David Snell is thrilled to announce the arrival of his new addition to the family - !OSMinfo. Although small and new, it is very powerful for its age. Details below.
It is with great sadness that the passing of wProCAD+ has been recorded. It never lived up to its RISC OS cousin and was too costly to administer and maintain. Click here to read more.
!ProCAD+ and !OSMinfo are to be officially wed at a civil service at the RISC OS South West Show on 25th February. The reception will be held at the Webbington Hotel. All are invited.
!ProCAD+ and family have just cause to celebrate. The arrival of !OSMinfo closes the loop. !GetOSM (which has had a total facelift) acquires the OpenSreetMap data. !ProOSM+ turns the .osm file into a ProCAD+ file and !ProCAD+ can then use !OSMinfo to help obtain yet more information from the map. All four programs are now offered as a single package to give incredible access to data not normally displayed on the map. Here is what has happened to each of the family:
The first version of this program was clumsy and not very user friendly and so has been completely rewritten. One common complaint was that trying to search for a map by postcode failed. This was largely because the postcodes in the OSM database were either missing or wrong. !GetOSM now has its own database of over 2.5 million postcodes, thus eliminating one of the calls to the internet for data. Another addition is the conversion of Ordnance Survey Grid References. You can now locate a map using an OSGB grid reference. This means that you can now look up a map by:
!GetOSM’s help facility now opens a window in your browser that you can slide off to one side and keep open to guide you through the process of obtaining your .osm map file.
This program only needed minor changes. More symbols have been added and a few others updated to comply with the latest versions. The rendering of areas seems to vary fairly frequently on the OSM web site, not always for the better so !ProOSM+ tends to stick with the original patterns. However, the colours of highways have been completely changed so a new switch has been added to the highways line type menu to select the latest colours if required, but these are not the ones normally used in this country, where motorways are usually shown in blue rather than red.
This has moved on to version 1.09. The two main areas of improvement are the inclusion of PDF import and OSMinfo (see below).
A PDF file may be dropped onto a fresh ProCAD+ window or the iconbar icon to load it. There are a few types that won’t load. Very early PDF (version 1 or 2 files) and encrypted files are not supported and only ‘flate’ compression is recognised. For a multi-page document, your will be asked which page you wish to import.
This is a completely new program that is normally run by !ProCAD+, when needed. A new ‘OSM info.’ entry has been added to the ProCAD+ main menu to communicate with it. Very often there is far more information available in the .osm file than is shown on a map. !OSMinfo gives access to this data and displays the found part of the file in its own separate window. In all cases it is the position of the pointer on the ProCAD+ map that is used to locate the information when MENU is clicked or the new numbered function issued.
The map displayed by !ProCAD+ needs to have its equivalent .osm (or /osm in RISC OS) file in the same directory for !OSMinfo to work properly. ie: Exeter and Exeter/osm need to be in the same directory. The .osm file is essentially a text file which contains data in three distinct forms: Nodes, Ways and Relations. Nodes are used to define single locations on the map. Some of the nodes have tags to provide more information. A tagged node is used to define any single location like, say, a peak or a mini-roundabout. Ways define linear elements like highways or areas such as fields or buildings. They consist of a list of node references to establish the coordinates of the vertices of the line and tags to give meaning to the line or area. (An area would normally start and end at the same point.) The third type is Relation. Relations consist of Members and tags. Members can refer to Nodes, Ways or even other Members. They are used to define complex shapes or things like routes or boundaries.
The new ‘OSM info’ sub-menu in !ProCAD+ offers the following options:
|OSM info||ProCAD+ function No.|
The top seven entries (function numbers 470 to 476) deal with the data within the .osm file. This means that if you spot a symbol on the map that you want more infornation on, ‘Near nodes’ may provide more details. The maps created by ProOSM+ usually show much more than is visible on the maps from the OSM web site so you may see odd dotted lines and wonder what they are. ‘Way linear’ can reveal things like disused railways and often give historic reasons for their use. If you use ‘Way Area’, be sure to click on the edge of the area to locate it. Somewhere in the middle is not good enough, as is the case in selecting a shape in ProCAD+. ‘Relation linear’ can reveal all kinds of information for things like railways, bus routes, cycle routes etc. These seven options can also sometimes disclose alternative names for various features.
The last two options below the line (functions 477 and 478) do not require the presence of the .osm file.
In the case of ‘UK Post Code’, !OSMinfo trawls through the !GetOSM post code database to locate the nearest post code to the pointer’s position. For ‘OS Grid Reference’ the grid reference is computed to the nearest metre. NB: The last two options only apply to UK mainland.
If any of the top seven options have produced a successful search, a click on a line in the grey OSMinfo window will open a read-only text view on the whole .osm file with the found line in red. A Shift-Click on such a line will open the .osm file in your current editor at the appropriate place.
Once !OSMinfo has been run by !ProCAD+ it will remain on the icon bar until explicitly quit. This saves it having to be loaded each time to speed up lookups. (You may notice that the first lookup takes longer than subsequent ones.)
The last upgrade to wProCAD+ was made in 2014, bringing it up to version 1.03. With all the problems associated with Windows, it has been decided to withdraw it from sale and no more upgrades will be issued. However, all is not lost. There is an alternative. VirtualAcorn is perfectly capable of running all the new software on a Windows machine so for an initial outlay to obtain it you will have access to the very latest that ProCAD+ and family have to offer.
If you just want to upgrade your ProCAD+ to version 1.09,or convert your wProCAD+ to ProCAD+, the cost is £20.
However, if you already have ProCAD+ and would like to upgrade to the whole package of four programs mentioned above, the cost is only £30. (You can also convert your wProCAD+ to the package for the same amount.
Click here to buy your upgrade on-line.