Exporting Map Projects

Projects can be exported in a wide range of formats, for use in a range of GPS units or further GIS applications.



Map export options are available from the Contour View of a map project, in the screen-level context menu, which is shown by right-clicking with the mouse in the graphical edit area.


Exporting a Map

Once generated, a map project contains a combination of major and minor contours, isobaths, shorelines, islands and hardness areas. These map components can be exported in a variety of file formats and map styles to produce maps that can be displayed on GPS devices or map data that can be used in other GIS applications.


Notes on exporting Map Projects


When exporting a complete map using either the Export Map Using Preset Style or Export Map to File options, the data that is written to the exported map will reflect the current configuration of the project:

·If minor contours are not set to display within ReefMaster (using the Show Minor Contours setting the Project Edit Panel), then minor contours will not be exported.

·Hardness areas will only be exported if they are currently set to display in the map project.


When exporting maps in the Lowrance AT5 format using the Export Map to File option:


·When exporting a map in raster mode, the background raster will be included in the export. Maps generated in this way will only display properly on units that support raster backgrounds; Lowrance HDS (all generations), Elite HDI and some later Simrad systems. The unit must be set to show Shaded Relief before the background colours can be seen.

·When exporting maps in vector mode, the selected palette must be AT5 compatible when exporting to the AT5 format. RGB palettes are not compatible with AT5 maps.


Export Map Using Preset Style

The simplest way to export a map from a project is to use one of ReefMaster's preset map styles.

Preset map styles are available for a range of Lowrance AT5 and Google Earth formats and can be exported in a "one-click" operation from the contour view of a map project.


See Exporting Preset Map Styles.


Export Map To File

For a wider selection of export formats, choose the option Export Map to File. This option exports the map via the Export Data window, which contains a range of export file formats and configuration options suitable for more advanced users.


See Exporting Data.


Export Shaded Relief

Shaded relief, or hill shading, is a raster export that is produced using a top-down view of the 3D model of a map project. The exported image is shaded according to the vertical scale and light direction, which produces an image that appears three dimensional.


The 3D model is rendered for shaded relief using an orthogonal projection, which provides a 3D effect without introducing distortions that would otherwise occur if the model was rendered using the perspective projection of the 3D viewer window.

Because the shaded relief export only needs to be rendered once, it is possible to use a much higher resolution than that of the project 3D view; the shaded relief is approximately five times the X/Y resolution of the 3D view, resulting in an image with 25 times more information.



(1) Light Direction

The "standard" for shaded relief images in GIS applications is to have light coming from the NW (heading towards the SE, or 135 degrees). However, there are times when a different light direction can be useful in revealing certain map features. Light direction in the Export Shaded Relief window is expressed as the direction in which the light is heading, and can be adjusted by using the slider. The light direction arrow will rotate as the slider is moved, and the shaded relief image updates in real time.


(2) Vertical Scale

Increasing the vertical scale makes shadowing more pronounced. Adjust the vertical scale (from the default of 8) by moving the slider. The shaded relief image updates in real time.


(3) Brightness

The overall brightness of the map image can be adjusted using the brightness slider. Brightness is adjusted by increasing ambient and overhead lighting.


(4) Colour bands and colour gradient

Colour band mode renders the image with single colour bands for each depth level, as defined by the major contour increment. This gives a "psuedo vector" look to the exported image that works well with a vector contour overlay. Colour gradient mode colours each point on the map according to its relative depth within the project.


(5) Save

Click the Save button to save the shaded relief image. The image is saved in the PNG image format, with an associated KML calibration file. Non-map areas of the image are transparent.


Export Background Raster

Select the option Export Background Raster to export the raster background image and associated kml calibration file. These files can be used when generating AT5 maps with raster backgrounds:



Export ESRI Grid

ESRI grid is a raster file format that is compatible with a wide range of GIS applications.

To export the map grid, select the option Export ESRI Grid from the right-button menu.



(1) Grid cell size

Grid size can be specified in metres, in the range 1 - 20. Note that the exported grid is specified in geographical coordinates, with square grid cells in terms of degrees. This means that, unless the map is located on the equator, grid cells in the exported file will not be square in terms of metres. The specified grid cell size applies to the horizontal dimension; the vertical grid size in metres will be the north/south distance covered by the number of horizontal degrees in the specified size (so usually, somewhat larger than the horizontal grid dimension).


(2) Write depths as negative values

By default, depths are written as negative values. Un-check this option to write depths as positive values.


All ESRI grid depths are specified in metres.


Export Map Image

The contour map can be saved as an image file, from where it can be printed, used in other applications, posted on the internet etc. Images are exported in the PNG (Portable Network Graphics) format, which is a lossless compressed image format compatible with a wide range of software applications.


The appearance of the export image - for example, grid lines and the colour palette - are taken from the current state of the contour view. To produce an export image without grid lines, for example, remove the grid lines in the contour view before selecting Export Map Image.


To export a map image, click the Export Map Image button in the contour view toolbar or select the Export Map Image option from the screen-level context menu:




The Export Map Image window is shown which displays a preview of the export image along with image configuration options (2). The preview image can be sized to fit the available window size, or shown in a scrollable view at full size. Use the Fit Window button (1) to toggle between these two modes.


Image Configuration Options




(1) Show Frame and Scale



Adds a frame, compass rose and scale to the image, and insets the map within the frame. This option is useful when creating a map image for printing. The frame is proportioned to fit standard printing paper, either portrait or landscape depending on the relative dimensions of the map image.

If the frame and scale option are unchecked, the export image dimensions match those of the map area rectangle. This option is useful for creating image overlays for other mapping applications, e.g. Google Earth™.


(2) Image Size

Use the slider to adjust the final image size, which is displayed to the right of the slider. Creating large images using a lot of memory; ReefMaster will show an error message if there is not enough memory to create the image at the requested size.


(3) Label Size

Use the slider to adjust the relative size of the grid, depth and waypoint labels.


(4) Contour Width

Use the slider to adjust the thickness of the contour and boundary lines.


(5) Generate Google Earth™ Calibration File

Create a Google Earth KML calibration file, that can be read by the Google Earth™ mapping application. When a KML file is opened in Google Earth™, the associated map image will be overlaid in the correct location on the Google Earth™ map. The KML file is an additional file to the generated image file, and both the KML and PNG files must be present in the same disk location for use by Google Earth™.


(6) Background Colour

Check Transparent for a transparent image background, which is represented in the preview window as a checker-board pattern. If this option is unchecked, an alternative background colour can be selected using the colour-picker.


(7) Colours for contours, boundaries and labels

Colours for Major and minor contours, map boundaries (shorelines and island), and depth labels can all be set individually using the colour-pickers.

Copyright © 2015 ReefMaster Software Limited