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  1. #1
    Master Downunder35m's Avatar
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    Guide Mapmaking for Oziexplorer and other programs

    I noticed by the requests here that many users need maps for regions are hard to get or too expensive to buy.
    So I decided to open a thread for general help and advise on creating custom maps for/with OziExplorer.

    Some general things to know:
    Maps are created from paper, satellite images or airial images, often is the data referenced by well known ground points.
    This explains why some maps seem to be a bit "off the track", especially older maps - any digital map can only be as good as the source and the reference used to rectify the image!
    There are many combinations of Datums and Projections possible for a map - what is that?
    In noob terms spoken it defines how the image/map is taken from the earth's surface.
    A very common Datum is WGS84 while some of the most common Projections are Mercator and Longitude/Lattitude (or Geodetic).
    Please check Google or Wiki if you are more interested in those details as I will only explain why it is important and what problems it may cause.

    Resolution or Scale - The more detail you need the higher the resolution of the image must be.

    That means if you want to create a map, let's say from the Alps, you have to be aware that Scale suitable for walking needs more data than a general map with only the basic tracks on it.
    Same for maps that not only have track/road data but real images - like maps created from Google satellite images.
    As an example:
    a) You download a map of New York with only roads (Google maps), than you only need a zoom level that gives you the names for all major roads and has enough detail to clearly se the roads.
    b) You download the same area but as a satellite hybrid map giving you the roads and the airial view at the same time.
    The result from a) will be about 10-20mb depending on how you do it, the result from b) at the same detail level will result in several hundred mb of data!

    Recitfying - Most tuts on the net will tell you that more reference points will create a more accurate map.
    Well, IMHO that is only partly true and I try to explain why:
    Depending on the program/filetype different forms of referencing are used. Ozi needs .map files, ECW file usually have the data included, while other use so called "word files".
    It is basically all the same but done in different ways (does not really matter now).
    To understand how it works I must go a bit into details...
    A picture is usally recangular and has a defined size and pixelscale.
    The reference file contians info about the exact pixel that sits on a known coordinate.
    To know the exact coordinates for each pixel at least two reference points are needed.
    Example:
    Picture has a size of 1000x1000 pixel.
    Bottom left pixel has the coordinates 37S 144E
    Top right Pixel 38S 145E
    That means every 500 pixels you add half a , or each pixel is exact one thausandth of a degree.
    You see it would be very simply to calculate the coordinates for each pixel.
    However, this is the ideal case...
    Often you have a picture or paper map with no info about the Datum and Projection or to make it worse without any info on the coordinates.
    You now have to decide which Datum/Projection is the best for you and calibrate the map accordingly.
    But when loaded the map is no longer rectangular but distorted or partially twisted - that can either show a typo in the reference points or that the map is not accurate in terms of scale and correct reflection of the reality.
    Now it makes sense to use more than two reference points so that you can use several correct points that allow a more accurate result even if the map will look a bit weird - decent testing before using is highly recommended in such cases!

    Ok, enough of the dry stuff, how do I make a map and what do I need to make it easier for me??

    I'm doing that stuff now for quite a few years, and thanks the Jean-Claude Repetto, the creator of ttmaps for Tomtom, I learned a lot about the many different Datums and Projections and how they can make live very hard for a map maker.
    There are many programs out there that can be used, but to make it simple you have to pay or search for an alternative solution
    The programs I need: OziExplorer for the PC, the Ozi map merge and Ozi image converter tools (both in the new and in the old version!, more later), ECWHeaderEditor and Global Mapper.
    To get online data I either use Global Mapper, Mobile Atlas Creator or for my Australian maps Hypertiles from Nearmap (needs registration but is free for personal use).
    User's from the US or Europe can access free gouvernment provided data, for the Us often in surprisingly high detail.
    There are very powerful command line tools for map making available like Gdal, but I never liked working with those as one typo ruins all.

