Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

It’s official at last – If you’re not from Shetland, you’re as thick as two short planks

While it might seem to be eminently sensible to bring remote islands onto a map placing them in a box, thereby retaining the larger scale representation of the land mass (for a given size of page, for example), and avoiding most of the map being sea, it seems that’s not so.

Apparently everyone is too dumb to realise the islands have been moved closer to the mainland, and therefore have no idea how far away, isolated, and hard to reach those islands are.

The box has now been banned!

I’ll let them explain – I have to take a moment to go bang my head off a nice soft wall for a while, or at least until it stops hurting.

New rules barring public bodies from putting Shetland in a box on official documents have come into force.

Islands MSP Tavish Scott had sought to change the law to ban the “geographical mistake” which “irks” locals, by amending the Islands (Scotland) Bill.

The bill’s “mapping requirement” has now come into force, although it does give bodies a get-out clause if they provide reasons why a box must be used.

Mapmakers argue that boxes help avoid “publishing maps which are mostly sea”.

The Islands Bill, which aims to offer greater protections and powers to Scotland’s island communities, was unanimously passed in May.

It gives island councils extra powers over activities on and around their coastlines and requires ministers to have a long-term plan for improvement.

Thanks to an amendment from Mr Scott, it also includes a “Shetland mapping requirement”.

The Lib Dem MSP said the common practice of placing Shetland in a box off the Moray Firth or the Aberdeenshire coast was “intensely annoying” to islanders, and created a false impression of the challenges they face on account of their remote location.

Ban on putting Shetland in a box on maps comes into force

Nice one Shetland.

I wonder if the only factory in the world that makes blue ink for printers is on Shetland?

Let’s see how long it takes for the good folk of Rockall to follow suit.

An offending example of how NOT to do it now,

And there was me thinking I could just have paddled across to Shetland when I was up in places like Fraserburgh.

I could have DIED!

The Shetland Box

The Shetland Box

And why not – time to buy those shares of ‘Blue’.

New Scottish Map

New Scottish Map

The real reason I made this post is down to the relative ease and frequency with which some laws can be made nowadays (not just for the box, bit for too many other items which don’t need or merit ‘a law’), while other, far more important and life-critical legislation can languish in the system for years before making progress.

04/10/2018 Posted by | Civilian, council, Maps | , | Leave a comment

February roundup

I hadn’t planned on doing any more ’roundups’ after things returned to normal after the hosting hiccups had cleared up, and postings etc returned to normal, but I think they will re-appear on an occasional basis, since they allow items that might not otherwise be noticed to get a bit of publicity (and somewhere I can find a reminder about them too).

February, and a fair part of January once things had settled down, has seen a lot of work go into the ‘invisible’ parts of the Main Site.

Many of the pages didn’t quite conform to what has now become the ‘Standard’ format, with headers/titles being slightly different point sizes, and using slightly different wording, and hundreds of pages have been edited over the past few weeks to make things consistent.

The method of formatting quoted material has evolved over time as well, hopefully becoming more consistent and clearer over time, so that when we use such material it is obvious (without spoiling the flow or readability of the page), and that the source of the material is acknowledged.

The map markers have also been made more consistent, with all being given popup text which appears if they are clicked (this was neve done on single markers, on the assumption that the marked point was ‘obvious’). Also, where a map has multiple markers, there will usually be a clickable list of marker links, to make it easier to determine what has been marked on the map, and allow each to be clicked and identify itself on the map.

Regarding maps, it’s probably worth mentioning that Google has update considerable areas of its aerial imagery with high resolution content, and many od our maps which were created with the default view set to road mapping now actually show detail aerial views if the satellite button is clicked on the map.

Although it’s presently under development, the Discussion option has been a real irritation since day one. The default option is fine for a busy site, but we’re quiet, and offering made using the original Discussion Tab were always in danger of going unnoticed for weeks, even if set to notify an admin, as they were so intermittent – there could be none for weeks, then one or two would slip through if no-one was alert. The Forum was always seen as the correct place for discussion, but the forum and Main Site are separate entities, based on different code, formatting, languages, and operating logic, so didn’t immediately provide any obvious means of working together. However, the advantage of directing anyone who wanted to raise a discussion, or make a comment, to the forum was obvious, as their input would be seen immediately, and by everyone involved, so would therefore by highly unlikely to be missed.

While it still needs a bit of admin input to manually add the specific link, the Discussion Tab does now take the user to the Discussion part of the forum. Once an admin has seen that a Discussion has actually started and exists, they will add the link to the subject page on the Main Site, after which clicking the link goes straight to the discussion. The forum isn’t really geared to providing an easy link back to the subject page on the Main Site, but we think we may have found a way to do it in a reasonably intuitive way – we’ll see if it works next month.

Hopefully March will see all this repair/maintenance stuff done for a while, and we can get back to the real business of content.

29/02/2008 Posted by | Site News | , , , , , , | Leave a comment


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