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3D Terrain Model using Geographic Imager

We created a video to show that it is possible to use geospatial data and the 3D capabilities of Adobe Photoshop. It performs very well with a decent computer and video card.

In this video, a combination of Geographic Imager and Adobe Photoshop functions are used to open a DEM file using a script. The script also transforms a DEM into a 3D model and allows for an overlay of a colour model based on the data or a custom image (e.g. ortho image). Video after the jump.

 

How to get Open Street Map data into Adobe Illustrator with MAPublisher

Edit: Updated with a new QGIS workflow (November 21, 2014)

The following tip is courtesy of Hans van der Maarel of Red Geographics.

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For many areas on Earth, OpenStreetMap is a viable alternative to commercially offered data sources. However, it is not always easy to process. This blog tutorial explains the steps needed to load OpenStreetMap data into MAPublisher.

1. Download and install QGIS, this is a free GIS application, available for Windows, Mac and Linux computers. QGIS now comes with built in tools for downloading Open Street Map Data.

2. Open QGIS and zoom in to an area of interest. Use the OpenLayers plugin for a basemap if you do not have any imagery or mapping of your own. Keep in mind that downloads from the OpenStreetMap website are limited in the number of exported objects, so for larger areas you will have to combine multiple downloads yourself, or look for other options (for example Geofabrik).

Bing Basemap

3a. Go to the Vector Menu and Choose OpenStreetMap and then Download data.

OSM Download Menu

3b. Choose how you want the extent of the downloaded data to be defined. The easiest way is to use the Map Canvas.

OSM Download Dialogue

4. Open your downloaded .osm file in QGis using the Add Vector Layer tool. Select all the Layers and choose OK.

Select vector layers to add

This results are shown in several layers depending upon what is present in the extent you have downloaded. In this case there are points, lines, multilinestrings and multipolygons. Note that QGIS only imports features that fall completely within the extent specified. So make sure you choose an area larger than your actual area of interest to ensure it is completely covered.

OSM layers loaded in QGIS

5. Export these layers one by one. Right-click and choose “Save As, then ESRI shapefile”.

Save Points to Shapefile

6. The shapefiles can be imported into Adobe Illustrator using MAPublisher. After reprojecting, scaling and cropping we’ve ended up with the raw OpenStreetMap vectors in Adobe Illustrator, with all attributes still maintained.

OSM Layers loaded in MAPublisher

7. Once within the data is imported successfully, you may now use any of the MAPublisher and Adobe Illustrator tools to style and customize the map in any way you want.

OSM Layers loaded and themed in MAPublisher

 

Optimizing Adobe Illustrator Documents with MAPublisher for Geospatial PDF Export

Adobe Illustrator documents with GIS data can be exported to georeferenced PDF files thanks to the MAPublisher Export Geospatial PDF feature. A geospatial PDF is an Adobe Acrobat file that contains geospatial coordinates. With coordinates, users can view and interact with the PDF to find and mark location data. MAPublisher exports all the MAP Attributes data in an Adobe Illustrator document into the geospatial PDF. Attribute values can subsequently be accessed and searched in Acrobat 9 (and 8 with limitations).

In order to ensure the best interoperability and geospatial PDF output results from your MAPublisher documents, the following work practices are recommended:

Convert document color mode to RGB

To ensure predictable color results, it is highly recommended to convert the documents color mode to RGB prior to exporting to Geospatial PDF. This is advisable especially if generating geospatial PDF documents to be used in conjunction with the PDF Maps app for IOS devices. The document color mode can be changed in Adobe Illustrator through File > Document Color Mode > RGB Color.

Colour mode

Crop data to the required extents using the MAP Vector Crop Tool

Remove any extraneous data not required for the geospatial PDF document by cropping the map using the Vector Crop Tool (located in the Adobe Illustrator Toolbar). If necessary, exclude data from being cropped by locking the its the appropriate layers.

Vector crop

Remove unnecessary layers

Delete any map layers that are not required for the final PDF map document. This may include raster layers, hidden layers, and layers that are outside the mapping extent or art board. Not only will this decrease file size, it will also simplify your layers list and improve organization. Delete layers in the MAP Views panel or the Layers panel.

delete selection

Preserve data contained within sublayers

If your document contains map data organized within sublayers it will be necessary to reorganize/move this data to it’s parent layer if you wish to preserve it when converting to and from geospatial PDF. This is necessary because data contained on sublayers are forced into their parent layer by the Adobe Illustrator PDF exporter. Layers are also required for importing a geospatial PDF back into MAPublisher in order to assign a schema.

