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What’s New in Geographic Imager 6.5

We are very excited to announce the release of Geographic Imager 6.5, our latest version of the Geographic Imager extension for Adobe Photoshop. 

With Geographic Imager 6.5, we are bringing forward full compatibility with Adobe Photoshop 2022 (23.0.x), Windows 11 and macOS12, support for vector GeoPackages, improvements to the Terrain Shader tool, and several bug fixes.

Here’s what you can expect with the latest Geographic Imager 6.5 release:

Compatibility with Adobe Photoshop 2022 (23.0.x), Windows 11, and macOS 12

We want Geographic Imager users to experience truly seamless integration with the Adobe Photoshop workspace. We are pleased to announce that Geographic Imager 6.5 is now fully compatible with Adobe Photoshop 2022 (23.0.x).

Geographic Imager 6.5 is also fully compatible with the newly released Windows 11, as well as macOS 12 Monterey.

Terrain Shader Improvements

The Terrain Shader tool allows users to create dramatic shaded relief visualizations with elevation data. Combining hillshaded elevation datasets with imagery overlays can create striking topographic representations. With this latest release of Geographic Imager, we are improving the Terrain shader tool to include a document blending mode option. When the “Apply Overlay Image” option is now selected as a colourization schema, users can select from a range of native Photoshop blending modes that improve how imagery layers are overlayed with elevation data.

Import and Export Vector GeoPackages

Several users have requested the ability to import and export vector GeoPackage data. We are happy to announce the full support of vector GeoPackages is now offered with Geographic Imager 6.5. Vector GeoPackages are based on SQLite databases and offer an open-source, compact, lightweight, and flexible data format for easy and efficient storage or geoprocessing of spatial data.

Geographic Imager 6.5 is immediately available today, free of charge to all current Geographic Imager users with active maintenance subscriptions and as an upgrade for non-maintenance users.

Avenza Releases Geographic Imager 6.5 for Adobe Photoshop

Toronto, ON, December 14, 2021 – Avenza Systems Inc., producers of the Avenza Maps® app for mobile devices and geospatial extensions for Adobe® Creative Cloud®, including MAPublisher® for Adobe Illustrator®, is pleased to announce the release of Geographic Imager® 6.5 for Adobe Photoshop®. This latest release offers full compatibility with the latest release of Adobe Photoshop 2022 (23.0.x), compatibility with Windows 11 and macOS 12, import and export support for vector GeoPackages, and enhancements to the Terrain Shader tool including a new “Document Blending Mode” for overlaying images on elevation data.

Powering the Geospatial Image Editing Process

Geographic Imager for Adobe Photoshop delivers an all-encompassing solution to import, edit, and export geospatial images such as aerial and satellite imagery. Work with digital elevation models, GeoTIFFs, and other popular GIS image formats, now including GeoPackages, while using Adobe Photoshop features such as transparencies, filters, cropping, and image adjustments; all while maintaining georeferencing and support for hundreds of coordinate systems and projections.

New features of the Geographic Imager 6.5 plugin for Adobe Photoshop include:

  • Photoshop Compatibility: Works with the newest Adobe Photoshop 2022 (23.0.x)
  • Compatibility with Windows 11 and macOS 12
  • GeoPackage Support: Import and export vector GeoPackages
  • Terrain Shader Enhancements: “Document blending mode” options for image overlays with Terrain Shader
  • Additional feature enhancements and bug fixes

Geographic Imager 6.5 is immediately available and free of charge to all current Geographic Imager Maintenance Program members and starts at US$349 for non-maintenance upgrades. New fixed licenses start at US$749. Geographic Imager Basic Edition licenses start at US$99. Academic, floating, and volume license pricing is also available. For more information, visit www.avenza.com/geographic-imager.

More about Avenza Systems Inc.

Avenza Systems Inc. is an award-winning, privately held corporation that provides cartographers and GIS professionals with powerful software tools to make better maps. In addition to desktop mapping software, Avenza offers the mobile Avenza Maps app to sell, purchase, distribute, and use maps on iOS and Android devices. For more information, visit www.avenza.com.

For further information contact: + 1 416-487-5116 – info@avenza.comwww.avenza.com

Day 30 – Reflecting on the #30DayMapChallenge

What is the #30DayMapChallenge?

Since 2019, each November has been host to the annual #30DayMapChallenge. The challenge was started by Topi Tjukanov as a way to get the cartography and GIS communities to come together and share maps, exchange ideas, and start conversations about mapping and spatial data. Since then, this friendly competition has grown, with thousands of maps being made and shared by map-makers from all over the world, and from a wide range of experience levels. 

Kate B created this map entirely out of lego pieces (1500 total!) She shared this map on Day 15 – “Map made without using a computer”. See if you can spot the different shapes, symbols, and even video game characters that are hidden in the ocean sections of the piece.

