Every map requires that the composer to be set up prior to being set into a PDF file. The map has to be focused on the desired location and the scale has to be set. Additionally, many maps require the grid to be adjusted from 45 seconds, to an appropriate grid based on the scale. Occasionally elements must be changed to allow the map to fit. I have a vertical and horizontal template set, which can assist in this process. FInally, the map title has to be set.
Each map requires creating the topographic lines and hillshades, which uses a script and software like ogr2ogr and gdal_contour. The process is somewhat automated, although I still have to manually invoke the script, then appropiately style the contour lines and hillshade (background that makes the mountains pop out). The brightness and contrast of each hillshade must be manually adjusted, to ensure it does not appear blocky or overly dramatic. Each map requires a separate set of contour lines, based on what topographic map they are originally derived from.
Somebody was asking about the program I use to make maps. I use Quantum GIS (see http://www.qgis.org) for more about this program, along with many different publicly avaliable data sources from NYS Department of Environmental Conservation, OpenStreetMap, the US Geological Survey, among others. You can see some of the layers that go into my maps on the right side.
State Land Tracks and Waypoints
They are now available for download as zip-files containing 62-county based files. Each file contains DEC Land Boundaries, OPRHP Land Boundaries, DEC Roads and Trails, OPRHP Roads and Trails, DEC Assets, OPRHP Assets, Public Fishing Access, and Additional Campsites featured on maps found this blog.
Added 5/15/15 – Federal and local park land boundaries (e.g. Finger Lakes National Forest), Mason Lake/Perkins Clearing Campsites. Further revisions to these files will be made as corrections to the data is made.
Regional Google Maps made from these files will become available on this blog over the next month. They will contain up to 10 counties, in specific regions of state. They are labeled Google County Maps.
Google Earth KMZ (individual county files 12 KB to 3.0 MB): http://andyarthur.org/data/lands/kmzbounds
Google Earth KMZ Without State Land Boundaries — better importing into some GPS (25 MB): http://andyarthur.org/data/lands/kmznobound.zip
GPX Tracks — trail data in GPX tracks format for GPS, contains no style data or facilities details except name (15 MB): http://andyarthur.org/data/lands/tracks.zip
GPX Waypoints — asset data in GPX waypoints for GPS, contains no style data or asset details except name/type (250 KB): http://andyarthur.org/data/lands/waypoints.zip
Do you think Northing-Easting / UTM will eventually replace latitude and longitude for coordinates on all printed topographic maps?
One could argue that Northing-Easting is harder to write down, hard to remember, and you have to make sure you set the proper the proper zone in your GPS before using.
On the other hand, latitude and longitude usually aren’t square on maps, because of projection issues. You can’t project latitude and longitude for maps (WGS 84) without significant distortions.
Google Maps uses Northing-Easting internally, but uses latitude and longitude for their user interfaces, including scripting. It works, but is a lot of internal conversions to make it work.