Posts Tagged ‘avenza’

Review of Avenza’s PDF Maps app for iPhone and iPad

Tuesday, October 12th, 2010

openwith processing maptools

This app gets the job done: PDF Maps introduces a strongly played set of basic features and later versions promise to add more advanced features like layer visibility and feature attribute query. Professional cartographers can use the app to deliver custom cartography maps that leverage GPS to locate the map-reading customer with the magic blue dot. It’s certainly not an ArcPad, but it works on the iPad and you’ll find it fun to use (and the app price is right).

I quite enjoy Avenza’s new free PDF Maps iOS app, free and available now on the iTunes App Store for iPhone and iPad. I’ve been testing it for several months using both the beta and  final release versions. I’ve used the app in my neighborhood, on a cross country road trip, and we’ve been using it to ground truth maps at at my day job. I’ve created my own GeoPDFs and used those from USGS and Avenza.

Besides myself, I setup two non-cartographers with an iPad (3g  with gps) and several GeoPDFs depicting neighborhood-level street maps to field check in the Washington DC metro area. They were amazed at how easy it was to locate themselves on the map and make notes by dropping markers they bring back to the office for me to review. Because these particular maps include street labels, they don’t need to switch back and forth to Apple’s provided Google Maps app as they navigate.

The inaugural version is iOS only but the company has had requests for Android, Symbian, Blackberry and even Windows 7 Mobile. Expect an Android version next. Future iterations of the app may introduce a two-tiered, free-basic feature and pay advanced feature parellel versions, which seems reasonable to me. I’m also excited to see if a white-label version becomes available (much like the Flash SWF export out of Avenza’s MaPublisher plugin for Illustrator) that cartographers can use to brand the experience and pre-bundle their maps.

PDF Maps offers the following capabilities:
  • View and load your own custom cartography maps and view them with GPS location
  • Supports both Adobe/ESRI geospatial PDF maps and TerraGo/USGS GeoPDF® files.
  • Access and interact with saved maps without the need for a live network connection
  • Standard GSP app features: Plot way-points, enter attribute data and notes, measure distances and areas
  • Standard iOS interface: Quickly view, zoom and pan maps using gestures (pinch, drag and flick, double tap)
  • HD version for iPad same app as the basic version for iPhone, slightly reworked interface
  • Does not currently support waypoint export, a key feature
  • Does not currently support import of KML and GPX files

To create a GeoPDF, you’ll need ArcGIS 9.3.1+ to export from ArcMap with preserve coordinate system checked. Or use Avenza’s MaPublisher plugin for Illustrator (version 8.2+). You can also download thousands of GeoPDFs from USGS. Even though the USGS files use the TerraGo GeoPDF format specification (versus Adobe + ESRI’s), it will open and render in PDF Maps.app. Avenza also offers dozens of sample GeoPDFs linked from within the app to get you started (click Maps, then +, then From Avenza PDF Maps Library and browse the list).

Adding maps is as simple as dragging them to iTunes or attaching to an email (making it easy to send map updates to your field checker). Clicking on a PDF link on the iPhone or iPad now prompts to open in the app, as seen in the first screenshot above . Once opened in the PDF Maps app, it will take a few seconds to minutes to render, second screenshot above. Once open, several tools are available, the most important of which is simply the “locate me” triangle button on the map map view.

Even though it’s all about the PDF map you’re looking at, the app makes it convenient to open the same view in Maps.app to see Google’s version of reality for cross checking, especially using the satellite map tiles there. This is possible for both the current map view using the tools menu, and to open a specific waypoint marker after clicking it’s location field.

I’ve loaded PDFs with the app that are more than 10 mb of vectors and performance has been good. When the map first loads it will process and prepare several zoom levels of precached tiles. This will make panning and zooming faster during actual map use and is worth the wait.

During precache rendering, you can still use the map, but the parts that will still be loading will be fuzzy for a while. Very large maps (larger than 20 mb, or more than 2000 sq. inches) are slower to render in this version (hey, it’s a mobile phone). For larger areas, I’ve been splitting the exported map into separate files. When multiple maps loaded in, there is a Maps table of contents listing.

