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Easy Trace Pro 8.5.1541

There is a dilemma we faced with in the course of recent projects.

On the one hand, we prepare all color images for automatic tracing. Every individual stage of image processing is simple - students cope with it just after getting acquainted with our software package.

On the other hand, forming of an effective flow chart is a nontrivial task, even more so after the package has gained a lot of new utilities for automatic processing.

We see the way out in use of movies. One may wright a lot of instructions and hope that somebody will read them... But they will never stimulate the keen interest (delight sometimes!) we see when demonstrate data processing in Easy Trace at exhibitions. So, we decided to prepare video-files first and than supplement them with descriptions and instructions. Click here to examine what we have time to do by now.

There is a serious problem in digital cartography today - lack of digital cartographical data standards (including both data structure and the way of presentation). Additional mess is caused by a big number of companies - newcomers in this field. Fortunately, a kind of self-organization is forming now among our customers. In increasing frequency they use different qualifiers based on the so called "Lukoil qualifier".

Experts of the DATA+ company developed different versions of this qualifier. By their authority, several prepared qualifiers are integrated in Easy Trace as projects - prototypes to provide easy start for new users. These projects are also examples of vectorizing that show WHAT to trace, HOW to do it, and HOW does it look after tracing. You will find the examples here.

It does not mean however that we confine ourselves within the bounds of one approach to data vectorizing. For example, another prototype and technology are provided for users of the Panorama software.

In our opinion, even now abilities of the Easy Trace package are sufficient to accelerate processing of ANY material IN SEVERAL TIMES. What presents some difficulties is the problem how + to assemble individual "bricks" - utilities into a flow chart. Click here for examples of some "processing lines".

  • Parameters Bar of some tools (Eraser, Camber tool, Point tool) have now buttons to start video illustrating the tool function.
  • Step 1 at new project creation is noticeably revised:
    • You should specify project name and path at step 1 now. Easy Trace forms a subfolder in the folder you have specified. It has the name of the project and in turn contains folders for auxiliary files of the project.
    • A new project may be based on a user-specified project-prototype or on one of our standard prototypes. Data structure for these standard projects is developed by leading experts of the company DATA+ - the distributor of ESRI products in Russia. 5 standard projects-prototypes are available, on the scales from 1:100 000 to 1:2 000.
    • Design of the Coordinate System Definition page is changed. A frame is added that highlights the current coordinate of the project field. You may click a side of the frame to select the corresponding coordinate of the project.
  • The Autodetect Grid Utility was tested and improved in the course of several projects. It is particularly useful at vectorizing of color topographical maps on the scale 1:50 000 - 1:25 000. These maps fit well for automatic vectorizing when the grid is deleted.

    Scanning inevitably creates a thin color halo around black lines. It causes distortions of line form at grid crossings with lines of other colors and "adhesion" of closely spaced lines.

    Surprint of the vectorized grid into the image deletes defects of color lines and makes other black objects available for automatic tracing. So, in the current release:

    • Algorithm of grid detection and correction of individual nodes' position is improved.
    • The "Generate an ideal grid" option is added . It deletes vector fragments of real grid and saves an ideal grid to the specified layer, i.e. forms horizontal and vertical polylines having common vertices at grid nodes.
    • Grid forming considers the specified area now (the area of autotracing by default). The utility forms grid nodes only within the area and trim the grid along the borders of the zone.
    • The "Area" button is added to start specifying of the grid forming area. You will see an error message if the zone is not defined (empty).
    • Color selection for presentation of the grid, detected fragments and borders of the grid forming zone is added.
  • The Generate Points Along Polylines Utility is improved. It may now optionally generate points at a user-specified interval or on polyline vertices only. At that, point duplicates are not allowed.

    For example, you may automatically detect the grid by the corresponding utility, receive a set of points corresponding to grid nodes, and then use them for exact correction of the image.

  • The Autodetect Swamps Utility proved to be very useful at such a labour-intensive operation as forming of polygons that represent swamps in the map. It was a manual operation as a rule, but now the utility automatically forms correct smooth polygons with holes.

