the FE 'tkGooies' subsystem
MAP DATA SOURCES
Corner of a PNG image of Turkey (one of many country map images),
made from very high-resolution outline data at gadm.org.
! Note ! More links to sources of maps data (esp. ASCII-text outline data) may be added
--- as 'MAPtools' scripts are tested and developed for the FE 'tkGooies' subsystem.
< Go to Table of Contents, below >
(SKIP THIS INTRO)
The 'MAPtools' subgroup of the FE 'tkGooies' system is intended to facilitate making 2D maps of several different kinds, including:
And the 2D 'MAPtools' group of utilities may eventually be augmented by 3D map-generation tools --- such as terrain generation tools --- in the '3Dtools' menu of the FE 'tkGooies' system.
Comments on OUTLINE-DATA availability :
It is nice that U.S. government web sites (such as a plethora of NOAA and USGS web sites) offer no-cost or low-cost map data that was tax-payer financed --- BUT, their web sites and web pages and data formats seem to go through continual 'churn':
In short, it is a real 'slog' trying to find simple longitude-latitude 'outline' (sequence-of-points) data in a simple ASCII (text) file --- simply containing 2 columns of decimal numbers.
For most of the 'MAPtools' tkGooie scripts that involve map outlines, the latitude,longitude data in the input data files are assumed to be in simple 2-column ASCII format, NOT binary.
Since map boundary/outline data is not easily found in this simple format (any more, since about 2012), one must often find a more complex ASCII format and 'massage' it.
Popular ASCII outline-data formats (in the 2012-2016 time frame)
There are many country, continent, and state boundary/outline data files on the internet in *ASCII* (text, not binary) format.
BUT the data is often wrapped in Markup Language --- in a variety of formats within the files: FROM longitude-latitude data in short records, one data-pair per record-line --- TO thousands of data pairs in extremely long record lines.
Example ASCII formats:
KMZ (and KML) files seem to be many times more likely to be found on the internet than GeoJSON files --- perhaps because they are used with Google Earth (and Google Maps?) --- and with some GPS navigation devices from various manufacturers (like Garmin). HOWEVER, many of those KML files may be path files (or points-of-interest files) which do not contain outline data.
Another source of ASCII map-outline data is ESRI ASCII Shape Files which are sometimes written from the complex, mostly-binary ESRI GIS (Geographic Information System) databases. However, it is more difficult to find ASCII ESRI Shape Files on the internet than to find GeoJSON or KML files containing outline-data. Most '.shp' shape files exist in a 'bundle' of files, in BINARY format. The ESRI ASCII export files are typically named with a '.e00' suffix.
The ASCII ESRI Shape files may have the string 'ShapeFile' (in square brackets) in the first record of the file --- but, when ASCII shape files do exist, they may be in a zipped (compressed) format so that the 'ShapeFile' string is not immediately obvious.
For more information on ASCII Shape files, you can try a web search on keywords such as shapefile ascii export.
Here are some PDF files containing info on KML files:
NOT ONLY MAPS : (also outlines of cartoon characters, silouettes, text, ...)
The outline data in the input files of the FE 'MAPtools' utilities do NOT have to be latitude-longitude map data.
The data could be pairs of x,y coordinates that provide an outline of almost any object --- for example, a person or an animal or an insect or a fish.
OR, the data file could provide an outline of a logo --- or a group of letters in one or more font styles. OR, the data file could provide vertex coordinates of a geometric figure like a pentagon or hexagon or octagon.
OR, a more complicated geometric figure could be defined by the points in the file --- such as a fractal-like geometric figure, like the 3rd or 4th level of a 'Koch Snowlake'.
In fact, the outline data could depict a snowflake --- or flower petals --- or the outline of a leaf --- or the outline of tree branches. Use your imagination.
Linux vs. Apple vs. Microsoft line-end conventions
The ASCII-text outline-data files presented here were generated on Linux and thus the line-endings are denoted by a single, ASCII line-feed character code (8-bit, hex '4A', decimal 74).
On Apple and Microsoft operating systems, a different line-end convention is used:
If you need to convert these outline-data files to a different format, for use on these proprietary operating systems, you can probably find a text editor that does the conversion. Then read an outline file into the editor and save it in the desired line-ends format.
One such text editor is the 'scite' text editor.
Enough of this introduction to ASCII outline/boundary data considerations --- for the FE 'tkGooies' 'MAPtools'.
Following is a 'Table of Contents' that provides links to 'local' pages of links to 'locally-stored' ASCII outline/boundary data files --- at various levels of 'resolution'.
These data files can be used to facilitate making maps (and other outlines) in various colors --- using the tkGooie 'MAPtools'. And you can add various features to the maps (such as text overlays, in various fonts) --- using tkGooie 'IMAGEtools', like the 'TitleBlock' tkGooie utility.
You can add even more items onto an image --- items such as curved lines, straight lines (with optional arrow-heads), and flowchart-like symbols such as diamonds, rectangles, and ovals --- with the 'wheeeDiagram' tkGooie utility.
Table of Contents: (links to local web pages, with links to data files)
End of Table of Contents.
Some EXTERNAL LINKS to information on OPEN SOURCE map data
Open Source Projects and Standards Organizations :
Data Format Information (open-source and 'semi-open-source', incl. non-ASCII) :
Open Source Data Management and Processing Systems :
Open Source Browsing and Rendering Services :
Open Source Desktop 'Client' Software :
For more information on 'open source' outline/boundary map data files (in an ASCII-text format), you can try a web search on keywords such as open source map data outline boundary ascii longitude latitude .
For more information on 'open source' map data using image 'tiles', you can try a web search on keywords such as open source map data tiles.
You can see some examples of how to make maps with OSM (Open Street Map) tiles at this Open Street Map 'example-maps' page. You can see the 'page source' of those web pages to see how the maps were constructed from tiles using HTML 'image-source' statements.
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Page was created 2016 Nov 10.