I found a couple continuing quirks with the app and one major missing feature. The app really needs to export the map’s waypoints as CSV, KML, and GPX as an email attachment. I wish repositioning an existing pin was easier. The hit areas on some buttons is small, making it hard to use in a moving car. Sometimes it’s nice to have multiple marker icon labels open, but sometimes that is odd. At any rate, there’s no way to close them all en mass.

Quick and dirty test GeoPDF files:
(using Natural Earth, US Census, and other draft data)

Note: Because of USGS website quirks, it is not possible to directly download a USGS GeoPDF onto your iPhone/iPad in the field. The website doesn’t render properly (something about IE and cookies), and the resulting download file is ZIP format rather than PDF. Not sure why, since the PDF should already be optimized for file size (there’s only a 1.5% file size savings between ZIP and PDF in the Washington D.C. West quad sheet).

Check out more screenshots:

MAPublisher 8.2 Released with GeoPDF, KML + Spatial Database Support (Avenza)

Wednesday, November 25th, 2009

mp82

[Editor's note: Expression Builder gets a needed upgrade, too, and the web map authoring tool's new features deserve a second look. The ESRI GeoDB support (Windows only for now) comes with a $349 upgrade price tag for existing maintenance customers. I'd like to see scripting (recordable with Illustrator actions) in their next release, and a method to export cut map tiles for mashups.]

Republished from Avenza (1, 2, 3).

Avenza Systems Inc., producers of MAPublisher cartographic software for Adobe Illustrator and Geographic Imager spatial tools for Adobe Photoshop is pleased to announce the release of MAPublisher 8.2 for Adobe Illustrator. MAPublisher 8.2 is the latest version of this powerful mapmaking software used to produce high quality maps from GIS data for both print and electronic distribution and now offers support for both creating geospatial PDF files from within Adobe Creative Suite and importing GIS map data directly from ESRI geodatabases.

MAPublisher 8.2 for Adobe Illustrator is a full product upgrade that is free of charge to all current MAPublisher Maintenance Program subscribers and replaces the current shipping version of MAPublisher, version 8.1, for all new customers using Adobe Illustrator CS3 and/or CS4.

“MAPublisher 8.2 is another major advance for this powerful and widely used cartographic and map-design platform,” said Ted Florence, President of Avenza, “MAPublisher now offers the first and only solution for creating geospatial PDF files from within Adobe Creative Suite and with the inclusion of import support for ESRI geodatabases offers a truly comprehensive map design and publishing solution.” he added.

MAPublisher 8.2 includes all the significant functionality introduced in earlier releases of MAPublisher as well as the following new features and enhancements.

New Features of MAPublisher 8.2 for Adobe Illustrator

  • Export to Geospatial PDF with optional retention of attributes and referencing for re-import to Illustrator
  • Support for the new MAPublisher spatial database import system for ESRI geodatabases (additional license required. Windows only)
  • Upgraded functionality for the MAPublisher LabelPro collision-free rule-based labeling system (additional license required)
  • Dozens of improvements & enhancements for the MAP Web Author Tool for automatic creation of interactive Flash maps
  • New MAP Measurement tool for measuring lengths, perimeters and areas in page or map units
  • Import and export of KMZ files
  • Enhanced grid and graticule functionality with a number of new features including full support for rotated MAP Views
  • New functionality to create attributes for text objects from corresponding map features
  • New functionality to create a map index using additional feature attributes
  • Enhanced Expression Builder with recently used list and many new functions
  • Enhanced Preferences options includes dozens of new customizable items for most MAPublisher functions
  • Upgraded MAP View panels with new functionality
  • Various other user interface improvements and performance enhancements to improve usability

Features of the MAPublisher Geospatial PDF Exporter

The MAPublisher Geospatial PDF exporter offers the ability to generate Adobe Acrobat PDF files that contain all the cosmetic features of the completed Adobe Illustrator map document as well as all the GIS data attributes and co-ordinate information of the original GIS data files, such that within Adobe Acrobat the following functionality can be performed without the aid of any special tools, plugins or other special extensions to Adobe Acrobat.

