Choosing the right productWith so many products available, it is important to think about how you want to use the mapping before you begin your purchase.
There are two aspects of choosing the correct mapping:
1) Picking the correct style of mapping for your needs:
It may be the case that you need a certain style of mapping such as street level mapping. In this case you will find a section dedicated to that product style with all of the available options and for any product a suggestion of similar products worth considering.
However, you may be less clear about your needs and perhaps require a form of mapping to cover a specific area. If this is the case then you can either browse the products by category or you can choose to view all the mapping types available from a certain supplier (by choosing the 'view maps by supplier' link).
Once you have found a possible mapping type, you can begin the order process by following the 'Buy Now' link found on each product page - there is no commitment to place a purchase and you are able to change your choice of product.
If it is critical that the order prints to a certain paper size then during the ordering process, use the 'Paper Size' (Default) option. This will clearly demonstrate how much mapping will fit on a certain paper size for the mapping type selected.
If you require a larger area to be covered but wish to maintain the same print size, you must select another mapping style, perhaps one with less detail. Again, the coverage appropriate to that mapping scale will be shown.
As important as the style of mapping is the format that it is delivered in and there are 3 main categories:
2.1) PDF Document:
If you have any concerns about being able to simply open, view and print the mapping you require then this is the format which we would recommend you consider and it is our only format for some products.
This format also benefits from Margin information added as standard, providing a professional map with the option of adding your own title and extra information.
PDF documents are used widely and it is extremely likely that if you have viewed any information documents on-line that you will have used this format.
The key benefits are that using a FREE program called Adobe Reader, you will be able to open and view a document in the same way as the person who created it.
Our only recommendation would be that you make sure you have a recent version of the FREE Adobe Reader (Version 6 onwards). This is beacuse we supply our products in 'layers' which can easily be turned on and off at the click of a button. For basic products this may simply mean turning on or off the margins around the mapping or for more complex mapping products it will actually allow you to view the whole or parts of the mapping which are of interest to you.
More information on making the most of the PDF format can be found in the 'Using Your Maps' section.
2.2) Image based formats:
CENTREMAPSlive® currently delivers image mapping in the popular TIF format.
This format does not come with margins as it is recommended for fitting in to your own document or in to GIS (Geographical Information System) or CAD (Computer Aided Design) software.
However, you will find a range of scale bars and logos which can be used along with the images as described in our 'Using Your Maps' section.
The image format is versatile in that it can be a wide range of software:
- image viewers as simple as Microsoft Windows Picture and Fax viewer
- desktop publishing from Microsoft Word to Adobe Illustrator
- photo editing packages from Microsoft Paint to Adobe Creative Studio
- web design software such as Adobe/Macromedia Dreamweaver
- Computer Aided Design (CAD) /Geographical Information Systems (GIS) software
A 'georeference' TFW file is supplied with images such that when the image is opened in CAD or GIS software it is has a geographical location, allowing the image to sit in the same position as other data held.
Again, more information on using mapping can be found in our 'Using Your Maps' section but it is important to remember that we are simply providing the image of the mapping and that should you wish alter or add to the product you will need the software appropriate to your requirements.
2.3) Vector (co-ordinate based) formats:
CENTREMAPSlive® offers an extensive range of vector formats to make using our products as simple as possible. Vector formats almost always require more advanced software such as CAD (Computer Aided Deisgn) or GIS (Geographical Information Systems) software. If you are unsure then we would recommend trying a sample first.
Due to the design of many Geographical Information Systems (GIS), it is often only possible to receive the data in a 'raw' format in terms of appearance.
For example, applying a theme to all Motorways of a blue line 3mm thick will make the mapping much clearer visually although not inherently changing the capabilities of the data. Unfortunately, it is this attribute information that can not be retained with some formats such as the shp files used by ESRI.
As such, we recommend that the samples available for vector products are viewed before purchase to understand exactly what will be received.
We would also recommend that when purchasing vector formats you consider other information which you may need to purchase to make the most of your data. Both postcode coverages and height information illustrate this point well as they are meaningless if you do not hold any information (such as the image mapping backdrops or vector roads) to give geographical meaning to your location.
For all mapping formats It is vital that you choose a mapping type that you will be able to use with the software available to you. Make use of the samples available to be sure that you the data will work in the way that you expect.
Unfortunately, a limited number of mapping styles are of sufficent complexity that we are unable to offer the accessible PDF and image formats.