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Inner Moray Firth Major Developments Map

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#1
Pete

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This map has been a labour of love so far ...!

Following on from two of my other maps this is going to be the background for a map of the major developments in the Inner Moray Firth area. It is made from OS Meridian2 data and OS MasterMap (seriously!) with relief shading derived from Meridian2 and Intermap height data. All of the data was exported from ArcMap as either a .tif or .ai file before being coloured, textured and assembled in Illustrator and Photoshop.

This is the entire map:

Attached File  IMF_shade_18.gif   900.02KB   124 downloads

#2
Pete

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Monadhliath area at about 100%.

Attached File  essich.gif   972.08KB   80 downloads

The purple tint over the high plateau started out life as MasterMap polygons (DESCTERM LIKE '%Heath%') which were then tinted and blended into the background particularly over the higher ground and the dark grey mottling is rocky areas derived from MasterMap and treated in a similar way.

Hopefully you can make out the stream network tapering in some areas - the River Nairn tapers along its length and the tributaries thicken slightly as they join the main stream. Generally, all of the streams thicken slightly as they join a river of the next higher order and as they enter lochs. The water features are also incised into the landscape rather than just placed on top. The water was all taken from Meridian2.

#3
Pete

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Cannich (in the middle) Glen Affric (to the southwest) and Strathglass (to the northeast).

Attached File  cannich.gif   971.94KB   74 downloads

I developed a new (and possibly slightly over the top) method for rendering trees in Photoshop. The trees were exported from MasterMap as a black and white image (black for the trees) and used as a layer mask to apply a texture to the wooded areas. The texture was based on the results from Photoshop's reticulation filter whihc gave a black and white image composed of white dots of varying size on a black background. Colour and texture were applied to the trees through layer effects with a colour overlay determining the colour for coniferous and nonconiferous trees and the bevel and emboss effect used to give a feeling of volume to the trees. The tree layers were duplicated and redrawn with a less dense reticulation and slightly muted colours to imply weaker vegetation. Finally, the more dense woodland was restricted to lower land while the less dense trees were limited to higher land through the use of opposing layer masks that were blended into eachother.

From the Beauly Firth (top right) the trees should gradually become less dense and paler with incrasing elevation towards the bottom left of the image in Cannich and Glen Affric.

#4
Pete

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Some details at about 200% ...

Glen Sheil.

Attached File  glen_sheil.gif   980.67KB   90 downloads

The relief shading is a mix of the Meridian2 height data and Intermap's more detailed DTM. First off is a layer of Meridian2's very rough shading that was restricted to higher areas and also masked by itself to limit the extent of the darkening to areas of deeper shade. Intermap's DTM was used as shading for higher evelations still to give an overall better definition to the shading. This layer was dupliated and tinted with light tones of yellow and purple to give a more natural and sun-lit appearance to the lighting. Now, the Intermap DTM was used as the basis for slope-shading which was restricted to the dark sides of landforms and increased with height which helps to add details to flatter areas and generally increase the level of detail in the shading without overly darkening the image.

>>pauses for breath<<

The detailed version of the hillshading was used to screen and lighten the tips of the highest peaks by way of a layer mask of the dtm adjusted to show only the highest regions with a final layer of detail added to the lit sides of the landforms using a duplicate of the slope shading, inverted and set to screen to highlight details and brighten the image.

You can probably see a few areas in the map where the streams don't quite register with the relief shading because of the differing scales of the original data - unfortunately (fortunately?!) most of the area in the screenshot is going to be covered up with marginalia.

#5
Pete

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... and finally ...

Aviemore at about 200%.

Attached File  aviemore.gif   858.28KB   84 downloads

A little bit of everything here. The difference in vegetation is quite apparent in the middle of the screenshot. The stream tapering is present in the streams flowing into the River Dulnain (top half of the image) ... as is the horrid lack of registration in some of the other streams! Moorland tinting to the left with more detail in the relief shading of the more rounded landforms due to the addition of slope shading.

The map still has to be annotation with the usual features (roads, rivers, towns and so on) and the development features still have to be added so there is still some work to do but hopefully the background meets with approval!

#6
A. Fenix

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Beautiful work Pete. I love your careful attention to detail. I only wish that OS Meridian2 data and OS MasterMap existed for every part of the world! How long has this "labor of love" taken you thus far, if you don't mind me asking.

