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Work in progress: Natural looking village

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#1
Lui

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Well I've said to myself that it is a time to digg again in natural looking cartography. To much ideas I guess. This is not a map for a customer, it is for my uncle who lives in this beautifull village. I've spent here first four years of my life and some finest moments of my childhood. I'm considering this place as my spiritual home and sanctuary. It is not so mystical as it was when my grand mother was telling me fairy tales about fays, dwarfs and other mystic creatures who occupies deep gorges, caves and wild forests in vicinity of this village but it is still a place where the wild begins and where I can still find a child in myself.
This map incorporate some interesting data fusion technics and also unique hillshading tehnique. The hillshading is far from perfect. Buildings and forest areas overlay terrain to heavy. Well I'm open for your suggestions.

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#2
DaveB

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Looks pretty cool to me. :)
I think the trees are okay, but the buildings do "pop out", almost like they are floating above the landscape. (a floating village from fairy tales? :) ) Maybe if you made the outline on the buildings much subtler or eliminate the outlines altogether?
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#3
MapMedia

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Very impressive. LIDAR? Amazing. The concept is wonderful - every cartographer should make maps of their personal 'landscapes'.
I do not have any technical suggestions re: technique as you, Lui, are one of the advanced hillshade gurus on Cartotalk IMHO.
As for the map, I love the trees and building. I can tell you some of the questions which popped in my head when admiring these two maps:

1. What else can Lui tell me about this special place?
2. Were the fields fenced?
3. Were there sheep or a horse in the fields? Or crops?
4. What is the path of the streams, and what is their names? Looks like one stream begins on the map. What is the stream hierarchy? One stream feeding into another (line width helps).
5. Which family lives in which home? Is there a communal area, or park?

Not sure if you plan to add that later, or not at all, but in addition to loving the basemap, I had these lingering thoughts.

Thanks as always for sharing and looking forward to seeing more!

Best, Chris

#4
David Deis

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Fantastic work. Thanks for sharing!
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#5
Lui

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Yes it is a LIDAR. I'm working now in LIDAR business. I always like to "conquer" new technologies but cartography still and I think that always will conquer my heart.
Chris thank you for your suggestions. You really gave me some interesting ideas and point out that even in making maps for ourselfs, there should be some outter, public aim of it. I realize that this helps to observe our work in different and more demanding perspectives.
Oh BTW I removed cattle, cars and some people from LIDAR but almost all fences are in ;-). Yes as Chris said, streams are poorly presented. BTW the stream in the second clip goes straight into the nether world and came out of it just several hundred meters from a place where I live now.
I would like to create 3D objects (symbology) that allows making such maps without LIDAR data. It is a great challenge but some ideas how to do it already exist. The problem is a random nature of the nature and software. I was thinking about to incorporate some geo-awared random engines and Painter with its Image Hose into the workflow.
Well I hope that winter breeze and snow will came here soon and with that always came a time for such things.

Warm regards

Lui

#6
Sv_BG

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Amazing work :)

#7
Kathi

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I like your map a lot, but I agree that the houses stand out a bit too much. Maybe you could make them look more realistic by slightly varying their roof colour (some darker, some with more grey).

I love the shadows of the trees, but I'm asking myself if you should change the direction of the illumination, since in Europe the sun will normally shine from the southern half of the sky.

Thanks for sharing!
Cheers,

Kathi

#8
l.jegou

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Hello, i'd like to add my thanks to those expressed here, for several reasons :

- i have not yet seen such a (beautiful) use for LIDAR data,

- i'm working (doctoral thesis) about cartographic representation and how to better render maps, in relation with the recent discoveries about human vision, and the "Natural-looking" angle is very important. Yet the practical examples are few, and yours is beautiful.

I didn't have yet the time to look closely your sampels, but the first impression i had was strange : it's a map, but it's very resembling, and it's not a photo. And then i understood the power of fine relief shading :-)

Two small remarks, however, which i'll perhaps complete later :

- the houses roofs are somewhat monotonous. Granted they are flat or not very much textured, but perhaps with a little variation of color ?
- the outlines of the houses are perhaps too thick, or too dark

#9
Charles Syrett

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Very attractive graphics! However, the cartographer in me has questions. These look like some kind of hybrid, something between an air photo and a map. Which is it? You haven't added much text yet, so the only clue I have about the purpose is that you say it's for your uncle. How will he be using it?

Some of the above comments (by others) are also confusing to me. The only thing that makes this start to look like a map is the houses, which are made visually prominent -- yet there's a suggestion that they be made less so.

I notice that there are places where streams disappear in the trees. Is it supposed to look like that?

Presumably, then, this is a showcase for techniques and effects, and if that's the case, then it certainly works. But they're not real "maps" yet -- in the sense of clearly communicating selected geographic information for a specific purpose. If I had a client who did want a map of this area for a specific purpose, graphics such as these would be a very nice starting point. B)

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#10
Matthew Hampton

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Great work!

