Thursday 28 January 2010

Mid winter mapping

This time of year really feels like mid winter. The days are still short, sunset is about 4:30, and every bit of colour seems to have been stripped from the countryside. Even the grass seems dull and gray. There are no hints of new growth, flowers or blossom yet.

After a long break from mapping we set off to take a look at Beverley, a pleasant market town in East Yorkshire. We were looking for detail to add to OSM really - most of the roads and other significant stuff was added some time ago. After a little wander around we went home so I could add what we had found.

On the way home, in fact just a few hundred metres from home, we came across a flock of fieldfares. They have flown here from Scandinavia to escape their winter.  

After I'd finished updating OSM I took a look at Google maps, which I rarely do. I was quite surprised how it has changed, especially adding lots of POIs and businesses. As usual their quality control is poor, with the impressive building of St Mary's Church shown in completely the wrong place. It has been there since the 14th century, so they've had plenty of time to find it. St Mary's is not the biggest church in the town, that has to be Beverley Minster and that's not even named on Google's map.

During my enforced stay at home I've been teaching myself  Java. I looked at it years ago and quickly turned away from it, but now it seems more mature and useful. The Netbeans IDE seems useful too. I've written some OSM stuff as a set of tasks and I'm going to look at some more too. My main gripe is the lack of properties in objects. The fields can be exposed as public, with no control over their use, or hidden as private and then only accessed with set or get methods. I want to see fields encapsulated as properties with setter and getter routines used transparently to validate updates and manage related properties. Always calling obj.getprop() and obj.setprop(x) seems very crude. I could be missing something of course, so add a comment if I am, but no consultancy or training fees are avaiable I'm afraid. I still have to get to grips with the huge library of available classes, but that's what long, dark evenings are for.

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