Configuring and Building a Map Project

Map projects are generated using position and depth data from tracks and sonar logs that have already been imported into the ReefMaster workspace. Ensure that tracks are available within the workspace before attempting to create a map project (see Tracks).


To build a map project, first create a new Map Project, ensure that it is opened for editing and that the tracks and boundaries view visible.



Adding Tracks to the Project

Before a map project can be built, tracks must be added to provide the depth and position data that will be used to generate the map.

To add tracks to the project, select the desired track(s) in the Tracks list in the asset library, right-click and choose the menu option Add Track to Map Project:





The data points from each track added to the project are displayed within the maps and boundaries map display:



Note that if the newly added data is not seen, ensure that the current map view is set to maps and boundaries by clicking on the appropriate button in the map project menu bar and use the fit to window function to zoom the map extent to fit the tracks that have been added.


Alternative methods for adding tracks to a project

Drag selected tracks or folders from the asset list into an open maps and boundaries view of a map project, using click and hold of the left mouse button.

Select tracks from within the Global View and use the popup menu or right-button mouse menu.

Add tracks from within the Map Project edit panel. The Tracks section of the edit panel contains a list of tracks, which can be added by clicking the Add button. The tracks edit section also contains a button for automatically adding all tracks from within the workspace that overlap the map project.



Working with Track Data within the Map Project

The track display within the tracks and boundaries view shows a composite of all of the tracks that have been added to the project. Many of the same edit options that are available in the individual track edit windows are also available here, including functions to adjust the water level of an entire track, jump to the track edit window or view sonar or sidescan at a specific point in a track.


To view these options, right-click on a track-point to display the track-point menu:




Further track options are available in the project edit panel, under the Tracks section:



1. Depth range and filter

The minimum and maximum depth range used when calculating depth colours can be adjusted using the sliders. Note that this only adjusts the way track-points are displayed, it does not adjust and track-point data. Adjusting the display of track-point depth colours can be very useful when trying to locate bad depth data.


The Filter button to the right of the depth-range sliders will delete all track-points outside of the specified depth range. This is potentially quite a destructive function, as track-point data is removed from all of the component tracks as required.


2. Component Tracks

The Component Tracks list shows all of the tracks that are currently part of this map project. Tracks can be removed from the project by using the Remove button for each track.


3. Add Tracks

Tracks can be added to the project by selecting them from the list of tracks shown in the Add Tracks section. Tracks with a green background overlap the current project. Use the Add Overlapping button to add all overlapping tracks to the project.



Adding Shorelines and Islands (Map Boundaries)

Map boundaries are polygons that are added to a map project to define the region in which the map is created and can, optionally, also provide depth information that is used during map generation. Map boundaries are typically used to define any shorelines and islands that make up part of a map project, and serve as the source of the generated shorelines, land and water body map layers.


Shoreline and island boundaries are entirely optional and are not required in order to build a map project.


See Shorelines and Islands.



Configuring Map Options

Map options can be broadly split between contour and isobath options, which affect how and whether contour and isobath map layers are generated, and map settings, which affect how the underlying bathymetric model is built - which affects all of the generated map layers.


The map project must be rebuilt after any settings changes.


Contour and Isobath Settings

1. Major Contour Interval

The contour interval can be selected from a pre-defined range using the drop-down list. The minor contour interval is automatically set according to the major interval setting. Note that isobath intervals are also based on the major contour interval setting.


2. Generate Minor Contours

Minor contours are generated by default. To stop the creation of minor contours, un-check this option. The advantage of no creating minor contours is that map generation will be faster.


3. Generate Isobaths

Isobaths are generated by default. To stop the creation of isobaths, un-check this option, which will speed up map generation. Note, however, that isobaths are required for many of the map export formats.


Map Settings



1. Smoothing

The higher the value, the more the detail in the map is smoothed. High smoothing values can be useful to generate smoother contour lines, e.g. for export to a GPS device, and to create better looking maps with sparse data, at the expense of map detail.


2. Max Interpolation

ReefMaster interpolates depth values between the depth points in the tracks that belong to the map project. Max Interpolation refers to the maximum distance over which this interpolation will occur. Increasing the maximum interpolation distance will fill out more of the generated map, but it is important to be aware of the fact that interpolated values are simply estimates of a depth between known values.


3. Water Level Offset

The water level offset is a single depth value that will be added to every data point in the map, including tracks, shorelines, islands and spot depths. Use the water level offset to adjust the overall depth of a map in line with varying water levels in a lake or dam.


Defining the Mapped Area and Building the Map

The mapped area is a rectangular geographic region the defines the area which is considered when the map is generated. A mapped area must be defined before the map can be generated.


To define the mapped area, click the Define Map Area button in the project menu bar:



The mapped area is defined in the tracks and boundaries map view (this will be set as the current view if required once the Define Map Area button has been pressed).

Draw a region around the required map area by holding the left mouse-button down and moving the mouse, and release the mouse button once the region is drawn.


The mapped area region is shown as a rectangle with "grab handles" at the centre, edges and corners that can be used to move or resize the region:




Note that when shorelines or islands have been added to the map, the mapped area will be shaded to indicate which regions will be included in the finished map. Shaded regions are considered to be land and will not contain map information. If the water body region is shaded, check the configuration of shorelines and islands to make sure that the main water body is configured as a shoreline and not an island.


Once a map region has been defined, the mapped area and geographic extent of the region are shown under the Map Boundaries section of the project edit panel:



The edges of the defined map area can be edited more precisely in the coordinate entry fields. This can be useful when aligning a number of smaller map sections.


Building the Map

To build the map, click the Generate Map button in the project menu bar:



The map will start building, and progress of the map build is reported in status bar at the bottom of the window. Once the map has been generated, the generated map layers will be available for display in the map and 3D views.


Note that large maps may take a considerable amount of time to build.



The following are some common issues when building maps, with suggested solutions:


The Generate Map button is disabled.

Check that at least one track with track data points has been added to the project as a data source.


Check that a Map Area has been defined, and that the map area includes track data points.

There are no components in generated map layers.

Check that the defined map area includes valid data points.


Check that data points within the defined map area are closer together than the Max Interpolation distance.



Check that shorelines and islands are configured correctly. Ensure that land areas are shaded and water body areas are not shaded - this indicates which areas of the map will include data in the finished map.

Map is just composed of thin "lines" or full of "holes".

This may be due to too small a Maximum Interpolation setting, which means that widely spaced data points are not connected to each other when interpolating depths. Try increasing the maximum interpolation.


Data is too sparse, or there is insufficient data, or data is present only along one linear path. ReefMaster does not extrapolate data, it only interpolates. Therefore data is required over an two dimensional geographic area so that depths can be interpolated between data points.

There are no contours or isobaths.

If raster components such as Flat Raster and Shaded Relief generate successfully but there are no contours, try reducing the contour interval. It is possible that the contour interval is too big for the depth range of the project, which means that no contours (and hence, no isobaths) are created.

The Map is taking too long to generate.

Large maps can take a long time to generate, and deeper maps take longer to generate than shallower ones because a greater number of contour intervals and isobaths have to be calculated. Try reducing map size, increasing the contour interval and disabling the creation of minor contours (or limiting the depth range over which minor contours are created).

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