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New Stamen Terrain map tiles preview!

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#1
clhenrick

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Hello Cartotalk,

 

Myself and the other folks at Stamen Design are getting ready to officially publish a new, global version of the free to use, OSM-based, terrain maps that we launched for the U.S. back in 2012. The Knight Foundation funded the initial work and we’re grateful to them for continuing to support our ability to generate worldwide maps for free, to all. If you'd like to take a look before we launch publicly, we'd love beta testers. In particular, we’re looking for people to drive around the world and help seed the generation of all these new tiles. We’re also looking for people to identify problem areas that we may not have seen yet - it’s a big project and we haven’t been able to look at even a small portion of the globe yet.

 

Send us an email at openterrain@stamen.com, and we'll send you a link to the beta very soon. 

 

Some previews:

 

1*jdxXrnijNdYtUH73QOHQkg.png

 

1*F37ONfWk7nh5T1huAC_mUQ.png

 

1*rG-7ag_Vzq85cGWbj60gzw.png


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#2
Hans van der Maarel

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They look great Chris! The first one might be a bit too "noisy" for my taste, a little bit too much micro-relief (but that's a personal matter anyway)


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Red Geographics
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#3
clhenrick

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Thanks Hans! I agree with you. We are experimenting with generating the hillshades "on the fly" using AWS Lambda and Mapzen's Elevation Data API. I didn't have much of a contribution in that part of the design process and there's definitely room for improvement.

 

The code is open-source btw, so contributions / improvements / bug reports are definitely welcome: https://github.com/s...terrain-classic



#4
rudy

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They look great Chris! The first one might be a bit too "noisy" for my taste, a little bit too much micro-relief (but that's a personal matter anyway)

Spoken like a true flatlander!

 

But I agree.



#5
Derek Tonn

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Hi Chris!

I'm curious:  What is being done to optimize said tilesets?

 

Are you using PNG?  SVG?  Google Maps used to use PNG tiles, which were ~28-35% larger than they needed to be.  Then they switched to SVG...which are still about 13% heavy.  I love tinkering under the hood related to optimizing imagery.  It is much more interesting to me than creating websites and writing my own code.  So depending upon how your tilesets are being created and then optimized, I might be able to take a look to see if said images could be put on a diet.  Such as your first sample image (that "flatlanders" think are too noisy, ha!).  A few seconds of some optimization procedures on that PNG, and one can losslessly take nearly 6% off its size.

 


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mapformation, LLC

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http://www.mapformation.com

#6
Hans van der Maarel

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Thanks Hans! I agree with you. We are experimenting with generating the hillshades "on the fly" using AWS Lambda and Mapzen's Elevation Data API. I didn't have much of a contribution in that part of the design process and there's definitely room for improvement.

 

You may have already found it, but Tom Patterson wrote a tutorial on the subject: Creating Web Map Shaded Relief It's for a manual process so not 100% applicable to your process but maybe there's some useful stuff in there.


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#7
clhenrick

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You may have already found it, but Tom Patterson wrote a tutorial on the subject: Creating Web Map Shaded Relief It's for a manual process so not 100% applicable to your process but maybe there's some useful stuff in there.

 

Yes, that's a great resource and we did use Tom's chart for applying vertical exaggeration. As we are using a predetermined data source (Mapzen's Elevation data API) instead of processing our own raw DEM data, I'm not certain how much control we have over changing the resolution of the DEM's while generating the hillshades on the fly. So it may be a limitation with our current technique and I'm definitely interested in improving it. Right now the hillshade generation is created with a Python script which is called by AWS Lambda when a user pans and zooms to a part of the map that doesn't yet have tiles created. The Python script uses the Matplotlib library for generating the hillshades. From what I understand GDAL's DEM Tools aren't available in the GDAL Python bindings, which are what I would normally use to alter the resolution of a DEM so that it's appropriate for generating a hillshade at a given scale / zoom level. 



#8
clhenrick

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I'm curious:  What is being done to optimize said tilesets?

 

Derek, I'm not sure what is being done to optimize the PNG tiles, I'm not that familiar with that part of Mapnik's process. However, I don't believe it would have any benefit for generalizing the hillshade.



#9
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Hans, I spoke too soon! It turns out we are applying some down sampling to the DEMs when generating the hillshade, so that means there's room to continue experimenting.

 

We also are aiming to write a blog post on this technique so others may learn how to use the process for generating their own hillshade tiles, so you'll be able to experiment with it as well if you'd like.

 

One last thing to note is that we will be releasing the hillshade tiles as its own WMS so users can drape it over other tile layers in web maps or within a GIS. Should make for some fun results & experiments we hope!



#10
clhenrick

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Hi everyone, we just redeployed our Terrain map with a restyled hillshade. Please have a look around on maps.stamen.com/terrain and let us know what you think! Here are some previews:

 

Mt Denali area in Alaska:

 

84610cb9ef4f5b693bbc675520f2a8a9.png

 

 

Mt. Shasta in northern California:

 

0c0eeb97100e3af646d5d4c9d5490a0b.png

 

 

Grand Canyon:

 

b15fa93f03e6a0a369f4e5325e932104.png

 

Mt Kilimanjaro area in Tanzania:

 

9e1c84195bc8c6831847c2cf5b7aff9f.png



#11
Hans van der Maarel

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Nice, I really love the glaciers :)


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Hans van der Maarel - Cartotalk Editor
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