Have been continuing to do a few things with the new, kothic-js based Freemap 0.6, which, like the current version of Freemap (0.5) now features search and annotation facilities. There are still a few issues, rendering can be rather slow if the server is loaded or the client machine is busy, and some odd rendering artefacts occasionally occur (such as the underlying canvas tiles occasionally not being blanked if you change location): but the underlying map data is being kept up to date and a kothic-based system will be more sustainable than the raster solution and so overall I think it’s time to switch.
This means that from March 1st, barring disaster, Freemap 0.6 will become the default version and the 0.5 source code will be archived as a downloadable tarball. Being canvas-based it will require an HTML5-compatible browser, but this does include current versions of Firefox, Chrome, Opera and Internet Explorer (and at this point I would like to comment on what an improvement IE9 is over earlier versions). I would also like to thank Chris Jones at SUCS for helping to keep Freemap going in the past year or two through his very generous offer of hosting the tiles. With improvements to kothic-js doubtless in the pipeline (there is talk of client-side caching which should resolve performance problems) I’m now fairly convinced that this is the way to go.
This will of course not be a final version of 0.6; many features in 0.5 such as walking routes will not initially be present. It is my hope to add in a new, pgRouting based walking routes feature, time permitting as always.
With the move to vector rendering on the web client, I am also looking to make changes to Freemap’s Android app OpenTrail too and switch from osmdroid to the vector-based Mapsforge. At the moment this does not allow custom styles but the upcoming 0.3 release, due at the end of this month apparently, will.