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#1521739 - 09/25/09 09:11 PM Print Large High Res Scouting Maps
whatnoise
6 Point


Registered: 12/01/07
Posts: 665
Loc: Bartlett, TN

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Aerial imagery and topographical maps are very valuable tools for us as hunters. In this day and age we are able to use numerous on-line resources to access these tools. At the click of a mouse we can zoom in to that clear-cut the next ridge over, or look for the spot where several natural funnels converge.

While the images on the computer are great, I still much prefer something a little more tangible. Instead of having to scroll with your mouse to the next field, it sure is convenient to have all those fields on one large print. Plus, its also easier to take a map to the field than a computer.

So all you need to do is hop on google maps and print a picture of your favorite honey-hole right?

I wish it were that simple....
(note: I'm sure there are some web companies you can pay to produce a large print... and pay accordingly, however I have not looked into any of those options.)

I get much satisfaction from doing things myself, and if you feel the same I will attempt to explain how to produce a nice quality map on the cheap.

You could easily go to one of the online sites such as Google Maps, zoom to your hunting property and print... but a large print will not be very clear due to a lack of resolution. The solution is to merge numerous images together to get a “high res” file from which to print.

Still with me? Good....lets get started.



A. Where to get the imagery...

There are numerous websites to get aerial imagery and topo maps, I'll list a few...
Google Maps
Bing Maps
Yahoo Maps
Mapquest
http://mapper.acme.com/?ll=35.63051,-86.80847&z=8&t=T


B. Required Software...

You will need 2 types of software; one to capture an image to use for the map, and another to compile the images for printing.

For screen capture I use Screen Hunter, which can be downloaded for free here: http://download.cnet.com/ScreenHunter-Free/3000-2192_4-10063246.html?tag=mncol

For compiling, or “stitching” the images I use Photoshop. However knowing not everyone has Photoshop, I found this free utility that seems to work well, and it is free... Microsoft ICE. ICE can be downloaded here: http://research.microsoft.com/en-us/um/redmond/groups/ivm/ICE/

C. Where do I start?
Obviously you need to download, install, setup, and familiarize yourself with the software. I then encourage you to look through the different map sites to see which has the most up-to-date imagery of your area, as they are all different. Once you have chosen which to use, the fun begins.

Start by zooming into the area of land you wish to map so that it encompasses everything you want in your final image. Now capture a screenshot and save it for reference.
Now zoom in far enough to your liking.... The farther you zoom in, the larger you can print the final image. Be sure that you don't zoom in so far you begin to lose detail though. Basically the more you zoom in the larger you can print and the better the final product, however it will take you longer.

Try to picture a grid laid over the map... you need to make a zoomed image of each portion of the grid. I personally like to start in a bottom corner of the property and work up to the top, then over and down to the bottom, over, up to the top....... Make sure each time you capture that you overlap the previous image (this is critical for ICE to work).

It is also CRITICAL you leave enough extra image around your selected area to allow for cropping when the final image is submitted for printing. Be very generous in this regard.

Tips: While using the screen capture move your mouse cursor out of the way before you capture so you won't have arrows all over your final image ;\) Also set the capture software to save as a .jpeg file. In the ICE program be sure and set the output quality to 100%

Once you have all of the pieces of the grid you simply open them with the ICE program and it should stitch them together for you without much fuss.


Example:
Here is the property we are interested in.


Now if we simply zoom into this image the result is terrible. You will be left with the same result when you print large.


After stitching multiple “zoomed” images of the property we can now zoom in retaining MUCH more detail. This same effect will happen when printing large.



Printing Options
I have personally printed at Walmart and Costco with nice results. I have also used Full Size Posters.com to print a 2'x3' poster with very good results. Here is a link to a promo they are running: http://www.fullsizeposters.com/promo.php

I always get my prints laminated to weatherproof them.

In addition to a hard copy map, you also have the high res image saved to your computer. If you have a laptop you could obviously take it to the field with you but without wifi internet access you cant use google maps but....
Make several copies of the file and you can mark all kinds of data on them.


I sincerely hope this helps someone...... and that nobody thinks I am crazy \:\)

Any questions feel free to ask here or PM me.

-Stephen


Edited by whatnoise (09/25/09 09:15 PM)
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#1521839 - 09/25/09 10:56 PM Re: Print Large High Res Scouting Maps [Re: whatnoise]
Chaneylake
Brownsville Mafia
16 Point


Registered: 12/18/07
Posts: 16495
Loc: on the wings of a snow white d...

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internet in the field is real easy with "verizon wireless"

I/we get the local property assessor to email us their latest maps from the state, these also have property lines on them

we print out from a HP final draft plotter, 24" x 36", its a photo qualilty plotter
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#1522903 - 09/26/09 06:26 PM Re: Print Large High Res Scouting Maps [Re: Chaneylake]
44fanatic
12 Point


Registered: 01/01/08
Posts: 6126
Loc: Clarksville, Montgomery Cnty

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Good idea. I do allot of map work for hunting and that may help me out with some of my resolution problems.

I hunt mostly on fort campbell and a small WMA. What I normally do is put two maps side by side on 1 piece of paper. One topo and the other google earth. I will scan the topo map and then import it into powerpoint. For Google earth I do the screen capture. Both need to be cropped down to the usable image.

Once they are both in PP, its a matter of hitting print, fold and place in a ziplock bag.

One other thing I did was spray a map with silicone sealer. Map didnt absorb water and fall apart.
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#1592308 - 11/02/09 08:06 AM Re: Print Large High Res Scouting Maps [Re: 44fanatic]
BZ911
10 Point


Registered: 09/26/00
Posts: 3658
Loc: TN USA

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btt
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#1607762 - 11/10/09 12:14 AM Re: Print Large High Res Scouting Maps [Re: BZ911]
sksfordman
6 Point


Registered: 01/09/08
Posts: 643
Loc: Fulton Ky.

Offline
Great info
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