The rules are simple: A specific theme is assigned to each day of November and the goal is to create a map each day that matches that day’s specific theme. Most important of all, this is a friendly challenge! The idea is to have fun, share maps with the carto-community, and hopefully learn something in the process! Here at Avenza, the challenge meant an opportunity to get together as a team and challenge ourselves to try something new. We have map-makers from all experience levels try their hand at making some maps, and we shared our favorites on the Avenza Twitter feed.

Erik shared this beautiful map of Mountains and parks he plans to visit on an upcoming trip to the Canadian Rockies. He shared this map for Day 21 – “Elevation”

Today marks Day 30, and the end of this year’s challenge. The theme for today is “Metamapping”, with the objective being to reflect on the overall experience and discuss what we mapped, what we enjoyed, and most importantly, what we learned. We’ve collected some thoughts from a few Avenza Team members who participated by asking them a simple question: “What did the #30DayMapChallenge mean to you?”

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“An opportunity to get creative” – Rebecca B

I love making maps, and when the #30DayMapChallenge came around this year. I knew I had to participate in some way. I’ve spent a lot of time making maps with Avenza software, and some of my favorites were turned into tutorial articles on the Avenza Resources blog. You can see a handful of them here and here

My first challenge was to create a map that fit the “red” theme. Of the three color-based themes in this year’s challenge, red spoke to me the most. Perhaps it’s because it’s a color not prevalent in nature (blue and green make me think of water and vegetation), meaning I could create something that stands out a bit more. For me at least, red immediately makes me think of apples, so I set out to create a map showing apple production worldwide. As is so common with map-making projects, oftentimes the hardest part is finding good-quality data. Luckily for me, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization houses some fantastic datasets on global food production. Using the Join Table tool in MAPublisher, I could link this tabular data to a polygon layer of countries I had imported into Adobe Illustrator. Finally, I used MAP Themes to create an appropriate red stylesheet to visualize my data, and just like that, I was done! 

Rebecca B created this fantastic map showing global apple production for Day 6 – “Red”

Next up, I took a shot at making a historical-themed map for Day 24 of the challenge. Now as a self-proclaimed history buff, I’ll never turn down an opportunity to do some research on the ancient world. For this theme, I chose to map out the mythical route of Jason and the Argonauts. If you’re from Toronto and you think “Argos” you probably think about the football team, but these are the original Argos. I actually started this map long ago for another project, but the #30DayMapChallenge got me inspired to revisit it and see it to completion. The route was all hand-drawn in Adobe Illustrator after meticulously cataloging and plotting the different locations in the legend. I was able to easily create map labels using MAPublisher LabelPro and overlaid the map layers onto a Natural Earth shaded relief base layer. While the map is physically the biggest part of the artboard, the story is what really drove me to create the map.

Looking back on this challenge, it’s a wonderful opportunity to get back into map-making. The #30DayMapChallenge is a great outlet to reignite that spark of love for cartography.

Rebecca B manually digitized the path of Jason and the Argonauts for her Day 24 – “Historical” map

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“A chance to learn a new skill” – Chelsey

Not all of us at Avenza are experienced map-makers! In fact, even though I often use maps in my everyday life, I haven’t had many opportunities to make a map myself. For me, the #30DayMapChallenge was an opportunity to learn, try new things, and (hopefully) create my first map!

I was fortunate that the Avenza team included several experienced map-makers who were willing to sit down with me and teach me the basics of cartography. After a short crash course on “projections”, “coordinate systems” and the “fundamentals of working with spatial data”, I felt confident I could take my first steps in the world of cartography. Using some of the great tutorial workflows in the Avenza support center, I was able to get my first map dataset imported with MAPublisher. With a bit of help from my Avenza teammates, I was able to get a population dataset showing population counts for Tasmania. Something I quickly learned is that population data needs to be adjusted to account for variation in the size of each area of measure. I used the attribute expressions tutorial to create an expression that calculated the population density for each region rather than the raw population value. Finally, apply a MAP Theme to give the map some color, and add a few remaining stylistic elements with the native Adobe tools, and voila! My very first map is complete!

For me, the #30dayMapChallenge offered me a chance to learn some great new tools, and take a crack at making my very first map. I learned that making maps doesn’t have to be hard, and in fact can be quite fun! Being able to go from never made a map to “I made a real map!” in a matter of hours was incredible, and I can’t wait to try out these newfound skills on some other map projects!

