In The Desert
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Sharing Maps, Locations
How many times have you wanted to show your friend(s) or club a location or GPS track on a map or maybe even a satellite map to show them where something was located in the desert, a neat rock formation, or a nice camping site. The topography maps leave a lot to be desired, even the ones that show shaded relief to give the contours more depth. The shaded relief helps, but it can be improved. All you need to know is how to make a screen capture and then what to do with that graphic image.
First, you need a software map on your computer that has shaded relief topography maps. Garmin's topography maps (topo maps 2008) are not free but their software to run it is. You can get the MapSource software -- Download it HERE - it will only work with a PC. The Garmin Base Camp program will work with both a PC and a Mac. You can download it HERE. MapSource is no longer supported by Garmin, but it is still the best software with the most options for working on your GPS tracks, it's what the cartographers use. Base Camp is now the software of choice for new Garmin GPS units. Delorme accepts GPS tracks and also has shaded relief maps.
Screen Capture software. Windows machine's have that built in (see the video) and some other programs exist to serve this purpose. HERE is an outstanding screen capture software. Also don't forget on a Windows machine keyboard the "PrtScrn" button can be used to capture the whole screen. Windows 7 has the Snipping Tool in the start menu, the best tool for the job by far.
How this works, it's very simple give it a try.
Several people have asked us how we get maps like this, we enhanced them using an imaging program and you can do this using Windows Photo Gallery. They actually come out just as nice using Windows own imaging program. See the example below. More on using Windows Photo Gallery below.
This is also very simple. Make your screen capture then open the folder in Photo Gallery where you saved it on your PC. Double click on the thumbnail of the map (image) and it will open in a larger version with the "adjustments" shown here to the right available to you. You'll only need to click on the "Adjust exposure" and "Adjust color" to make the changes necessary. Give it a try till you get the final results you want to make your map have more depth. Remember the map must have some shaded refief to begin with for this to be a success.
Windows Photo Gallery
When you click on the settings mentioned above this will open in Photo Gallery giving you access to these adjustments. Each captured map will be different so experiment with the settings. The changes will be obvious as you move the sliders.
Mouse over this satellite image
Satellite image captures can be enhanced the same way to show more detail and give the appearance of more depth similar to what you see in Google Earth 3D
The next time you want to show an area or topo track to someone remember how easy it is to use your imaging program to enhance the depth of those maps and give them a more natural look.