Today the New Zealand Rail Maps Volumes site has been relaunched. The Volumes site provides access to the maps in file based formats, which can be used for various purposes where a physical format is desirable. The major limitation of this format is that the maps are statically generated for a particular point in time and do not automatically get updated, as the live webmaps would.
As of this date, the site’s Downloads page provides access to sections in JPG format from parts of Volumes 5, 6 and 10. As more sections are completed or made ready they will be added in the future. All sections which are added after today will include a data table giving a lot of useful tabulated information about the section, but the older sections will not receive this data until they are updated.
Whilst the site was originally launched in 2021 with the intention of providing a photo albums type of user experience in that the JPG format could be browsed through on a computer or handheld device, the decision taken in that year was to avoid the need to maintain a website of this type, which either would require WordPress plugins or standalone PHP code that would have to be updated and maintained as needed. The WordPress code itself updates fairly frequently, often several times per year, imposing a burden for plugin and custom code creators to maintain compatibility, and there are always ongoing security issues that will arise. The decision has been to stick with what can be achieved within a standard WordPress site, which our hosting provides full support for. Hence the site is set out like a blog with the posts forming the News section and a few pages providing additional information. Like the main project blog at www.nzrailmaps.nz this site will provide its own update feed and search facilities. The purpose of the blog in this site is to notify users of content additions or updates to the Volumes site. Overall updates of the entire project will continue to be notified on the main project blog and various social media as now.
This site currently doesn’t have much information about individual volumes; it just gives a list of the files that can be downloaded, grouped by the volume they relate to. Whether additional is provided and how it is structured will be considered in the coming year.