Mapping Icons Set-up

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What is an Icon scheme? Very simply it is a set of icons that you have defined and given a name. You can have as many sets as you wish and each set comprises an icon for normal, information, felt and felt+information for each of the magnitude bands 1 to 9 (Band 1 includes Band 0)

Map Maker Icon Setup page image

The screen above (click it for a larger image) is showing the icon for Magnitude 0 to 1.99 for the default (built-in) icons.

As you can see there are four 'types' of icon that you can use.

  • Plain marker icon – the normal style and the one provided as a default.
  • Information marker icon – often with a small 'i' in the centre to indicate that there is more information.
  • Felt marker icon – often with a small 'f' in the centre.
  • Combination marker icon – information and felt. Could be a different colour perhaps of 'if' or even 'fi' 🙂

You can use the built in icons in other icon schemes than the default and you can also replace them with your own. If you remove all the icons and do not replace them you will get standard Google 'paddles', but I really don’t recommend leaving it to chance.

Overview of how it works

Each scheme has 9 icons, one for all the magnitude ranges with 0 to 0.99 being included in 1 to 1.99. All icons are drawn from a pool of icons thus to action any addition or change to a scheme the icon must first be added to, or exist in, the pool.

This enables you to add a bunch of icons and then just select the ones you want for a particular scheme. Icons can be used over and over in different schemes, or even in the same scheme.

The data for each icon in the pool has the local version (needed to display in the form) and the web version. See notes about web versions later. Also attached to each icon is a flag stating whether the hotspot is used or not, and a set of default values for it.

When an icon scheme is attached to a mapping scheme only the names of the icons are attached and required detail to create the file is drawn from the database. Icon schemes and icon details are held in the configuration database so you may want to consider backing that up before making any major changes.

All changes are made in real-time.

The Web and Local folders

The web folder is the most important and you must provide a web location for the icons as the program will not copy and use local icons. (This is a policy decision on my part and could be changed if it is a real problem.)

Currently the mapper does not implement screen overlays but this may change in the future.

If you are using Dropbox (recommended) as the storage medium for your icons then on your local hard disk you will have a Dropbox folder with a 'Public' folder beneath it. This, or some folder below this, should be set as your local folder.

For the web part you simple enter the address of something in your public folder, less the actual file name and forward slash.

If your file in the folder is: then your web folder is:

The local folder for that is the address on your disk: C:\DropBox\Dropbox\Public\Icons or similar.

If you are using icons from another site (such as the QVS site) then the local icons should go in a folder called MapIcons which you will find under the program directory. The entry for the icon data should be $AppDir\iconmame, e.g. $AppDir\m1-icon.png. You do not need to add the MapIcons name as that is assumed. The web address will be the full path and file name.

Adding Icons

When you add an icon it is really just a matter of selecting the file on your hard disk. The program will then copy it to the local folder and create the entries $LocalDir\iconname.extn and $WebDir/iconname.extn

The real advantage of this is that if you change folders, or have to re-install, the file address will always be right provided the two folder names are set.

Add icon dialog

It is as simple as selecting the icon and clicking OK. If you could look in the database you would see the icon table looking like this

icon database table image

Adding an icon to a scheme

As an example, using the default scheme, you can add your new button to the scheme. To do this simply highlight the icon in the list and then click the find button at the end of the blank line for ‘felt’

Click on OK to add the icon to the scheme and it will appear straight away.

You change or remove icons in exactly the same way. To change just answer OK and the icon will be replaced.

Just two clicks and it is done!

To remove, if an icon is selected in the list, click Cancel instead of OK. You will then be asked

If you click Yes the icon will be removed and if you click No nothing will be changed. The selected icon does NOT have to be the one being removed.

If no icon has been selected in the list there is just the one stage:

Removing an icon from the pool

Click on an icon and then click ‘Remove this icon from the pool’. If the icon is in use you will not be allowed to remove it.

If it is not is use the name is removed from the list and the database only. Nothing is deleted on the disk and the icon remains in the web and/or local locations.

Creating a new icon scheme

This is very straight forward and basically comsists of giving the new scheme a name.

The name will be shortened in the following manner if it is longer than 50 characters. First any spaces will be removed. Second, if it is still longer than 50 characters, it will be truncated at 50 characters long. The name will then be chacked to see if it is already in use as an icon scheme name. If it is you will see a message advising you of this.

Next you will be asked to confirm. Note that you do not provide any information about the tcons to be used in the new scheme. The default scheme (plain marker icoms only) will be copied into the new scheme and you can then play around with it as you wish.

Once you accept the new scheme will be added to the dropdown and you can carry on.


Removing an icon scheme

With the scheme selector set to the scheme you wish to delete, click on the Delete scheme button. If you try and delete the System Default…

You cannot remove the scheme of last resort! This is another reason why at least the plain markers should be populated. You also cannot remove an icon scheme if it is attached to a mapping scheme. The program will check before allowing the deletion to proceed.

If everything is good to go you have to confirm the deletion. Don’t forget this does NOT delete any icons.

Other related topics
The Google Maps and Google Earth File Maker

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