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A few doubts about vector databases

Posted: Tue Apr 30, 2019 5:42 am
by Luca_bat_map
Hello all,

it's the first time I play around with Geocart so sorry if I'll do stupid questions...
I'm trying to use Natural Earth vector databases and I have a few question I cannot find any answer in the manual.

- River line width: is it possible to obtain a progressive width vector line for river (as you can see in most atlas, the width is somwhow proportional to the flow rate)
- Physical and Cultural Labels: is there a way to add these details (curved, shaped text in the right areas e.g. oceans or countries)
- City symbols: is it possible to use symbols related to the city size or to the city status (capitals etc)?
- City name: I saw that Geocart use a "own-format" for that, is there a conversion tool to prepare the database?

Thank you in advance!

Re: A few doubts about vector databases

Posted: Wed May 01, 2019 12:09 am
by daan
Hello Luca.

There are good reasons you are having trouble: Geocart does not do some of those things. Geocart’s primary purpose is to prepare a base map on your choice of projection and orientation. Most maps will be finished in other software specialized for graphic design.

For Shapefiles, Geocart will only read the vector line work. It does not use the feature database. Also, river feature width in the form that you describe is not implemented by Geocart. Instead, the vectors representing the river would have to be in that form already from the database.

The full installation of Geocart comes with city labels: simple, detailed, and capital cities. You can set a mark (such as a circle) at each label and specify the color and size of the mark. You can control label placement to an extent by editing the label database yourself, but for good design, you will surely want to use other graphical editing software to refine the label placement.
City name: I saw that Geocart use a "own-format" for that, is there a conversion tool to prepare the database?
I am not sure what you mean here. If you are asking if there exists a tool to convert from Shapefile into the text format that Geocart uses for labels, then no, I am not aware of any, unfortunately. You could probably open the Shapefile database file in (for example) DBeaver and find some way to export it to a spreadsheet format or copy/paste into a text editor. Then, in the spreadsheet software, you could probably easily export to Geocart’s format or to something similar and use text editing software to finish the formatting. But I have not tried this.

Best,
— daan

Re: A few doubts about vector databases

Posted: Thu May 02, 2019 1:29 am
by Luca_bat_map
Hi Daan,

thanks, it's quite clear. Let's see if I understand:

ESRI Shapefile is the only vector format recognized by Geocart. Each database consists in more files and is Geocart will use a specific line style based on what coverage is assigned to each database. Then if I have a different database for different portion of a river I can make Geocart draw each section with a specific width am I right?
Then it's not possible in anyway to put curved text in the map: it's intended to use a graphic tool (Adobe Illustrator or similar) to put all label in an "professional atlas" style.

Correct?

Re: A few doubts about vector databases

Posted: Thu May 02, 2019 8:51 pm
by daan
Hello Luca.
Luca_bat_map wrote:ESRI Shapefile is the only vector format recognized by Geocart.
Geocart can also read a text format for polygons as described in its manual, Appendix E. Geocart ships with databases in two other binary vector formats, but these are not documented.
Each database consists in more files and is Geocart will use a specific line style based on what coverage is assigned to each database. Then if I have a different database for different portion of a river I can make Geocart draw each section with a specific width am I right?
Then it's not possible in anyway to put curved text in the map: it's intended to use a graphic tool (Adobe Illustrator or similar) to put all label in an "professional atlas" style.
Correct.

Best,
— daan

Re: A few doubts about vector databases

Posted: Wed May 15, 2019 5:24 am
by Atarimaster
Hello Luca!
Luca_bat_map wrote: I'm trying to use Natural Earth vector databases (…)
- City name: I saw that Geocart use a "own-format" for that, is there a conversion tool to prepare the database?
Are you by any chance experienced with PHP and MySQL?
I converted the Natural Earth Populated Places database to MySQL and wrote a PHP script to export city names (plus, of course, the coordinates) as Geocart typesetting database. It is, however, a real "quick & dirty" piece of work which requires a bit of MySQL/PHP knowledge. You’ll also need a server to run the script (a shared hosting web space, or a local web server such as XAMPP).

I could provide the script (after I’ve cleaned it up, at least a little bit), but I will not have the time to make it suitable for somebody without any experience in the aforementioned languages. On the other hand, if you do know how to work with PHP and MySQL, you probably don’t even need my script because you could easily come up with you own script…

Luca_bat_map wrote: - City symbols: is it possible to use symbols related to the city size or to the city status (capitals etc)?
Using my script, I’m creating (at least) two Geocart databases. For example, one that contains only capitals and one that contains cities which aren’t capitals. I’m adding one of them to the Geocart file using the desired projection, set up the city point using the Line Styles dialogue, and export it as PDF. Then, I’m doing the same using the other database, using different line styles.
Then I’m opening the two PDF files in a graphics application and layer them on top of each other.

Kind regards,
Tobias