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Online User Guide
Using Mountain High Maps USA Relief

Intro to Mountain High Maps USA Relief
Specifications - your computer resources
Specifications - USA land coverage
Specifications - state map portfolios
Typical range of uses
Using MHM-USA with Illustrator
Using MHM-USA with Photoshop
Licensing information

Introduction to Mountain High Maps USA Relief

The Mountain High Maps USA Relief series complements the highly successful Worldwide Mountain High Maps edition by providing a more detailed and richer featured set of maps for the USA at approximately 10 times better resolution.  MHM-USA offers a set of 4 full color traditional shaded relief maps along with one grayscale relief map for those clients who specifically need to customize the terrain to meet their own corporate or house style. These relief maps in JPEG format constitute a highly detailed topographic base over which the EPS vector data such as coastlines, rivers, interstate and major road systems, railroads, county, state and international borders, town locations, town names text, latitude and longitude grids, can be selectively switched on or off as layers, and edited as required to build a map presentation to your design.

The MHM-USA package of files for each individual state is designed to provide the graphic designer with all the versatility, the tools and components needed to manipulate and generate a wide variety of map presentations, as efficiently as possible at a very high quality level.

Specifications - your computer resources

The MHM-USA package will require substantial memory if you intend to manipulate the bitmap state maps in Photoshop, and add layers to the Illustrator maps, and run both applications simultaneously - however, this is well within the configuration of most graphic designers resources.  You will need:

To edit the vector maps - Adobe Illustrator V.8 or higher, FreeHand V.8 or higher, or any draw application that can open a complex multi-layered EPS or AI file, Macintosh or Windows.
To manipulate the bitmap JPEG maps you will require Adobe Photoshop V.4 or higher, Corel PhotoPaint or some other image editing application that can open JPEG images, Macintosh or Windows.  Note you do not need Photoshop or another image editor if you intend to place any of the bitmap images as supplied directly into Illustrator as a Placed Image.

Macintosh or Windows with at least 128 Mb RAM, preferably 512 MB, with plenty of disk space for application work areas and swop files. High processor speed will help considerably if you are processing the images in Photoshop.  The bitmap images vary from 50 Mb to over 500 Mb decompressed, the vector files have complex paths and can be over 20 Mb.  The MHM-USA files are supplied on CD-ROM or DVD-ROM - you may also require a suitable form of media for storing or transporting your output media which could be several hundred Mb.

Specifications - USA land coverage

The MHM-USA collection includes an individual portfolio of map files at a standard 100 meter resolution for each of the 48 states within the entire continental United States and for the islands of Hawaii. Alaska is provided in the same format at a slightly lower resolution due to its immense size. The District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands and the US islands in the Pacific are not included in this collection - please contact Digital Wisdom for a custom map quote if you require these locations.  To ensure more than generous overlap, each state map extends to the next nearest degree line beyond the state, and in those cases where the state border is on a parallel or meridien, or close to one, the map border has been pushed to the next furthest degree.  For states bordering Canada and Mexico, the quality of the relief rendering decreases as the border is crossed and in most cases falls back to 1,000 meter data.

The scale of the relief map images at 72 dpi is 1:280,000. At 300 dpi this would be equivalent to approximately 1:1,000,000. The base relief images are generated from 100 meter USGS DEM data presenting exactly one pixel per 100 meter of terrain. For purpose of estimating image sizes and coverage, an area 100 miles by 100 miles would approximate 1,800 X 1,800 pixels.  For print purposes at 300 dpi this would give a 6 X 6 inch image, at 150 dpi a 12 X 12 image, and at screen resolution say 75 dpi, an image would be approx 24 X 24 inches. In most cases the quality of the relief image is sufficiently high to be resampled at 200% thereby doubling the image size.

For guidance an example of some US States provided at 300 dpi are sized as follows: Georgia 24 X 24 inches, California 44 X 44 inches, Montana 56 X 24, Pennsylvania 28 X 16, Texas 56 X 48.  See detailed specifications page for a full list of the key statistics for each state.

