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I have a gigapixel image - what software do I need?

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#1
craigspc

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Hello,

Over the last few years I've been trying to accurately map out a large area of wetland in the UK. I'd be grateful if you'd take a look at a small example image, which I have posted here:

Posted Image

As you can see, my map is currently nothing more than a white background, with the water mass marked out in solid blue. Now here's my problem...

The image that you saw above is only a tiny portion of my map, which has in turn been reduced in size by 50%. The full scale drawing is approximately 60,000 x 60,000 pixels, and is currently saved in Photoshop large image (PSB) format.

Over time, I would like to turn this blue and white image into a 'proper' looking map of the area - ideally one which could be interactively viewed online. However, I am currently sat on a huge raster image - a few gigapixels in size, and I have no idea what kind of software I need to learn in order to proceed.

Does anyone have any suggestion? I would be SO grateful for any help or advice on offer.

Thank you,
Craig.

#2
rudy

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The image that you saw above is only a tiny portion of my map, which has in turn been reduced in size by 50%. The full scale drawing is approximately 60,000 x 60,000 pixels, and is currently saved in Photoshop large image (PSB) format.


Are you using Photoshop to create the map/image? If so, at this size you might be better off using a vector drawing program such as Illustrator. A single layer map of that size would be relatively small and manageable in something like Illustrator. Depending on how you are using the final product, it would probably be easier and quicker to go this route. Converting it to a vector format file is another issue but if it is only one layer you should be able to (auto)trace it fairly quickly.

#3
craigspc

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The image that you saw above is only a tiny portion of my map, which has in turn been reduced in size by 50%. The full scale drawing is approximately 60,000 x 60,000 pixels, and is currently saved in Photoshop large image (PSB) format.


Are you using Photoshop to create the map/image? If so, at this size you might be better off using a vector drawing program such as Illustrator. A single layer map of that size would be relatively small and manageable in something like Illustrator. Depending on how you are using the final product, it would probably be easier and quicker to go this route. Converting it to a vector format file is another issue but if it is only one layer you should be able to (auto)trace it fairly quickly.


Hi,

Thanks for your reply.

Yes, the map was created in photoshop. I have considered purchasing illustrator to convert the image into vector data (as a friend of mine suggested that would be the best way forward), but having tried the demo version, it soon became apparent that it can't work with such large files. I suppose that I could chop the current raster map up into pieces and trace each smaller image seperately. However, what kind of software would I use to join everything back up again?

Perhaps I'm missing the entire principle of how cartography/GIS works?

Edited by craigspc, 21 August 2009 - 07:29 AM.


#4
craigspc

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It night be worth adding that the area of water shown in my attached image is barely half a mile long. The entire image covers some 120+ mikes of waterway. You can probably tell that I'm an amaterur, as I don't suppose that anyone in their right mind would have done this in photoshop. Maybe I should have known better :(

#5
mike

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The image that you saw above is only a tiny portion of my map, which has in turn been reduced in size by 50%. The full scale drawing is approximately 60,000 x 60,000 pixels, and is currently saved in Photoshop large image (PSB) format.


Are you using Photoshop to create the map/image? If so, at this size you might be better off using a vector drawing program such as Illustrator. A single layer map of that size would be relatively small and manageable in something like Illustrator. Depending on how you are using the final product, it would probably be easier and quicker to go this route. Converting it to a vector format file is another issue but if it is only one layer you should be able to (auto)trace it fairly quickly.


Hi,

Thanks for your reply.

Yes, the map was created in photoshop. I have considered purchasing illustrator to convert the image into vector data (as a friend of mine suggested that would be the best way forward), but having tried the demo version, it soon became apparent that it can't work with such large files. I suppose that I could chop the current raster map up into pieces and trace each smaller image seperately. However, what kind of software would I use to join everything back up again?

Perhaps I'm missing the entire principle of how cartography/GIS works?


Take a look at Geographic Imager for Adobe Photoshop. It has tile and mosaic features that might be useful to you. http://www.avenza.co...ographic-imager

If you decide to go back to the vector way (which I recommend like the other posters here) then look into MAPublisher for Adobe Illustrator. You will probably find that this may be the best solution since it creates the smallest files. A 60,000 x 60,000 px raster is like a 10GB image... :huh: http://www.avenza.com/mapublisher

#6
gregsd

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Hello,

Over the last few years I've been trying to accurately map out a large area of wetland in the UK. I'd be grateful if you'd take a look at a small example image, which I have posted here:



As you can see, my map is currently nothing more than a white background, with the water mass marked out in solid blue. Now here's my problem...