  • View map locations in various coordinate systems including decimal degrees, DMS, Military Grid and more.
  • Find a location in a map and mark it with a comment
  • Measure distances on a map using real-world units (miles, kilometers, feet, etc.)
  • Reveal the attributes of map features by clicking on the feature within the map document
  • Search by map attribute values to reveal all map features that satisfy the query
  • Option to retain attributes and georeferencing for re-import to Illustrator/MAPublisher

Features of the MAPublisher spatial database importer

  • Direct import from ESRI Personal Geodatabase (requires ArcGIS license)
  • Direct import from ESRI File Geodatabase (requires ArcGIS license)
  • Direct import from ArcSDE servers (requires ArcGIS or ArcReader license)
  • Support for point, line, polygon and Bezier curve geometries
  • Support for Annotations
  • SQL attribute query support executed on import to enable import of specific features only
  • Spatial filter executed on data import to enable selective importation based on defined data extents
  • Support for subtypes and domains during import

The MAPublisher spatial database importer for Illustrator is available as an add-on option for MAPublisher 8.2, for Windows only, for US$599. MAPublisher users with active MAPublisher maintenance may purchase the MAPublisher spatial database importer for only US$349. New MAPublisher 8.2 licenses including MAPublisher spatial database functionality are US$1549. Academic, floating license and volume pricing is available. Prices include 1 year of maintenance. Full details are available at www.avenza.com.

More about MAPublisher for Illustrator

MAPublisher for Illustrator is powerful map production software for creating cartographic-quality maps from GIS data. Developed as a suite of plug-ins for Adobe Illustrator, MAPublisher leverages the superior graphics capabilities of this graphics design software for working with GIS data and producing high-quality maps with efficiency.

MAPublisher 8.2 for Illustrator is available free of charge to all MAPublisher for Illustrator customers with a valid maintenance subscription and as an upgrade for non-maintenance members at US$549. New licenses are US$1249. Academic, floating and volume pricing is available. Prices include 1 year of maintenance. Full details are available at www.avenza.com/mapublisher.

Geographic Imager 2.5 expands format support (MacNN)

Wednesday, July 15th, 2009

geographicimager-header

[Editor's note: Avenza's Photoshop raster mapping solution 2.5 update will allow ECW, MrSID and DEMs to be directly importable into Photoshop. Also new, crop before import to reduce file size and reproject on import to match an existing dataset.]

Republished from MacNN. View Avenza press release.

Avenza has announced an update to Geographic Imager, a Photoshop extension which handles geospatial content from sources such as satellites. Images can be imported, edited and exported using Photoshop, with special options for tasks like automatically tiling images, or geo-referencing them with ground control points. Version 2.5 adds support for DEM formats including USGS/CDED ASCII, and a collection of other standards including ECW, JPEG 2000 and military elevation data.

New features include the ability to crop on import, and thus trim down raster images which are otherwise too unwieldy. Automatic coordinate system transformation can now be performed during mosaic creation; this adjusts images with different coordinate systems and pixel sizes, conforming them to the intended output.

The update should be available in the third quarter of the year, either as a free release for those with maintenance subscriptions, or a $319 upgrade for those without. New licenses start at $699. The extension requires Photoshop CS3 or CS4, as well as 300MB of hard drive space.

Avenza Systems Releases MAPublisher 8.1 + LabelPro

Friday, June 19th, 2009

mapublisher-header

[Editor's note: The latest update of the Illustrator plugin includes a collision-free rule based label engine, but it will cost you an extra license fee.]

Republished from Avenza.

MAPublisher 8.1 for Illustrator is powerful map production software for creating cartographic-quality maps from GIS data. Developed as a suite of plug-ins for Adobe Illustrator, MAPublisher leverages the superior graphics capabilities of this graphics design software for working with GIS data and producing high-quality maps with efficiency.

New Features of MAPublisher 8.1 for Adobe Illustrator

  • Support for the new MAPublisher LabelPro collision-free rule-based labeling system (additional license required)
  • Improved MAP Web Author Tool for automatic creation of interactive Flash maps
  • New MAPublisher Preferences options for customization of various features and functions
  • Split Layer function to move data to new layers based on attributes and expressions
  • Enhanced Expression Builder allows import of expressions from Selection Filters
  • Enhanced Plot Centroids function now has the option to copy attributes from the source area
  • New Export Attribute function for exporting the attributes table to a delimited text file
  • Enhanced Register Image function can now create a new MAP View from any referenced image
  • New Specify Anchors functionality allows world values to be entered in any co-ordinate system
  • Improved MAP View and MAP Stylesheets panels with new functionality
  • Various other user interface improvements and performance enhancements to improve usability

Continue reading about 8.1 upgrade at Avenza . . .

