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#1
azpublic

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Hi,

I'am looking for a tool that would allow me to create a tiled map for a huge dataset (an entire country).

The ideal would be a tool that would allow me to design / define the map's features apearance (which is mainly street level data with road names, POI, Landmarks, etc ...) and then that would allow me to export it to 256X256 png / or gif image tiles.

The result should look something similar to what we can see when using google maps street maps.

The main challenge in my opinion is to have street names display in a nice manner inside the boundaries of a street, in the correct reading way, and in a repetitive manner so that the user doesn't have to scroll the map for hours to find the street name.

I'm not sure what kind of tool (commercial or not) would allow me to do this. Maybe MapInfo , ArcGis, Autocad etc ..

So if you guys have an idea I'd really love to hear it ! :)

What are the google, yahoo, live guys using to create their maps and tiles anyway ?

Thanks in advance

#2
Hans van der Maarel

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Global Mapper can export to tiles (and specifically, tiles for Google Maps, Virtual Earth and Worldwind).
Hans van der Maarel - Cartotalk Editor
Red Geographics
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#3
azpublic

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Global Mapper can export to tiles (and specifically, tiles for Google Maps, Virtual Earth and Worldwind).



Thanks for your reply hans.

However I've been playing with Global Mapper before posting and I didn't find it really attractive enough for my project except for the tiles generation part...
I think the fact that you can export tiles for google is great however the software looks very poor when you want to style your layers ...

How could I achieve a map quality comparable to the ones of yahoo maps or google maps using Global MApper. I don't really think it's possible.

Besides, I'm working with a huge data set so styling in Illustrator is not really an option.

I'm really looking for a professional solution here.

Any other ideas ?

#4
paul

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Check out the "publisher" version of Arc2Earth, which is a plugin for ArcGIS. It might do what you need.

http://arc2earth.com...ist/default.htm

#5
Clark Geomatics

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I use ArcGIS software and have run into a similar problem trying to generate tiles for extensive datasets. I've used VB code created for the DSMapBook project (ESRI - Click here to visit ESRI's documentation). It works very well and will produce PDFs, graphics, etc., based on a series of map neatlines that you generate as polygons. The code clips the data to each of the neatlines and sends to PDF (or other format).

That's the first hairball sorted out. The second one deals with annotation and formatting - subjects that are beyond the scope of this reply. You will definitely need some serious software / code to automate your labeling output to match the Google format. I hope you realize that Google has a separate map rendering for each zoom level.

Good luck.
Cheers,

Jeff Clark
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www.clarkgeomatics.ca

#6
Hans van der Maarel

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However I've been playing with Global Mapper before posting and I didn't find it really attractive enough for my project except for the tiles generation part...
I think the fact that you can export tiles for google is great however the software looks very poor when you want to style your layers ...

How could I achieve a map quality comparable to the ones of yahoo maps or google maps using Global MApper. I don't really think it's possible.

Besides, I'm working with a huge data set so styling in Illustrator is not really an option.

I'm really looking for a professional solution here.


How big is big?

I produce city maps for a large (both in terms of population and area) city in the Netherlands. The full size 1:10k wall map measures 2.4 x 2.4 meters and I've been exporting several versions of it to ECW. They're produced in Illustrator/MAPublisher, rasterized into a 300dpi TIFF in Photoshop and then (after a tfw has been created) compressed in Global Mapper. At that point an export to a tileset could be made as well and since Global Mapper works with the TIFF, it's styling capabilities (which are kinda meager, I readily agree on that) don't even come into play. Crank down the ECW compression factor as low as 1:5 and there's no noticable artifacts.

Professional enough? ;) I know many other cartographers here use the Illustrator/MAPublisher method for large (and truly stunning) maps.
Hans van der Maarel - Cartotalk Editor
Red Geographics
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#7
vhramos

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If you can rasterize your map and have access to Imagine you can use Map Series Tool very easily.

#8
peanut

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I have been using ArcGIS server for this recently and have been very impressed with the results. Basically you just author your map in ArcMap using scale dependencies etc... ArcGIS server will slice up the tiles... even anti-aliased if you want them to be.

The watersheds and streams on http://waterquality.lcra.org were made this way.

Rich

#9
azpublic

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Thank you all for your replies.

I wish I could use ArcGis server ... it really looks impressive.


Does anyone have experience with the mapnik library ?

http://mapnik.org/

In their showcase there seems to be something REALLY simillar to what I want to do ...

The only problem is that the documentation is inexistent for that library.

Anybody know about it ?

#10
rudy

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This is related but perhaps slightly deviated from the original posting . . . . we have been using a combination Freehand and Quark to produce our atlas books - not the most efficient setup but it got hte job done and was quite easy to manage and update once the layout was setup. We are moving everything over to Illustrator/InDesign CS3 and find that Illustrator files seem to really slow down the process considerably . . . I was under the impression that everything would work smoothly together because it was all part of the same suite. They do work well together but bringing large Illustrator files into to InDesign is a problem, even with the previews set to low. What are people using for building their atlas layout files?

#11
Dennis McClendon

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Take a look at the article mentioned in the thread Google Maps is the Best, Right?

http://www.alistapar...ntrolofyourmaps

The comments mention the lack of documentation and how people have gotten past them.

I should mention that the author, Paul Smith of EveryBlock, shares office space with me. I'm very impressed with the look of the online maps they've done.
Dennis McClendon, Chicago CartoGraphics
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#12
azpublic

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Thanks Dennis for your reply.

I had came accross Paul Smith's article just a litle after my last post.

A fantastic article that makes me think Ideas are floating in the air since it explains pretty much exactly what I'm trying to do right now for my application.

Please thank Paul Smith for me for putting down so clearly all the aspects of this part of my development!

Now I must figure out how to install and get mapnik to use PLUS getting C++ and Python litterate ... VC++ Express is on its way to my downloads folder right now :)

Cheers,

Alexandre




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