Chelsey got a crash course in beginner map-making with MAPublisher, allowing her to create this neat map of population density in Tasmania for Day 12 – Population

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“Not all maps have to be serious” – Spencer

This year was my second time participating in the #30DayMapChallenge and once again, it was incredible to see the map-making community come together to share some really cool maps. I enjoy these types of challenges because they encourage new and experienced map-makers alike to try out new tools, learn some new techniques, and work on maps in a friendly, non-intimidating environment. For me at least, it was an opportunity to just have fun and try out some maps that were less serious in nature. Too often maps are only the result of intensive analytical processes or a product of complex data visualization. While these types of rigid workflows are still quite interesting to work on, it’s also good to step back and just have fun with the process instead of focusing on every detail in the workflow. For Day 4 – “Hexagons”, I did just that and put together a simple map documenting the “Sharknado Risk” across the US. I even wrote a tutorial blog about how I did it!

Spencer made this not-so-serious map of Sharknado risk by creating a custom Bivariate-risk index in MAPublisher. He shared this map for Day 4 – “Hexagons”

What I enjoy most about open-ended map challenges like #30DayMapChallenge is that they allow one to explore topics or datasets that they might not use in their normal day-to-day work. As many cartography and GIS folks know, the most challenging part of ‘making a map” often comes from deciding on a theme, and finding good data. This is especially true when you are restricted to a very specific mapping result or must adhere to strict design considerations. The #30DayMapChallenge removes some of these obstacles and provides an environment that encourages creativity and gets back to the real reason so many of us got into the industry – because we enjoy making maps.

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Some of the Map created by the Avenza Team for #30DayMapChallenge

Adobe MAX 2021: Exciting Improvements for Avenza Mapping Plugins

Toronto, CA (October 26, 2021) – Avenza Systems Inc., producers of the Avenza Maps® app for mobile devices is pleased to announce the upcoming releases of MAPublisher® 10.9 for Adobe Illustrator® and Geographic Imager® 6.5 for Adobe Photoshop® 2022 These updates will provide a range of user interface improvements, feature enhancements, bug fixes, and performance upgrades, along with compatibility with the latest Adobe Creative Cloud applications.

Data-driven Map Design in Illustrator with MAPublisher

MAPublisher cartography software seamlessly integrates more than seventy GIS mapping tools into Adobe Illustrator to help you create beautiful maps from GIS data. Import industry-standard GIS data formats and make crisp, clean maps with all attributes and georeferencing intact using the Adobe Illustrator design environment.

Expected new features of the MAPublisher 10.9 extension for Adobe Illustrator include support for import and export of vector Geopackages, import of TopoJSON files, new “Geodesic” buffers, a default simplification setting, bug fixes, user interface enhancements, and much more.

Powerful Imagery Editing in Photoshop with Geographic Imager

Geographic Imager for Adobe Photoshop delivers an all-encompassing solution to import, edit, and export geospatial images such as aerial and satellite imagery. Work with digital elevation models, GeoTIFFs, and other popular GIS image formats while using Adobe Photoshop features such as transparencies, filters, cropping, and image adjustments; all while maintaining georeferencing and support for hundreds of coordinate systems and projections

Expected improvements of the Geographic Imager 6.5 extension for Adobe Photoshop include functionality enhancements for several tools, performance improvements, bug fixes, and more. Additional feature upgrades to be announced soon.

Upgrade or Purchase 

MAPublisher 10.9 will be available free of charge to all current MAPublisher users with active maintenance and as an upgrade for non-maintenance users starting at US$649. New licenses are available from US$1499. MAPublisher FME-Auto and MAPublisher LabelPro are also available as add-ons starting at US$499.

Geographic Imager 6.5 will be available and free of charge to all current Geographic Imager Maintenance Program members and starts at US$349 for non-maintenance upgrades. New fixed licenses start at US$749. Geographic Imager Basic Edition licenses start at US$99. 

Academic, floating, and volume license pricing is also available for both extension suites.

More about Avenza Systems Inc.

Avenza Systems Inc. is an award-winning, privately held corporation that provides cartographers and GIS professionals with powerful software tools to make better maps. Avenza also offers the mobile Avenza Maps app to sell, purchase, distribute, and use maps on iOS and Android devices. For more information, visit www.avenza.com.
For further information contact:  416-487-5116 – info@avenza.comwww.avenza.com

Mapping Class: Work with Sentinel-2 Imagery in Geographic Imager – Part Two, with Tom Patterson

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Welcome back to Mapping Class! The Mapping Class tutorial series curates demonstrations and workflows created by professional cartographers and expert Avenza software users. Today Tom Patterson is sharing with us part two of his demonstration of editing Sentinel-2 Imagery Data using Geographic Imager and Adobe Photoshop. Continued from Part One, Tom shows how to take his newly crafted true-color image to make water regions really pop! He will show you how you can use the mosaic tool in Geographic Imager to work with elevation data to create layer masks that make adjusting water areas easy.

If you missed last month’s edition of Mapping Class, check out Part One of Tom’s demonstration.

We have also compiled supplementary video notes below.

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Work with Sentinel-2 Imagery in Geographic Imager: Part Two
by Tom Patterson (Video notes adapted from original)

The vegetation brightening technique from part one also influences the color of water bodies. In part two, we will shift water bodies to a more attractive blue and diminish reflections, wind riffles, and sediment plumes. The technique involves adding a flat blue layer with an accompanying water layer mask in Photoshop.

