PyTopo on the East Mojave map set and tried to trace the road. But I found that as I scrolled along the road, things got slower and slower until it just wasn't usable any more.
PyTopo was taking up all of my poor laptop's memory. Why? Python is garbage collected -- you're not supposed to have to manage memory explicitly, like freeing pixbufs. I poked around in all the sample code and man pages I had available but couldn't find any pygtk examples that seemed to be doing any explicit freeing.
Turns out that although Python is supposed to handle its own garbage collection, the Python interpreter doesn't grok the size of a pixbuf object; in particular, it doesn't see the image bits as part of the object's size. So dereferencing lots of pixbuf objects doesn't trigger any "enough memory has been freed that it's time to run the garbage collector" actions.
The solution is easy enough: call
after drawing a map (or any other time a bunch of pixbufs have been
So there's a new version of PyTopo, 0.6 that should run a lot better on small memory machines, plus a new collection format (yet another format from the packaged Topo! map sets) courtesy of Tom Trebisky.
Oh ... in case you're wondering, the ancient USGS maps from Topo! didn't show the road correctly either.
[ 22:21 Oct 12, 2007 More programming | permalink to this entry | ]