    How to fold a paper map so that it will fit into the SD slot of your GPS:
    Ok, just kidding, it is possible to convert your paper maps into digital form.
    To do that you have a map that offers all info you need for the later rectifying (it is possible without but harder - I will explain if someone get's to that problem in real).
    That would be the Datum and Projection, usually found in a text box with other info like when it was printed,publisher and so on, and of course a coordinate system at least around the borders.
    1. Size does not matter, but a map of 2x2meters will be hard to handle, so stick with smaller maps until you got the hang of it!
    2. You need a scanner, a camera or webcam is not accurate enough unles you have professional equipment like a table with camera mount for document replication.
    3. Do some test scans in different resolutions and check if the resulting image is of good quality - use the lowest resultion possible unless you need the extra detail for small texts or similar.
    4. For big maps it now time to do some calculations:
    The max size most programs can handle is around 10.000x10.000 pixels, but often 8192x8192 is the max. 64-bit programs in a 64-bit system can handle files up to 30.000x30.000 pixels.
    I know some users will say now that bigger files are possible, but believe me if I say that anythink over 30k will kill any program that has manipulate that data!
    You can use a combined OZFX3 map in Ozi that has over a million pixel both ways, but only a the part you see on the screen is actually loaded
    Since we always have to start in full color with the scans we must pay attention to such details.
    In noob terms that means if you need 6x4 scans for your map (A4 scanner) each pixture in 300dpi has 2480x3508 pixel - combined it is 14880x14032 pixel.
    If you use 600dpi (4961x7016) the resulting image has 29766x28064 pixel - wich is hard on the limit.
    Make sure you have a bit of overlap in both directions just to be sure that you won't end up with empty spaces becasue some small parts are missing
    5. You have two options of combining the single images into one map.
    a) If the map is fairly new and you can use your ironing board to get a nice smoth and flat map you can use Photoshop and its interactive panorama function to stitch the parts.
    Never use automatic tools or normal photmerge programs as they try to compensate for the lens of a camera - the resulting image will look like a fun mirror.
    b) If the coordinate grid covers the whole map and not just the boarders it is best to merge the pictures after each one was referenced.
    6. Referencing the image(s) - again two options, but I will only explain Ozi as it is the easiest.
    In Ozi you use "load and calibrate map image" to create a valid .map file for each picture.
    The pic will be loaded into the main screen and on the right you have the rectifying menu.
    Now check for the map Datum and Prjection on you paper map and enter that in the setup section, of course it makes sense to enter the name of the map too
    Next step is to define 2 reference points - click on the next tab for the first.
    Move the cross exact over a coordinate crossing and click You can activate the coursor zoom window for better targeting.
    Enter the coordinates for that point as on the paper map.
    At this stage you might notice that you can not enter the coordinates in the same form like shown on the map - this is because 3 different systems are used e.G 37 10' 15.20sec - 37 10,150 - 37,101520
    You can change that in the setting for Ozi, so no need to use a coordinate converter - UTM coordinates can be entered directly.
    Check and create point 2, after that click on save and you're done.

    If you have to create a map from several single pictures you can use the map merge tool to combine them once all have the .map file.
    For some Projetions you need extra infos especially for Lambert or Mercator projections, sometimes they are not printed on the map and need to be sourced elsewhere.
    If you get to that problem and can't find the correct info you can use a different projection and Datum but you will end up with a map that looks a bit distorted, you should use 4 or 5 reference points in such cases.
    Best way of course is to create the digital map in the correct way.


    Maps created from online data - this includes elevation data

    There are many sources for online data like Google, Yahoo or often simply from free gouvernment servers.
    Usually you can decide between several formats for the downloaded parts - called tiles.
    If you only work with Ozi you have to select the Ozi .map format (tiles are usually in PNG or JPG) or the ECW format together with a corresponding word file (.eww).
    The .map files can merged or used directly in Ozi although a convertion into the OZFX format is recommended, for many tiles you should merge them as well.
    ECW files can be imported into OZI, simply select all the ECW files (with the .eww file in the same folder) using the import function in the file menu.
    Be aware that it looks like nothing is really happening - Ozi simply converts the .eww file and uses the size of the ECW file as reference, so it is really quick but you don't see anything on the screen.
    Now you have a ECW file with a .map of the same name - you now can use it directly in Ozi or convert/ merge them.

