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Messages - Boyd

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3796
Map Making Support / Towards a more photographic look
« on: January 20, 2009, 11:12:03 AM »
I mentioned my project in another thread (http://forums.gpsfiledepot.com/index.php/topic,123.15.html) but thought it would be better to start a new one instead of hijacking it any further  :)

To recap, I am going for a look which is more like a satellite photo although it is completely based on vector shapefiles which classify land cover/land usage. The challenge is creating custom polygon textures to accomplish this, and after struggling with "ASCII art" and a couple of icon editors, I was led to the Mapwel program (http://www.mapwel.biz/).

I just can't say enough good things about this piece of software - have had no problems whatsoever (yet!). It has a very slick UI and it's own built in compiler (cgpsmapper not needed). I am working with a relatively small test map so far, and it takes about 5 minutes to compile with cgpsmapper. Mapwel rips through it in 10 seconds! Wow. Does anybody have some background on this software or the author? I really don't know a thing, but from the look and feel I almost get the impression that he had some inside track at Garmin... former employee maybe? Just a wild guess.

All my source files are combined in a large Global Mapper project, and I will continue using that for assembling the map and exporting into Polish .mp format, which Mapwel can read. I then create an MP_TYPE attribute for all of the polygons and lines which I want to customize on the map. The custom types editor in Mapwel is the big attraction - it works great and give you access to over 70 user defined polygons IN ADDITION TO all the standard Garmin types.

You can also display the map on your screen in Mapwel with the actual polygon fills - something which I don't think any other software can do. This saves a lot of time since you don't have to compile and export to the GPS to see what it will look like.

So that's how I'm proceeding with the project, which is a map of Southern New Jersey - the Pine Barrens. After I get this farther along I will have a toolbox which I think can be used to create similar maps of other states/regions. But for now, I'm happy to be a "piney" because that's where I live and what I love. I have a strong background in art and design as well as computers. So this is a fun project for me.

My earlier version of the map can be downloaded here, and you can use the forums to discuss if you like too: http://forums.njpinebarrens.com/showthread.php?t=5929. But my new work is departing from the style of this older map.

Here are some screenshots of my preliminary work on the new map. First, this is what it looks like in Mapwel (showing the area where I live... in the middle o' nowhere :))




And here's the same map as seen on an Oregon, Nuvi 205 and GPSMap 60csx:



As you can see, each unit treats things like text, contour lines and roads a little differently, but the textures are really close to what Mapwel shows in the workspace. I was also really pleasantly surprised that it works so well on the 60csx which (IMO) is starting to show its age. The colors are not quite right, but that's as good as an 8-bit screen can do. But zooming and scrolling the map are very snappy. With my older map (at the link above), I have to do a separate version for the 60csx because performance was not acceptable and the display didn't look good in 256 colors. Also, for some reason, cgpsmapper files have lowercase road names and they don't properly display on the 60csx. Mapwell produces lowercase names on the Oregon and Nuvi, but uppercase on the 60csx (with the same file), just like Garmin's own maps.

So I'm learning - to my delight - that Garmin's hardware is really capable of much more that I thought possible based on their own (IMO) ugly looking topo's. Like I said, this is just the beginning of a long project but I'm happy with the direction it's going. If you haven't tried Mapwel yourself, it's definitely worth a look. If nothing else, you can use the free demo to generate a custom type file and export it out as text to compile in cgpsmapper.

3797
Quote
These are very nice. What procedure are you using to do them?

Thanks guys. I am putting together the entire source file with Global Mapper. I then assign my own attributes by adding an MP_TYPE hex value for everything I want to customize. Global Mapper's search and replace functions are great for this although I wish it had a bit more sophisticated searches like AND/OR.... but maybe I just haven't figured out how to do that yet?

I have been on a bit of a quest to figure an easy way to create pixmaps for the custom types. I am a WIndows newbie (Mac/Linux/Unix for many, many years) so I'm learning as I go. Have played around with IconXP and it's OK. There's also a freeware program called gfie which is handy for doing batch conversions. Ultimately I have ended up tweaking everything in a text editor.

But this gets really tedious, especially because you need to upload to the GPS and see what it looks like, tweak the TYP file, repeat. But this weekend I decided to take awhile and play around with the Mapwel program. I tried the demo sometime ago to convert a raster image and was not especially impressed. But now that I've spent some quality time with the software I have to admit... it completely blows me away. VERY impressive.

