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teamtebb
01-26-2010, 08:45 AM
Hello again to everyone.

I've finally got round to starting this assignment.

An update - I am a mature student currently studying ICT at Doncaster University Centre and have been given an assignment relating to a fictional map making company.

(I must firstly apologise as I have no experience of map making whatsoever - and hope this post does not offend anyone - it certainly is not my intention).

The basic idea of the assignment is to design a new computer room for the company and choose a selection of relevant computer hardware and software (to install into the room) that would best assist the map makers in their work. Two options must be provided - a 'watch the pennies' option and a 'money is no object' system.

I would be very much obliged for any advice relating to certain questions that have arisen.

Question 1:

Could anyone advise what a basic industry standard software would be?

I'm planning to use a Windows operating system (xp or 7) for the computer work stations and a Windows server operating system (2003 or 2008) for the server - the cartography software must, therefore, be compatible.

If it's ok I will probably post a few questions over the next few days.

Also if anyone knows any sites or links etc... that would also be fantastic.

My email address should also be available if anyone wishes to contact me directly (if it's not available please let me know).

Many thanks.

Regards

Dave

Ascension
01-26-2010, 09:03 AM
We had this same assignment come up last summer. If I can find it then I'll link it here.

teamtebb
01-27-2010, 05:31 AM
That would be great - many thanks

Question 2 to follow!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

teamtebb
01-27-2010, 05:46 AM
Hello again to everyone.

I've finally got round to starting this assignment.

An update - I am a mature student currently studying ICT at Doncaster University Centre and have been given an assignment relating to a fictional map making company.

The basic idea of the assignment is to design a new computer room for the company and choose a selection of relevant computer hardware and software (to install into the room) that would best assist the map makers in their work.

NOTE - I AM GOING TO CHOOSE JUST ONE SYSTEM - TO MAKE LIFE EASIER.

I would be very much obliged for any advice relating to the following:

Question 2:



With regard to the user consoles (the consoles at which the cartographers will be working)

What are the important components - for example

VDU/Monitor - What type would be the most suitable?

If the console was running CorelDRAW X4 - what RAM would be required?

Would any further hardware or software be required or beneficial?

Is there a computer out there that is perfect for the job (i.e a full system)?


If it's ok I will probably post a few questions over the next few days.

Also if anyone knows any sites or links etc... that would also be fantastic.

My email address should also be available if anyone wishes to contact me directly (if it's not available please let me know).

Many thanks.

Regards

Dave

teamtebb
01-27-2010, 05:53 AM
Hello yet again.

An update - I am a mature student currently studying ICT at Doncaster University Centre and have been given an assignment relating to a fictional map making company.

The basic idea of the assignment is to design a new computer room for the company and choose a selection of relevant computer hardware and software (to install into the room) that would best assist the map makers in their work.

I would be very much obliged for any advice relating to the following:

Question 3:


With regard to installing a plan copier/printer etc... to print the cartography work


Is there a suitable plan copier that prints and scans up to A1 or even A0 size?

Is there a good printer/scanner - standard size (A4) that will provide good quality copies?

Would any further hardware or software be required or beneficial?

If it's ok I will probably post a few questions over the next few days.

Also if anyone knows any sites or links etc... that would also be fantastic.

My email address should also be available if anyone wishes to contact me directly (if it's not available please let me know).

Many thanks.

Regards

Dave

LonewandererD
01-27-2010, 07:58 AM
I don't know much about hardware, i just buy a new computer and go on faith, but for software to be used for mapmaking I'd reccommend Photoshop or Gimp. Gimp is like a much simpler and free version of Photoshop that can be download, don't know where to download it from but I'm sure someone would be along soon to point you in the right directions. Though if you can get a copy of Photoshop than its simple just to stick with that, it offers alot once you get the hang of it; CS3 and/or CS4 seem to be the better versions.

I'm not an expert in any way but that's what I know. Someone else will undoubtedly come along with sime better advice but I hope that helps for starters.

