North Auckland Line [0W]: Weekly Progress Report – Week 39, 2020

Project recently has completed some mapping of Okaihau / Rangiahua sections, Dargaville / Kaihu sections and North Auckland Line main route.

However due to other life priorities work has slowed during the past week and Project does not expect the present very slow progress to show much increase during the current week. Work has started on basemaps of the Dargaville Branch which is very hard work because of very poor quality aerial photography of the area. The Northland Regional Council does not appear to greatly value good quality aerial photography and now has the fuzziest in NZ despite it being flown only about five years ago. As the historical aerials of this area have been completed, they are ready to be introduced into the GIS and copied.

Project is looking at hard copy publication formats and costs and it cannot be ruled out that small run publishing might result in hard copies of volumes being available for sale in future. Project believes cost is about the same whether using Amazon CreateSpace per-copy printing or local printers in runs of 10. However, Project would have to be set up as a formal entity and this has been considered for some time and remains under consideration.

Project’s overall schedule remains important and with the expectation being changed lately that Project will be wound up or completed within two or three years, into more of a long term activity, it is likely Project will shift focus going forward into producing Basic level online maps in every volume as the priority as well as hard copies (which are also Basic level), in order to allow more time to complete the much more intensive intermediate / comprehensive levels. The drawn out process to complete Volume 1 has made this reconsideration necessary.

Earlier in the year, Project made good progress with Volumes 5 and 6, but as the year has worn on, the advent of the global pandemic has had sufficient impact to slow the schedule on multiple occasions. This has nothing to do with any economic situation. Project is receiving more funding than ever before and recent expansion of community support has given assurance that other sources of funding may be tapped into in future. What essentially the Covid-19 impact has caused this year is to personal schedules and time available to complete Project’s work. There have been more than a few weeks lately when only small amounts of work were completed and expectations were not met. This is unlikely to change in the forseeable future and the only reasonable outcome going forward is to revert to the earlier idea of staged completion through the use of variable levels of development for each volume. Project still desires to get content out into the community and increase knowledge of the work being done and this can really only be achievable by completing every volume as quickly as possible, which most likely means at Basic Level only except for those volumes already completed at Intermediate / Comprehensive Level.

Once Project as a whole is back to a higher rate of production, maybe later this week but it could take longer, Project will continue to review options for greater community support, scheduling and stages of development for the entire work. The current level of development of Volume 1 will continue as the majority of historical aerial photography for the planned intermediate / comprehensive levels has now been completed. It is however uncertain when this volume will actually be finished. It could take until the end of October or it could take until the end of the year. At this time, Project has no desire to be bound to an absolute deadline at what is traditionally a busier time of year for most people. Furthermore, Project will probably by the end of October only have completed research and map design. Actually producing the thousands of individual maps in Volume 1 could take another month as it often shows up more work that is needed.