    Quality of resulting polygons depends mush on correct selection of parameters for the utility use. The process is simplified now - direct selection on the screen is provided:

    • Selection of parameters for stroke detection is similar to one in the Raw Data Filtering Utility. Click the "Apply" button to see the strokes detected by the utility at the current set of parameters. To change these parameters, specify skipped strokes on the screen and then click "Apply" again to estimate the result.
    • The utility substitutes real vector lines recognized as swamp strokes for idealized stroke images. It simplifies both search of skipped strokes and estimation of vector strokes' correspondence with the image.
    • At stage 2 of swamp detection, after forming of polygons, you may specify the minimal area admissible for resulting polygons and for holes. To do it, click the visible or supposed contour of the polygon / hole with the mouse left button.
    • Right click cancels the last (unsuccessful) change of parameters and restores their initial values.
  • Some new options are provided for the Outline Contours Utility. They simplify automatic tracing of a number of different objects:
    • After tracing you may save:
      • All contours;
      • Only external contours;
      • Only contours without holes;
      • Only internal contours.
    • Vectorize (from within!) only holes and apply the Autodetect Circles Utility for automatic search of all symbols representing trees and bushes. Then sort them by diameter and substitute for corresponding point objects;
    • Vectorize buildings and blocks as "Contours without holes " and apply the "Autodetect Orthogonal Shapes" Utility to form their correctly oriented polygons.
    • Vectorize "Only external contours" of small objects for automatic forming of dotwise lines. To do it, first eliminate contours of dots in dotwise lines with the Group Editor applying the "number of vertices criterion". Imprint remaining contours into the image. Apply image thinning and mask filtering "Strokes from dots ". Vectorize the image and delete all lines longer than three vertices. Make "Breakups Joining", at that select the option "treat short lines as points". That's all. The entire process takes 5-7 minutes and allow forming of up to 90% of dotwise lines.
    • Apply your imagination to invent other versions of data processing...
  • The Autodetect Orthogonal Shapes Utility is refined significantly. It works well now for data on the scale 1:500 and 1:2 000 (video). The following improvements were made:
    • The utility detects objects consisting of tens of individual elements. For example, an image of a summerhouse connected with fence lines consist of twenty elements, and a dozen of them form the contour itself.;
    • The utility detects conjoint objects and orthogonolizes them together. These are for example houses with a common wall or a house and adjoining front garden;
    • Preview is added to estimate autodetection with the current set of parameters;
    • To fit parameters of detection automatically, click objects on the screen.Right click to cancel unsuccessful change of parameters;
    • Automatic change of selected objects' presentation just after change of selection parameters;
    • The algorithm is insensitive to small gaps in the contour. The utility detects such contours along with closed ones;

    We recommend the two-stage detection of orthogonal contours. First stage: allowable deviation from the original contour is 15-20%, with deletion of original polylines. Second stage - with parameter adjustment by specifying of remaining objects on the screen. AT that, deviation from the original contour may be 30% and more.
    Permission of a large discrepancy at the first stage may cause loss of short edges.

  • Some new options are provided for the Autodetect Circles Utility. Several parameters are added that increase its functionality.
    • Similar to the Autodetect Orthogonal Shapes Utility, contour of the circle may consist of several fragments connected by common vertices or nodes. It means that circles will be recognized that are components of such conventional signs as pits and hillocks;
    • The "Line thickness in the source image" parameter is added that allows estimation of possible defect size in circles and thus detect even objects with gaps in contours;
    • Fields are added to specify possible range of circle diameters;
    • The "Allowable deviation from the original contour"  parameter allows to limit admissible faultiness of objects that will be recognized as circles;
    • The "Maximal deviation from the template diameter" option lets you to specify allowable spread in values for every standard diameter to be recognized;
    • Preview is provided to estimate autodetection of circles with the current set of parameters. When in this mode, click objects on the screen to adjust parameters of detection automatically;
    • The dialog box of the utility is a modal one. It means that you may select other tools (e.g., the Ruler or an Editor) while it remains open.
  • The Autodetect Lakes Utility emerged from the technology developed for tracing of blue ("hydrographical") objects in color images. It helps to vectorize and "cut out" from the image polygons of water bodies to accelerate tracing of the river net. So:

    The utility recognized lakes dissected by lines of the grid as a set of polygons previously and recognition of rivers with bridges could be unsuccessful at all, as the program considered resulting small polygons as a noise. Now it merges neighboring polygons into one and carries out filtering of vector "rubbish" after it.