-D-

waldronate
01-27-2010, 11:22 AM
Pretty much any computer these days that retails for $500 and up will perform the basics of what you need subject to the recommendations below. My primary suggestion is to ensure that you have a minimum of 4GB of RAM on the machine when using a 32-bit OS such as Windows XP or the 32-bit Windows 7 version (at least 8GB or more if you are considering a 64 bit OS such as the 64-bit Windows 7 version). A 20" monitor is about the minimum I would consider for a machine; I would try for a pair of 20" or larger monitors if possible. For a video adapter, I would recommend a discrete solution within the last couple of generations (that would be the AMD 4xxx or 5xxx series of the NVIDIA GTX/GTS 1xx or 2xx). The motherbord graphics from AMD or NVIDIA might be sufficient for basic graphic editing tasks but the Intel motherboard graphics have been historically very bad (reviews indicate that the newest ones on the H55/H57 motherboards that go with the new Clarkdale chipsets are acceptable but not quite "good" yet).

An example system might be the Dell Inspiron 580s with the 22" monitor for $750. It has the basic features described above with the exception of a discrete graphics adapter, but it does use the current Intel graphics subsystem, which seems to be suitable for desktop work and light gaming. There are many other comparable systems out there, some for far less. The Dell I described above is an example of a system with current OS and hardware; going with a generation back such as the Core2 processor-based system with Windows XP or (shudder) Vista can result in significant savings.

It's always a tough tradeoff between price and features. When I set out to design installations like that I usually recommend $1200 per place to the customer, which includes the computer, a network port to plug it into, a desk to set it on, a license for MS Windows, a license for MS Office, and an anti-virus license. Any licenses for activity-specific software and for installation are extra. Plus the $2500 overhead for the file server machine and software.

The two biggest factors in user experience are responsiveness (directly related to how much RAM is in the machine) and display quality (monitor size and quality). If the monitor has awful color reproduction or low resolution then it's best to steer away from it. If possible I recommend actually going to a retail store and looking at a monitor before buying one, if possible. Don't buy at the retail store, but certainly go there and look at the monitor you're considering. Memory is cheap these days and it's getting harder to find a machine that isn't maxed out in terms of total allowable memory for a 32-bit OS. I had to work on a machine with 512MB the other day and I wanted to throw it out the window after 10 minutes of booting. $40 of RAM would have solved that problem.

Talroth
01-27-2010, 12:00 PM
Don't forget that you should have a RAID set up for actual redundancy of data while working (That way if a drive fails you aren't down for the day getting it fixed and trying to restore from the latest backups), and that RAID is Not A Backup.

RAID is something that should be treated as a method to simply keep a system running through a failure, and to make a hardware failure easier to fix and get the system back on its feet. It still needs proper backup and archiving methods, ideally one of which is off site if your business is highly data related.

Midgardsormr
01-27-2010, 12:08 PM
At this point, I wouldn't consider a 32-bit OS if you're planning for the computer to remain in service for more than a couple of years. Software is going to start getting scarce soon. There are rumors that Adobe will be 64-bit only by CS6. After Effects CS5 is going to be 64-bit only, and PhotoShop is currently available in both 32- and 64-bit versions.

Not everyone is going to be as quick to move to 64-bit as Adobe, of course, but it would not surprise me if it starts getting difficult to find graphic software for a 32-bit machine.

Beyond that, Waldronate's advice is sound—for 2d work, there is little need for a top-of-the-line workstation. If your cartographers are going to be running some heavy simulations (geology and erosion studies, for instance), then processing power will be important. Otherwise, more modest hardware is fine for this kind of application.

One other thing to take note of is service and technical support from the vendor. You definitely want a responsive help line for the customer unless you plan to offer ongoing support yourself.

Oh, and you'll probably want to address off-site storage for disaster recovery purposes. A couple of 1TB portable hard drives that can be removed to another location on a regular basis is not a bad idea, although those would be more appropriately allocated to the budget for the server than the workstations.

Midgardsormr
01-27-2010, 12:21 PM
I could have sworn that I replied to this one already. Well, I'll summarize. For a company that gathers and analyzes data, you'll want a Geographic Information System (GIS) like ArcGIS or GRASS. For a company that produces maps intended for consumer use, the industry standard is Adobe Illustrator with the MAPublisher plug-in.

