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Pieceing together old maps


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#1 failbeams

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Posted 15 December 2015 - 02:31 PM

Hi everyone,

 

I have 3 old USGS PDF maps that I want to piece together. I'm not a photo editing pro (or amateur) so my plan was to convert the PDFs to JPEGs, crop them, and then use MS paint to stitch them together in sort of collage. The problem I am having is that the maps are quite large, and I have not been able to find a way to convert them to JPEGs without losing at least a little resolution. Is there a good way to do that conversion and not lose some resolution? Or better yet, a way to stitch together PDF pieces into one large sheet? Thanks



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#2 Chris Cosgrove

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Posted 15 December 2015 - 07:51 PM

I don't know if this will be any help but you just made me try an experiment !

 

I don't have any large PDF format images so I opened an HP manual using my default PDF viewer - PDF Viewer from Tracker software (free version) - and right clicked on an image on it and chose 'Export' from the pop-up menu. A minute or two later I had 83 JPEGs in a temp folder  at, it said, 300 dpi resolution. In other words, the complete manual.

 

But having got these images, even of pages from a manual, I can certainly 'stitch' them together in my graphics processing software without any great effort. I haven't tried with these but I have two very large images on my system of WWII airfields in the North of Scotland which I stitched together from Google Earth screenshots. I had the intention of modelling these for a combat flight simulator but never got further forward with it.

 

This export function might well work for you.

 

Chris cosgrove



#3 violetrose

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Posted 15 December 2015 - 09:22 PM

@ Chris - altogether an interesting project: 

Since the maps are graphic images (not photos) would it be better to save and work with them as PNG files rather than Jpegs ?

 

My limited understanding about image files is that PNG is usually recommended for illustration work eg: cartoons etc. because it retains clean crisp line work where, due to the 'lossy compression' of Jpeg, clear outlines and lettering etc. become blurred. Also - once the project is stitched together as a one page collage (btw 'Picasa' is an excellent program for doing collages) the detail will look very small on a computer screen, so you would need to zoom up/enlarge for viewing.. > blurry pixellated mess with Jpegs. ???   :)



#4 Chris Cosgrove

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Posted 16 December 2015 - 07:44 PM

Anything for a quiet life !  I was only doing it as an experiment to see if you could break a large file down into images. So I have just been back into the selfsame manual in PDF viewer and you have the normal choice of graphic formats ranging from BMP to TIFF.

 

As I said, I don't have any large images in PDF format but it would be worth trying it with an image bigger than A4. So, I opened my stitched together image of Dallachy in my graphics software, exported it as PDF, opened it in PDF Viewer, and exported it as PNG and viewed it in Irfanview !  I now have a very nice 18.7 MB PNG image of Dallachy Airfield ! If you are that interested I will put it up on DropBox.

 

So the answer is yes - you can convert a PDF image to a standard graphics format. If they are to exactly the same scale you should have no difficulty melding them together. The only complication might be the mapping method used to produce the maps since a map is 2D representation of a 3D object - the Earth !

 

Chris Cosgrove



#5 violetrose

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Posted 19 December 2015 - 09:46 AM

Oh yes, lol, 'anything for a quiet life!' I googled Dallachy Airfield - gee some interesting history there. Then I tried a some experiments with images, searching for a simple solution.

 

Getting back to the OP, I am guessing, failbeams, that you are dealing with old style graphic (line drawings) maps. Once you convert them from PDF to image files (JPG or PNG) the program which comes to mind here is Microsoft Publisher. Unfortunately not free but worth having because it is very useful.

 

Publisher is very flexible and designed to deal with text plus images for publication. If you choose your page size as A3 you might be able to collate your 3 maps and retain enough resolution to see important details. 

 

Once your project is complete maybe get it printed & framed to hang on the wall ?! -   :)  


Edited by violetrose, 19 December 2015 - 09:54 AM.


#6 Chris Cosgrove

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Posted 19 December 2015 - 06:13 PM

@violetrose #5

 

You have sweet talked me, see -

 

https://www.dropbox.com/s/zeykqayointwjy4/Dallachy%20Airfield%20large.jpg?dl=0

 

As is clearly visible, this is stitched together from 15 screen shots from Google Earth. I could have done it without the remnants of the navigation tools but since it was intended for modelling for a flight simulator - which I might get around to eventually - these didn't really matter. Near enough is good enough for Government work !

