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Thread: Embedding Zoomable Images into Maps

  1. #1
    Guild Apprentice paulbhartzog's Avatar
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    Question Embedding Zoomable Images into Maps

    Hi all,
    The attached pic shows something that I like to do on my maps: embed photos.

    I use real photographs of landscapes, architecture, etc. when designing various worlds and environs. I find it helps to inspire me when I have interesting visuals accessible in my maps. Some interfaces that do this are Google Earth (has little blue clickable square icons which pull up pictures in Panoramio) and Panoramio (has clickkable thumbnails which are nice to look at but obscure the terrain beneath).

    However,
    This technique is not feasible with bitmap graphic formats, but only with "zoomable" interfaces like SVG, Prezi, or Google Earth. When you click on an area of the map, you zoom in and can see images for that area.

    I have used Inkscape to successfully make a map with embedded images. I used Ortelius to make the graphic example below, but it does not export to standard SVG format.

    Anyway, I'm hoping that some of you can help me think through what software and/or approaches would work best for this. The real trick is to have the vector portions of the map defined at a large scale that lets you see the whole map, and then have the bitmap portions defined at a very small scale so that they don't interfere with the map but remain high-resolution when you zoom into them.

    I hope this line of thinking also encourages others to contemplate a possibly new/interesting element for our maps. :-)

    much thx,
    -p

    Embedding Zoomable Images into Maps-embedded_images_t-.png
    Last edited by paulbhartzog; 03-31-2010 at 07:21 PM.

  2. #2
      Daelin is offline
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    Google Earth, like you said, but can you even do that, I've never tried. Other than that, Flash, possibly, though I also have zero experience programming that. Definitely has to be an interactive media, other than raster images. Sounds kinda advanced to me...

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    Here's a potential starting point... http://www.casa.ucl.ac.uk/richard/Go...t-download.asp

    It lets you cut-up and html-ify (like my term?) huge images into easily viewable ones using the google maps api. I use it with 30000px wide images at level 7 and get ~1:1 pixel at the maximum zoom. Speed is ~ the same as viewing google maps itself. All you'd need to do then, I think, is setup your locations and actions (I suspect the google api does that too - but I'm no programmer).

    Here's a step in the right direction... http://www.cartographersguild.com/sh...ht=google+maps

    I found it while trying to find an old thread on using the google maps cutter. http://www.cartographersguild.com/sh...ht=google+maps
    I believe there's info on the command line options to use the right amount of memory etc. for 30000px wide images, formats that work best etc.
    Last edited by guyanonymous; 03-31-2010 at 11:55 PM.

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      Mark Oliva is offline
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    Quote Originally Posted by paulbhartzog View Post
    Hi all,However, This technique is not feasible with bitmap graphic formats, but only with "zoomable" interfaces like SVG, Prezi, or Google Earth. When you click on an area of the map, you zoom in and can see images for that area.
    I don't agree with you. If you have the right program and you do things correctly, the technique also is feasible with bitmap graphics. See our Fractal Mapper 8 tutorial, a free download at:

    http://www.vintyri.org/vintyri/tu1.htm
    Mark Oliva
    The Vintyri (TM) Project

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      Redrobes is offline
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    Yeah I am with Mark here - not true at all. My ViewingDale does just this too. As does Celestia and to some extent MapTool and I believe even CC3. Whilst I agree that there is a limit on the zoom based on the resolution of the photo its also true that there is a limit on detail with vector graphics as well. Ok so lines stay sharp but since were talking specifically about a photo then were talking bitmaps.

    I have photo albums and holiday snaps and all sorts of setups where I put my photos into it. I put photos of characters onto character sheets and into dungeons as well as making my own birthday cards, commercial art, etc - loads of stuff like that. I got plenty of demos

    Video Demo

    http://viewing.ltd.uk/Temp/CG/VD_Dem...gDale_x264.avi

    Picture demos below.
    Last edited by Redrobes; 04-01-2010 at 08:05 AM.

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    Guild Apprentice paulbhartzog's Avatar
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    Lots of interesting answers to go through, thx.

    Still though, "zoomable maps" is not exactly what I was asking about. I was asking about the ability to add photos onto maps as embedded objects.