Remove unused attribute information

Data sets, especially those available through various data portals and government agencies can contain attribute information not suited or required for our mapping need, or perhaps we are only interested in the geometry of the data for representational purposes. In this case it is advisable to delete any attribute information that does not fulfill a purpose as this will unnecessarily increase the resultant file size. Select your data, open the MAP Attributes panel, and click the Edit Schema button. You may delete and organize your attributes using this panel.

Edit attribute schema

Assign MAPublisher attributes to Adobe Illustrator Object names

This recommendation is not necessary but may be useful in some cases. In MAPublisher the #Id attribute column is a unique identifier MAPublisher uses internally to associate attributes with unique pieces of art. By default the art will have a name of “path” or “compound path” however it may be desirable to tag the object with a unique identifier from an existing attribute column for the purposes of making it easier to differentiate art objects within the Acrobat tree list, for example.

To do this we can use the “Apply Expression” option in the MAP Attributes panel. Simply designate the #Name column as the “Apply to” option while entering the name of the attribute column you wish to derive the attributes from as the “Expression”. For example in the screeshot below we are renaming the art objects contained in the #name column with values stoed in the “ROUTE” column with the results being reflected in the artwork listed in Illustrator Layers panel.

Use the Simplify Line Tool

Reduce the number of vertices available in MAP Line and Area layers by using the Simplify Line tool (located on the MAPublisher toolbar). This differs from the Adobe Illustrator Simplify Path tool because it takes into account X and Y coordinates. The proximity value or simplification tolerance is based on the vertical difference between the begin-end line and points off a line, not the distance between anchor points on the line.

Simplify lines

Geospatial PDFs derived from or include images should be generated as 72 DPI

This has particular relevance when dealing with geospatial PDF files, especially those generated with Geographic Imager. When a 200 DPI (dots per inch) georeferenced image is converted to a geospatial PDF, the image will be embedded in the PDF as a 200 DPI image. However, when displayed by PDF viewing applications such as Acrobat or Illustrator it will appear as a 72 DPI image. Due to this, on export, MAPublisher converts the referencing to 72 DPI format since it must be imported back as 72 DPI

Geospatial PDF at 72 DPI

Following the above recommendations should help ease the transition of your MAPublisher documents to and from geospatial PDF.

 

MAPublisher Dot Density Maps

Dot density themes are sometimes called dot distribution maps because they show where particular data characteristics occur. It uses dots or other symbols to represent the number of occurrences of a given data characteristic in a particular location. Starting at MAPublisher 8.4, the ability to create dot density maps is available through the provision of Dot Density Themes.

When creating a new MAP Theme simply choose “Dot Density” from the available theme types. The creation of a dot density theme is facilitated through the MAP Themes panel. The dot density theme is an Adobe Illustrator effect applied to an area layer.

Item 2: Coordinate system of the map

As dot density maps are most useful for showing where particular data occur, they may only be generated for MAP Area type layers. Most often, symbols are used to represent data occurring within a bounding polygon such as a census tract, zip code or county polygons.

Item 2: Coordinate system of the map

Dot density effects are created on a per layer basis, based on various user defined settings. Data ranges can be determined from selected attribute columns and then a dot value can be assigned a corresponding symbol at which point MAPublisher will map the appropriate results. Users may apply default symbols or load custom ones based on Illustrator symbol sets

In this example, population tallies per county have been loaded, assigned a dot value of 10,000 with a designated symbol of a 2pt black dot.

This screenshot displays the map prior to applying the dot density effect.

Item 2: Coordinate system of the map

The screenshot below displays the map after having applied the Dot Density Theme using the parameters displayed within the dialog .

Item 2: Coordinate system of the map

New in MAPublisher 8.4: Import Map Data from Web Services

MAPublisher 8.4 has an exciting new feature: importing data from web services. It is another enhancement to provide you with more options to access data.

simple import web service

You can import vector data using the Web Feature Service (WFS). It accesses web servers that deliver vector content in GML format. Similarly, you can import raster data with the Web Map Service (WMS). It accesses web servers that deliver raster content in a variety of formats.

Access the WFS and WMS directly from the Simple or Advanced Import dialog boxes. After selecting either Web Feature Service or Web Map Service from the Format drop-down list, browse for a web service and select one. Of course, you can easily add, remove and manage your favourite WFS/WMS in this dialog box.

WFS Services

After selecting and connecting to a WFS/WMS, simply select features (layers) or rasters you want to import into Adobe Illustrator. At the same time, you will have an option whether or not to save the original datasets in GML format.

WFS Services

Click the Info button available next to the Server Info at the top of the dialog box. You can see more detail information about the web server.

