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Recently I've seen several maps that are printouts of a course created on a satellite photo from Google Earth or similar programs. Note that these are not used for the measurement (I assume) but merely to show the route.

This sure makes things quicker and easier for the measurer, but do they meet the requirements for a certificate map?
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I use Google Maps as a reference when I draw maps, but the satellite images lack the resolution I need to make a decent map. I exaggerate certain aspects of my certification maps, road width and size of landmarks for instance, to highlight information that is important to properly set up the course or replicate the measurement. I used EazyDraw, a $95 Mac program with multiple layers and great functions for drawing roads. [IMG] [IMG] /~llacroix/wps_satmap_removed.pdf[/IMG] /~llacroix/wps_satmap.pdf[/IMG]
Drawing roads with EazyDraw is by far the easiest method I've tried to date.
Here's what I've done for my last few maps:

Get the Google satellite image of the map, use Grab (comes on every Mac) to crop, copy and paste the map on to EazyDraw's first layer.

Click on the Layers button in the menu to see all layers, add more layers, change the order of the layers and make layers visible or not.

Create a new layer, and draw a 1 pt line over the roads used for the course.

Zoom in to center the line over the Google Map roads using the Zoom Tools (You can find your important tool palettes in the View menu).

Increase the line width to about 10 pts.

Converting the line to a "wall" by clicking the "Convert to" button in the tool bar gives two parallel lines for the entire length of the line.

Adjust the stroke width of the wall to 0.5 pts.


Add more layers to add other details such as street names and titles. You can change the tint and opacity of layers as well, which is how I lightened up the background Google Map.

File size for the WPS Half Marathon s 13.2 MB.

Here's a link to a 10 km course done in this manner - it took under 4 hours from start to finish, and was four layers deep (10 layers for the WPS map).

You can buy a fully functional version with a 9 month license for $20 and purchase the full license for an additional $75 later on.

I use Google Earth images as a basis for my course maps with a method very similar to that Laurent posted. But I use TurboCAD Deluxe-10 software. That software is readily found at internet suppliers and will probably cost about $30. It has many features and options for preparing a drawing and does a good job for course maps. It is available in Windows and Mac formats.

I download the satellite image of the route and import that into the TurboCAD drawing as layer-1. I then add additional layers for the roads, primary features, text, and details as needed.

As Laurent does, I also exaggerate many features so the map is easier to read. This is important to clearly show the measured route.

I define roads using a double line, usually about 0.125" to 0.150" apart for the letter size page. And I typically use line widths of 0.01" for the roads and other map features and 0.02" for the measured route. Intersections can usually be formed by a couple of mouse clicks. Once all the major features are drawn, the Google image, layer-1, can be turned off. It is then easier to add road names, comments, notes, direction arrows and other information.

I normally save the drawings in the TurboCAD format, (.twc). File size is always less than 50 kb. Other formats are also available.

The following links show a few of these drawings on the RRTRC web site:
I use Adobe Illustrator for maps. It is an expensive software for pros, but can be had on eBay, in older versions, at a fraction of the retail cost. It has a means to draw black lines of varying thickness on one layer, copy them to another layer, change their width then their color to white. Intersections come out as intersections. The original black lines can be drawn on a layer over a copied Google map that can be hidden in the final version. The final file can be large, but can be reduced to less than 1Meg using (free) PDF Shrink without much loss of resolution. I started to make the roads the course uses much wider than the other roads. Other landmarks or features can be added as needed for clarity.

A couple examples:
CT07016JHP, CT07023JHP, CT08009JHP
I use FreeHand, which is now owned by Adobe. Its best feature is a "clone" command - I trace the route over an imported map scan, set it to black 12 pt. width, then clone it, set to white 10 pt., and get the road. A third clone is then changed to a dotted line to indicate the running path, which is tweaked to show the SPR. It's easy to export as a GIF file for the web, or as PNG to send directly to the course registrar for posting.
Wow! John has the best price, and, from looking at the map samples, it does a fine job. Can it export to .png, .gif, and .jpg formats? Those are the three important (in addition to PDF, in my opinion) formats. If it can do that, it is the best value.

I use Illustrator, also, and love the results. It does appear, however, that John's maps look very similar to my results. If it can output the necessary formats, I will recommend it to new mappers, instead of Illustrator. Layering is important (Turbo-CAD can do this), whichever program you choose.

Digital maps are certainly the way to go, and all examples shown here are so much better than any hand-drawn, or combination of satellite images and lines drawn on top. Hiding the satellite image is much better than leaving it visible. Too much clutter. Hand-drawn can't turn it off, unless they trace on a separate sheet.
I use the google maps for the underlying base to create my maps. Since I do not know how to use CAD, I learned to draw maps in PowerPoint 2003. I exaggerate the road widths and allow for the details of the SPR to be more visible. I have options to make my lines dotted or dashed, I can change the width of the lines, and the maps are resizable. I add either text boxes or word art to the maps to add street names and labels. Arrows are added to point to necessary items. I make the runners path with a larger width of line so that it stands out from the road's sides. Then I just cut the google map from underneath and voila, I have a digital map. When I create the Start, Finish and Turnaround maps, I do a blowup of the area and keep the details. Then I just cut and paste the keypoints (splits and miles) into the document.

Since most people have access to MS Office, you don't have to buy any new software to do the digital maps. I have had more difficulty using the PowerPoint 2007 version to do the same work, so I would suggest that anyone trying to do this with PowerPoint start with the 2003 version.

See my comments to your questions below....

****Do you use TurboCAD for your maps?******
I currently use a program called Diagram Studio from Gadwin. Gadwin Websit

*****Is it intuitive, or does it take a lot to be able to use it?********
The program looks fairly complicated but this offer includes a training cd. I'm a retired programmer so hopefully I have the time and ability to learn this application to at least create diagrams and maps as needed for certifications.

******Does it export files in 300dpi png format?*****
Hopefully...but I couldn't find any information listed on their website in regards to what types of image exports it can do.

I ordered this today and will let you know what I think of the product before this offer expires at end of February.
For the last several years I have used TurboCAD 10 Deluxe for my maps. But I just received and installed the 14 Deluxe version on my computer. Its setup is similar to the older version and I expect it will be an easy use transformation.

Is TurboCAD intuitive? Probably not, but I suspect that it is no more complicated than PowerPoint or some of the other common presentation software.

This version will export a file in png format and has a setup window for that task. I’ll see if it can produce a 300dpi file and let you know.

My purchase was from CAD and Graphics Inc. The cost was $15.99, including shipping, for the DVD which included the program, symbol library and Instruction Manual.

The 16 Deluxe will be even better.

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