  • The Rasterize Vector Data Utility can now rasterize vector points and circles as circles of a user-specified diameter. Together with the Autodetect Circles Utility, it helps to relieve the image of already vectorized objects. Subsequent automatic tracing and joining of gaps in polylines successfully restore the shape of linear objects damaged by numerous circles.
  • Topological utilities - strategies from other projects may be added to the current one without total substitution of the current set of strategies. Groups with unique names in the current set will remain, and groups of the same name as ones selected for adding will be substituted.
  • The Topology editor is a necessary tool for pooling of vertices after automatic tracing. As a rule, this correction of nodes' location should be done before Line Form Optimization.

    Points of convergence of 4 edges are represented usually by two nodes with a very short edge between them after automatic tracing. The Editor automatically deletes such short edges now as they are within the pooling radius.

  • The Camber Editor
    • Control of camber size and direction at transition from "bending" to "stretching" is improved. Previously, it could cause abrupt change of the contour shape or even loss of the contour. As you need "press" an object for auto-selection, it happens rather often;
    • Some bugs are corrected at tool use in the automatic mode.
  • The Shears Tool is useful at connection of neighboring map sheets or interfacing of polygonal and linear objects. After joining of map sheets, you may fulfill cropping along the project boundary. At object interfacing, use the Group Editor to select all polygonal objects and then cut off and delete all line ends within the polygons with the Shears.
    • As there may be a lot of polygons to be joined with linear objects (up to 4 000 lakes in a map sheet from our experience), the operation takes much time sometimes. We have altered its algorithm to accelerate the work in 50-100%.
    • Some bugs are deleted.
  • A new option is provided for automatic travel from one error/correction mark to another - "Place in the center of the screen". When on, the current error mark (or correction mark, or marked object) and the cursor will be forcedly shifted to the center of the working window, even if the mark was already within its visible part.

    The option is useful at correction of objects' junction points. As a rule, such correction requires only one click in the Cleaning mode of the Topology Editor. Together with tagging of such points by the Topology Check-up Utility, it accelerates correction significantly.

    The option is in the Others page of the Service > System Settings menu.

  • Clipboard for vector objects (Copy / Paste) is restored. It is a convenient alternative of import at copying of individual objects from one project to another. Project field will be extended automatically if the copied object is outside its borders.
  • Operation Log for image processing:
    • Multiline data output is provided for tool parameters;
    • The set of data to be logged is increased for some image processing tools;
    • The program logs now the name of the used strategy (a named set of parameters provided for some tools).
  • Data import - Objects having coordinates inadmissible for the field of the current project may be skipped at import. Previously they caused automatic interruption of the operation. The program will ask you if to break or continue import when it meets the first such object; next objects will be skipped without questions but logged in the report together with their coordinates.
  • Data import from AutoCAD
    • Empty text in a block does not interrupt the operation any more. At that, the entire block may be skipped if it has no valid elements;
    • Some bugs are corrected that could lead to failure of the operation.
  • The dialog box for attribute editing - if the list of possible values together with corresponding icons was too large, it could exceed the bounds of the screen. List scrolling is provided now with the help of the mouse wheel or the slider in the dialog box.
  • The "Blocks" dialog box:
    • "Delete All" button is added;
    • A diagnostic message is provided for the case when a block can not be deleted (included in other blocks);
    • Screen output of blocks is improved (previously, it could exceed the bounds of the project field).

Corrections and alternations:

  • The "Save As" command is eliminated as the program generates an individual folder for every project now, and there may be only one project in it not to make a mess of database files.
  • Explicit specification of the image to be vectorized is now required for utilities of automatic tracing and outlining. Previously, the program vectorized all visible images that could cause a shift of the resulting vector from the center of lines in the image.
  • The Create Subproject Utility now forms correct references to images of the new-made subproject. Previously the links were with images of the initial project.
  • Decorators: style saving for the Fill Area tool is corrected.
  • Doubling of objects to the specified layers by the Group Editor:
    • Doubling to the current layer (previously impossible) is provided;
    • An error message will be generated now if you select a frozen layer as a target one. Previously, the operation didn't work without any explanation.
  • Navigation to the last (or the only) error mark could be done one time only. The bug is corrected.
  • At semiautomatic tracing, autoclose in the "red" mode preserved screen output of the deleted polygon part and even requested attributes for it (if the corresponding option was on). The bug is corrected.
  • Object selection by a query in the Group Editor didn't allow to search among already selected objects.
  • The bug is corrected that caused loss of records from the Operation Log for image processing after a series of Undo/Redo operations.
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