Features of MAPublisher LabelPro

MAPublisher® LabelPro™ offers advanced labelling capabilities beyond those available in the standard MAPublisher Feature Text Label and the MAP Tagger Tool, including a sophisticated and user-friendly rule-based and collision-free placement engine.

The MAP LabelPro engine contains sophisticated algorithms based on EZ Label technology from MapText Inc. It solves many of the most common map labelling problems such as complex conflict resolution across multiple layers, the ability to specify data as obstacles and the ability to create complex labelling conventions using user defined rules.

MAPublisher LabelPro uses map attributes, rules and styles for labelling which provides a great level of sophistication and control. Map layers may be assigned an order of priority for labelling and set as label obstacles. Labels can be placed on any defined text layers, unplaceable layers can be ignored or placed. Placement rules and styles can be saved to a file and imported or shared over a network.

Users can use the following rules and placement options to place the text on their maps.

Continue reading about LabelPro at Avenza . . .

Cartographica 1.0 – “GIS” for the Mac

Thursday, May 14th, 2009

c11a-overview

[Editor’s note: At $500 a seat ($395 limited time offer) this Macintosh-compatible GIS solution is cheaper than Avenza’s MaPublisher but lacks some advanced features like customizable projections. Requires 10.5.3.  They have a survey asking which new features they should add. Thanks Tom!]

Republished from MacGIS.com (ClueTrust).

Flexible File Import

File Import

Cartographica has a wide range of data import capabilities, nearly assuring that you can turn your data into maps. Bring in your georeferenced raster data (like orthophotos and satellite imagery), your vector data from almost any source, or even CSV text files. A more complete list of imported and exported formats is available.

Rapid Filtering
Rapid Filtering

This is a Macintosh, and you’d expect fast filtering of data. With Cartographica, you get just what you’d expect. Using the search box, you can filter on any field. If you like, you can use expressions like > and < to filter numeric data arithmetically.

Sophisticated Layout
Sophisticated Layout
Cartographica now provides sophisticated print layouts, including the ability to put multiple maps on the same page, overlay scale and legends, or keep them aside, and add text notations. Even have multiple copies of the same map on a page with different zoom levels and extents.
Flexible Styles
Flexible Styles
Styles define what layers should look like in a map. Easily put together a simple style based on fill and stroke colors, or create a sophisticated style set for a layer allowing easy identification of features with different attributes.
Direct Editing
Direct Editing
Need to define geometry for your map without exact coordinates? Cartographica lets you create a new feature, or edit an existing one with ease. Just double-click and move the control points. Styles and related information follow right along.
Undo Support
Undo Support
We believe that exploring geospatial data should be risk-free. Why should you have to live with every change you make? Cartographica’s ubiquitous undo capabilities means whatever changes you’ve just made… you can undo them… and then put them back.
Layer Transparency
Layer Transparency
Take advantage of the sophisticated graphics you love on the Macintosh by using transparency to see through one level of data to the next. It is, of course, adjustable on a per-layer (or per-feature basis when you are using complex styles). You can even make a raster layer transparent (or any part of it), in order to enhance visibility of your crucial data.
Simultaneous Data/Map Browsing
Map And Data
Look at your data and map at the same time. Zoom in and filter the map and the data view follows. Scroll around and select features in the data set and they are hilighted on the map. Visualize your data your way. Don’t want to give up screen space for the data view? That’s fine, just drag it shut, and then open it when you need it again.
Geocoding
Geocoding

Got addresses? Load up a reference file (such as those available free in the US from the US Census Bureau) and you’ll be mapping the addresses of your data in minutes. Cartographica will take addresses from lists in text files, tables in databases, or even your Macintosh Address Book.

