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1161Re: [TalkAntietam] Re: Antietam on the Web waking up ...

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  • TR Livesey
    Aug 10, 2003
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      Brian,

      Very interesting.

      I'm actually working at a level higher--ideas that could be displayable
      on a web page, or could be a downloadable application, etc., but
      not specifically targeted for any particular medium. I am increasingly
      looking toward GPS (global positioning systems) applications. For example,
      you could download a map of the battlefield (showing troop positions
      at a certain time) onto your GPS unit, and then 'navigate' yourself
      around points of interest that would not otherwise be visible on
      the modern battlefield.

      What I am doing with the Cope maps is to capture the troop positions
      in terms of geographical coordinates (e.g. latitude & longitude, but
      I'm actually using a different coordinate system that has much finer
      resolution). Once such a database is built up, all kinds of things
      are possible. As is, the Cope maps are arranged chronologically:
      snapshots of troop positions taken at 14 points in time. It might
      be interesting to instead generate a map that shows the various positions
      of a certain unit (or set of units) across the entire day.

      I don't like using the Cope maps themselves as a base map, for
      a variety of reasons. I like to work in layers. There should
      be a layer that contains just the boundaries of the fields &
      features; there should be a layer containing the elevation (contour
      lines or whatever); there should be a layer that contains troop
      positions; a layer of labels and text, etc. For a given need,
      you produce the layers you are interested in. The Cope maps are
      a finished map, so all the layers flattened down, and the results
      can be quite cluttered; you can't get rid of the things you
      don't want to see. For example, it is usually desirable to
      show contour lines at an increment (e.g. every 20 feet, or every
      10 feet, etc.) appropriate for the scale of the map. If the
      increment is too small the lines overlap and overwhelm or obliterate
      the rest of the map. Since the contour lines are actually on
      the Cope map, it is not possible to substitute contours of a different
      increment.

      The other problem with the Cope maps is that they suffer from
      horizontal distortions. If you produced a modern map to the
      same scale and overlaid it and 1 of the Cope maps, you could
      get features close together to line up, but not ones far
      apart (you'd never be able to line up the Smoketown Road
      and Miller's Sawmill road). For an illustration, see
      http://www.westwoodgalleries.com/antietam/antietam/maps/background.html.
      This kind of detail may seem irrelevant for a web page. For
      other applications, however, it is critical. For example, people
      are increasingly starting to employ GPS
      technology to their field work. It would be desirable to be able
      to download these maps to a GPS unit. Because of the Cope
      maps horizontal distortions, it would not be suitable to download
      them to a GPS unit.

      This is not to say I don't like the Cope maps. Actually,
      I have a real set of my own. Not a repro, but an actual
      1904 volume. The thing is huge! You have not experienced
      these beautiful maps until you have browsed through a full
      sized copy.

      I have had for several years a nice, horizontally accurate
      database containing the base Antietam map (field boundaries
      and features as per 1862) and a nice digital 5 foot increment
      contour map. Once I have info on the troop positions, I'll
      be 1 step closer to something interesting.

      I have no experience with Flash. I am leaning more toward Java.
      If you are going to assume that people have the Flash plugin,
      I'd just as well assume they have the Java plugin, which
      is much more useful. If the browser was too confining, I'd
      just move to a download able Java application.

      At first glance, it does seem like we have wildly different
      approaches. Nonetheless, there ought to be a way to find some
      synergy.

      Regards,
      TR Livesey
      tlivesey@...

      Brian Downey wrote:
      >
      > Hi Todd,
      >
      > Yes, I'm using the LoC provided MrSid viewer at home, but not the
      > photoshop plugin. I'm a macromedia shop just now :)
      >
      > My approach to "optimizing" these for display on the Web is pretty low
      > tech, really. My plan is to create a base map - a bitmap graphic - on
      > the order of 500px square, for each of 3 or 4 major sections of the
      > battlefield, and overlay vector-graphic symbols for the military units
      > and other items of interest. [My first attempt at such a base map, in
      > this case of the entire field and with text overlayed, is at
      > http://aotw.org/overview.php%5d In Flash I can use these symbols as
      > hyperlinks to narratives, unit and leader information, and other
      > data-based material. I can also 'animate' the symbols from one time
      > frame to the next to better show operations over the course of the
      > day. Because most of the presentation uses small vector-mapped objects
      > or is coming from the database on-demand, I ought to be able to keep
      > the client-side "thin" and load times small. That's the plan, anyway.
      >
      > A couple of years ago I would not have seriously considered Flash - I
      > was something of an HTML purist - but it looks like most web users
      > have the Flash plugin now, and can readily use that kind of display.
      > I'm a raw amateur in Flash to this point, however, so this might take
      > a while!
      >
      > Thanks for asking, tho the rest of the group are probably bored to
      > tears ... at the risk of making it worse, what's involved in your
      > project? [Perhaps a moderator should step in and recommend we take
      > this to email]
      >
      > Brian
      > --- In TalkAntietam@yahoogroups.com, TR Livesey <tlivesey@w...> wrote:
      > > Brian,
      > >
      > > Are you using any of the Mr.Sid accessory tools in viewing the LOC maps?
      > > If you have photoshop, you can download (free) a MrSid plugin, which
      > allows
      > > you to download the whole map (all 14 of 'em), and then interactively
      > > zoom and pan all you like off-line. Very nice set of tools.
      > >
      > > I have had an on-again/off-again project for taking the Carman-Cope maps
      > > and bringing up to date with some new technology. Let me know if you
      > > want to 'talk shop'.
      > >
      > > Regards,
      > > TR Livesey
      > > tlivesey@w...
      > > http://www.westwoodgalleries.com/antietam
      > >
      >
      >
      >
      >
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