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#1
Hans van der Maarel

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This is a small sample of a map I recently finished for a client. The real one is supposed to be printed 6 feet wide and used in schools throughout Belgium and The Netherlands.

For the production of this map, VNS (Visual Nature Studio) by 3D Nature was used. A number of render jobs was set up, resulting in hundreds of small tiles. These were then stitched together into a single image and reprojected using Manifold. Additional layers, containing the inland waters, major cities and country boundaries, were also produced. The final step was putting everything together in a single Photoshop document, after which some minor corrections were performed. Due to the resolution demanded by the client (300 dpi), this turned out to be a roughly 21000x10800 images. The final file was 476 Mb in size.

Datasets used for this include the 3D Nature Ultimate Earth collection (main terrain and bathymetry) and Tom Patterson's Natural Earth (Antarctic and Greenland ice caps).

Some statistics... Total render time is several days, total processing time in stitching together the tiles is probabely another day or two. In the end, the files got so big it literally took 15 minutes to save the composite in Manifold. I had to buy a new computer in order to be able to do this, and then I had to seriously upgrade the RAM...

B)
Hans van der Maarel - Cartotalk Editor
Red Geographics
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#2
Jason

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Wow, what a project. I think it looks good but, to me the image here looks hazy. If I look at the image on my screen from the side the image looks sharp. Is this just the image you put here?
Jason Clark
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#3
frax

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wow that's impressive, congratulations!

When are you going to see it printed?

I have to agree with Jason, on the looks.
Hugo Ahlenius
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#4
Hans van der Maarel

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Hugo,

THanks. I hope I'll see it printed soon, but I think it may take a few weeks/months. Another cartographer is going to work with my borders and cities and finish the map.

Jason,

Can't see anything wrong with the image from my end. I scaled it down from the original in Photoshop, so that might have done some odd stuff to the detail.
Hans van der Maarel - Cartotalk Editor
Red Geographics
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#5
Martin Gamache

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Hans it looks great on screen here. Sounds like a mammoth project...

Can I ask why the dark brown over the mountain areas?

#6
ELeFevre

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Excellent work, Hans! How much RAM did you have to upgrade to in order to render the images? That's got to be great feeling knowing your map is going to be displayed throughout Belgium and the Netherlands. I'm excited to see what it's going to look like once the rest of features are included. Erin



#7
Hans van der Maarel

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Martin,

The colors were chosen mainly by the client. They wanted the mountains extra dark (I personally would have chosen a lighter brown, going into grey/white for the higher peaks) because the final map will have a coating on it that will make the colors somewhat lighter.

Personally, I would have liked to see one extra level of depth in the water, to show the really deep trenches.

Erin,

The rendering was done on my laptop, 2 Gb of ram and a 2 Ghz Pentium M 760 processor. Even with that kind of power it took days to render.

In all, this was a massive project indeed, but I'm glad I had the opportunity to get some experience in doing such a big thing.
Hans van der Maarel - Cartotalk Editor
Red Geographics
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#8
mike

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fun project! photoshop uses ALOT of ram, but the more ram you give it, the better it performs!

#9
Hans van der Maarel

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Even with the 2 Gb of ram I occasionally ran into memory problems. No wonder if you know I had 5 layers in there that each separately would have been over 700 Mb of uncompressed data.
Hans van der Maarel - Cartotalk Editor
Red Geographics
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#10
Rob

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Looks great Hans.

How did you set up your lights in VNS? I've tried a couple of different strategies to create planimetric full world renders, but found consistent shading near impossible. Your tiling together renders sounds promising. Would you be willing to share some more detail on that process?

cheers,

rob

#11
Hans van der Maarel

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Rob,

The trick is not to set up any lights in VNS, but increase the intensity of the atmosphere's ambient light. I'm also not rendering shadows. Instead, I've applied a dark overlay to southeast-facing slopes. Doesn't really show up on land, but it's quite obvious (and quite nice) in the water.

As for the rendering, I've set up several animated camera's, each shot slightly overlapping the neighbouring ones. Rendered to tiff images with tfw's and loaded them all into Manifold. There it's just a matter of selecting, copy and paste. There probabely are faster (automated) ways of doing this, but I currently don't have access to those.
Hans van der Maarel - Cartotalk Editor
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#12
Rob

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Hans, by dark overlay do you mean an aspect driven dynamic perameter texture?

#13
Hans van der Maarel

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Yes, the latest VNS versions (2.54) have an aspect dynamic parameter. It was actually added on my request. I've added that as an extra, partly opaque, component to an elevation-driven texture. The aspect-driven component adds black to any south-east oriented slopes with a certain minimal slope angle. The intensity of the black can also be influenced by the slope, but I opted not to do that.
Hans van der Maarel - Cartotalk Editor
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#14
woneil

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This is a small sample of a map I recently finished for a client. The real one is supposed to be printed 6 feet wide and used in schools throughout Belgium and The Netherlands.

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My first reaction is that the students in these schools will be fortunate! In the U.S. it is rare for schools to display good physical maps. I had the good fortune to have a father who was deeply interested in geography and spent money even in hard times to have good maps and geography books for us to see and use. It not only left my sister and me with a love of maps and the land but also helped us develop many skills whose value extends far beyond geography and cartography.

The dark brown colors for great heights seem to be traditonal. I have my father's old Goode's from college. (I compensated my sister for its loss by providing her with a new one!) Heights over 10,000 ft are a dark reddish-brown, really quite overpowering, and the colors shade down to dark green for elevations below 500 ft. White was for depths of no more than 500 ft. The scheme in the big wall map he had was essentially the same, as was that in the 12-inch globe (a great expense at that time). I distinctly recall, as a small child, puzzling over the rationale for this scheme and its relationship to the reality.

I do feel that the schemes which lighten with height are a bit more perspicuous, but all in all there is no doubt that this will be a splendid map for children to learn from. One of the wonderful things about a map is that it is not linear and the student is free to explore it in a way that a textbook does not allow.
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#15
Hans van der Maarel

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Will,

My first reaction is that the students in these schools will be fortunate!


Thanks :D

A lot of effort has gone into getting the correct color scheme. This was done by considering the historic maps (60s-70s) that this one is supposed to replace and considering the fact that even from the back of a classroom, the large structures should still be plainly visible. They consulted with a university professor for the colors. Ultimately, some choices were made that I personally would not have made, as outlined above, but I think the end result is still absolutely stunning.

Once they're printed, I should get a copy ;)
Hans van der Maarel - Cartotalk Editor
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