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Thread: Map Making Software

  1. #1
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    Map Making Software

    Does anyone have experience/recommendations of map making software. I would like to take an original paper map (similar to OS 1:50000), scan it, and update it from Google Earth images. Easier said than done I should think.

    Any thoughts anyone?

    GC

  2. #2
    Master Ady In Accy's Avatar
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    Re: Map Making Software

    Your map scan would only be an image file so would not be very versatile but you could transpose a google earth image over the map image by alterating the transparancy of the overlayed image so you could still see the map below - getting the scaling right would be quite tricky, you would have to resize until it looked correct. You could also draw your route onto the map image freehand in photo editing software - Photoshop would be good for both of the above. Have you looked into using dedicated mapping software such as memory maps?

  3. #3
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    Re: Map Making Software

    Quote Originally Posted by Ady In Accy View Post
    Your map scan would only be an image file so would not be very versatile but you could transpose a google earth image over the map image by alterating the transparancy of the overlayed image so you could still see the map below - getting the scaling right would be quite tricky, you would have to resize until it looked correct. You could also draw your route onto the map image freehand in photo editing software - Photoshop would be good for both of the above. Have you looked into using dedicated mapping software such as memory maps?
    Yes, I was thinking of the same methodology. You are right, aligning the scanned image and the google earth image is the first obstacle.

    Memory Maps, Tracklogs etc is only viewing software and cant be used to edit the underlying maps. I was after some info on map making software, which is a different thing I think.

    There seem to be a few products, for example Map Maker and OCAD. Does anyone have experience of doing this kind of thing?

  4. #4
    Senior Member No map, no compass's Avatar
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    Re: Map Making Software

    Your problem is going to be in aligning the Google Earth image with your map. Scanned maps are easily aligned to the OS grid in a GIS programme like Map Maker (not that I have used it), as you can use the grid lines, but you need at least three reference points on your Google Earth image to give it a geographic frame of reference. This may be fairly easy if there are some well defined landmarks on the image, say road junctions or houses, but maybe more difficult if all you have is an aerial photo of some fells.

    If you use a GIS programme you will be able to align two images, but depending on the programme you may have problems altering the transparency of the overlying image so that you can see the one below. I use MapInfo and you can do this in that, but it costs a grand a shot, so you probably won't be using that. No idea whether you can do this in Map Maker, but given that you can get a cut down version for free you have nothing to loose by trying it out, trouble is, that like most other GIS programmes the full version is expensive unless you can get a student licence and even that is 55!

    Another option is GPSU, which is really a means of getting data out of non-usb GPSs, but has some basic GIS capabilities and is available in a free cut down version and the full version is relatively cheap.

  5. #5

    Re: Map Making Software

    The orienteers use OCAD to produce maps (ocad.com) - it is expensive (about 300 but really good for cartography (also used by some of the professional map makers) . You can take various formats as background mapping including image files.

    Failing that there are several Open Source mapping products that are quite good and could be used for this type of activity. My particular favourite is QGIS - http://www.qgis.org/. There is also UDIG and GVSIG (if you are familiar with ArcView 3.2 etc.) - you need a little bit of familiarity with Coordinate system nomenclature (eg British national grid is EPSG 27700) but otherwise they are relatively simple to use, free and deal with most mapping data - all of them have some editing tools for creating your own overlays etc. The biggest problem with using your own data is that they will not be geo-referenced (it will just be a picture with no idea of its geographical location).

  6. #6
    Senior Member No map, no compass's Avatar
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    Re: Map Making Software

    Quote Originally Posted by cantrundownhill View Post
    The orienteers use OCAD to produce maps (ocad.com) - it is expensive (about 300 but really good for cartography (also used by some of the professional map makers) . You can take various formats as background mapping including image files.
    The downloads page on the OCAD site says there is an old version (OCAD6) which is free .

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