The server information

After importing features from the WFS/WMS, each of the features will be in a MAP layer and all the georeferencing of those selected features will be stored in the MAP View.

Imported features from Web Feature Service

New Text Utilities in MAPublisher 8.4

Among other great new features, MAPublisher 8.4 includes new text utilities designed to ease cartographic workflow by adding flexibility to text handling. These tools are accessed through two icons grouped with the MAPublisher document operations tools on the MAPublisher tool bar.

Text Utilities Icons

Text Utilities

Add functions like convert text on a path to point text, separate multiline text, extend overflowing text, flip upside down text, crop text path to text length, set text alignment, rectify point text to angle, and draw shape around text. These text utilities can be applied to selections, to layers, or to all document text at once. The following table provides examples for the result of each tool.

Text Utilities Icons

Right-to-Left Text Tool

Many right-to-left languages, such as Arabic and Hebrew, require additional language-specific processing to get the correct glyph output given the incoming character stream. Let’s look at an example.

Looking at the MAP Attribute panel, we see that the Arabic script is displayed properly

Text Utilities Icons

Yet, when using the Label Features tool, we see that the Arabic text is placed as a series of symbols that indicate that the text placement could not be accomplished accurately. This is one of two scenarios we will see, the other being that the Arabic characters will be placed left-to-right.

This happens because Label Features uses the currently selected font, in this case Myriad Pro. Since the Arabic characters were not found in the current Myriad Pro, the displayed symbol is substituted.

Text Utilities Icons

Once we apply the Right-to-Left text tool to these symbols, the Arabic characters will be reordered and altered to display the character appropriate to placement within the word and appropriate to surrounding characters. To apply the Right-to-Left text tool select Arabic from the preset drop-down menu. This populates the remaining settings with the correct parametrs.

Text Utilities Icons

Clicking OK, the script now matches what is found in the MAP Attribute Table.

Text Utilities Icons

If you are using MAP LabelPro, you will also need to use the Right-to-Left text tool after labeling. However, there is a slight difference between Feature Labels and MAP LabelPro behaviour. Instead of displaying the box with “x” symbol, it will place the Arabic characters in reverse order from their proper placement in the MAP Attributes table.

Text Utilities Icons

The text on the left is placed by MAP LabelPro, with the text on the right having been corrected with the Right-to-Left text tool.

We’re excited that these text utilities are being incorporated into MAPublisher. Many users have been requesting more text options. We hope you’ll like them as much as we do. We’re putting the finishing touches on MAPublisher 8.4 and will be releasing it in a few weeks.

Aligning data with different coordinate systems in MAPublisher

When first creating a map, very often you will find yourself having to align GIS data, especially if it is found or supplied by various sources. You might find that the coordinate systems assigned to each of the datasets might be different. This can prove challenging for many cartographers and GIS users. However, with MAPublisher, you can transform and align your datasets to one coordinate system very easily using the MAP Views panel.

Imported maps have different coordinate systems

For example, we have five layers with three different coordinate systems. After importing them into MAPublisher, the result is three different MAP Views. The MAP Area layer (Province) is in a Lambert conformal conic projection. The MAP Line Layer (river) and MAP Area layer (lake) are in a Robinson projection. Lastly, the MAP Point layer (cities) and MAP Line layer (roads) are in a geodetic coordinate system WGS84.

5 MAP Layers with 3 different MAPViews

Let’s decide that the map we are creating here will have a Lambert conformal conic projection (the MAP View with the province area layer). Now, simply select the two layers in the Robinson MAP View, then drag them to the “Lambert Conf. Conic – 1: 30,000,000” MAP View.

MAPublisher trick: Drag and Drop Transformation

The rivers and lakes layers are now transformed and aligned to the province boundary layer.

Two map layers are transformed and aligned properly.

We will do the same for the cities and roads layers in the “WGS84” MAP View. Select the two map layers (cities and roads layers) then drag them to the “Lambert Conf. Conic – 1: 30,000,000” MAP View.

MAPublisher trick: Drag and Drop transformation for two map layers

The cities and roads layers are projected on-the-fly. Now every layer is transformed to a Lambert conformal conic projection and aligned appropriately.

Every map layer is transformed and aligned properly

 

Related topics

Georeferencing an Image in Adobe Photoshop with Geographic Imager

Today's topic: making an image georeferenced

As of Geographic Imager 5.0, there’s an updated workflow for georeferencing images. Learn more about Georeferencing and work through the tutorial.

 


Nowadays, it’s common to find great orthophotos and satellite imagery on the Web. However, after downloading these (sometimes) large files, you might find that some don’t have any georeferencing. Most likely these files are in an image format supported by Adobe Photoshop(e.g. JPG or TIF) and you can georeference it using the Geographic Imager Georeference tool.