The custom types editor is terrific. Sure, I could wish for a few additional features, but it's really quite good. You can save type sets in their proprietary format or export them as text files and cut/paste them into your hand-built files. And you can do all that with the demo version for free even!

The limitation is that you cannot re-define Garmin's standard types, so that threw me at first because it's what I've been doing (necessary due to the limited number of available types. But Mapwel gives you a whole additional address range - like the marine maps - of types. When I pasted these into my hand built file and compiled with cgpsmapper, it didn't work though so I figured it was a limitation of the GPS.

Not so however - if you use Mapwel's own internal compiler, the custom types are rendered on the GPS just like they are in the Mapwel workspace. That is quite remarkable... and my test map compiles REALLY fast - about 10 seconds versus maybe 5 minutes with cgpsmapper. The demo version won't render the whole map, but I saw enough to convince me to get the full version.

Just now starting to use that, so maybe I will find some limits, but this sure appears to be a very impessive package. And if it works on my bigger maps, I suspect I will be done with cgpsmapper. If you haven't played with the software yet, check it out. I don't mind hand editing text files - have done it for over 20 years with vi under unix - but this program really makes it easier, and it renders the maps beautifully with the real textures on your screen.

Aside from the software aspects, I found a wealth of data on New Jersey's Geological Survey site where they have painstakingly traced shapefiles of the landcover for the whole state and classified them using a system called the Anderson Code.

I suspect many other states have this kind of info available too based on a quick search. Try using the keyword LULC (land use/land cover) when searching. I will start another thread with some screenshots later, after I get a little further with the current project. But I'm very psyched about all this (as you might tell from this long rant  ;D) now that I can speed up the process with Mapwel.

3798
Very nice. I'm glad to see others are looking for ways to include land use in their maps. I'm working on a very detailed map of southern New Jersey (the "pine barrens") and have recently found some very cool land use/land cover (LULC) data available from the NJGS. I'm working out a system to put this into a format which won't become too cluttered, but the end result is going to be very pictorial, probably utilizing over 40 custom polygon types. Here are a couple screenshots of an early version; the next version will go much further in this direction.








The first two screenshots are cropped from the center of the 800x400 screen on my Nuvi 5000. FWIW, this seems to be the ultimate Garmin unit for working on homebrew maps. The crude level of detail in Garmin's own maps don't do justice to what this model is capable - all the lines just look fatter on the 5" screen. But when you create your own line and polygon types, you can work at the pixel level and it looks really nice. The bottom screenshot is from the Oregon.

Yes, it is a real frustration to have to load the maps into the GPS to see what you've got. My sourcefile is a GlobalMapper project and I like working in that environment, but it doesn't look anything like the GPS display.

I was hopeful that Garmin's Mobile PC might be a platform where we could test maps right on our computer. It works and is very easy to drop your maps into on the fly, but it doesn't properly support .typ files so it's pretty useless for what I'm doing.

But maybe it would work better for you? You can download a fully functional free trial and see for yourself. Download the update here: https://buy.garmin.com/shop/store/downloadsUpdates.jsp?product=010-00685-00&cID=139&pID=13484

After downloading, DO NOT double click to install. Instead, you need to open the archive. I used WinRAR but evidently you could also use WinZip. After doing this, run the Main.MSI file and the program will install. The first time you run it will ask to enter your serial number or if you want the free trial period. If you select the free trial, it logs into Garmin's servers and registers the program, then tells you when it will expire. If nothing else, it's funny to see a Nuvi-style map on a 24" monitor  ;)

3799
Map Making Support / Re: .img extension not recognized by Nuvi 350?
« on: December 20, 2008, 01:44:57 PM »
Heh, I think I see what his problem was. Pretty sure he is using the default Windows folder option to hide file extensions. Before copying a file to the nuvi he re-named it gmapsupp.img but he probably wasn't seeing the invisible .img extension which was already there. Result was a file named gmapsupp.img.img, which wasn't recognized.

Make sense?

3800
Map Making Support / .img extension not recognized by Nuvi 350?
« on: December 20, 2008, 12:20:59 PM »
A beta tester of my new map reports that after installing a gmapsupp.img file on his Nuvi 350, it was not recognized. After noticing that the City Navigator maps didn't have a .img extension, he renamed the new map gmapsupp (no extension) and says it now works fine.