GPS Support
GPS Support
If you need to load up field data from a variety of GPS devices, go no further than the File menu. Using the GPS import modules tested over the last three years in our free LoadMyTracks software, we can import waypoints, routes, and tracks directly from hundreds of devices, including those from: Garmin®, Magellan®, Lowrance®, Sony®, and others. And, if your device isn’t directly supported, it can import the data using GPX files (the standard for GPS information).
Direct Database Access
Direct Database Access
Is your source data stored in a database? Cartographica can load data directly using ODBC (the standard for database exchange) and geocode it, join it to existing table data based on keys, or just import it as points with X and Y or latitude and longitude. No more multi-step processes and complex multi-program importing.
Web Map Server Support
Web Map Server
There’s lots of good data available on the Internet. Getting data from a Web Map Server into your map document is a snap. Just load up the area you’re looking to cover and select the Map Server. Cartographica will do the rest, from matching the coordinate system to testing the boundaries, to warping the graphics if necessary to meet your current CRS.
Intelligent Projection Management
Intelligent Projection Management
There’s a lot of data available out there, but often each layer is coded with a coordinate reference system that is specific to its producer’s own needs. Cartographica understands that, but doesn’t let that get in the way of making the data easy to use. Although you can change coordinate systems in existing layers, we’ll be just as happy to do the conversions behind the scenes (for raster as well as vector data) in order to make sure your layers match up.

 Read more at MacGIS.com . . .

Instance_setMcName Flash Script + MaPublisher = Flash Interactive Thematic Mapping (Kelso)

Wednesday, April 29th, 2009

charlestonelectionresults

[Editor's note: Making the GIS > Illustrator > Flash workflow a 30 minute process instead of a 30 hour slog. Thanks Sebastian!]

Ken Hawkins, formerly of The Post and Courier newspaper (Charleston, SC) helped me figure out how to take GIS shapefile data (point, line, and polygon) prepped in ArcMap or similar, process it in Illustrator using the Avenza MaPublisher plugin, and then copy-paste import into Flash CS3+ and apply the Instance_setMcName script. I first saw his handywork in the http://www.charleston.net/graphics/200802_primary/ map which is illustrated at the top of this post. I first learned of this technique last year but I think it is still relevant so am posting it now.

Ken had help from Len De Groot over at newsartists.orghttp://www.newsartists.org/forums/showthread.php?p=41780, registration required). I have reformatted and edited Ken and Len’s instructions below.

Requirements:
  • A shapefile,
  • Illustrator CS3,
  • MaPublisher (Illustrator plugin),
  • Flash CS3, and
  • Free command script called “Instance_setMcName”. Before you start, download the script from Adobe, registration required (alternate download, no registration required) and double click file icon to install the script into Flash. Relaunch Flash to enable the script.

Overview:

  • Shapefile prep work in ArcMap GIS as needed.
  • Import the shapefile (.shp) in Illustrator using MaPublisher. Each geographic feature imports as it’s own path object in illustrator, visible in the Layers panel when it is set to not just show top level layers.
  • Use MaPublisher to name each map object’s GIS database attribute to name itself.
  • Import the Illustrator file to Flash .
  • Run the script to take the movieclip names and apply them to instances.

Detailed Workflow:

  1. Shapefile prep work in ArcMap as needed.
  2. Open your GIS shapefile in Illustrator via the MaPublisher plugin (File > Import Map Data).
  3. Edit > Select All the imported map path objects.
  4. Open the MapAttributes panel by going to View > MaPublisher > MapAttributes.
  5. In your MapAttributes panel, use the flyout menu to select Edit Schema.
  6. Select the #Name (usually selected by default) in the list of columns.
  7. Check the box marked “Derive value from expression”
  8. Click the “…” button.
  9. In the resulting dialog’s text entry field, type in the name of the field you want to use to name the individual polygons (county, precinct, etc.). This is case sensitive.
  10. Hit OK twice.
  11. Watch as your individual path objects are named in the Layers panel then save the file.
  12. Open Flash and import the AI file to the stage (File > Import).
  13. In the Import dialog box, select all the sublayers and check the box named “Create movie clip” and hit OK. The map will be imported both onto the stage and each map object will be added to the document’s Library.
  14. In the Library panel, select all the MovieClips in the Illustrator Import sub-folder and drag them up and out of the folders to the top level.
  15. Use Edit > Select All to select all your map object symbols on the stage.
  16. Under “Commands” in the top menu, select “Instance_setMcName.”
  17. All you symbol instances will be named the same as their parent movieClip libary item. Use the Properties panel to verify this.

Both Ken and I have used this process on multiple shapefiles with hundreds of objects and it’s worked like a dream.

