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Reprinted from Graphics World, February 1997

Whatever The Weather

In a coup reminiscent of the famous “Chariots of Fire” Hollywood Oscar snatch, a small British company has walked away with the US computer industry’s top annual award for Apple Mac graphics software. The firm, Digital Wisdom of Cambridge, scooped an “EDDY” for its Mountain High Maps 2.1 map-making resource. “We’ve been working hard to make it an even more useful tool for graphic designers and multimedia producers who need accurate high resolution images of the earth and its regions” said a shell shocked Alastair Campbell, Digital Wisdom’s chairman.

He reckoned that his dazed expression was mostly attributable to the imminent launch of the latest 2.5 version.

Previously supplied usually as greyscale TIFFs for colouring by the designer, each of the 80 map suites in the new version includes three pre-coloured maps (one political and two physical) in addition to the greyscale file. And since each map file weighs in at up to 51 Mb for imagesetter output at A4 and larger, the additional files have necessitated an extra CD. The package now comes as a three-disc CD-ROM set for Macintosh and a three-disc set for Windows, making a total of 10Gb of files for either platform.

There are over 15,000 place names and 1,000 labelled physical features such as rivers, lakes and mountains. By the use of masks the designer can colour each country and define its borders, highlight coast lines and add 3D effects with mass shadow or vignettes. These outlines, graticules, linear scales and place names are supplied as editable Illustrator and FreeHand layers and are also included as Photoshop paths - up to 191 for each map file. Mountain High Maps is the only map-making resource which includes detailed ocean floor relief.

New regions and islands have been painstakingly created so that the whole of the earth’s surface is included in meticulous detail. There are 39 high resolution globe views, showing land relief and a series of QuickTime animations of revolving globes, zooms and fly past sequences. Cloud masks and halo effects can enhance the globes, together with various coloured star filled backgrounds.

Reflecting the constantly changing world political map, Version 4.0 updates current borders and place names for accuracy and reliability.

Because of their high resolution, the maps deliver between 500 and 100m per pixel in most areas. Created from survey data and 54 separate cartographic hand-crafted models, the shadow relief maps were originally used in the “Readers Digest Great World Atlas” and in “Hammond’s Panoramic World Atlas”, so their integrity is unchallenged.

At £499, Mountain High Maps 2.5 will pay for itself the first time it is used - and there are no more royalties to pay.

Separate continental editions come on individual CD-ROMs at £129 (for Africa, Asia/Australia) and £199 (for European the Americas and the World), while digital Wisdom’s new EarthShots™ CD-ROM library provides the complete set of data for any country you choose in 250 pre-coloured, editable map graphics on a single £95 CD.

A cheaper alternative is their Frontiers - a set of the 80 outline maps of the world and its regions with all the data, paths and layers, but without the relief shadow - for £69. There’s even a clipart collection of high resolution creative map graphics which may be all you need to give your project an instant lift. CoolMaps costs £59.95 and is a double CD-ROM library of 500 detailed coloured world maps and globes, all of which can be customized. And if you just want globes, there are over 250 relief-contoured view of plant earth, including some applied special effects on the GlobeShots® CD at £99.

ITV weather maps rely on Mountain High Maps; even the Pentagon has one!

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

Reproduced from issue 2/1997 of Graphics World (UK Edition) ©1996 Copyright Graphics World, UK

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