    Not having gone through all of the various replies, it is possible that one of those has a solution, but thx again for all the leads.
    Off to digest them...

    ;-)

    much thx
    -p

  7. #7
    Guild Apprentice paulbhartzog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Redrobes View Post
    Yeah I am with Mark here - not true at all. My ViewingDale does just this too. As does Celestia and to some extent MapTool and I believe even CC3. Whilst I agree that there is a limit on the zoom based on the resolution of the photo its also true that there is a limit on detail with vector graphics as well. Ok so lines stay sharp but since were talking specifically about a photo then were talking bitmaps.

    I have photo albums and holiday snaps and all sorts of setups where I put my photos into it. I put photos of characters onto character sheets and into dungeons as well as making my own birthday cards, commercial art, etc - loads of stuff like that. I got plenty of demos

    Video Demo

    http://viewing.ltd.uk/Temp/CG/VD_Dem...gDale_x264.avi

    Picture demos below.
    This is pretty close to what I'm thinking about. I like the maps-within-maps also.

    I should've mentioned that I'm a Mac only person. :-)
    Last edited by paulbhartzog; 04-01-2010 at 02:59 PM.

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      Redrobes is offline
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    Ok I think several of us thought that with the Google Earth interface and zoomable formats that you were interested in zoomable maps to embed photos in. I guess its sort of a by product that the photos themselves become zoomable also with this kind of interface in my app and others mainly because almost all of the tokens used to make up the maps are bitmaps - the photo becomes just another (big) token. But in the video you can see embedded 'hot spots' linking to drawings and photos on a zoomable map background. The advantage of the zoomable interface in this respect is that you can keep your hot links/spots as small as you like to not interfere with the map. My app like most can also hot link web links (like to the monster stats / images on the SRD site for example), docs for the area descriptions etc, sounds, music and other random files. Hot linking to other maps is probably the most important link as you need to link a set of steps to next dungeon level or go into a house in a city etc. Its for any situation where its just not realistic to have multiple maps all stacked on top of one another, when you have a teleport / gate etc, or you want to control when characters can move into an area without merely using fog of war.

    But at least from my point of view were all out of luck cos there is no Mac version of my app. If you can run a OS virtualization then you can try the demo. I have seen that work albeit very slow on ubuntu but not on a mac. Not sure about Mac compatibility with some of the others like FR8 which is the closest I have seen. MapTool is java tho and would be mac friendly.

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    Guild Apprentice paulbhartzog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Redrobes View Post
    Ok I think several of us thought that with the Google Earth interface and zoomable formats that you were interested in zoomable maps to embed photos in. I guess its sort of a by product that the photos themselves become zoomable also with this kind of interface in my app and others mainly because almost all of the tokens used to make up the maps are bitmaps - the photo becomes just another (big) token. But in the video you can see embedded 'hot spots' linking to drawings and photos on a zoomable map background. The advantage of the zoomable interface in this respect is that you can keep your hot links/spots as small as you like to not interfere with the map. My app like most can also hot link web links (like to the monster stats / images on the SRD site for example), docs for the area descriptions etc, sounds, music and other random files. Hot linking to other maps is probably the most important link as you need to link a set of steps to next dungeon level or go into a house in a city etc. Its for any situation where its just not realistic to have multiple maps all stacked on top of one another, when you have a teleport / gate etc, or you want to control when characters can move into an area without merely using fog of war.

    But at least from my point of view were all out of luck cos there is no Mac version of my app. If you can run a OS virtualization then you can try the demo. I have seen that work albeit very slow on ubuntu but not on a mac. Not sure about Mac compatibility with some of the others like FR8 which is the closest I have seen. MapTool is java tho and would be mac friendly.
    I'm an open-source programmer by trade, so if someone can share/walk-me-through their code, I might be able to port it over.

    It's worth a shot, imo.

    -p

  10. #10
      Squeegie is offline
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    I've noticed on Obsidian Portal that they are able to put uploaded maps into the Google Maps window and you can zoom and move around there. If you could also add the street view function that's another question.

    This is something I have been interested in trying to figure out for a while... Or at least since I saw what Obsidian Portal was doing with the uploaded maps.

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