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Regarding file size. I sometimes am asked to make color maps for race directors. Using Illustrator, I put all the color stuff on a separate layer. The USATF layers are all B&W. To make the USATF submittal in .pdf, I select all the appropriate layers, copy them all together and paste onto a single layer in a new document that I save as .pdf. This results in a file usually under 200kb, B&W, nice and crisp.

I will start sending the certificate to clients every time now, since you recommend it. Some of my clients have a difficult enough time retaining the course map I send them. I am often asked to re-send it. Therefore, I wonder if they will really "have it if they need it". Furthermore, if the race claims "certified course", and there is no record of the course on, what more do we need to establish whether or not it has a current certification? This may just be my boneheadedness - but I fail to see what purpose producing a certificate proves when we can simply look it up on line. Again, isn't this one of the reasons for having this site in the first place?

On the file size/conversion question: I merely opened the color PDF in Corel Draw (same process in Illustrator) and exported it as a reduced-pixel PNG. This was a PDF I made from a Word document. I can go into detail on the exact process for anyone who is interested. It is relatively simple.

My boneheadedness again apparently prevents me from understanding something - how a scanned color PDF could be different for the purposes of converting it to a PNG than any other color PDF. I can scan a color document into a PDF of the size I choose, open the PDF in Corel (or Illustrator), then export it as a color PNG of the size I desire. Out of curiosity, I just did this with a random color document from my desk - a Washington Nationals schedule (no one is laughing at the Nats this year - so far, anyway). Here is the 376 Kb result: . Color PDF scan thus converted to small PNG.

Originally posted by Duane Russell:
Lyman - first, you should always send the certificate to your client. If they ever need it, they would already have it. Certification includes the certificate. I have run across a couple races that claim "certified" courses, but they were unable to produce the certificate. They never had one, and that is the point. Always send a cert to the client.

Now, about file size. How was your 980 kb PDF created? Did you scan it? Was it color, or monochrome?

My observation has been that black-and-white PDFs convert to small png files, but PDF files produced from color scans don't convert to small png files. That is what I am trying to discover - if others can take a PDF created from a color scan, and make a small png file from that PDF file.

I will make sure the maps appear as you suggest.

As for the thing you sent is it 300dpi on an 8.5" x 11" sheet. Send me at what you think works! I'll let you and Duane handle the rest of this.

It's time to drop your continuing asking for larger file sizes. USATF is still down and at this point in time they don't want to hear of us increasing our Limits on file sizes.

Why don't we look into using one of the low-cost providers like Dropbox to host our maps and certificates? We would have no ridiculous size requirements and no technical issues. If all certifiers and a few measurers each donate $2 or $3.00, we could be all set for a year or longer. Respectfully, IMHO, USATF's apparent intransigence about this is annoying if not irresponsible.
Lyman,you indicated you exported the PDF image as a reduced-pixel PNG. I downloaded the png, and the Properties indicates it is a 1.1 mb file size, and only 1023 x 812 pixels - not the proper size for out maps and certs.

I am still looking for someone who can scan a color image at 300 dpi, and convert it to a 300 dpi png of the correct dimensions, and have it less than 500 kb.

A scanned PDF likley has background image information that, while we see white, there could be subtle color information contained in the file. That is why it is unlikely that we can scan a color document, convert it to a PDF, and then output a color png of the correct size.

We still need to research this issue, in all of our spare time. That means, I will look at this in January, I believe.
Lyman, what in the world are you thinking about us doing! Going away from USATF. Yes, we could probably support the RRTC by doing what you suggest. However, what purpose does it serve? Better maps and a source for advertising.

You don't understand the value in what USATF does for us and many other groups. You are on the wrong train and headed in a direction that I will never go nor will any of the RRTC board members. If I'm wrong, they can respond.

On another note, it seems you feel the Certificate is not an important part of the certification. I say this as you didn't give your Race Directors a copy, but just gave the map. I'm happy you are going to now give both documents(they paid you for a service and need both). The certificate indicates much information that relates to records being accepted. I will also point out, that your Regional Certifier should have told you that in order for a record to be set the course must be "Sanctioned". Do you inform your people about this.

I don't want to be rude, but again you need to follow the guidelines set forth.
Just a little info on the USATF web site. The site has been having many problems for groups like ours with either uploading maps or the database. It's because of their uploading info from the Olympic Trials. Finally, I have been able to get caught up on doing my thing in getting maps posted.

I understand Lyman's frustration with map sizes. He may have a point, but USATF has too many things on their plate to allow us to have larger map file sizes at the present time. We can't create our own site as it would not be recognized by USATF. Hence, certified would mean nothing for many things such as records or qualifiers for races like Boston.

Please understand that comments or ideas posted are a good thing as long as they are positive.
Lyman, the point is, if the map is not NATIVE 300 dpi, it can be hard to read type, or other details. That is why we have the file requirements: 8½ x 11 inches; 300 dpi NATIVE resolution; no screen backgrounds; less than 500 kb file size. Color is only accepted if the file size can be less than 500 kb as a 300 dpi png.

Your image is not 300 dpi, and would not fit the spec of NATIVE, if it was simply converted to a 300 dpi file. A low-res television image looks like garbage on a hi-def television. Why? It still doesn't have enough ORIGINAL detail to look good with twice, or 4 times, or whatever the count, pixels.

Until you can provide a png that is 8½ x 11, 300 dpi NATIVE resolution, and 500 kb or smaller, there is no discussion. Only when we achieve the current standard will it be time to discuss increasing file size.