Daelin
01-27-2010, 07:57 PM
Most professional graphics artists also use some form of tablet. I don't know all the different types, but I've seen some really spacy-looking ones, on behind-the-scene clips, that are actually just a pencil float in some type of rig with a wire on it. I've tried using one myself, but my drawing skills aren't really that great, so I just go with a mouse and a lot of undo->retry.

I don't know about hardware, but graphics cards probably isn't the most important component, unless you're working with 3D. Processing power and memory is my major concern, as well.
And as for software, well, that's a no-brainer. Photoshop is the industry standard, no question. Of course, there are subject-specific applications for everything, including cartography, but for raster graphics, Photoshop. For vector graphics, probably CorelDraw. Free alternatives like Gimp and InkSpace are great, but I should think most industry people will tell you the professional solutions are the best. I'm on an intermediate skill level, at best, and even I can tell Photoshop is a more complete package than Gimp.

Gamerprinter
01-28-2010, 05:22 PM
First off, I'm American, so I don't know prices in pounds or Euros, only USD, and I had to verify what A0 and A1 sizes were in inches, so bear that in mind with this response.

Yes, there are both color laser and color inkjet printers that can handle A0 and smaller sizes. While the prices for a large format color laser printer is $20K+, its cost per print is fairly low, however it only becomes cost effective when printing in fairly large volume. Most map printing shops can't justify a color laser printer. Inkjet printer/plotters while much less expensive for a unit, has a higher ink cost than laser, however it is still fairly reasonable to print - especially in the lower volumes found in the map printing business.

As mentioned on another thread, I use a Canon IP 8100 44" wide large format inkjet printer in my Gamer Printshop. Though I've used HP, EnCAD, Kodak inkjet printers - for best value I've found this printer is a tremendous value. Basically the unit costs around $6,000 USD to purchase (compared to most HP printer/plotters which cost around $15,000+)

Many large format color inkjet printers require a RIP (raster image processor) which can be a dedicated hardware RIP server (standalone PC built to manage and process printing) or a software RIP like PosterShop. A hardware RIP with necessary software might run you $4,000+ while a software RIP costs $1,500+. Some printers like the Canon IP 8100 can work with a RIP, but can also print straight from Photoshop, making it more cost-effective than those requiring RIPs. However those digital printing houses that print multiple prints, in multiple sizes, of multiple files for different clients are better off using a RIP, as the prints are nested to waste the least amount of paper printing multiple files from the queue.

For color scanners you're basically limited to the roll traction feed type scanner, which limits scanning to loose paper sheets with color maps prints on it. If the map is on thick media or is fragile because of age or condition - this type of scanner will not work. As the traction feed pulls the paper across the camera exposure lens and could damage or otherwise not fit in the media feeding "mouth". A color roll type scanner will cost around $10,000+

Of course a primary graphics dedicated PC is required to run the whole production, whether that's a PC or a Mac, depending on the system you use.

So basic hardware needs: large format inkjet printer, large format roll-feed color scanner, a dedicated PC, and possible a RIP (hardware or software).

Other hardware additions to consider:

1. A large format flatbed scanner (in sizes 11 x 17 up to 18 x 24; $1,000 to $5,000) - I have a 12" x 18" flatbed

2. For the truly color "anal" client (there are a few) a colorimeter or similar device is used to check colors in an original, so it matches in the digital scan and the final output print, though none are cheap ($2,500+) - though I don't use one.

3. Large format laminator - to seal printed maps for better duration in handling, outdoor use, or for use on a tabletop RPG game, you'll need one that matches the inkjet printers print width - though a 48" or 62" wide laminator will run you about $6,000 - I have a 38" laminator in-house. A hot roll laminator is preferred to hot-shoe type laminators or cold press laminators, though the latter are less expensive.

Although any shop can use more toys than that - those above are the basics and basic add-ons for the scenario you describe.

I hope that helps!

GP

ravells
01-28-2010, 05:33 PM
TeamBB, please do not cross post the similar requests multiple times. Keep it to one thread. I have merged all the posts into one thread. I appreciate you have an assignment to complete, but we have a forum to manage. I appreciate that each new question you ask is about a different aspect of your project, but would you mind keeping it all in one thread.

Thanks

ravs.