While other State’s base maps offer options such a topographic, imagery and greyscale, nearly all of these base map options are delivered in raster formats. This project offered all these traditional and new unique map design options in the newer vector format which elevates NSW’s base maps to be at the cutting edge of state-wide maps in Australia.
There were a number of benefits of creating vector tiles for this project;
- All vector base maps are designed to be integrated with other datasets, be that raster or vector, within GIS platforms or web environments. Muted colours and dark mode are used to allow other information to stand out and raster hill shading or imagery to be incorporated.
- The main vector tile base map was created for fast tile creation mimicking the raster product and possible replacement. A raster tile product can take from weeks to months to create the whole state, compared to vector tiles that may be created in a matter of hours.
- Faster vector tile creation allows changes in the base to occur quickly and new data added within the vector tile creation or added as an addition layer to the vector tile within a web or GIS environment.
- An equivalent vector tile product file can be around 3GB in size compared to raster tiles in the vicinity of 900GB.
- Fast turnarounds mean multiple map base versions could be easily created depending on the use case.
Accessibility standards and principles were also a priority. Integrated design cues were chosen to not impact people with colour-blindness whilst labelling size and case enhanced readability. Background colour combinations were selected for low light and muted background options facilitated to add information without distracting from the map or making it cluttered and unreadable.
New fonts were used to modernise the base map and enhance labelling placement. This resulted in better figure ground and hierarchical organisation of labels.