There is a reason we have the 300 dpi native resolution standard, and it is not being met my many people who wish to submit digitally. We won't loosen standards just because it is not simple to accomplish. You talk about quality to our clients; 300 dpi is one of those quality standards.
Duane, 300 dpi is the setting I used when I scanned this color image from paper. Isn't this what you are referring to as "native"? Doesn;t it seem readable?

Also, isn't 300 dpi an arbitrary standard? I am thinking that the important feature we are seeking is whether the image is clear. I can guess that highly-detailed maps need this native resolution. But a simple 5K might be just fine - in color or B&W at something less.

My experience with image manipulation is that sufficient experimentation usually gives you what you want - where there's a will there's a way...(smile)
It shows that it is 351 Kb, 1024 x 813 pixels

Lyman, what I was referring to was the comment you made, quoted above. If the image was scanned at 300 dpi, but the image size is 1024 x 813 pixels, it must be enlarged to meet the 3300 x 2550 pixel dimension. When that is done, the image's dots increase in size more than three-fold, which yields a dpi of about 95. (The dimensions don't enlarge evenly to 3300 x 2550.) Thus, the image no longer meets the standard of 300 dpi, even if the image is 8½ x 11 (2550 x 3300 pixels).

Whether the specs are arbitrary, or not, is not relevant at this time. The specs are what they are. They can be met, if done properly. When not done properly, the specs are not met. Until there is a compelling reason to dispense with the specs (which I understand you are trying to argue in favor of), we need to meet the specs.

You say we could flex the specs for a "simple 5k". In whose opinion is it "simple"? And, if a 5k, why not a 10k? Not much more info and image, right? So, if a 10k, why not a Half? It is subjective. Shall we leave it up to each certifier to decide if a map that does not meet the specs is acceptable? That gives the measurer a moving target. We need consistency, so everyone knows what the specs are. Someone may send me a map that I say is fine, but they send one to a different certifier (when measuring in another state), and that certifier rejects the same thing I accepted. That wouldn't fly in your book, would it, if you were that measurer? That's why we need consistent specs.
Why not leave it up to the certifier whether the map is legible or not? We give the certifiers the responsibility to make a lot of other judgements about the quality of the maps that are equally important.

We have a large variability in the quality of our maps, and 150dpi vs. 300dpi is close to the bottom of the list of things that separate a good map from a not so good map. If a map is legible the dpi is irrelevant.

I understand that the format is what it is for now, and we should work to meet it and figure out how we can make it easier for others to meet. But in exchange for that good soldier behavior, we should be promised that the plan is to eventually change the arbitrary and outdated requirements (only talking about file format) that are currently in place.
Jim, as long as your PDF's are done as an 8.5" x 11" at 300dpi(no color or grayscale) and your certifier has a program that can edit the info needed on the map, then he can use your PDF's. I don't know if he uses your PDF's.

Your certifier(Mike Wickiser)does sends me PDF's that I convert to the correct size and format for the USATF site. A measurer doesn't need to worry about 300dpi with png's as the Certifier is the one who needs to understand this. However, a Certifier does need to make sure the PDF's are of the proper dimensions and 300dpi.

There are about 15 Certifier's on the East that are now sending me their Certifications electronically. Some send as PDF's and others send me the proper form for the USATF site(the 300dpi stuff as a png). If any East Certifers that haven't done this and are interested in electronic submissions please contact me.
Last edited by genenewman
Mark, I think you make good points. I can guess that the entire process of electronic submission will be free of these requirements some day. In my opinion, this day will arrive when we elect to work with PDFs exclusively.

To my simple-minded way of thinking, this discussion of "consistent specs" and file conversions just underscores the benefits that will accrue to us when we make the change. Adobe designed the Portable Document Format to work specifically with 8 1/2 by 11 documents. Most of us realize that creating a PDF is like taking a photo of your map, whether the map was created electronically or by hand, then letting Adobe automatically fit the image to a page that displays well on screen and that prints clearly, whether in black and white, grayscale, or color. It is then possible to "lock" the PDF map so that no one but the creator or the certifier can make changes.

Even free PDF creators provide the user with file size and resolution options if desired. However, it seems to me these would seldom if ever need to be accessed by measurers or certifiers. The beauty is that it is practically a no-brainer: in my experience, it is difficult to create a PDF that does not meet the above criteria basically by carefully doing ... nothing. I do not know about anyone else, but I like processes that are simple - like me? (smile).
Guys, one thing a person is forgetting about all this is the Certifier must be willing to accept a PDF (with the correct dimensions and dpi's) sent to him. Also, the certifier must be able to place information on the PDF sent to him. My understanding is that you must have a special program to do this, which has a cost.
Actually the certifier could insert the pdf file as an image into whatever drawing program he is using. He could then add the cert # and effective dates over top, and finally save as a PDF.
The only thing that Acrobat is needed for is saving the file in PNG format. Other programs can do that, but Acrobat seems to be the best at keeping the resulting PNG files very small.
If we used PDF instead of PNG, Acrobat would not be necessary.
I find that I can convert color PDF files to color PNG files, IF there is not a scan in the chain of creation. If the color PDF is made from a scan, I cannot seem to get the resultant png file to be small enough (provided the PDF is 300 dpi and 8½ x 11).

Has anyone been able to scan to a color PDF, then save as a color PNG, and have the PNG file 500kb or smaller?

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