Create a Water-Layer Mask

We will create the water layer mask from band 8. It contains data from the near-infrared section of the spectrum that clearly delineates water and land areas. Applying a steep curves adjustment to band 8 will compress the tonal range, which when inverted, results in a high-contrast land-water mask.

The trick is to adjust the curve in such a way so that it minimizes blemishes in the water and shadows on the land. Unfortunately, with this dataset, mountain cast shadows can still be seen as noise, even with the strong curve adjustment. Obviously, this would create challenges if we were to use this as our water mask, so we need to do a few more steps to get rid of that “noise”.

Clean-up the Water Layer Mask

I’ve grabbed a 30m SRTM DEM for this area. I can use this as a mask to get rid of those pesky mountain shadows. The tricky part is that we are now working with mixed projections and different datasets.

I can use the nifty Mosaic tool in Geographic Imager to bring these two datasets together. The really important part is to specify the “crop to destination extents” option. Doing this will not only apply an on-the-fly projection transformation but also crop the large DEM dataset automatically down to match my water mask layer. Also, be sure to select the “merge source document layers” option – this really helps clean up the layer management, while still keeping the important stuff separate.

To get rid of those mountain shadows, we apply another linear curves adjustment. Similar to before, the idea is to compress that tonal range until only the regions at or near sea level are visible (most of the water in our image is at sea level).

Select the layer, apply the “Screen” blending mode, and then “flatten” the image to create the final water mask layer (now with removed mountain shadows!).

Apply the Water-mask layer

When the water mask is ready, copy it to the computer clipboard. Next, go back to the true color image and create a new topmost layer and add a layer mask. Then paste this into the layer mask (be sure to invert it!). You can then fill the water layer with whichever flat blue that you like. Finally, partially decrease the opacity of the flat blue layer to reveal any sediments or reflections that may exist in the satellite images. You might need to do a bit of manual touch-up with the brush tool on your mask layer to completely remove all mountain shadows.

Mosaic Multiple Images

I did almost the exact same technique on another image directly south of this one, and I’ve decided I would like to mosaic both of these images together into a single composite. Again, I use the mosaic tool (this time uncheck the “crop” option), and voila! Both images are mosaiced together in less than a second!

Finishing Touches

A few more touch-ups with the gradient tool to blend the images at their border, and some final adjustment layers to boost the saturation a bit and we are basically done.

The very last thing that I do is to apply sharpening, which is irreversible. You will need to experiment to determine the amount that is best. As a starting point, try these settings (Filter/Sharpen/Unsharp Mask). Amount = 100%, Radius = 0.5 pixels, Threshold = 0 levels

That’s it! We took some really nice multispectral Sentinel-2 Imagery, some great tools in Geographic Imager, and used some of the nice native Photoshop tools to create a really vibrant, true-color image that’s ready to be draped over some 3D relief or used to create another nice map!

A note on Exporting Images

Before exporting the final image as a GeoTIFF using Geographic Imager, go to Image/Mode and reduce the bit depth from 16 to 8 bits per channel, and then flatten the image. This will significantly reduce the file size.

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About the Author

Tom Patterson worked as a cartographer at the U.S. National Park Service, Harpers Ferry Center until retiring in 2018. He has an M.A. in Geography from the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa. Presenting terrain on maps is Tom’s passion. He publishes his work on shadedrelief.com and is the co-developer of the Natural Earth dataset and the Equal Earth projection. Tom has served as President and Executive Director of the NACIS. He is now Vice-Chair of the International Cartographic Association, Commission on Mountain Cartography.

Exploring Imagery Data using Band Combinations in Geographic Imager

Captured largely by satellites, planes, or unmanned aerial vehicles (i.e., drones), imagery data reveals interesting patterns and important information on Earth’s surface processes. This information can tell us not only about the natural world around us but also how we are changing it. From deforestation, snowmelt, desertification, and water resources management, to urban development, agriculture, forestry, and national defence, the stories we can tell with imagery data have become more important than ever. With hundreds of active earth observation satellites orbiting the Earth, never before has there been more data available to work with, and entire professions have been developed to learn from the vast troves of imagery data now available. 

Although the world of imagery analysis is full of complex techniques and analytical workflows, learning the basics doesn’t have to be intimidating. We’ll show you in today’s blog, where we are looking at one of the simplest, yet most effective techniques for examining imagery data: using band-combinations to create false colour composites. With the Geographic Imager plugin for Adobe Photoshop, we will explore how you can access, import, and process multispectral imagery data to visualize some interesting patterns on Earth’s surface.

Bands and the corresponding wavelength ranges for the Landsat 8 Earth Observation Satellite. Are a variety of “visible” and “invisible” bands are captured by the sensors on-board.

