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Maps as Ebooks

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#1
Yong

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Let's discuss about the possibility of putting maps in Ebooks like Kindle. Would it take off and what are the challenges here.

#2
s hubbard

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Let's discuss about the possibility of putting maps in Ebooks like Kindle. Would it take off and what are the challenges here.

i think heavy competition with GPS units, personal Navigators, and now the droid phones >>
personally i think the phone will rule supreme in future mapping of any kind on a broad commercial scale...
good maps will be standard, and all in one. give it a couple years :ph34r:
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#3
johnnyh

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I have a Sony PRS-505, which I prefer to a Kindle, due to it's much more open and accessible formats and DRM.

The benefit over a GPS or something, would be the battery life of 5000 page turns; it's quite reliable, unlike my cell or gps... For a long trip, the sheer reliability the ereader battery tops any other portable device.

In fact I have formatted maps specifically for my PRS, knowing I might need them. And they have saved me... With a good grid and table of contents it would actually be somewhat easy to develop wide area maps... Interesting, I think I'll do it as a project for my next camping trip.

Would it ever gain much market share? I doubt it... Like Hubbard said phones seem much more likely... but an atlas for the Kindle makes a ton of sense in my mind.

#4
dsl

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If you are talking now, then I think the Kindle is probably not suitable for an atlas. I don't have a kindle but I've used kindle books on the IPod touch. The maps would be greyscale for a start. I'm not certain if you would be able to zoom in on the picture and be able to pour over it like a printed atlas or even pdf version.

If you are talking in the not so distant future...Then possibly when Kindles and other readers get colour screens. If/when the mythical Apple Tablet computer gets released, then there is potential to create a beautiful full colour interactive atlas. When the new Flash comes out with the IPhone app capabilities, perhaps that would be a way to create atlases for the IPhone.

I think static atlases probably won't be the route to take, but something interactive IMHO, because you are immediately competing with Google Maps and Bing (both free and "good enough" for most users).

Nice topic.

Cheers,
David

#5
johnnyh

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Yes, the zoom wouldn't really work... Definitely no panning. Any changes on the screen require a refresh, which completely blinks the screen and takes about half a second.

It would have to be done with a clever table of contents grid and "pages" optimized for the ereaders screen. Would be a fun project... if I ever get around to it I'll be sure to post.

#6
Adam Wilbert

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I also have a Sony PRS 505 reader and love it!

I've heard of pilots using ebook readers to store approach vectors, radio frequencies etc. Sites such as http://www.pdfplates.com/ gather government charts and format them for the eInk screens. But I think their use as general maps would be limited. Resolution is a problem, as is speed. Even a very thorough index would be cumbersome to navigate. Maybe if I were hiking I might think of putting a couple of USGS quads on my reader as a backup, but I wouldn't want it to be my primary navigation tool.

Adam Wilbert

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Lynda.com author of "ArcGIS Essential Training"


#7
rudy

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Interesting . . . . so my boss asked what it would take to actually produce eReader compatible files of our maps. From the little I know I see a couple of issues:
1) many different file formats for many different readers (which one to choose?)
2) colour limitations (currently just black and white as I understand it)
Would anyone know of a good source to read up on all the ins and outs of producing a map for an eReader?

#8
johnnyh

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The best site is hands down for formatting ebooks is http://www.mobileread.com/forums/

I am not familiar with the Kindle... while it can be done formatting and putting your own ebooks on it (I think), it requires many more steps and hassles.

epub I have heard is becoming a preferred ebook standard... I am not familiar with it however, as I convert PDFs to LRF (Sony format).

I would love to see some maps on an ereader.

Interesting . . . . so my boss asked what it would take to actually produce eReader compatible files of our maps. From the little I know I see a couple of issues:
1) many different file formats for many different readers (which one to choose?)
2) colour limitations (currently just black and white as I understand it)
Would anyone know of a good source to read up on all the ins and outs of producing a map for an eReader?



#9
dsl

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I don't think the epub format works with images. At least, when I tried to convert pdf files to epub it didn't come out looking the best. Check out calibre and stanza for this.

Cheers,
David.

#10
Geeee

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So...Are there any updates to this thread? I'm curious what people are doing now that the iPad is out, and is extremely popular...

#11
tom harrison

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About a year ago I partnered with a guidebook author to publish an eBook called Santa Monica Mountain Trail Guide - here is a link -http://www.tomharrisonmaps.com/DigitalProducts.html This link is to download to your iPad, etc. We also uploaded it to the Apple iBook store, to Barnes & Noble for the Nook, and to Amazon for the Kindle. I formatted the book and maps in Pages (I work on a Macintosh) and then converted that to the epub format using an application called LegendMaker. Pages will output to epub but it is incredibly bloated and there is a limit to the file size that you can upload, so be careful. You can also use a plain-text application like TextEdit and use some simple tags that LegendMaker understands (but not Word- the Microsoft format has too many problems for epub). Because the epub format requires .png images, I just set my screen size to the magnification I needed in Illustrator and took a screen shot of the map that went along with the guide text. It was all really pretty straightforward.

However - the sales were very disappointing in all markets and we decided it just isn't worth our time. Interestingly though, we sold quite a few of them on Amazon, even though the maps on the Kindle are rendered in grayscale.

Apple has just changed the game with iBooks Author. They are advertising it for the education/textbook market, and the resulting product will only be available for the iPad, but it will be able to produce some pretty cool books that combine text, graphics, and video. If you are in the map/text business you might want to keep an eye on this.

Hope this helps.




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