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dave's map creations

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dave's map creations

Postby SSSdave » Sat Dec 12, 2009 9:17 pm

Now that we're in the throes of winter often stuck indoors like hibernating bears, I have recently created four custom topographic maps of selected interesting Sierra wilderness timberline areas. Links to three small 1:1 scale crops from those maps:

http://www.davidsenesac.com/_a-z_evad/map1.jpg

http://www.davidsenesac.com/_a-z_evad/map2.jpg

http://www.davidsenesac.com/_a-z_evad/map3.jpg

Each map covers a wilderness headwaters basin at a magnified 12624:1 scale versus the standard 24000:1 7.5 minute USGS maps. That scale equates to 5 inches per mile instead of 2.63 inches. At that size the data is at 210 pixels per inch so there are 1050 pixels per mile. Each map is at most 5040 pixels in maximum dimensions in order when split into 2 by 3 panes fit onto 6 standard 8.5x11 paper sheets that can be taped together. I've printed out all these maps on cheap standard higher quality ink jet paper with my Epson R2880. Each of the below headwater basins all share a common structure of being somewhat level timberline country with benches and plateaus containing many lakes and ponds and surrounded on three sides by rugged higher ridges and peaks with the outlet drainage being open. The four areas I've mapped are:

The Upper Fish Creek headwaters basin above Tully Hole bordered by Red Slate Mtn, Red & White Mtn, and Izaak Walton Peak.

The Upper North Fork of Mono Creek plus Laurel Creek headwater basins that is just south of the above map.

South Fork of Bear Creek headwaters basin bordered by Mt Hooper, Mt Senger, and Seven Gables.

East Fork of Bear Creek headwaters basin just east of the above map between Seven Gables and Feather Peak.

All white maps areas beyond the drainage basins are dimmed 20% in brightness in order for basins overall form to better stand out.

All USGS black and blue lake annotations have been removed, the brown vertical lines etc repaired, and replaced by a much smaller less conspicuous Arial fonts.

All unnamed ponds have been numerated, many approximate elevations added, and I've amused myself naming many otherwise unnamed features. The 3 crops just show a few of these assigned sometimes whimsical names and I am certain to continue adding, changing, and eliminating names as I look at them longer. Also welcome any other's inputs on various features.

The elevation line brown has been standardized, cleaned up, and special colors have been assigned to the thicker dark 200 foot interval lines. Each 1000 foot interval, ie 9000, 10000, 11000, 12000, 13000 etc have special bright colors. The four vertical 200 foot interval lines between each 1000 foot interval have a set of individual colors that are more subdued while being different enough to be recognized next to the other colors. Those colors repeat between each of the 1000 foot lines. I tweaked the colors for several weeks after viewing prints and believe the current selections work well.

Although I've been an old advanced Photoshop user since I began working on Kodak Pro Photo CDs in the mid 90s, I've done all this current work with Gimp, a mature though somewhat awkward freeware ap, and in fact started the work less seriously as an excuse to become better familiar with it. At this point am not sure of how I might make the maps public if at all, but am interested in any frank comments or opinions or humor from the many mountain savvy members of this board.



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Re: dave's map creations

Postby freestone » Sun Dec 13, 2009 11:37 am

I like it, especially using the colored lines for elevation. The contours are nice and clean, perfect for my aging eyes. You happened to map all my favorite haunts, especially the fish creek headwaters, so thats the one I would like to see more of. My last visit there was October, just before the storm. I botched a cross county attempt from McGee Pass to reach a lake that holds rainbows. I did wind up at a very soulful, and isolated fishless pond, so it was not a complete waste. I blamed my map (of course!) that was printed from Topo! for a Windows OS, on a cheap printer using National Geographic map paper. I now have a Mac, so I am looking for a new topo source that I can print from. At this point I am assuming I will have to invest in a new version of Topo! for the MacOS.
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Re: dave's map creations

Postby SSSdave » Sun Dec 13, 2009 12:32 pm

Data source is from the libremap site that only has individual high quality scans of USGS topos and not edge mated together quads like at teraserver, topozone, mytopo etc. Those other sites have often done a poor job of mating edges so if one has basic graphic editing skills it is a better source for printing out one's own maps and do the edge work oneself. I've found that USGS quad map edges do indeed fit exactly together except there is work involved in separating map edges from the border areas.