When we think of satellite imagery data, we often imagine something similar to the view out the window of a plane. To our eyes from high above, the Earth’s surface is very much dominated by “natural” colours such as blue and green. This is due to our eyes having evolved to observe what we call the “visible” part of the electromagnetic spectrum. This visible component is in fact only a small part of the greater spectrum as a whole, and many satellites are designed to capture wavelengths far beyond what we can see with the unaided eye. This so-called “invisible” part of the spectrum includes ultraviolet, infrared, and near-infrared wavelengths that can be extremely important for scientists studying Earth’s surface processes. Satellites will often capture individual images at a wide range of different wavelengths and combine these in something called “multispectral imagery”. Landsat 8 is an Earth observation satellite active since 2013 and is one of the best sources of high-quality multispectral imagery data available to date. Better yet, through USGS Earth Explorer web app, users can download high-quality Landsat 8 imagery for almost anywhere on Earth.

After creating a free account on Earth Explorer, we can start looking for some data. Use the search criteria panel to specify a region of interest (you can also manually draw a search area using the map panel). In this section, we can also specify a date range, which is very useful if you wish to view a particular region at a specific date or want to see how a region may have changed over time. For this example, we are going to be looking at the area of Las Vegas, Nevada. Often referred to as an “oasis”, we want to take a look at vegetation growth in this desert city, and see just how accurate this term may be.

In the Datasets window, we can access different data providers for our imagery. For our needs, we want to select the Landsat C2 Analysis Ready Data (ARD). This will contain the prepared multispectral imagery we need to create a false colour composite. In the “additional criteria” section, we can specify the spacecraft (Landsat 8) and Cloud cover tolerance for our imagery data. For false colour composites, it is important to get a clear unobstructed view of the Earth’s surface, so we should aim for as little cloud cover as possible (<10%).

The Results panel now presents us with a great selection of imagery datasets for our area. We recommend examining the available datasets, and ensuring the data covers the area of interest by using the footprint icon next to each data product. With the right dataset selected, we can download the dataset we will import in Geographic Imager (choose the “Surface Reflectance Bundle” option from the download options). 

Looking at the downloaded files, you will see that several files end in a suffix indicating the “band” captured in that image (i.e suffix “_B1”, “_B2”, “_B3”, etc). These bands correspond to the specific ranges of wavelengths we discussed earlier. We will be combining several of these different images to create our composite.

Now that we have the data, Geographic Imager will make it easy to import, and edit multispectral imagery data, all while retaining accurate spatial referencing. In addition, being seamlessly integrated into Adobe Photoshop, it gives us access to powerful Photoshop tools such as adjustment layers and curves (check out this great Mapping Class tutorial by Tom Patterson on using adjustment layers to improve imagery data). We start by opening the image files corresponding to Bands 1 through 7 (files ending in suffixes “_B1” to “_B7”). 

Go to Window > Channel to open the Channels panel From the Channel panel options menu, select “Merge channels” to combine the separate images into a single composite with different bands. Set the Merge Mode to “Multichannel” and specify each channel by assigning it to its corresponding image (i.e., Channel 2> Band 2, Channel 3> Band 3, etc.). Complete this for all channels. 

To work with our new multi-channel image, ensure the Image mode is set to Grayscale (Image> Mode> Grayscale). You may also want to rename the channels to match their spectrum component (i.e., rename “Alpha Channel 2” to “Band 2 – Blue” and so on.)

Next, open the Channel Management tool on the Geographic Imager Panel. Here we can easily modify channels to create different colour composites that match our needs. Specify the colour mode at the top of the panel to be “RGB Colour”. Next, specify the channel roles that will be used to display the image. To start, let’s go with the obvious choice. For “Band 4 – Red”, select the “Red” channel role. For “Band 3 – Green”, specify the “Green” channel role, and for “Band 2 – Blue”, select the “Blue” colour role. We call this band combination 4-3-2, referring to the bands we assign to Red, Green, and Blue respectively. This is also what is called the “natural colour” image, and will show us a view of the Las Vegas area as it would appear to our eyes (we’ve used some adjustment layers to brighten the image before displaying it).

Natural Colour (4-3-2) Image of Las Vegas

Being in the middle of the desert, it’s unsurprising that our image is a mix of drab browns and greys, reflecting the mix of concrete structures, sandstone, and small shrubbery that permeate the landscape. If you look very closely, you might notice a few dark green patches, which indicate some of the many golf courses and parks that are interspersed throughout the city. In the natural colour band combination, however, only the larger areas of vegetation are easily visible, and others are generally washed out by their surroundings. If we want to get a better idea of the vegetation that persists in this desert “oasis”, we will need to apply some modifications to our imagery to create a false colour composite.

