I work in the publishing industry and
I am often called upon to produce maps. In the early 1990s I began using
Geocart, which, for me, has become an indispensable tool. When Geocart
version 2 was released, with its ability to reproject images, I began
writing TopoToImage in my spare time. I wanted to be able to use the amazing
digital elevation models that the USGS was producing. I could find no
software for the Macintosh computer that could convert these DEMs into
Geocart image databases so I decided to write a program of my own. TopoToImage
is the result.
What is TOPOTOIMAGE?
TopoToImage is a program
for Macintosh computers that creates color and shaded relief images
of the Earths surface. TopoToImage is one part of a powerful map
production system. It comes with one or more databases which contain
elevation data. The main purpose of the program is to save Geocart image
The program allows you to crop out
a reasonable sized chunk of its large data sets, or scale down the full
data base. TopoToImage uses elevation data to create its images, optionally
with cast shadows. TopoToImage gives you precise control of boundaries,
scale, color and shading for the images you create.
does the program work?
a quick and easy way to create shaded relief or color images of
the earth's topography. Click on the icons to see the programs
two main windows.
Simply select the area of the earth you want your map to cover, choose
a Gradient Style for your map and export the image. The program comes
with hundreds of predefined coloring and shading styles. You can also
modify these styles or create your own.
The program saves files in two image formats: Geocart Image databases
and TIFF files. Create files of any size. The program is not limited by
the amount of memory available. As TopoToImage works it finds the files
it needs on the CD-ROMs or your hard disk and tiles them together to form
a seamless map.
For complete details download the manual
(warning: it big 1.9 MB).
are the databases?
How much do they cost?
are three databases currently available: Gtopo, Ustopo, and OceanFloor12.
Click on the icon to see the relative sizes of the databases.
with Gtopo is
is a set of files that contain a high resolution digital elevation model
of the entire earths land surface. In total, the data base contains
1.7 gigabits of elevation, including islands that are larger than approximately
1 square kilometer. The resolution of the Gtopo data base is 120 pixels
per degree or roughly one pixel for every kilometer along the equator.
The width of the data base is 43,200 pixels, enough data to print a
world map 14 feet wide at 250 dpi.
with UStopo is
is a data base containing high resolution elevation
data for the land surface of the United States. Using this data base
and TopoToImage, you can produce an unlimited number of extremely
detailed color shaded relief images of areas within the U.S. The scale
of UStopo is 1,200 pixels per degree (ten times the scale of the Gtopo
database). There is enough data to create a map of the continental
US 24 feet wide at 250 dpi. This data base comes on 7 CD-ROMs.
with OceanFloor12 is
a single 18 MB file. It contains elevation data for the Earths
land and ocean floor surface. The scale of the OceanFloor12 data base
is 12 pixels per degree. Also included for free with your purchase is
OceanFloor30 which is covers the earth between 70° south and 70°
with all three databases is
What is the source for the databases?
Gtopo databases were compiled from GTOPO30, which
was created in a collaborative effort led by the staff at the US Geological
The data for the UStopo data base was derived from the USGS 1:250,000
Scale Digital Elevation Model, released in 1998.
The land surface in OceanFloor12 is derived from the Gtopo data base
which was scaled to1/10th its size. The ocean floor areas of the data
base is derived from TerrainBase World Wide Digital Terrain Data, released
in 1995 by the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
projection does TopoToImage produce?
produces maps in only one projection: Plate Carrée. However TopoToImage
can save this map as a Geocart image database. (Infact this is the main
purpose of TopoToImage). Using Geocart you can reproject the map into
any of over 130 map projections. (A map projection is a method of translating
the three dimensional coordinates of a globe onto a plane such as a
sheet of paper or computer screen.)
The main purpose of TopoToImage is to produce image databases for use
with Geocart. Together TopoToImage and Geocart are tools that can you
can use to produce publication quality maps.
is the work flow for using TopoToImage?
on the icon to see a flow chart showing the basic process that I
use to create maps.Here is my recommendation for software and data
bases to produce maps:
TopoToImage, Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Photoshop
UStopo, OceanFloor 12
Databases for Geocart: Global
should I buy TopoToImage when the data is available for free?
access the free data you will have to tile together thousands of files
(in the case of the UStopo database) and find a way to render the resulting
elevation data into images. What TopoToImage provides is a practical
and easy way to turn digital elevation data into color and shaded relief
images. These images can then be reprojected with Geocart.
is the current version of TopoToImage?
is now in version 2.0. You can read about what is new in version 2 by
clicking here. Owners
of previous versions of TopoToImage please contact
me to receive a free upgrade.
do I order the program?
me by phone or e-mail.
What is Geocart?
is a program for the Macintosh computer that can draw maps. Its main
feature is the ability to reproject images and vector data into any
one of over 130 projections. It is a simple yet powerful program that
any one who produces maps for publishing will find invaluable.
there a PC version of TopoToImage?
if a PC version of Geocart is ever released then I will produce a PC
version of TopoToImage also.
I use TopoToImage without Geocart?
you can save images as TIFF files but you will not be able to reproject
you sell anything else besides TopoToImage?
I have one set of vector databases for Geocart: