L3DB6H

Lloyd Bosworth : archaeologist | human | beard

Posts in the maps category

Google Earth Pro now Free!

Google Earth Pro reduced by $400!

Georeferenced LiDAR image of Bigbury Hill Fort, Canterbury, imported directly into Google Earth Pro. On January 30, 2015, Google announced that the Pro version of their Google Earth software would come down in price… to free. Until now, the Pro version would have set you back $400 per year. For those on a tight budget, (or with sense!), this was reason enough to stick with the free version and forgo the extra tools in Google Earth Pro.

I always felt that $400 per year was an almighty rip-off and was happy to integrate the free version within my workflow as far as it could go, and then use other tools where necessary. But what could you do with the $400 Google Earth Pro that you couldn’t do with Google Earth, and why should you now switch? Well, it’s not for higher-resolution imagery, as this is the same across all Google products. But the available toolkit for working with this imagery does increase.
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Why a 3D Topographic Model?

dem created in arcgis from contour dataI’ve been asked to produce a walk-through animation of a reconstructed archaeological site that shows the landscape setting of important buildings, and how these buildings constrained the movement of people. Reconstructing the buildings is pretty simple, with lots of reference material available. However, the 3D topographical model of the landscape is much trickier, made worse by not having any digital elevation data, only paper maps with contours.

Drawing contours with height attributes is easy in ArcGIS, but when I was asked to create an animation, I had no idea how to get the GIS shapefile data into my 3d software for animating. I figured there must be a way, and sure enough, ArcGIS has all the tools for converting and exporting a shapefile that can then be opened in pretty much any 3d software package.
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Drawing a Hachure in Adobe Illustrator

Hachures – I love ‘em! They are beautiful to look at and transform any map into a work of art. Unfortunately, I do most of my map making using GIS, where their non-numerical nature doesn’t allow for the analysis of slope, height, etc. However, I also do a lot of map redrawing, which often gives me the chance to lay down some serious hachures. (more…)