The image that you saw above is only a tiny portion of my map, which has in turn been reduced in size by 50%. The full scale drawing is approximately 60,000 x 60,000 pixels, and is currently saved in Photoshop large image (PSB) format.

Over time, I would like to turn this blue and white image into a 'proper' looking map of the area - ideally one which could be interactively viewed online. However, I am currently sat on a huge raster image - a few gigapixels in size, and I have no idea what kind of software I need to learn in order to proceed.

Does anyone have any suggestion? I would be SO grateful for any help or advice on offer.

Thank you,
Craig.


How have you created the image in the first place? Have you been doing some sort heads-up digitising?


Greg Driver

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MapInfo User...!

#7
Hans van der Maarel

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You can probably tell that I'm an amaterur, as I don't suppose that anyone in their right mind would have done this in photoshop.


There's no nice way of saying this, so I'll be honest: you're right, Photoshop wasn't the best choice for something of this magnitude (i.e. not for creating a dataset of this size). As a general reminder: it's easier to go from vector to raster than the other way around. Mind you, by the looks of it your level of detail is very high, so even if you would have started out in say Illustrator or GIS/CAD software, you would have run into issues.

Mike suggested Geographic Imager to georeference (i.e. tell the software where on earth your data is located) and tile the image. I second that recommendation. The smaller tiles can then be brought into Illustrator and vectorized seperately. Another option that might be worth checking out Global Mapper. It'll also allow you to georeference and it offers a nifty "Export to Google Maps" option, which will take care of the whole process up to and including writing the Google Maps javascript code. If you want to publish the map online, this would be a very good path to take.

Hope this helps.
Hans van der Maarel - Cartotalk Editor
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#8
Nick H

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Hi Craig,

Before you start spending money on software you might care to think about using Inkscape. Just as an example, I took your image, autotraced it Inkscape and then saved it as SVG (which is a vector format). Unfortunately, I'm not allowed to upload SVGs here so this is a PDF made from the SVG. Your original JPG was 156 kB and the SVG was 56 kB (as you can see, the PDF is only 24 kB).

Added later: okay, here's the SVG, it should render well enough in Firefox or IE. SVG is probably the way to go if you want to put your map on the web.

http://confound.me.uk/maps/water.svg

Regards, N.

Attached Files


Caversham, Reading, England.

#9
rudy

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As I had inidicated, vector is the way to go. If you are looking at creating a geo-referenced dataset (i.e. one that knows where it is), you need either some sort of GIS or Avenza's MaPublisher add-on for Illustrator. You can create the map in Illustrator without MaPublisher. Simple export the image in tiles, then line up the tiles in Illustrator (or whatever other vector drawing software you choose - Corel, Inkscape, etc.). Most if not all of these software packages will have some sort of autotrace feature. Because your data looks detailed and clean, it shouldn't be too difficult to do.

It will take a bit of time getting it from raster to vector but it will be worth it in the long run. With this size of project, it's best to go vector. Good luck!

#10
François Goulet

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I you have enough "power" (such a big image will require a lot from your graphic card), you could select by color range in Photoshop, convert the selection to path and then copy/paste the path in Illustrator... That could works if Illy can't do it itself...

#11
craigspc

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Thanks for all the replies, suggestions and examples.

I've now spent the day playing around, looking at the various suggestions that people have made and I have learned a great deal from it. However, it has also confirmed that if I want to get any further with my project, I'm going to have to look at exactly what I want to achieve, and then invest a lot of time in learning some new software.

Here’s a simplified overview of what I’d like to achieve in an ideal world:


1) To create a visually attractive map from my huge (and currently rather dull looking) raster file

2) Have a map that can be viewed via a Google Maps style interface (but without the Google imagery)

3) Have a list of searchable points of interest, with pop up info like on Google maps



I've yet to take a look at inkscape, but I've had a look at Illustrator and I also downloaded the demo versions of the suggested Geographic Imager, Mapublisher, and Global Mapper.

Taking illustrator as a starting point, it looks like a lot of people use it to produce great looking maps. I certainly want to develop my rather bland looking Blue and White map into something more visually appealing, so converting my raster data into vector data to enable easier editing would certainly seem like a logical step from what I'm hearing here. It would appear that Illustrator is only capably of working with projects up to 16,383 x 16,383 pixels in size though, so I presume that I would need to chop my image down into pieces and work with them separately.