Opening the channel management tool again, this time we are going to create the band combination 5-4-3. This combination is one example of a “false colour” image and will help us to highlight the presence of vegetation in the area. 

False Colour (5-4-3) Image. Note that vegetation appears as bright red.

Looking at this new image, you might see how vegetation stands out clearly as bright red in colour. Irrigated vegetation, such as that found on golf courses, parks, lawns, and crop fields stands out even more prominently. Compared to the natural colour settings, this image makes it much easier to identify vegetated areas, even small ones. Presenting the image in this way is not only more informative but also tells a story of how human intervention affects our environment. The highly structured shape and location of most of these vegetated areas indicate a high level of human involvement, especially when compared to the more “natural” areas outside the city. This provides strong hints at the massive role water management and irrigation have in overcoming an otherwise arid, harsh, growing environment.

ou may want to save the file as a Photoshop document (PSD/PSB) in order to work with the image again later or explore different band combinations on another machine. Starting with Geographic Imager 6.4, internal georeferencing is now embedded directly within a saved Photoshop document. This reduces the need to retain an external spatial referencing file when the project is re-opened at a later date. Alternatively, we can also Export to one of several different spatial image formats. To demonstrate, we’ve exported to a GeoTIFF format, which will also retain internal georeferencing. When selecting “Save As.. -> “Geographic Imager – BigTIFF”, a dialogue window will open that allows us to configure compression, pixel order and block size for our exported image. Note that GeoTIFF formats allow us to retain our Image Channels if we wish (but this will increase the file size). Click OK and the image is now exported for future use.

There are many different band combinations you can use to explore and analyze different patterns on Earth’s surface. We only examined two very specific types in this demonstration, but below we have provided a list of several other common Landsat 8 band combinations, as well as their use-cases.

The above band combinations are specific to Landsat 8 Imagery. Different satellites will have alternative band combinations.

Try out a few combinations and see what types of interesting patterns you can observe. With the Channel Management tool in the Geographic Imager plugin for Adobe Photoshop, exploring band combinations and false-colour composites with imagery data is a breeze!

The above false colour composite uses Band Combination 7-6-4. This combo works best for highlighting human-made developments and structures. Urban areas, buildings and structures will appear as bright purple to blue in this combination.

Avenza Releases Geographic Imager 6.4 for Adobe Photoshop

Toronto, ON, September 20th, 2021 – Avenza Systems Inc., producers of the Avenza Maps® app for mobile devices and geospatial plugins for Adobe® Creative Cloud®, including MAPublisher® for Adobe Illustrator®, is pleased to announce the release of Geographic Imager® 6.4 for Adobe Photoshop®. This latest version is fully compatible with the most recent version of Adobe Photoshop 2021 and introduces the ability to store embedded georeferencing within the saved Photoshop document format. Geographic Imager 6.4 also brings forward scripting support for the export of point, text, and vector layers, updated map store upload options, coordinate system updates, and a host of bug fixes and engine enhancements.

Enriching the Geospatial Image Editing Process

Geographic Imager for Adobe Photoshop delivers an all-encompassing solution to import, edit, and export geospatial images such as aerial and satellite imagery. Work with digital elevation models, GeoTIFFs, and other popular GIS image formats while using Adobe Photoshop features such as transparencies, filters, cropping, and image adjustments; all while maintaining georeferencing and support for hundreds of coordinate systems and projections.

New features of the Geographic Imager 6.4 plugin for Adobe Photoshop include:

  • Georeferenced Photoshop documents: Users can now store embedded georeferencing within a saved PSD/PSB. This reduces the need for retaining separate or external reference files.
  • Scripting support for export of vector layers: This will allow the export of vector layers, points, and text to be recorded as actions and provides functionality to script these processes.
  • New Avenza Map Store categories: The new categories used for browsing maps on the Avenza Map Store have been added when using the  ‘Upload to Avenza Map Store” functionality.
  • Updated coordinate systems: Engine enhancements including an updated coordinate system library.

Geographic Imager 6.4 is immediately available and free of charge to all current Geographic Imager Maintenance Program members and starts at US$349 for non-maintenance upgrades. New fixed licenses start at US$749. Geographic Imager Basic Edition licenses start at US$99. Academic, floating, and volume license pricing is also available. For more information, visit www.avenza.com/geographic-imager.

More about Avenza Systems Inc.

Avenza Systems Inc. is an award-winning, privately held corporation that provides cartographers and GIS professionals with powerful software tools to make better maps. In addition to desktop mapping software, Avenza offers the mobile Avenza Maps app to sell, purchase, distribute, and use maps on iOS and Android devices. For more information, visit www.avenza.com.