    Elevation data can be downloaded with Ozi and Global Mapper and allows the creation of 3D maps with real like terrain.
    For pilots of small aircrafts it gives a more accurate ground level in case you don't have the instruments for it. Ttmaps shows the current ground level on the map screen while Ozi in some versions allows to use the map in the 3D view.


    Global Mapper

    This is the Swiss Army Knife for map making
    Most of the powerfull functions in that program are completely ignored and unused by me but it is my first choice for working, creating and checking my maps.
    The good things:
    It can open and convert from almost any format into any other format and handles alomst any type of map you throw at it - no protected maps of course, this sadly includes the new OZFX format used by OZI !
    I use it for very big maps and to create maps by using single maps that I combine in different ways.
    One quick think I like is combining a satellite image with track data or a strret map. It is possible to define the transparency so you end with a "ghost image" of both images.
    It is also possible to combine maps with different Datums and Projections or to convert between them.
    Some programs can't handle all available D/P's and converting a map into WGS84/Geodetic can help even if the map looks a bit weird in the end - which is barely to see in higher zoom levels anyway.
    But even Global Mapper has it secret draw backs...
    When creating ECW files in certain Datums it will write header informations that cause other programs to give an error or completely wrong coordinates.
    Best example is Mercator - in the header it should read "MRWORLD" or "MRWORLD2" but GM writes "MRAFRICA" - this can be easily correct with the free program ECWHeader Editor.


    I know this tut is far from being complete but it gives a good start and hopefulle encourages other users to create/post their maps here.
    There will be many questions and I will try to help if I can, but please before start requesting try to get familiar with the programs and understand the basics as I won't have the time (and maybe patience) to guide you trough every single step.
    It sounds harder as it is once you get the hang of it - trust me
    Feel free to ask - but to it here and not by PM a forum lives from it's visible contents and not from PM's invisible to others!

    Edit:
    [hide]I found a nice tool that might be of interest:
    [Only registered and activated users can see links. ]
    It can convert OZF2 and OZFX3 maps back to PNG.
    As long as the map is not bigger than 32.000x32.000 pixels it should work.
    Not 100% if the newest OZFX3 format is supported but at least it makes it easier to convert maps you found on the net or have at home.

    [Only registered and activated users can see links. ] you can find Global Mapper13 in both 32 and 64bit versions.
    The archive is packed several times to prevent easy deletion on the hosting site, just to let you know.
    Medicine to get it working is included as well.
    There are several updates available, but before you install any check if the EXE will be replaced, if so the medicine will taste bad


    Edit: for those in need the [Only registered and activated users can see links. ], which create the unprotected OZFX3 files.
    [/hide]
    Last edited by Downunder35m; 12th April 2013 at 05:42. Reason: Added the old Ozi Tools
    Password for all my files: downunder

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  3. #2
    Master Downunder35m's Avatar
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    I was asked in another forum how to improove the picture quality of some maps created from online sources.
    The user had OSM maps which are basically completely white in the background and most tracks/roads were shown in pastell colors, making it really hard to see on a sunny day in the car.
    So I try to make it as easy as possible for everyone

