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Reprinted from Geo Info Systems February 1997

Articles written by Grant Thrall and Mark McLean of the University of Florida.


GlobeShots® and CoolMaps (Digital Wisdom, P O Box 11, Tappahannock,VA 22560 (telephone 800-800-8560 or 804-443-9000, are CD-ROM's of map clip art for Microsoft Windows or Apple Macintosh platforms. A fast central processing unit, 32 megabytes of memory and a high-resolution video graphics accelerator are strongly recommended or Adobe Photoshop software. Retail prices GlobeShots® $145; CoolMaps™ $69.

Maps don't have to be static or black and white. Maps don't exist merely to convey data visually. Maps can be awash with raucous color and jump out at the viewer. Maps can be fun.

GlobeShots® and volume 1 ("World Maps") of CoolMaps, both from Digital Wisdom (Tappahannock, Virginia), are CD-ROM collections of raster and vector images that take maps to a dimension too often ignored by the professional geographer. The maps in these collections are not subtle; their purpose is to deliver the extra graphical punch and pizzazz needed to produce distinctive documents.

GlobeShots® and CoolMaps™ are compatible with both Microsoft Windows (Redmond, Washington) and Apple Macintosh (Cupertino, California) operating systems and can be accessed by any computer with software that can read .jpg, .bmp, .pict, or .eps formats. Both collections include a viewing program that allows the examination of thumbnail images of all the maps; users can also assign file names to the images so that they can be accessed from other applications. The viewing program works well and is a fast convenient way to navigate through the myriad of images available.

GlobeShots® is a collection of 267 low and high-resolution images of globes. These globes are exciting and colorful spheres with lighting effects that give the illusion of three dimensions. The images feature various view of the Earth, showing relief on many different backgrounds. Cloud effects and color shading schemes also add diversity to the collection. The map images are crisp and clear, and have a very professional look to them. GlobeShots® also includes masks that can be modified with a paint graphics program; we recommend Adobe Photoshop (Adobe Systems, Mountain View, California).

Volume 1 of CoolMaps™ - comprising world maps - is similar to GlobeShots® but offers a more diverse collection of images of the world. Some of the images included in CoolMaps™ are supplied in vector format (the .eps format is accessible from Adobe Illustrator while others are in .jpg rasher format. The vector maps included with CoolMaps™ have been warped, bent, contorted, tilted, rotated, or otherwise transformed to yield a huge and versatile collection of unconventional maps. A geographic information systems (GIS) analyst might be perplexed by the contorted collection of maps, while a document creator will revel in the slick pizzazz.

Like GlobeShots®, CoolMaps™' images are provided in a large assortment of colors and backgrounds. The maps are superimposed onto water ripples, bumpy surfaces, spheres, blocks and more. Backgrounds and fill patterns range from various countries' flags to realistic -looking yellowed parchments to plaids. Some astounding blur and warp effects are also included.

The images behave like clip art but offer much more. The desktop publishing industry is looking for by-products of the GIS industry to elevate its audience to a new plateau with stunning and colorful map images. Users versed in desktop publishing need not be familiar with GIS or cartography to receive the benefits of custom maps: Digital Wisdom tackled the technicalities. Only the fun, creative and productive process of customizing remains.

For more information, call 800-800-8560 or write Digital Wisdom, Inc., Box 11, Tappahannock, VA 22560.

Reproduced from issue February 1997 of Geo Info Systems ©1997 Copyright Advanstar Communications.

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