For further information contact:  416-487-5116 – info@avenza.comwww.avenza.com

What’s new in Geographic Imager 6.4

What’s New in Geographic Imager 6.4

Avenza is pleased to announce the release of Geographic Imager® 6.4 for Adobe Photoshop®. This version is fully compatible with the latest version of Adobe Photoshop 2021. The release also introduces the ability to retain embedded georeferencing within saved Photoshop documents. We are also excited to provide scripting support for the export of point, text, and vector layers, updated map store upload options, new coordinate system support, and a host of bug fixes and engine enhancements.

Here is what you can expect with the latest Geographic Imager 6.4 release:

Georeferenced Photoshop Documents and Photoshop BIG files

We know that easily and efficiently importing and processing georeferenced imagery data directly within Adobe Photoshop make Geographic Imager the go-to platform for your imagery editing needs. With the release of Geographic Imager 6.4, working with georeferenced imagery is now simpler than ever. We have introduced the ability to retain embedded georeferencing information directly within a saved Photoshop Document (PSD). Geographic Imager will now store, and automatically read georeferencing specifications upon opening Photoshop documents. This reduces the need to retain an external reference file and means users will not have to specify this source reference information upon opening the file. Embedded georeferencing now works with all support images contained in Photoshop Documents, as well as very large georeferenced images contained in Photoshop BIG (PSB) files.

Upload Options: Avenza Map Store Categories

For users wishing to share or sell their maps on the Avenza Map Store, we have updated the “Upload to the Avenza Map Store” options to include the new Map Store categories. Map Store categories such as Parks & Forests, Trails, and Topographic are organized to enhance the search experience on the Map Store and ensure your high-quality map products reach the right users. When exporting from Geographic Imager to the Avenza Map Store, users will be provided an option to select one of 13 specific categories.

Scripting Support for Exporting Vector Layers

For handling repetitive imagery processing tasks, our users often employ the already powerful automation and scripting tools available in Adobe Photoshop. With Geographic Imager 6.4, we have introduced scripting capabilities for exporting vector layers. This means exporting vector points, lines, polygons, and text within Geographic Imager can now be recorded in the Adobe Photoshop Action panel. This new functionality allows users to script and automate export processes for their geospatial imagery.

Improved Coordinate System Library

For this release, we worked to improve the Geographic Imager engine that ensures our users can continue their work in a truly seamless, powerful, efficient, geospatial image-editing environment. This release includes performance enhancements, user interface improvements, and a host of bug fixes. Additionally, we have built on our existing coordinate system catalog with the addition of several new and updated projection and coordinate systems. These exciting additions include the Natural Earth and Natural Earth 2 Projections created by Tom Patterson. 

Get it today!

All active maintenance subscribers can upgrade to Geographic Imager 6.4 today for free. Users who don’t have active maintenance or are on a previous Geographic Imager version can still upgrade.

Mapping Class: Work with Sentinel-2 Imagery in Geographic Imager – Part One, with Tom Patterson

Welcome to the latest edition of Mapping Class! The Mapping Class tutorial series curates demonstrations and workflows created by professional cartographers and expert Avenza software users. In this month’s edition, we welcome Tom Patterson, a map-maker extraordinaire and a true household name in the cartography world. Today Tom is sharing with us a demonstration showing how he works with Sentinel-2 Imagery Data using Geographic Imager and Adobe Photoshop. Tom uses a new dataset that that represents a “pretty difficult” image to process and offers an excellent look at how to create beautiful natural colour images from satellite data.

Part One of this exciting walkthrough covers the techniques Tom uses for accessing and importing satellite imagery data, as well as his approach to colour correction using some of the powerful built-in image editing tools in Adobe Photoshop. Tom has produced video notes below to help you follow along! Look out for Part Two, coming in next months edition of Mapping Class!

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Work with Sentinel-2 Imagery in Geographic Imager: Part One
by Tom Patterson (Video notes adapted from original)

This tutorial explains how to process Sentinel-2 satellite data, released by the European Space Agency for free, into natural colour images. Beautification is the goal—nature often can use a little help when using satellite images for maps and graphical presentations.

To do this tutorial you will need Adobe Photoshop and Avenza Geographic Imager. Trial versions for geographic imager can be found here. For this tutorial, you should also have intermediate Photoshop skills, a good internet connection, and a computer with plenty of RAM.

Getting the data

The US Geological Survey distributes Sentinel-2 data on the EarthExplorer data portal. You can also download Sentinel-2 on the Copernicus Open Access Hub, although I find EarthExplorer easier to use.

1) Downloading data from EarthExplorer requires that you first sign in as a registered user.

2) After you sign in, use the “Search Criteria” tab in the upper left to specify a point of interest. You can also draw a polygon on the map to specify a larger search area.

3) Click the “Data Sets” tab next. From the long list of data types, select “Sentinel-2.”

4) The EarthExplorer portal offers useful tools for narrowing your search. For example, you can filter by acquisition date and cloud cover. Sentinel-2 image extents are viewable as transparent map overlays. 

