Wednesday, 8 July 2009

Map 3D vs ArcGIS

Image by UrbanTick using Autodesk Map 3D

Following an earlier post about the UrbanDiary data in Autodesk Map 3D, I would like to talk about further development on this topic.
The plan was to generate the UrbanDiary maps using this software and with this move towards a more automated workflow from GPS data to map with maintaining the level of possible graphical intervention.
As described in the earlier post data from the database could be connected and be represented in the software including context data. Simple manipulations and representations of the data could be made easily in Map 3D and actually I grew a little bit fond of the software although I did not like AutoCAD when I last had to use it. So I was determent to stick to this and work it all through in this one application.
Unfortunately, too soon I seemed to exceed the capacity of the software.

Image by UrbanTick using Autodesk Map 3D

Following the processing of the UrbanDiary interviews the task is to develop a combination of interview/mental map data and the GPS/map data. The idea is to look at the work related spatial movement with a special focus on the mental map features.
It turned out that the number of recorded GPS points per participant combined with the building, street and land use information is too much for Map 3D to handle. It started to crash continuously; up to the state I was not possible to open a file.
The method I used was maybe not the most economic one but seem simple to me. From the GPS points I defined a buffer to establish a zone of “experience”, which I intersected with the base map to only be working with relevant information.

The issue in Map3D led to the move across to ArcGIS, which appeared to be comfortable with the data. It also turned out that the same steps of work are quite simple achievable, although a little less intuitive. This reaches down to the export for Illustrator. Map 3D translate much simpler into Illustrator with its native dxf format. In ArcGIS, I could not manage to produce a workable file that remained distinct in terms of features. So I had to rely on the map export using about 12000 dpi. Proper maps will follow as they are processed in Illustrator.

Image by UrbanTick using ArcGIS and exported to Illustrator