    First we need to talk about some basics:
    It is not possible to directly edit a OZFX map, you can only edit the image used to create the acual map!
    One thing you'll notice when using aps from Google or other sources like Nearmap is that you end up with many tiles - depending on the zoom level and area it might be more than a few hundred.
    With only Ozi and the Ozi tools at hand you will be a bit lost in terms of editing.
    To overcome this I use Global Mapper and Photoshop CS5, both in the 64bit version for good reason.
    Some might have downloaded one of my maps for the Grampians, so I use them to explain.
    In zoom level 15 there are already about 5000 tiles to consider, in level 17 over 50.000 or about 1.6GB !!
    I use Global mapper to combine the single tiles into one big PNG map, saving the projection and other vital info as well.
    As a necessary step for later use I also export the map into the ECW format, again with all world and projection files - you will know later why I did this extra step!
    After that the image is opened in Photshop and necessary adjustments are made.
    Depending on the quality you need you could now save the image in JPG to save some space, but I would stick to PNG.
    There is no need to re-calibrate the image, you only needto copy the word- and projection file with the same name as the new image!
    Or of course you keep the same filename and work with a backup of the PNG map - your choice
    Now the intersting part: you can not directly import a PNG map into Ozi.
    So how the hell to we avoid searching for the map details and to calibrate it all again in Ozi if there is no .map file?
    Simple Both maps we created with Global Mapper in the step before are identical, except for the type of image and how the RAM is used.
    So we imoprt the ECW map into Ozi, resulting in a .map file for the use with the ECW map.
    Open this .map with an editor file and change the filename in Line 3 to the PNG map.
    E.g.: the PNG map was named "testmap1.png" and the ECW file "testmap2.ecw", you will change the line 3 in the .map file from "####testmap2.ecw" to "testmap1.png".
    You should also change the .map filename to the same so it is easier to find corresponding files in your collection.
    The #### is the path to the file as generated by Ozi - you can remove that and only keep the actual filename - this way Ozi looks in the same folder for the map and not inside the folder specified.
    Don't even bother to load a big PNG map now into OZI!! You are likely to wait for ages or encouter a crash if your machine has not enough RAM to handle the file.
    Now use Img2ozf to generate the OZFX map from the PNG map.
    Depending on the size this step can take quite a while.
    It helps if can reduce the colors to 48 in the earlier steps with Photoshop as the resulting file will be much smaller.
    Img2ozf will do it for you too, but I found the results from Photshop much better in terms of quality.
    If you are happy with the result you can delete the source files after you confirmed the map is properly calibrated.
    Password for all my files: downunder

  4. #3
    Master Downunder35m's Avatar
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    I think it is time to share a nice program that is able to download maps for many devices and from quite a few sources:
    [Only registered and activated users can see links. ]
    It is the next step afte Google Ozi/Ozi Global but unlike the former two it still works fine and it is still supported.
    Terra Incognita™ main features:

    navigating through map by simple clicking
    generating OziExplorer, Kmz, JNX, GPSdash or TrekBuddy calibrated map file
    possibility to use many web map sources Google Maps™, Bing™, Open street map ...
    managing of waypoints or tracks saved in gpx and many other formats
    selected user defined map area for saving
    simplified and easy user interface
    downloading and saving maps on background
    automatic split of very large areas to many smaller map files
    Documentation and help pages
    Terra Incognita Maps Community forum

    Since it is freeware it might be a good choice for all people that only need a few maps that they can't find anywhere.
    Please keep in mind that Google is actively blocking users that download more than Google thinks is normal usage! That means you will get blocked if you try to download several hundret MB with many active connections.
    One way to avoid that is to limit the download connections and to make a 15min break every 30 minutes of downloading.
    Slow connections or high res maps of small areas are not affected.
    Password for all my files: downunder

  5. #4
    Master Downunder35m's Avatar
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    Added De-Mapper and Global Mapper13 to the first post, making it easier for the user to find the programs I'm talking about
    Password for all my files: downunder

  6. #5
    Master Downunder35m's Avatar
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    I was able to get all previously removed map sources back working in the new 1.9.9 release of [Only registered and activated users can see links. ] , you can find the archive [Only registered and activated users can see links. ].
    All Google map sources are in and working except Google mapmaker, but even Terrain works now
    You can overwrite your existing installation or unpack into a folder of your choice.
    Password for all my files: downunder

  7. #6
    I know where I am

    Magnetron's Avatar
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    Am a user of an old PDA and am running OziCE and a Natmap that is Aprox 700MB of NatMaps Australia "I have the orig Disk of Natmaps and that file was about 3GB file" with this also on a laptop for serious Map work and being able to download from the Mines Department "Department of Industry and Resources of Western Australia" am able to load and calibrate full 250k:1 PDF map of Tenement maps and be within 4 Meters of my location. Is nice to be planned and accurate.