5) Click the “Results” tab to peruse the available images. Then click the image thumbnails to see larger image previews in false color. Scrolling down from the image previews reveals additional metadata

To download a scene from the search results list, click the “Download Options” icon. You will then see these two download options:

● L1C Tile in JPEG2000 format (XX MB)

● Full Resolution Browse in GeoTIFF format (XX MB)

Download both.

7) The Full Resolution Browse in GeoTIFF format is a false-color image (bands 11, 8A, and 4) at 20-meter resolution.

8) Decompress the L1C Tile in JPEG2000 format archive. It contains the raw Sentinel-2 bands and a true-color image. You will need to drill through multiple folders to get to these data 

Importing the data

Because Photoshop does not natively import JPEG2000 files, you will need to use a Geographic Imager to import the Sentinel-2 data. The advantage of Geographic Imager over other plugins is that it preserves georeferencing and allows you to export manipulated Sentinel-2 images as GeoTIFFs.

1) In the Photoshop drop menu, go to File/Import/GI: Advanced Import

2) Select one or more Sentinel-2 bands to import (in this case, we want Bands 4, 3, and 2 which correspond to our Red, Green, and Blue bands) and click OK. Importing could take a minute or two to complete. Each Sentinel-2 band will open as a separate Photoshop file. That’s it.

Colour Correction

The premade True Color Images are convenient to obtain, and you can easily adjust them to create acceptable results. However, they have an Achilles heel: snow- and ice-covered landscapes. Automated processing removes the very lightest tones, rendering them as empty white (below, left). In order to depict subtle details in snowy terrain, one must build the satellite image from scratch using the raw data in bands 4, 3, and 2 (below, right).

1) Use Geographic Imager to open bands 4, 3, and 2 (File/Import/GI: Advanced Import…). The import will take a couple of minutes to complete, and the three bands will open as separate Photoshop files.

2) With one of the Photoshop files active, go to the flyout menu in the upper right corner of the Channels window. Select Merge Channels…

3) In the Merge Channels window, change the mode to RGB Color and specify 3 channels.

4) Another window will pop up. Make sure that band 4 is the red channel, band 3 is the green channel, and band 2 is the blue channel. Then click okay.

5) Photoshop will then ask whether you want to save each of the three bands. Don’t save them. You will then see the merged 16-bit RGB image, which is mostly gray

Using Curves

Now the fun begins. Compared to Levels adjustments that are linear, Curves adjustments are non-linear, giving you more control over discrete portions of the tonal range in an image. They are a little tricky to use at first, but the precise results that you can achieve with this command make learning it very worthwhile.

1) Apply a Curves adjustment layer and adjust the tonal range of the image taking care to leave some value in the snow patches. I often apply two or more Curves adjustment layers, one on top of the other, to fine-tune the tonal balance. With 16-bit images, you can stretch the tonal range without worrying about banding artifacts.

2) Save your applied curves as adjustment layers so you can save and re-use them for later. This is especially important when you start mosaicing imagery data (coming in part two!) and need to ensure curves are applied consistently across multiple images.

Below is the curve that I used to adjust the image. The histogram shows the distribution of light and dark values. Moving the lower-left end of the curve to the right lightened dark trees. Moving the top-right end down added a slight amount of tone to the white snow. Both of these moves decreased overall contrast.

Touch-up with the False Colour Image

We want to add a bit more eye-catching vibrance to our image. We can do that by utilizing the included false colour imagery and using the colour properties and blending tools to really make the mountainous terrain pop. 

1) Since we need the false colour imagery to match the resolution of our RGB image, we need to upscale it. This can be done using the image sizing properties and resampling using the “Preserve Details” setting.

2) Overlay this upscaled false colour image over top of the RGB layer. You can then adjust the blending modes to create a nice vibrant image. In this case, I use the “Soft Light” blending mode, which is great for making the alpine terrain really stand out.

3) Create a selective colour adjustment layer to touch out individual colour tones in the image. For example, I try to remove much of the yellow tones in the image, as yellow tones are atypical for the “cold” alpine-like terrain we find in this image. 

Coming up in Part Two:

The land areas in this image now stand out quite well. They look quite a bit more vibrant than the raw data and offer a bit better tonality than what we find in the automatically generated true-colour image included in the download. What we can do next is work on making the water areas stand out as well. I’ll show you how you can use the mosaic tool in Geographic Imager to work with elevation data to create layer masks that make adjusting water areas easy.

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About the Author

Tom Patterson worked as a cartographer at the U.S. National Park Service, Harpers Ferry Center until retiring in 2018. He has an M.A. in Geography from the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa. Presenting terrain on maps is Tom’s passion. He publishes his work on ShadedRelief.com and is the co-developer of the Natural Earth dataset and the Equal Earth projection. Tom has served as President and Executive Director of the NACIS. He is now Vice-Chair of the International Cartographic Association, Commission on Mountain Cartography.