Sensor Web, Geoprocessing, Security & GeoRM, Geostatistics, Semantics, 3D, Ilwis, Earth Observation

The printed Map

January 9th, 2012 @ 13:47 by Martin Schouwenburg
Posted in ILWIS

Finally back after a long break. Happy new year to all.

Some people have voiced to me some concerns about my remarks about printing of maps in Ilwis 3.8. Or basically the lack of it. So I think it might be  usefull if I explain a little bit better.

First of all the baseline

  • The layout object is gone. It is no more. It has been deleted. No directly printing of maps anymore.
  • The copy of the content of the mapwindow is now realy a WYSIWYG copy. Everything there  will be placed as a 300 dpi image on the clipboard.
So first of all the reason why.
  • The Layout reused (of course) the code for drawing of maps and added its own stuff to it. E.g texts, boxes, scalebar etc. The whole lot of objects we call annotations in Ilwis. These things were only available in the layout, not in the mapwindow.  Layout positioning was quite different from mapwindow positioning due to it being based on paper, not on a screen. To integrate that with the new stuff would of course have been possible but not trivial and cost extra time.
  • The Layout was not very good. Too many quirks, some bugs and limitations. I am a bit hesitant to “port” a system to a new structure and then still find it not very good. Improving it would of course have been possible, but again, it costs time. As cartographic output is not a important part of Ilwis, I find spending lot of time there a bit hard to justify.
  • After some investigation (mainly talking with users here at the ITC), I came to the conclusion that most users wanted their output as part of a larger document. A document were they could combine text, tables and cartographic output in one unit. I say here ‘cartographic output’ and not just a simple copy of the map. A copy is just a plain image with no context, cartographic output is an image that contains spatial annotations giving the image a spatial context.
Judging the requirements and time available I decided that figuring out a whole UI for layout was not worth the trouble. Creating a WYSIWYG copy on the clipboard should be sufficient. You can paste this in any wordprocessor and do whatever you like with it. Printing is certainly one of the things you can do.
Of course I had to recreate a number of annotation elements to give the spatial context. These will now be directly available in the mapwindow.  What will be available is legend, grid/graticule, scale bar, mapborders and north arrow.
People also voiced some concern about the size of the copy. “Wont I get some small screen dump that I can not use to make posters and such!”. Eehm, no. It is a 300 dpi rendering of yout screen, quite large and with high detail. So your picture is sufficient large and has all the detail you could whish.
I might release a beta-3 in the near future. Some extra stuff is in there (and lot of bugs have been removed). Almost all the functionality I want is in there.
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