  8. #7
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    I found a nice little program in russia : [Only registered and activated users can see links. ].
    If you know Google maps downloader or Mobac you also know that map sources are often quite limited.
    SAS Planet fills this gap by providing many map sources from all over the world.
    The main aim is Russia and eastern Europe, but other sources are available for selection - there are too many to list them all!
    Of course using a Ukranian map server won't help you in the US or in Australia, but you also have sources for Google, Bing, Yahoo and Topo maps.
    To top it up you also get access to to images of the planet inside our solar system - just in case you have a rocket ready to go
    For people interest in the WWII you can also find historic maps
    Even if the [Only registered and activated users can see links. ] is in russian, the program has an english interface.
    They also offer a solution for Windows Phone and Android but as far as I know only for the russian areas, no international mapping

    I played with older version but gave up on it as the interface was not nice and map sources very limited.
    The current version offers more map sources than I ever knew existing.
    Export is possible in different image formats plus calibration data for Ozi, Google and some others.

    Although the program is now pretty intuitive and offers polygon selections for maps getting a useful result can be frustrating to say the least.
    Common problems include:
    The downloaded and combine image is not from the source you wanted.
    The result is in a complete different zoom level than intended.
    The wrong area is created.
    All these problems can be easily avoided if you know how the program works
    In order to create a map you first need to define the area of interest, this can be done with a quick recangular box or by using a polygon that surrounds your area - don't be tempted to use the line feature, use the thing that looks like a dotted circle or you will end with a line instead of a filled area.
    While selecting you see a tiny box on the screen, when done click on the green arrow.
    Now comes the part the messes up the result for most newbies.
    You first have to download the are into the program cache on the hard drive.
    This is the left tab of the box that appears after you pressed the green arrow.
    You must select the zoom level you want as well as the map source!!
    Click download when done and wait to finnish.
    You tick the box in the bottom left to keep the window open.
    After the download has finnished you need the stiching tab.
    Again: map source and zoom level must be selected!!
    Keep the size limits for the different graphic formats in mind, for example PNG is limited for most programs to 30.000x30.000 pixel, some can handle 32.000x32.000 pixel.
    If the resulting image is bigger (you see the size in pixel in the box) you should create tiles.
    Same if your PC is slow and with only a bit of Ram equipped.
    Select the folder where you want to save to files and select the calibration file(s) you need.
    Now you can start the creation and will get exactly what you wanted.
    One more hint: you can use the simple Google map to create your selection as the actual download source is fixed as explained above.

    I know quite a few people need the Ozi maps in the old unprotected format but the program only produces images with calibration - no OFZX3 files (or other map files for that matter).
    I realised that the color reduction used in the Ozi tools is not really fast, sometimes it takes several hours for a big map just to reduce the colors.
    If you use Photoshop to enhance the contrast and reduce the colors to 48 the tools can create the map directly, just untick the color reduction box.
    When creating big maps from multiple files this can save you a day or two in waiting time
    Password for all my files: downunder

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    Can anyone post the old Img2Ozfx programs that can produce Ozf2 and 3 formats? The current version only produces Ozf4 formats that are not compatible for both OziCe and OziPC.
    thanks

  10. #9
    Master Downunder35m's Avatar
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    Just check my map making thread in the first posting
    Password for all my files: downunder

  11. #10
    I know where I am

    Magnetron's Avatar
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    Just update your OziCe if you have a working Key "is free you know from the OZI site "life time updates for all programs" I update all the time. "Just go to the Ozi site no need for a Torrent".
    And excellent Tut Downunder.
    MagnetronLegacy
    Can't see a link/attachment? Don't post asking why. Just 'Like' the post & hit F5:
    THE LIKE BUTTON IS NOW IN THE BOTTOM LEFT HAND CORNER
    Posts serving no purpose like thanks or to ask about links go to [Only registered and activated users can see links. ] or are deleted, it's GPS Power policy.

 

 
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