New Zealand Rail Maps Project Development Report – January 2023

Welcome to the first project development report for 2023. With a new year coming around, it is always a good time to review the way forward for the coming 12 months. An important backdrop to this is an expectation that map production will slow in 2023 due to competing time uses. Here are the different areas of work in the project that are expected to be progressed in 2023:

  • Map production will continue, currently in parts of Volumes 2, 5, 6, 9, 10 and 11. These are the projects that have been worked on most extensively within the past couple of years. Other volumes have been completed to varying degrees in past years, and only Volumes 5 and 6 have been completed in any form. It is not certain which order these projects will be worked on.
  • It is possible some field trips affecting Volumes 9 and 10 may be undertaken, similar to the one completed last year affecting Volume 11.
  • The webmaps are well overdue for an upgrade and it is now considered possible to bring in a Linz topographical layer as an alternative to the one generated from the maps themselves, which has considerable advantage. This is currently being investigated. In addition, computer configuration work has been completed in January to move a step closer to having a computer that can build the webmaps back in operation soon.
  • Consideration of forming a charitable trust to solicit and administer donations towards the project will be looked at again in 2023. If such an agency is established it will operate at arm’s length from map production work as its function will mainly be administrative.
  • Obtaining a bulk drop of aerial surveys from the Crown Aerial Film Archive that are useful to the project is being considered, this would mainly be the corridor surveys both railways and adjacent state highways. Coverage from the Retrolens site which is currently the only public website carrying significant amounts of the CAFA collection is limited in some parts of New Zealand, particularly the South Island West Coast, and so it is desirable to obtain materials relevant to certain volumes which is not currently able to be accessed from Retrolens.

So that is a reasonable list of works that can be expected to progress in 2023, noting as stated in the first paragraph that the higher rate of progress that has been achieved within the past few years in the project is definitely going to reduce in 2023 for various reasons.