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Easy Trace Pro 8.7.1732

Relatively calm beginning of the year (without big projects received with "yesterday's deadline" or participation in exhibitions) gave us an opportunity to "clean the beachhead" and prepare to "new land conquest".

Strengthening of our current position comprised three components:

  • We removed protection from our early ET 7.99 version and wished the package happy sailing. The version is somewhat more advanced as compared with the cracked ET 7.9. We do understand that this is the only way to introduce Easy Trace in organizations provided with software "from above", whatever attractive the latest version may be.

    Competition with ourselves has dual consequences. We lose something of course but not where they really count money. Effectiveness of the current version is at least ten times higher in all fields of application. Today, we consider the free version as an advertising, which will bring results in future.

  • We began publishing of a new User Guide after a long break. Its final version should be ready in a month or two. The guide not only contains descriptions of utilities and tools but states our views upon optimal approaches to vectorizing.

    Improvement of program tools led to replacement of some recommendations for opposite ones. It doesn't mean that former approaches were wrong. We just could not realize many methods previously as effectiveness of intermediate stages does little without effectiveness of the entire process flowsheet - it something like chasm crossing in two steps...

  • We thoroughly tested the new program build. It resulted both in bug correction and in backfitting of our traditional tools.

About "new land conquest" now:

  • We have changed the integrated paradigm of data processing. Previously, individual raster documents "new nothing" about the project. We processed every image on its own, without taking other images and already generated vector data into account.

    This is not the case now, first of all at development of new utilities and tools focused on photo decoding. The lion's share of information in imagings is context-dependent. Accurate (vector) information about one kind of objects makes recognition of other objects much faster and more reliable, and vectorizing of multiband imagings requires joint processing of several raster layers by definition.

    We have laid the foundation of imagery data decoding, made some steps towards it, and ready to proceed.

    We also improve our tracing tools, the very base they are built upon. It is necessary for photo processing and vectorizing of 1:500 maps overladen with data. Now, one may expect "one-touch" extraction of objects.

    On top of everything: We do not claim to "already developed territories". We plan neither photogrammetric processing of imagings nor copying of common approaches to decoding. Our aim is to extract objects (artificial first of all) from high-resolution photos. This is the field where the program's shell and body of mathematics may be used in full.

We are new-comers in imagery processing. Users' suggestions and advices were extremely useful for package development during a long time but gradually they exhausted. Most of urgent problems were solved and we even began to outpace requirements. Now we are at the beginning again. We shall sincerely appreciate all suggestions that will help our package (we hope!) to be as good in decoding as it is in vectorizing.

Project window. Image processing

Main operations of image processing has become accessible directly from the project window through the new Rasters menu. Now, you may process images against the background of vector or other raster layers. Advantages of this approach may be significant although if they are not obvious at first glance.

For example, you want to prepare a raster layer of contrast spots. As a rule, it is necessary to apply Diffusion in that case to dissolve small defects and to smooth spot boundaries. That's nice, but where exactly should be vector contours after processing? Here, or may be a bit closer or farther?

Opportunity to compare boundary position or object size with several reference vector contours completely solves the problem. Long manual correction of object size and position practically becomes a thing of the past.

Project window (contextual menu)

Commands Select Image and Duplicate Image are added to the contextual menu. To open the menu, click the mouse right button somewhere in the working field.

Spot Separation utility

This new image-processing utility is meant for segregation of spots from lines first of all as well as line extraction on the base of their width. Many valuable materials representing unique long-term observations are monochromatic - there were no color printers in time of their compiling.

Data in such materials differ usually in line form and width; besides, fillings of different density are widespread. Recently, we had to process such images at data preparing for study of landslide dynamics in one of Japanese prefectures. Results look like that:

Outline Contours utility

The utility has gained a new ability. It can vectorize color images now after some preprocessing. At that, two approaches are possible:

  • Use of color sets formed preliminary for filled areas with the Tools -> Tracing -> Color Sets tool;
  • Use of colors represented in the image. Generally, the image should be processed preliminary to reduce color number in it down to 5-10 (there are seldom more in topographic maps). The Image Segmentation utility is developed for this purpose. It is accessible through the new menu item (Rasters).
The object of these innovations is quick vectorizing of thematic maps comprising homogeneous fillings. As usually, they were developed in the course of a real order for vector data preparing. Nevertheless, we expect them to be useful for many users as such fillings are rather widespread in thematic materials.

Image segmentation will be integrated into the utility in the immediate future, and it will do the utility quite sufficient for processing of simple thematic maps.

Algorithm of outlining is improved. It works much faster now.

Image Segmentation utility

This new image-processing utility accelerates extraction of subject layers out of color images. It is not a full value substitution of methods represented in our videos but works well enough in the case of high-quality or simple images.

Final transformation of individual colors into black-and-white subject layers can be done by means of the Binarize tool.

Imaging load from WEB

Access to new maps of GoogleMaps site from Easy Trace required manual correction of enquiries (change of the integer value after "v=" in a new enquiry). The program does it automatically now.

Image linking

Navigation between missed reference points is added (these are points present in the table but not specified by the user in the image). Navigation is confined within the current image even if the table contains reference points for several map sheets.

Combine Images utility

"Masking" option is added (i.e. "AND" -type combining). It generates a resulting image with an area belonging to both black-and-white source rasters.

Autodetect Grid utility

Navigation between grid nodes by mean of F and V keys (traditional for Easy Trace) is added. It enables quick position control and correction for nodes recognized by the utility.

Autodetect Ortho-Objects utility

Response to change of the "perimeter", "length", and "edge number" parameters in the Preview mode is quickened. Correctness of adjoining objects' orthogonalization is improved.