The USARelief series maps have been created using the Geographic or Plate Carree projection system. This is a linear scale meaning a degree of latitude and a degree of longitude are represented by the same distance on the map. At the Equator a degree of longitude is equal distance to a degree of latitude. As the latitude increases Northwards, the convergence of the lines of longitude cause a degree of longitude to become a shorter distance than a degree of latitude which itself remains constant at 60 nautical miles per degree, or one nautical mile for one minute. We have developed a compensation chart so that the relief maps may be adjusted to match the scale at the appropriate latitude, usually by selecting a mid-range point in the North-South axis of the map. The compensation chart factor is used to reduce the width of the map to bring it into line with the actual represented scale, and that can be done in Photoshop using image resampling with the "keep proportion" switched off.

Specifications - state map portfolios

Each state portfolio for MHM-USA Version 1 contains 8 map files:
Four color relief map styles in JPEG format, RGB 24 bits per pixel, 300 pixels per inch. The color schemes feature a Cartographic map elevation color scheme in striking contour banding colors, a Natural Look more suitable for background draped texture with high information density overlays, a High-Contrast version with a dramatic color variation between high and low altitudes, and a Low-Contrast style suitabe for muted backgrounds.

Cartographic Style Natural Look Style

High-Contrast Style Low-Contrast Style

One grayscale relief map is supplied in 8 bit Grayscale, 300 pixels per inch, exactly the same size and coordinates. This map style is provided for designers who wish to generate color scheme to match a custom house or corporate style and customize their own relief map images.

A bitmap mask (black & white) of the state outline is provided to enable the state relief to be extracted from the above colorized or grayscale relief images - the mask allows either the state area, or by inverting, the non-state area to be selected using Photoshop Channels, manipulated, screened, or deleted. Using the mask is discussed in the Photoshop section of this user guide.

Two vector files are provided both in Illustrator AI or Illustrator EPS format. The map features are presented on individual layers and include coastlines, rivers, interstate and major road systems, railroads, county, state and international borders, town locations, town names text, latitude and longitude grids and relief layer.  Each layer can be selectively switched on or off as needed for your map customization, edited as required,  level sequence within the layers may be altered, and new layers may be added.  The vector maps may be edited, either as individual layers or multiple layers together, giving clients the option to change line widths and color, font styles and colors, and allowing the placement of any of the 4 colorized relief maps, or customized grayscale relief map, as the bottom relief layer.

Typical range of uses

The versatility of the MHM-USA state maps collection lends itself to a wide number of uses either as ready to use detailed maps or as sophisticated customized products.  A wide range of uses include all the traditional publishing areas from newspapers, magazines, books, educational products to web and multimedia, television and video.

Using MHM-USA with Illustrator (separate section)

Using MHM-USA with Photoshop (separate section)

Licensing information

The Mountain High Maps USA Relief map collection is published by Digital Wisdom with the intent that it will be used royalty-free by graphic designers, authors, producers, publishers as part of a publication for commercial use.  There are very few restrictions in normal use and any limitations imposed are intended to prevent the over-exploitation of this resource beyond a reasonnable and fair use criteria.  See the licensing page for the full license.

We have summarized the licensing areas with potential limitations and you should contact Digital Wisdom about further use of the product - in some cases additional licensing may be applicable, or restrictions may be waived according to the circumstances:

Multiple workstation use or network use
Atlas use or use in excess of 25% content of a publication
Publisher using the maps in more than 5 published titles
Freelance use greater than 5 customers
Freelance use greater than 10 maps per client
Television broadcast audience greater than 10 states
Resold artwork where image exceeds 25% of product image
Posters, postcards and t-shirts high volume usage
Multiple web domains
Web use in excess of 25 web pages
Multimedia application produced in excess of 10,000 copies
Web or multimedia access to unmodified maps by third-parties

USA Relief Maps ~ Digital Wisdom Inc ~ PO Box 11 ~ Tappahannock VA 22560 ~ USA
800-800-8560  |  804-443-9000  |  Email

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