These are the requirements to georeference an image:

  1. Knowing the coordinate system of the image (e.g. Mercator projection, State Plane system Alabama East, UTM system NAD 83 Zone 17 N..etc)
  2. Finding three or more points from the image to assign coordinate values to each of them. These points are known as ground control points.

The first thing you need to know is the coordinate system or projection of the image you are georereferncing. If you are unsure about which coordinate system the image uses, contact the data provider or search the metadata of the image on the Internet. If you cannot get the information of the coordinate system assigned to the image, you might want to try georeferencing with different coordinate systems to make the map as precise as possible.

The second requirement is working with the ground control points. One ground control point consists of several values: 1) Pixel X coordinate, 2) Pixel Y coordinate, 3) Ground X coordinate (e.g. longitude), and 4) Ground Y coordinate (e.g. latitude). Furthermore, to make georeferencing easier, ground control points must be clearly identifiable in the image. Cultural features such as road intersection, a sharp corner of a lot or boundary are good examples of locations used as ground control points.

Now that you know what you’ll need, we’ll demonstrate a georeference workflow using the Geographic Imager Georeference tool and Google Earth.

Step 1: Obtain a non-georeferenced image

This image is in JPEG format and there is no georeference information associated with it. In order to transform it to another coordinate system or projection, mosaic with other images, or align the image to vector work using MAPublisher for Adobe Illustrator, the image must first be georeferenced.

An example image collected

Step 2: Obtain the required information

As indicated above, two key pieces of information are required to georeference an image: a) the coordinate system of the image and b) defining ground control points

a) The coordinate system of the image

The image, collected from Google Earth, is projected in a coordinate system called WGS84 / Pseudo Mercator (this projection is common to Web based mapping systems and is also known as Web Mercator or Google projection).

b) Defining ground control points

We’ll need to define at least three ground control points for georeferencing. Below are the steps for finding out one of the ground control points.

On the non-georeferenced image, decide which spot to use as a point of reference. It should be available on Google Earth where you’ll find the X,Y coordinate values. For the first point, we’ll use the corner boundary between the pavement and a golf course.

a ground control point selected on my image

Using Google Earth, find the exact same spot as the one decided in the non-georeferenced image. Place a point symbol to help identify the coordinate values. Record the collected latitude and longitude values. The latitude and longitude values are at the centre of the point symbol symbol in the Google Earth window.

collecting the latitude and longitude values from Google Earth

Find the coordinates of two additional ground control points. The latitude and longitude values are in decimal degree format and the coordinate system of those values are in the geodetic system “WGS84”.

collected three ground control points

Step 3: Georeference in Geographic Imager

In Geographic Imager, click the Georeference tool button Geographic Imager: Georeference in the Geograhpic Imager main panel (or choose File > Automate > Geographic Imager : Georerence). The Georeference dialog box will open.

Geographic Imager: Georeference window

First, we’ll need to set the proper image coordinate system and input coordinate system (the information from Step 2a). In the Format section, click the blue “Specify” link to open the Input Format dialog box.

Georeference: Input

Here we’ll specify two parameters: Image Coordinate System and alternate input coordinate system. The image of the coordinate system is WGS84 / Pseudo-Mercator as found at Step 2a. Click the “Specify” button to find the coordinate system from the coordinate systems list.

The option “Use alternate input coordinate system” will not have to be selected if the X,Y coordinate values are collected in the Eastings/Northings in the WGS84 / Pseudo-Mercator coordinate system. When those latitude and longitude values are collected, those values are collected in the decimal degree format and the values are in degree in WGS84. We will use those latitude and longitude values for the georeferencing. Specify the destination coordinate system as WGS84.

When the settings are made, click OK to close the Input Format dialog box. All the selected coordinate system for each setting will be indicated in the Format section of the Georeference dialog box.

Georeference : Input image coordinate system and input coordinate system

The next step is to enter the three ground control points collected from Google Earth. Click the pencil tool at the top of the Georeference dialog box and click a point for one of the ground control points collected at the previous steps Georeference : Pencil tool.

a ground control point selected on my image

As soon as one point is clicked on the preview image, it will add one row in the Georeference table. This row contains the point name, PX (Pixel x coordinate), PY (Pixel y coordinate), WX (World X coordinate), and WY (World Y coordinate).

Ground control point 1

For WX and WY, enter the longitude and latitude, respectively, for the first ground control point.

ground control 1: completed

Repeat the same steps for the second and third ground control points.