 

Yes, the history of this airfield, and that of its sister at Banff, is interesting. They were originally RAF training bases but in the Autumn of 1944 the RAF moved their anti-shipping Squadrons there from southern England because by that time the Allies owned the English Channel. What became known as the Banff Wing was employed on anti-shipping strikes around the Norwegian coast, the Skagerrak and up into the Baltic. For maintenance simplicity the Mosquito Squadrons were based at Banff and the Beaufighter Squadrons at Dallachy. And I have always had a soft spot for the Beaufighter !

 

I would not have thought of using Publisher, or any other desktop publishing package, for this purpose but it would certainly work. I would just have stitched them together in my graphics package and printed from there, but your comment about A3 is a good one. For those unfamiliar with European paper sizes, A3 is approximately 42 x 59.5  centimetres, or 16.5 x 23.4 inches.

 

Chris Cosgrove



#7 violetrose

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Posted 22 December 2015 - 06:17 PM

Thanks Chris - a lot of work and well done! Good resolution and you can zoom in on details etc.

 

Re desktop publishing - a possibility for people with limited resources:

Most of us with Microsoft have PowerPoint as part of the general MS Office suite. (PP actually has more uses besides boring people at conferences!) Open PP - insert images (eg maps) - position them to fit together etc. When done, convert to a JPG or PNG file which will print quite well at standard photo or letter page sizes.

 

Cheers :)   



#8 failbeams

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Posted 22 December 2015 - 06:40 PM

Thanks for all the info, everyone!

 

After playing around with a couple different options, I've ended up struggling through photoshop trying to piece it all together. Unfortunately, the maps being roughly 120 years old and having been copied and recopied several times are no longer the same color. They are primarily black roads/boarders, red topo lines, and blue rivers/streams. The background color is a light yellow. After piecing them together in several different programs it's become apparent that without some color editing it will not look like a single map . So, I am doing my best to educate myself in photoshop!



#9 Havachat

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Posted 16 January 2016 - 01:27 AM

Upload the Images { Imgur etc } so we can look at them and ascertain if we can assist in joining them for you and repair work.

 

Yes its time consuming in editing but until we have a look at them we cant give a positive outcome.

 

I,ll tackle it if its not to much of my time but i need to see first. 

 

I have done various 6 x 4 Color Photos that were torn into 8 pieces and repaired them with no issues.



#10 failbeams

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Posted 17 January 2016 - 01:18 PM

Hey guys, just wanted to give you an update:

 

I played around with it in photoshop for many hours, and finally got something I think I am happy with. I will probably tweak it a little, but I though I'd post it here. I went with photoshop because it turned out to be not as simple as merging cropped pieces together, as the contrast and colors needed to be adjusted as well. Map printing in the late 1800s was not as consistent as it is today! Let me know what you guys think, its my first run in photoshop but like I said im pretty happy with it

 

https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/86095020/complete%20v1.0.pdf

 

https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/86095020/CA_Pyramid%20Peak_299566_1896_july%201896%20rp%20aug%201905.pdf

 

https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/86095020/CA_Placerville_299544_1892_july%201892.pdf

 

https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/86095020/CA_Markleeville_299440_1893_nov%201893%20rp%20july%201905.pdf



#11 violetrose

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Posted 17 January 2016 - 05:36 PM

Well Done !!! :clapping:  



#12 Chris Cosgrove

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Posted 17 January 2016 - 05:59 PM

These are magnificent old maps but unhappily I haven't been able to see the assembled version yet, it just won't open for me. All i am seeing are the initials 'KC' in the bottom right hand corner. But I see what you mean about colour changes over the years. Any chance of putting a lower resolution JPEG of the complete map up on dropbox ?  But you're happy, and that's what matters.

 

Chris Cosgrove



#13 failbeams

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Posted 17 January 2016 - 07:19 PM

Here chris i made a zip. sorry, the full file is pretty big

 

https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/86095020/complete%20v1.0.pdf.zip



#14 Chris Cosgrove

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Posted 22 January 2016 - 07:29 PM

Sorry not to get back quicker, I have had a couple of hectic days. The zip opened no problem and I agree with VioletRose - an excellent job especially of blending the colours. It is just possible to see differences in shading but you have to look for them. They are beautiful maps.

 

Chris Cosgrove






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