Geographic Imager / Mapublisher look very interesting programs, but if I need to convert my work into vector data in order to work with it, I guess it would make more sense for me to get my head around that first. To be honest, I don't have clue about vector work and I was completely baffled by the demo version of Illustrator. Therefore, spending money on a good book or a video tutorial series on Illustrator might be a better investment at this time (assuming that it really is the right program for me…).

Global Mapper was a real surprise. Considering that I don't have any GIS experience, I actually managed to achieve quite a lot with it (well, by my standards at least)! Taking an exported TIFF version of my large raster map, I was impressed to find that GlobalMapper was capable of importing a 3.6 gigapixel image in the first place. I also managed to georeference (georectify?) my image and export out as an overlay in Google Maps. I suppose the biggest surprise was to find that my overlay matched the google satellite imagerly (almost) like a glove! Obviously I did something right :)

#12
frax

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Craig, I think Geographic Imager and Mapublisher might not be justified in a hobby project (they are not exactly cheap). Note that the pixel limit in Illustrator is only relevant for the import and tracing, you should be able to work with your entire map in Illy as soon as you have imported it - since Illy scales things idenfinately, it is not relevant to talk about pixels for art there.

Global Mapper is a really impressive piece of software, that I have found of a great use, but I have yet to test all the functionality in there - I am not sure it would be enough to try to finalise your map there.

To complete your map, what more of layers and features were you thinking of adding? Topography? Roads? Settlements?
Hugo Ahlenius
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#13
Dennis McClendon

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If your intent is to serve your map as map tiles, you may want to take a look at the open-source software used by EveryBlock:

http://www.alistapar...ntrolofyourmaps
http://mike.teczno.c...tes/mapnik.html
Dennis McClendon, Chicago CartoGraphics
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#14
craigspc

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Craig, I think Geographic Imager and Mapublisher might not be justified in a hobby project (they are not exactly cheap). Note that the pixel limit in Illustrator is only relevant for the import and tracing, you should be able to work with your entire map in Illy as soon as you have imported it - since Illy scales things idenfinately, it is not relevant to talk about pixels for art there.

Global Mapper is a really impressive piece of software, that I have found of a great use, but I have yet to test all the functionality in there - I am not sure it would be enough to try to finalise your map there.

To complete your map, what more of layers and features were you thinking of adding? Topography? Roads? Settlements?


Thanks for the advice, Hugo,

The area that I have mapped out is very popular area for boating holidays in the UK. People will often hire a boat, then live on the water for the duration of their stay. Therefore, my aim is to produce a map that provides all the information that someone would need (or like to know) from a perspective of being ‘on the water’.

Quite recently, I noticed that a new website appeared with a similar kind of aim. I understand that it will soon be made interactive and you can see it here:

http://www.broadland....uk/m-ant12.htm

There is also another website, produced by a private individual. His map approaches things from a slightly different angle:

http://www.norfolk-b...g/maps/maps.asp

When I first found these maps, I initially thought that my own efforts in creating a map were somewhat negated and I was rather disheartened by that. However, I have come to realise that there are a number of things that these maps don’t do. Here’s one example…

You may have noticed that both of the above websites show water in two shades (ie. light and dark blue). In general terms, the dark blue areas mark areas that can be navigated by boat, while the light blue areas are non-navigable. In reality, there is more to it. Some of the light blue areas are ‘navigable’, but access is limited to smaller boats. In some cases they are sanctuaries with limited access during certain months to prevent disruption to migratory bird life. In other cases, the light blue areas are dedicated wildlife reserves, which are simply not accessible at all.

Despite my initial fears, I’m hoping that the fact my own map work is some 8-10 times larger in scale - will enable me to provide people with the kind of ‘local’ information that simply isn’t available elsewhere. Well, at least I’d like to think that this is possible!

On the flip-side of all this, the more ideas I come up with in order to make my work different, the more unrealistic my goals seem to become considering the limited knowledge that I currently have. I am simply doing this as a hobby and I do enjoy it. However, I would like to think that my work will (one day) provide pleasure to others and not simply be repetition of what others have already produced.

#15
craigspc

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If your intent is to serve your map as map tiles, you may want to take a look at the open-source software used by EveryBlock:

http://www.alistapar...ntrolofyourmaps
http://mike.teczno.c...tes/mapnik.html


Thanks Dennis, this looks really interesting. I'll have a good read and see how far I get :)




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