Friday, December 23, 2022

Local Paper Maps: Preparing Them

This post is part of a series on creating and using local printed maps. Start here.

Once I had my desired USGS 7.5 minute GeoPDF file downloaded, I assumed the next step was to print it. After all, a hard copy of the map is what this effort is all about. Surprisingly, the innocuously titled USGS tutorial, Lesson 8a - US Topos Created after June 2017, demonstrated one more step before printing. That is, selecting what info I'd like to include on the printed map.

Loading a GeoPDF in Chrome or Apple's Preview, my default PDF viewer on Windows and Mac respectively, I see what I'd expect to see: a detailed USGS 7.5 minute map.

Following the USGS Tutorial, however, required that I download the Adobe Acrobat Reader. Once the industry standard, I haven't relied on Reader in years. Still, I took the time to set it up, including uninstalling the McAfee extras I didn't want, and was richly rewarded. Adobe's PDF reader, unlike most (but not all all), includes support for toggling layers. The USGS has packaged their maps as a series of layers, which I could now control.

Say I wanted to print a driving-friendly map. In this case, I can turn off all the content except 'Transportation' and 'Hydrography'.

Or maybe I want a bird's eye view of the area. In this case, I can turn on the normally disabled 'Images' layer and turn off most of the other layers to avoid clutter.

My interest is creating a set of printed maps to practice back country navigation. To support this, I turned off all the layers except 'Terrain', 'Hydrography', 'Wetlands' and 'Projection and Grids'. The result is impressive: suddenly I'm holding a view of my local area that is solely based on natural features. It's like I've been transported back in time hundreds of years and I'm encountering a pristine wilderness.

With my map prepared, now it really is time to hit the print button; That's next!

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