Thanks for sharing, and keep up the great work!
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#7
Agnar Renolen

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I think the cloud emulation in your first sample is a very interesting way do dim out the part of the map which is outside your area of interest.

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Adam Wilbert

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I like it, it's very painterly. I'm looking forward to seeing the final map!

I'm particularly interested in your technique for doing the trees—it sounds a lot like something I've been working on. My only concern with your method is that the Photoshop reticulation filter you used as a base seems arbitrary and doesn't have a scale relationship to your map. In other words, I can see individual "trees" on the map, which in my minds eye dictates a certain scale. But then I look at the size of the towns and think that "those are some giant trees!" Maybe they're small towns? :) Anyway, that's just an observation of what went through my head when I was looking at your images and not being at all familiar with this area.

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#9
Pete

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How long has this "labor of love" taken you thus far, if you don't mind me asking.


I think in real terms it taken something like 10 days to a fortnight to get the map to this stage but that's not including all the times that I had to recreate files because of "unexpected errors". The water caused me the biggest heartache this time - you could probably add another 3 days for the water alone! The map is built up from layers (obviously) but for each layer there is nearly always another 2 or 3 linked files because Illustrator couldn't deal with the complexity of the drawing and effects. The water for example is 1 file called water.ai and in that file is the basic shapes for the lochs, rivers and seas but linked into that file are several others for the water texture (the light ripples by the coast and the dark ripples in deep water - mostly covered by clouds), stream indenting, network tapering and foreshore. Think "cartographic nesting dolls" and you're getting there - that files goes into that one which goes into that one which goes into the map. It sounds complicated to work with but the good thing is if you have to change an element of the map you don't necessarily have to open the completed map file (which is over 1gb in size). Instead, you just edit the water file or the tree file, save your changes and the edits are reflected in the finished map because the files are linked.

I think the cloud emulation in your first sample is a very interesting way do dim out the part of the map which is outside your area of interest.


Thanks Agnar. The clouds normally divide people but I prefer to use something that looks more "natural" in a more natural looking map. In the Inverness and Highlands version of the same map I had tried to use a solid shape/semi-transparent shape for the margins but it does clash with the underlying image. It's quite an easy trick to pull off when you get into it. If you make yourself a layer in Photoshop and then use render clouds with black and white set as your fore/background colours you can use a layer effect to emboss the clouds to give them shape and volume and then use a simple layer mask to remove the clouds from the focus of your map. The clouds in that sample I attached are made in 3 layers - one quite big and lumpy, another with slightly more detail and texture and a third layer with a bit of motion blur to tease the clouds out in the direction of the prevailing wind.

I like it, it's very painterly. I'm looking forward to seeing the final map!

I'm particularly interested in your technique for doing the trees—it sounds a lot like something I've been working on. My only concern with your method is that the Photoshop reticulation filter you used as a base seems arbitrary and doesn't have a scale relationship to your map. In other words, I can see individual "trees" on the map, which in my minds eye dictates a certain scale. But then I look at the size of the towns and think that "those are some giant trees!" Maybe they're small towns? :) Anyway, that's just an observation of what went through my head when I was looking at your images and not being at all familiar with this area.



Hi Adam and thanks! You're right, the trees are not related to any sort of scale in the map whatsoever. I did a little number-crunching and apparently most of the trees on the map are of the order of 125m wide! The size of the trees resulting from the reticulation filter are directly related to the resolution of the image. The Photoshop file for the trees is 150dpi for an A0 page so the reticulation is a certain size, if I doubled the resolution I'd half the size of the trees and I'd also probably cause my computer to burst into flames! It's a bit of a compromise between how you want the map to look and what Illustrator/Photoshop/the computer is able to deal with. I just tried to increase the resolution of the Photoshop file there and it took about 20 minutes to go from 150dpi to 300dpi but then it wouldn't perform the reticulation filter because there wasn't enough RAM ... On the plus side at least you recognised them are trees ;) ! I think I'll try some things out while I'm waiting for the development information for the map and see what happens - playing around with the levels of the reticulated layer reduces the size of the points but the trouble is the effect just fades away into the background.

That reminds me - I did read a report on using the raster calculator in ArcMap to generate a bump map for trees where you have more real control over the size of the points ...




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