for me in that it has erased a certain amount of content that others found difficult to relate to and which created dissension in Facebook groups that I was a member of, and it also allowed me to remove my content from FB groups that I had been banned from.
In the course of deleting my old FB profile I also chose to delete the Enzed Transport / NZ Railmaps Facebook page that I owned at the time and a number of other FB pages that I had. At the time I had no use for Facebook as a means for continuing to promote the NZ Rail Maps project and thought that it would be served by having just one single Facebook page under my own name for everything. This page is still in use but I have now decided to separate the NZ Rail Maps content from it onto a dedicated NZ Rail Maps page. This now receives the posts from the project blog which used to go onto my personal Facebook page. The existing posts on that page will be removed (I would like to be able to transfer them but this is impractical to do so people will just have to go and look them up on the blog).
Even though the NZ Rail Maps project will wind down substantially at the end of this year the creation of the NZ Rail Maps Facebook page is a planned step in this process. At some point I will step back from the page and put moderators in to deal with any queries that may come through it. There probably will be greater interest in it when I get some articles published in the Railway Observer. One article has just been in production and is scheduled to appear in either the very next edition or the one after it.
I have just had a trial to see how fast I can actually draw maps because it does seem to take a long time to draw them. Well, I managed to complete drawing the Nelson section from Glenhope to Gowanbridge in 2 hours, which is a distance of about 14 km. So on a good day with a lot of hard work I could cover 50 km. I have to figure out if there is enough time to get all the stuff done with the various maps that are waiting to be updated, in the main it is getting the Linz aerial photography for an area and then checking all the details as well as km posts and bridge/tunnel numbers, there are also sidings that may appear on the aerials to put in. Quite often the Linz aerials are better than Google Earth. Now with historic aerials there may be more work done with these – or not if there isn’t enough time (likely). The main reason I am using them on the Otago Central is because of the articles I am writing, and on the Nelson line because of the incomplete or never opened sections to be documented properly. It doesn’t mean that I have time to dig up aerials for every closed branch line or even main line to document closed stations or deviations etc.