I too have felt the tug of LiDAR and I find your images very inspiring. There's a lot to love about LiDAR-shading and I think it presents a great new "landscape" for cartographers.

I've 'played' with it a bit, but would enjoy spending more time working on the different problems (ie. buildings in deep canopy, feature extraction/depiction, scale dependencies, etc.). After gazing at your images a bit, I appreciate the different methods you used (esp. the different tree-shading).

One thing I thought it needed a bit more of was 'color variability.' I wanted the scrub-shrub in the foothills to be a bit different in tint. I wanted a little bit of subtle color variation to support the activities on the landscape like the furrows in the croplands, the basic variation in tree types, etc.

I was able to find an image of the area and created the following in a few minutes and I think the subtle differences (aside from the over-saturation) adds a bit of liveliness. I registered the image, adjusted the levels, applied a color-burn layer blend and tweaked the transparency.

Attached File  Clip2.jpg   492.16KB   152 downloads

co-cartographic creator of boringmaps.com


#11
David Medeiros

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Very interesting. Nice work. The LIDAR shading looks pretty good, I usually find LIDAR to be too detailed but in these shots I like the level of resolution you have.

As pointed out the buildings are sitting on top of the rest of the map elements. It's not too obvious in the open areas but where the buildings are in the trees they seem to be sitting over the forest!

My first suggestion would be to add a little grey to the building color or choose a less bright orange. How is you map layered? Are you using separate layers for LIDAR hill shading, tree's and ground colors? If so you might be able to move the color layer or hill shade layer over the rest of the layers and set it to transparent allowing the buildings to come up through the rest of the map. If not you could add a new layer over the entire map with a very slight grey fill color and high transparency that will help bring all of the elements beneath it into the same plane.

Another idea is to selectively apply a darker color to any building that should be under the trees or in the forest.

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#12
Matthew Hampton

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Where's the threshold between cartographic generalization and looking too real?

LiDAR-shading offers a great opportunity to generalize features based on shape, height and texture, and I think aerial photo's can be used at certain scales to offer a more realistic background color.

I think our brains like the generalization of building-tops (not building outlines, but shaded rooftops) and the generalization of tree canopy, but can appreciate the organic color and texture of a mixed landscape.

It would be interesting to explore a few different scales and a few different techniques to nail-down what does/doesn't work with respect to cartographic realism and LiDAR-shading/air photo-blending.

Here's another product of using an image overlay on Lui's great work. I hope you're not offended that I was fiddling with a copy of an image you posted to Cartotalk. I find this compelling.

Attached File  Clip1c.jpg   364.73KB   159 downloads

co-cartographic creator of boringmaps.com


#13
David Medeiros

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Where's the threshold between cartographic generalization and looking too real?

Attached File  Clip1c.jpg   364.73KB   159 downloads


I wonder the same thing and in all honesty your modification looks to me to be edging pretty close to reality. At some point the loss of abstraction makes simply annotating an air photo of more use and less work.

I realize that what is a "map" spans a very wide area and certainly includes images of the ground (even those with no annotation can be considered maps if they allow a user to "read" the image for information). But IMO the heart of map making lies in the abstraction of reality to some extent.

GIS Reference and Instruction Specialist, Stanford Geospatial Center.

 

www.mapbliss.com

 


#14
Charles Syrett

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But IMO the heart of map making lies in the abstraction of reality to some extent.


My point exactly. I do enjoy the aesthetic of these images, and the ingenuity that's gone into them, but nothing turns my crank like a well-designed "abstraction of reality"!

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#15
Lui

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Hello!
Thank you for all your observing and suggestions and also for debate that this work started.
When I started to explore an idea of natural looking mapping some years ago I was looking forward to bridge the gap between maps and orthophotos. Oh I should thank Tom Patterson and his beautiful work for a starting spark. I also ask myself is this a map or just visualization? I think it is both. Some elements like streams, roads and in other map version powerlines are purely cartographic others are somewhere in between (buildings) and others are... well whatever they are. Buildings in forest areas are put deliberatly in higher level of perception. I would like to show where they are not to be hidden or obstructed by forest canopy. The other story are streams and in some cases roads. The streams are obstructed with trees and I think that in case of this kind of mapping is not a problem. The flow can be easly observed. Even more strange: trees along streams help to define where stream actualy flows. Well stream in dense forest should be presented in different manner. BTW some of trees along roads where moved. I'm working now on generalization technique especially how to move trees and objects to bring out underlaying features. I don't intend to move trees completly from roads and object because I would like to preserve an intimate relationship between them aka. tree should cast shadow on the road.
There are some other problems that occupy me. How to present a footpath that goes trough forest? How to bring up a terrain shading that is now overwhelm by a canopy shading? How to generalize features to produce smaller scaled maps? Anwser to some of those questions is maybe canopy and building parametrization (tree density, canopy height,...). I did it before but then some other problems come in sight.




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