All three ground control points are entered

As soon as you enter three points, Geographic Imager will display the residual error values on the table for the accuracy assessment.

GCP Error

A residual error is the computed difference between an observed source coordinate and a calculated source coordinate. It is the measure of the fit between the true locations and the transformed locations of the output control points. A high residual error indicates possible error in either the observed source coordinates or the reference coordinates of the reference point in question.

When the error is particularly large, you may want to remove and add control points to adjust the error. As a general rule, apply several different transformation methods, select/deselect questionable points and select the method and reference points that yield the minimum residual error, assuming that the defined reference points are correct. Residual values are calculated via the associated error values between computed values and entered values through either the affine or various polynomial methods.

Once completed, the Geographic Imager main panel will indicate the georeference information of the image. Don’t forget to save the file once it is complete. Now your image is ready for any Geographic Imager function. You can also bring this image into MAPublisher for Adobe illustrator and align it to other GIS data.

Georeference information displayed on the Geographic Imager Main panel

New in MAPublisher 8.4: Image MAP Layer feature type for georeferenced images

MAPublisher 8.4 introduces two new related features: to import supported image formats directly from the MAPublisher Simple and Advanced Import dialog boxes and the Image MAP Layer feature type. To import a georeferenced image into the current MAPublisher 8.3 (and earlier) requires you 1) to create a new MAP Layer for an image to be placed, 2) use File > Place to place an image into the Adobe Illustrator document, and 3) to use MAPublisher Register Image to align with the vector work. With MAPublisher 8.4, these steps are streamlined and it will be much simpler to deal with georeferenced image files.

Below is the Simple Import dialog box. The new Format option, Image, is added to the drop-down list. Supported images include: PNG, JPG, TIF, GIF, JP2, PSD, PDD, and BMP.

MAPublisher 8.4: Import dialog window

The VancouverDowntown.tif file was selected from the MAPublisher Quick Start dataset. The source coordinate system of the image, “NAD 83 / UTM Zone 10N”, is automatically detected because it is a GeoTIFF and contains the georeference information of the image.

MAPublisher Simple Import: Coordinate System identified for the selected data

When the georeferenced image is imported by MAPublisher, it is stored in a new layer called “VancouverDowntown_image”. MAPublisher 8.4 introduces a new MAP Layer feature type called “Image”, a purple icon with the letter ” I “. From now on, all images should be placed on Image MAP Layers.

MAPView: New data type "IMAGE"

Remember that images placed in Adobe Illustrator using MAPublisher cannot be transformed or reprojected into another coordinate system. To transform an image from one coordinate system to another, it must be done using another software such as Geographic Imager.

MAPublisher 8.4 will be released very soon. Thanks for sending us feature requests like this one. If you have any feature requests for MAPublisher, Geographic Imager or PDF Maps, please feel free to drop us a line at support@avenza.com. We’re always happy to hear from you!

New Join Areas feature in MAPublisher 8.4

The upcoming release of MAPublisher 8.4 introduces many new features. One of the new features is called Join Areas. We have received a lot of requests from our customers to create area objects by merging common attribute values. This geoprocessing function is generally known as “dissolve”.

The picture below shows polygon objects from a USA Counties layer. The goal is to create a layer with state boundaries and summing the population count by joining the objects of the counties layer.

USA County MAP

In the MAP Attributes panel of the USA Counties layer, every object of the counties layer contains attribute information including county name, state name, FIPS codes, area in km2, population and so on. We’ll be using the StateName attribute value to combine all the county polygons into one polygon per state.

MAP Attribute of the USA County layer

This is the new Join Area dialog box. On the left side, we’ll specify 1) target layer, 2) destination (output) layer, 3) join type and 4) join method. We are trying to create state boundaries from the counties target layer so we’ll select a join type based on the StateName attribute and output it to a new layer called USA States. The join will create compound paths and since our goal is to create state polygons, we’ll dissolve borders between adjacent sub-areas.

On the right side of the dialog box are attribute value operations available for each column. These operations determine what kind of the values will result for every attribute and the operations available are different for each data type (String, Real, Integer). The screenshot below shows the attribute value operation set to Sum for Population attribute (Integer data type). When the Join Area is complete, each state polygon will have the sum of the population of all the counties that belong to it.

After running the Join Areas function, county polygons are dissolved into state boundaries.

The population values show the total sum from all the counties for every state.

This is just one example of how Join Areas can be used. It was initially a feature request and with some discussion and planning, it became real. If you have any feature requests for MAPublisher, Geographic Imager or PDF Maps, please feel free to drop us a line at support@avenza.com. We’re happy to hear from all of you!