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rhumbaflappy

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Hi all.I've spent the day learning the ins and outs of Mapmaker. It's an ambitious little GIS program that allows an amazing variety of GIS format imports.. and even can be used to reproject data.It's native format is it's '.dra' format... but it will accept bmps, drgs, dlgs, shps, tiger, dxf, ....... and MANY more. Like most GIS programs, it has a Project that consists of 'layers' of data that is added in. It does require some reading and studying ( the manual is a separate download from the program ).Download? Oh, yes! It comes as a fully functional commercial version... and it has a ton of features. After 30 days, it reverts to a freeware version. But what a freeware version! Most of the functionality is still active. More than enough for our purposes.We needed a program to import various GIS vector and raster data, be able to reproject it, then export a screen view as a georeferenced bitmap. MapMaker reprojects 'on the fly', so we don't need to mess with it after we set the parameters. The "Save Screen" funtion is where this really shines. It just saves the screen image, but it allows you to declare the size in pixels you want the bitmap at! For Ground2k, we need bitmaps of about 6000x6000 for an LOD8 Cell. Mapmaker will construct a bitmap ( much like Terrascene does ) that actually converts the data to a bitmap. It's not a screenshot. Further, you can specify the saving of a BPW " World File"... a textfile that gives the NW corner Lat-Long, with the cell degree span.... allowing you to compute the NSWE bounds of the image. Perfect! And free!They creators of the software indicate that the '.dra' files may be redistributed along with copies of the freeware version. They are literally giving this software away, and it shames the GIS "viewers" available on the internet.It takes about 6-8 hours to get a good feel for the program, and set some default parameters to get the data ready for bitmap export.The creators also frequently update the program, and encourage freware users to update, as well! Coupled with Ground2K, we have a very workable solution for getting GIS data into FS2002.Although I haven't yet experimented with it, it should be able to georeference, and perhaps reproject, aerial and satellite raster images as well. Good news for photoreal designers, if that works.:)MapMakerDick

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