Camber Editor

  • Effect of the tool on objects that knowingly have sharp bends (e.g., landslide contours or ground areas with natural boundaries) is specified more exactly. The tool forms line form in the vicinity of sharp turns better.
  • Tool control has become "symmetric" - extrusion and retraction of a bend take equal moves of the cursor.
  • When applied in topology mode (locked-in change of connected objects), the tool does not affect nodes and edges connected with objects of frozen vector layers.

Group Editor

"Winding" parameter is added to conditions of query-based selection. It helps to discard (or on the contrary select) winding line fragments.

As a rule, extraction of any subject layer captures inscriptions, conventional signs, etc. together with usefully lines. These irrelevant objects turn into vector artifacts after automatic vectorizing and hinder in line recovery.

New parameter of the Group Editor allows you to select and delete most of these objects before breakup joining in useful lines of the subject layer. Manual editing may become 2-3 times faster after it.

Circle Tracer

Units of approximation precision may be selected now at vectorized circle transformation into polyline. The value may be specified in pixels or in project units.

Ruler tool

Angle measurement has become more habitual. The tool captures angle vertex rather than its "leg" at right button click.

View modes

Right click on a view mode button opens a dialog box meant for adjustment of corresponding parameters.

It is the Project Properties\ View dialog box for most view modes, Z Parameters for the View Z mode, the Project Properties\ Grid dialog box for the View Grid mode, and Image Transparency Settings for the mode of semitransparent representation of images.

Semitransparent screen output of black-and-white images is added; mode control is standardized (left button switches the mode on /off, right button - settings).

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Project Timer

This new toolbar is added for labor hours tracking at different stages of data processing. Timer does not count idle time. Time study of individual operations is necessary for calculation of lab our productivity (and therefore price of different kinds of activity).

Previously, Timer was a part of the Project Properties dialog box. As a result, operators often forgot to stop it on operation completion and thus lost measurement results.

Double click in the time field opens the Project \ Project Properties\ Information dialog box. it contains information about total duration of the project and a field for notes (for example, you may write down results of the next metering there).

Decorator tool

A field is provided for the Uncover Porch decoration tool where you may specify step frequency.

Project Pictures

  • Icons are extremely convenient. These simple pictures substitute long and incomprehensible names of attributes and conventional signs. It is often possible to vectorize a sign and input its attributes correctly even without understanding of its meaning, just on the base of similarity with an icon.

    User interface of the Project Pictures dialog bog is improved. You may Drag & Drop, move, delete, create icons as well as create new folders to save them to.

  • Bug at loading icons with Russian letters in names is corrected.
  • Bugs that blocked icon selection from both an arbitrary folder and ET internal repository are corrected.

Examples and instructions

The folder of projects-prototypes may contain subfolders now.

Export \ Import

Export to DWG (AutoCAD): when options "Export objects basing on thematic displaying settings of the current project" + "Generate separate layers for objects with different values of the thematic key attribute" are on, attribute name is included into the layer name now (it was just a number previously).

Import from MDB (ArcGIS): optional image import from geodatabase is provided (with automatic transformation from Imagine format into TIFF).

Debugging:

  • Inspector tool: the program saved the value of "Skip frames without visible objects" option incorrectly; it could result in unauthorized omissions of frames.
  • Autodetect Lakes utility: wrong deletion of source objects is corrected (the utility deleted all connected objects if at least one of them was recognized).
  • The bug is corrected: it was impossible to input negative values in numeric fields at domain setting (minus was not included into the set of admissible symbols).
  • Relink Image: wrong functioning in negative project coordinates is corrected - the program didn't consider end vertices of the real grid located in nodes of the mathematic grid rather than on the frame.
  • Add Image: Some small interface errors are corrected as well as WORLD-file reading - the program didn't read these files if they had empty lines between nonzero ones.
  • Triangulation error is corrected. Sometimes it caused intersection of triangles if their vertices formed an ideal grid.
  • Export \ Import:
  • The bug is corrected: at attribute export into ArcGIS (shp and mdb) field names in attribute tables were displayed incorrectly.
  • Error in determining of the resulting project area is corrected (reduction down to imported area only happened sometimes).
  • Autodetect Ortho-Objects utility: the bug is corrected, which caused wrong determination of the base direction for an object group.
  • Autodetect Grid utility: the bug is corrected, which caused sometimes program hang at grid segment transfer to a specified layer.
  • Shift \ Resize Polyline tool:logic errors at object selection and alteration are corrected.
  • Rasterize Vector Data: the program didn't save rasterization color into strategy and always suggested black.
  • Line types: The Line Direction mode is corrected.
  • Wrong representation of polyline width is corrected.
  • Wrong forming of the output file name at line type import is corrected. File name could be generated without extension.
  • Pulldown panels at line type selection were of wrong size sometimes - not all line patterns could be placed and the "Other line types" element could be overlaid.
  • Other errors:

  • Wrong functioning of the Editor in the "join polylines" mode is corrected. It could caused program fall sometimes.
  • Cut out Subprojects utility: small interface errors are corrected.
  • The bug is corrected - program fall in the absence of a project to be loaded at start.
  • The bug is corrected - loss of attribute patterns at domain editing.
  • The bug is corrected: Layer Manager opened the dialog box for line type selection for frozen layers.
  • The bug is corrected: it was possible to edit domains and attribute settings of frozen layers. Now you may only view them (OK button is inactive in both dialog boxes).
  • The bug is corrected: it was impossible to stop flows from the Status Bar, the progress indicating line and Stop button blinked.
  • The bug is corrected: when you moved to the next object at automatic opening of the Attributes dialog box, object selection was only possible after you closed the dialog.
  • The bug is corrected: at deletion of values  (or their descriptions \ icons) from a restricted domain it stopped to be restricted by the specified set of values after project reloading only.
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