Caution on Numeric Names:

Some GIS shapefiles have category names that begin with numbers, which Flash doesn’t like. Flash is picky about some other characters starting off the name, too, so when in doubt, use the following solution.

You can edit the schema to add a letter in front of each name and then use actionscript to do the same to each item in your XML file. A little cloogy but better than the alternative.

  1. Click the Add button in the Edit Schema window in MaPublisher’s Illustrator panel
  2. Name the new column “a”. Make sure the Type is string and enter “a” for the value (the derive value button must be unchecked to see this option).
  3. Press enter.
  4. Select #Name column.
  5. Find the expression field in the same dialog and type out “a&PRECINCT” (where “a” is the “a” attribute column name and PRECINCT is the attribute column name). Note: the & symbol is used to concatenate (add together) the string values in each attribute column.
  6. Press enter.
  7. Verify the name changes in the Layers panel.

Seperate Stroke and Fill Workflow:

To have a seperate stroke layer on polygons so the fills can be color coded seperately from the strokes (which would always maintain the same stroke color) you’ll need to make a 2nd copy of the symbols:

  1. In Illustrator after you’ve used MaPublisher to name all your polygons appropriately, duplicate the layer and hide/lock the original layer.
  2. Give the new polygons a stoke and no fill, and rename them using Steps 3-6 except append the naming scheme with “Stroke”
  3. Import the Illustrator file to Flash. Two groups of symbols are imported.One group’s symbols will be named something like “precinct234″ and the other group’s corresponding symbols will be named “precinct234Stroke”
  4. Flash can now be instructed via ActionScript coding to independently control a symbols fill and whether or not it is “highlighted” with a stroke.

Bonus Feature!

Use MaPublisher to import other GIS layers (roads, polling locations, etc.) and they will land directly on top of the thematic symbols. I recommend doing this in the same import session, or before you rescale the maps. Best results when all GIS shapefiles are already in the same projection.

To set up your XML which is used to import your map data values (essentially an XML version of your DBF file associated with the shapefile), check out Layne’s thread.

MAPublisher 8.0 Training in Washington, DC Area (Avenza)

Wednesday, March 4th, 2009

[Editor's note: For East Coast cartographers wanting to know more about MaPublisher 8.0 including new Flash web map export, Avenza is offering a 2 day training in the Washington DC area in late March 2009. More information, including registration link, after the jump.]

(more…)

MAPublisher 8.0 Adds Automatic Flash Map Creation (MacNN)

Monday, December 8th, 2008

[Editor’s note: New version 8 of Avenza’s MAPublisher brings CS4 compatability and new feature to export interactive Flash SWF versions of your map with viewable data attributes, layer, and pan/zoom controls. Thanks Curt!]

Republished from MacNN and Avenza.

Avenza Systems has released MAPublisher 8.0, the latest version of its cartographic plug-in for Adobe Illustrator. The update includes a new tool for automatic creation of interactive Flash maps. A MAP Vector Crop tool and dockable toolbar have also been added, along with support for Illustrator CS4. The company has improved the MAP views editor, MAP attributes interface, and the line simplification function. The import time is claimed to have been reduced by up to 80 percent.

The tool can be used to create maps based on Geographic Information Systems (GIS) data, for high-resolution printing or electronic distribution. Many GIS data formats are supported, including ESRI, MapInfo, MicroStation, AutoCAD, Google, US Government, GML and S-57.

MAPublisher requires Illustrator CS2, CS3 or CS4, and can be purchased for $1250. Registered users of previous versions can upgrade for $550.

From the Avenza website:
More on the new MAP Web Author Tool for automatic creation of interactive Flash maps:
MAPublisher 8 introduces the MAP Web Author tool that exports Adobe Illustrator documents with GIS data to interactive Flash maps, fully completed with callout bubbles, rollovers, layer control, pan and zoom controls, and with all the underlying GIS attributes intact.
As with the other MAPublisher functions, MAP Web Author is a completely built-in to Adobe Illustrator. Therefore, users are not required to have Adobe Flash installed to benefit from this tool.

What is looks like at default. View larger

Several Customization Options. View larger.

MAP Web Author Panel. View larger.

Web Tag Template (HTML formatting of GIS attribute data for that object). View larger.


Web Tag Dialog. View larger.

Export to Web. View larger.