GeoMedia GIS Blog

"A picture is only worth a thousand words. A map may be worth a thousand numbers. But a GIS is worth a thousand tables."

Batch Plotting – Part 1

Posted by jeffhobbs on August 1, 2007

Late last year I redid our black and white mapbook so that it would be created from GeoMedia’s Batch Plotting (available in GeoMedia Pro) instead of the MGE/I/PLOT environment that we’ve used to produce it in the past. This week I started updating the mapbook to start reading our Oracle Locator database for some of the features that were previously maintained in MGE.

For those that have never used the utility, the interface may look a little imposing; however let me assure you that it is fairly easy to use. The utility is broken up into two sections:

  1. Sheet Selection – This is designed to plot multiple maps. The input will accept multiple sheets from multiple geoworkspaces and/or multiple GeoMedia Layout Sheet (.gls) files. For those that have never used GLS files, they’re basically a way to disconnect the map from the layout window. In other words, the map can be exported as a GLS file and the GLS file can reside outside the actual geoworkspace. This is great when you want to reduce the size of a geoworkspace, simply better organize the locations of different maps, or even store a whole set of mapbook sheets that are going to be printed on a regular basis. But wait!…There’s More! Probably the BEST part about GLS files is that as long as the geoworkspace remains valid and operational (no dead warehouse links, no dead feature class links, etc.), the GLS will maintain its ties to the geoworkspace. In other words, even though the map is removed from the geoworkspace, the GLS fill will automatically update with the latest and greatest data whenever it’s opened in either GeoMedia Pro or in the batch plotting utility! Very cool!
  2. Sheet Composition – This is where you create your mapbook. For those that are not familiar with the term "mapbook", let me point you to one of the best GeoMedia-produced mapbooks I’ve seen. This is the City of San Jose mapbook web site. When you go to this site, click on one of the panels and that will show you the mapbook sheets they have available for that panel. Otherwise, click here for a direct link to one of their basemap (parcel) sheets. On a side note, Riverside County Flood Control also has a fantastic GeoMedia-generated mapbook. However I don’t believe their mapbook is available on the Internet.

Since the Sheet Selection GUI is really intuitive, I’ll let you figure that one out for yourself. With Sheet Composition, at its most simple level, the utility wants the following:

  1. A named legend. This can be created in GeoMedia by simply going in the Legend Menu > Name Legend.
  2. A geoworkspace containing the named legend. Please note: There is a BIG difference between the named legend and the legend in the geoworkspace. The legend in the geoworkspace can only be used for the legend’s respective map window. A named legend can be used in any map window in a single geoworkspace. Moreover, the named legend can be inserted into a library and then brought in through the library into any other geoworkspace. It’s also important to note that the actual map window legend in the geoworkspace containing the named legend can be completely empty; as batch plotting is only looking at a named legend.
  3. A layout template. A layout template is simply the design of your map minus the actual map or any of the general marginalia (north arrow, scale bar, legend). In place of the map and marginalia are map frames. These frames are most typically placed by selecting the Insert > Layout Frames command in the layout window. A good example of a layout template can be found here: C:\Program Files\GeoMedia Professional\Templates\Layouts\BatchComposition.glt.

You’ll notice in the BatchComposition.glt template, there are two frames. One is labeled "LargeMapFrame" and the other is labeled "SmallMapFrame". The LargeMapFrame would be the overall map. The SmallMapFrame would typically be an index map. For example:

This is the same index map you see on the City of San Jose’ mapbook.

Now there are many other options that can be set for each map frame. I highly encourage you to launch the batch plotting utility and take the fast tutorial. You should be able to create a mapbook in maybe 1/2 hour. I’ve also uploaded a tutorial that we gave as a hands-on seminar a NCIGUC user’s group meeting a few years ago. This can be downloaded and should guide you through the process in a short amount of time. A few of the more interesting features include:

  • Placing a cartographic grid
  • Working with the different types of index maps
  • Working with variable text string substitution

It should also be noted that the batch plotting help is very good.

Tomorrow I’ll get into my personal batch plotting experience and some of the issues I’ve encountered in the past. I’ll also discuss the process to create PDFs from batch plotting and a few of those advantages.

Until tomorrow….

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