Since our last report, progress has slowed somewhat due to other commitments, and it doesn’t look very likely we will be able to keep this volume completely on track with an expected completion deadline of 10 March. This is simply due to the amount of work needed to cover in particular Wellington, and the yard layouts that still have to be drawn for stations along the way. Wellington itself took a lot longer than expected because of the number of problems that were discovered when the tiles were produced, which then had to be fixed in the mosaics, and deciding to add some extra layers to the mosaics themselves because of discovering new information about Wellington in some additional aerial photos of a different generation.
Whilst we are still finding some challenges with the mosaics, we are spending extra time checking them at the production stage before they get into the GIS, so that issues can be resolved before production, as this is quite a slow process and we want to be able to avoid having to redo so many mosaics as we have on past volumes, which is simply due to failing to check them and do them properly when they are put together as a graphics file. This will speed up future projects considerably. As it is, we have lost about a week with the issues just for Wellington and are very motivated to prevent that kind of lengthy delay from being perpetuated through the rest of the volume.
As far as actual map drawing goes we have got to Ngauranga which is just about complete and probably today we will push out the maps for Kaiwharawhara to Ngauranga. Then it will be time to move on to Petone, the Melling Branch, and also eastward to Woburn and Waterloo, and the Gracefield Branch. This however depends on checking the mosaics there which is currently at a graphical checking stage and one or two issues just noticed need to be resolved before we can get any map work done for these areas.
Whilst the deadline for Volume 6 likely will not be met, at this stage we are expecting only about one extra week should be needed to complete this volume. Having the target is still good even if the timeline needs to be pushed out a little. Maybe we will just have 11 volumes completed this year and then have a bit more time to finish Volume 12 in 2021 which is the volume that is of most interest to us and was where this phase of the project really got started from. Anyway there isn’t a wholesale abandonment of the project schedule about to happen. It just means accepting that the project may take a little longer than 12 months. For this week we will continue to focus on getting as much done as possible, and see where we are up to with progress at the end of it, then work out whether the extra week is likely to be sufficient.
The project workload and schedule is, of course, highly dependent on the level to which each volume of maps is completed. If we stuck at Basic level all the maps could be finished in six months or less. We have adopted a composite approach of creating some maps as Basic and some as Intermediate or Comprehensive on the basis of allowing a maximum of one month to complete each volume, since the extra work for historic mosaics is what takes significant extra work. We took this composite approach because we felt that completing all the maps in 12 months was an acceptable timeframe and at the end of that time, instead of going back and redoing some of the maps at a higher level, we would then finalise that edition of the maps completely. This would enable us to move on from the maps themselves, which have been a big 12 year project to date.