Sunday, December 18, 2011

The Most Interesting Mapper

The Most Interesting Mapper in the World

In case you live under a rock, this particular meme has its origins in a set of beer commercials that I find kind of amusing. Here is a decent compilation of them.

<sorry to interrupt this completely awesome post but quick note: This plugin has been turned into a core JOSM feature. See "Update 2" at the bottom of this post>

But seriously, the ImproveWayAccuracy plugin is a wonderful tool. Perhaps the prime use case to show it off is a smoothly curving road that was originally either mapped from low resolution imagery or (around here) imported from TIGER data that may have used far too few nodes to make a smooth curve. To fix this by hand is highly annoying. You have to drag nodes around and then grab the + between two existing nodes to create a new one and drag it to where you want it, repeating that as often as needed to achieve a smooth enough curve. Each node requires several precise mouse movements. 

It is much easier to draw a way from scratch where you just move your mouse along the curve and click as needed to form a smooth looking curve. Well, the ImproveWayAccuracy plugin makes this possible to do with existing nodes/ways!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Random computer upgrade notes

I recently did some reshuffling of the computers in my home. I built a brand new gaming system from parts I bought on newegg. Intel i5 Sandybridge, 16 GB of memory and an nvidia video card that not only has a 120mm fan, but has two of them. The insanity. Then I used the parts from the old gaming system (first generation i5, 12 GB, ATI graphics) to give my ancient linux box a major upgrade.

Of Linux and Distros
The Linux box was so old (AMD Athlon x2 4400+ with 3 GB) that it was becoming a pain to use for any kind of desktop applications. I ended up neglecting it and spending most of my time on my windows box (I know! The horror!) with multiple putty sessions open. Also, it was running Gentoo Linux. In my local Linux user group, we have determined that people who are over 30 don't use Gentoo. It is a worthy distro and has many strengths. I have been using it for over 10 years on some system or another and because of its minimal nature, I learned a lot about Linux that I would otherwise be oblivious to. But it can be a real pain, especially to maintain for desktop use. I was getting tired of every other emerge --sync generating package conflicts, lengthy config file merges and the occasional system toolchain breakage that you had to resolve before rebooting (or loosing power!)  otherwise the system would completely eat itself. So, being a distinguished 31 years of age now, I decided it was time to drop Gentoo. So long and thanks for all the fish.