I am currently finalising and producing the map images to put into the map document, and like the Main North Line one, it will start from the top rather than the bottom of the line – as this is more like its actual geographic arrangement. Therefore the first image in this posting will be from the Cromwell end. I have made my life a lot easier for publishing the map document by making the map composer view the same size as the map size used in Word, this is 17.5 x 12.5 cm. This means the maps don’t have to be resized into Word, all that has to happen is to change the wrapping to be inline with text and when you paste into Word, it helpfully puts a button to do that to the right of the image automatically. The smaller PDFs import a lot faster than the ones that were full A4 size, too – a few seconds compared to two or three minutes each (I kid you not). I don’t really mind the import delay – if that is what is needed to get a high quality image, so be it.
There are 134 distinct images in the maps document, which amounts to a document size of 72 pages. This is a big document, but it is pretty hard to show the level of detail desirable without that number of maps. The scale is typically 1:3000 but in a few places it will be 1:6000, 1:9000, 1:12000 or 1:15000 as the guideline is to use the smallest possible scale while still showing the level of detail desired. However it is possible that future revisions of the map could make some adjustments to the scale of most of the maps and possibly reduce the number of pages while keeping a reasonable amount of detail. For a comparison with some other maps produced recently: the Main North Line – 72 pages for 350 km which means significantly smaller scale in a lot of maps; Nelson Section – 30 pages on about 110 km, well about half the length and half the pages. The main issue in fact is caused by Qgis’ automatic labelling, dictating most of the maps needed to be at 1:6000. It may be possible to push this out to 1:9000 in future, perhaps with manual placing of captions or adjusting the label size to a smaller font, currently 8 or 9 points. Maps for closed lines will always be at a higher scale because of there being more interest in finer details and it being more difficult to locate the route.