I think the Nuvi 350 is one of the first Nuvi's... is it possible this is different from the newer models? Or could it be related to Windows' option of hiding file extensions (mapmaking is one of the only things I do on Windows, so you'll have to help me out here  :) )

3801
General Discussion / Re: Just what the doctor ordered!!
« on: December 14, 2008, 05:04:01 AM »
Evidently something has changed with the distribution of the IDL runtime because the free download is no longer available at the URL referenced in the tutorial. I found their site very confusing and couldn't figure out a way to download the the runtime. After some Googling I found various references to this problem elsewhere but no solutions. It may be possible to register on their site and then download the free version, but I got frustrated and gave up eventually.

I finally decided to purchase the full version of Global Mapper after playing with the free trial for awhile, and I'm glad I did. It's a very impressive package which I'm already using for a variety of things, although not cheap. If there is a way to still get the free IDL runtime then I'm sure that a full explanation of the process would help others out.

3802
Using The Maps/Garmin Software / Re: Toggle between Topo and City Navagator
« on: December 13, 2008, 02:33:30 PM »
Pretty simple on the Nuvi... tap Menu > Tools > Settings > Map > Map Info and just check/uncheck what you want. I have never seen the individual tiles listed separately on the Nuvi with any mapsets I've used.

3803
Map Making Support / Re: Problems converting GNIS data
« on: December 09, 2008, 08:59:37 PM »
Thanks - that's a big help!  :)

3804
Map Making Support / Re: Problems converting GNIS data
« on: December 05, 2008, 06:16:25 PM »
Well that is odd... I have version 1.0.0.5 which I downloaded just before posting this evening. I even tried clearing my cache to be sure I was getting the new version. I just tried again and got the new version now. However the server still seems to be down.... will try again later.

I think there was a banner on that site the other day saying it would be down for maintenance on December 6 actually (or at least I saw that message on *some* USGS site  :))

Thanks for your help anyway!

3805
Map Making Support / Re: Problems converting GNIS data
« on: December 05, 2008, 05:08:15 PM »
Afraid I'm really striking out here  :-\  Just tried the web version without luck. It seemed to hang forever with the full NJ state file, so I edited it down to just a few lines (see attached "test2.txt" file). The converter takes awhile to digest this, but finally gives me an output file. However, looks like the file is empty, and global mapper says it couldn't read any data from it. I have attached this too (282____170324.gpx)

Any ideas what's going on here?

3806
Map Making Support / Re: Problems converting GNIS data
« on: December 05, 2008, 04:32:21 PM »
I'm sorry - new to this, and use macs/linux/unix more often than windows. But it still isn't working. It runs without reporting errors and claims to create files, but they don't end up in the output folders I pick.

Interestingly, the default folder after installing the program seems to be somewhere on somebody else's machine - C:\Documents and Settings\Dan\. If I try to choose my own desktop folder the program says "Run-time error '91': Object variable or With block variable not set". If I pick other folders I don't get that error, but they are empty after the program runs.

Am I missing some component? I followed your tutorial for installing postGIS. Or is it putting its output files somewhere else? What would be the name of the file I should look for if that's the case?

3807
Map Making Support / Re: Problems converting GNIS data
« on: December 05, 2008, 11:00:10 AM »
Thanks a lot - will check it out this evening when I get home   :)

3808
Map Making Support / Problems converting GNIS data
« on: December 04, 2008, 05:10:38 PM »
Hi - new user here - great site!  8)

Having some problems converting GNIS data for my state (NJ). I have downloaded the "pipe delimited" text file, but when I try using your converter here: http://www.gpsfiledepot.com/tools/gnistogpx.php, it hangs for a long time, and then I get the following:

___________________________
Internal Server Error

The server encountered an internal error or misconfiguration and was unable to complete your request.

Please contact the server administrator, [email protected] and inform them of the time the error occurred, and anything you might have done that may have caused the error.

More information about this error may be available in the server error log.

Additionally, a 404 Not Found error was encountered while trying to use an ErrorDocument to handle the request.
______________________________

I have also installed the gnis_process program, and it appears run properly, claiming to create files, but nothing appears in the selected output folder. Seems like the web version would do what I want, since I already have the file though.

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