Another issue of course for ordinary people making their own map prints is being able to print out a map into separate combinable panes as few have large format printers available as most of us just have standard 8.5x11 sheet size ink jets. A single 8.5x11 sheet at the same 24000:1 magnification ration of USGS maps does not contain enough map area to make them too useful. Workable yes but limited. Some will crudely print out vague overlapping adjacent areas and then try and paper cut and paste together the results. However there are easier ways to create perfect non-overlapped panes from a larger source map on each sheet that will immediately be able to be fit together.
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Re: dave's map creations

Postby maverick » Sun Dec 13, 2009 1:44 pm

Hi Dave

I like the maps especially the colored contour lines which is a pain in the "eye's" to
follow on most topo maps.
An idea that you might think of incorporating on your map also would be adding a color
coded contour lines reference box with the elevations listed with the corresponding color
which would make it easier to follow instead of having to follow the contour line around
until I find the elevation for that color.
Not only would this be more convenient, but would give me a more precise, and faster
way of locating my position on map in conjunction with my altimeter.
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Re: dave's map creations

Postby rayfound » Mon Dec 14, 2009 8:42 am

SSSdave wrote: Some will crudely print out vague overlapping adjacent areas and then try and paper cut and paste together the results.


I've done this with pretty good results about 7 years ago. Using image stitching software from Canon, and MS Paint, I patched together a topo map of the humphreys basin (Using nothing but the "preview" images from topozone at the time), that printed out was about 30" square.

Printed it, taped it together, and laminated it at Kinkos. I still have it. a rolled-up map isn't as convenient to carry, but it worked.


I love some of the things you've done to improve the readability of the USGS quads. Nice work.
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Re: dave's map creations

Postby SSSdave » Mon Dec 14, 2009 11:36 am

maverick >>>"...adding a color coded contour lines reference box..."

Yep good idea. Will add that to the reference key you can see the below.


This is a severely downsized compressed full map image of the one I completed this weekend of the South Fork of Bear Creek headwaters basin:

Image

Too compressed to read the text but useful for grasping what the full 24x21 inch map looks like including the map key area.

The main reason for the color contours is to improve the broader map-wide perception of different elevations that are otherwise all the same brown.

rayfound, didn't consider using stiching software and that would certainly work well.

This is what I do:

The first thing one has to set up on printers is manual control of print sizing that is often set to some default like automatic "fit to page". Set that to 100% and make sure the print pixels per inch of each pane will fit on an 8.5x11 sheet and within maximum margings. Printers often cannot print within about 0.4 inches from the paper edges that varies from printer to printer and may need to be experimented with to find out. Then one need to verify with a test print that a print that is supposed to be say 8.0x10.0 inches actually prints exactly so. If not the manual print sizing is probably still not correctly set. And note most better printers usually have functions to save special print setups like this.

The full map size in pixels needs to be recorded and canvas size adjusted so it is evenly divisible by whatever numbers of panes in each dimension. For my above map that was 3 panes across and 2 panes high. So if the full map map height is say 4410 pixels and width 5040 pixels, each pane would be 2205 pixels by 1680 pixels. Obviously that full map size ought to be figured out early in the map creation process. Then in the graphic ap, say Photoshop or Gimp, a selection rectangular at pane size needs to be opened. Pane origins for each of the 6 map sections would be offset to:
0,0
0,2205
1680,0
1680, 2205
3360, 0
3360, 2205

At each rectangular selection point in Gimp I simply do a copy and then paste the results into a temp image file I then use to print out. The resulting printed pages with white borders then need to be carefully cut at map edges with a utility knife. Actually I overlap mate edge of map cut borders to another edge with a small 1/8 inch or so white borders that makes taping easier and creates an obvious map folding point that with overlap will be more robust in the field.
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