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Paid version advantages

Cracked Easy Trace Pro 7.9 lives in Internet for more than 5 years. But installation of the version requires emulation of HASP dangle and other "shamanism". We have decided to unprotect ET 7.95 which is now available from our site as Easy Trace Pro 7.99.

Why not to use the powerful, convenient and free tool for simple tasks - to vectorize a camping trip route for example or indicate "lovely places " in a map?

What can ET 7.99? Not so little obviously if we managed to vectorize a map of a big city (Karaganda) applying ET 7.6.

Can it rival the commercial version? I don't think so. We have done a lot since it was released. The break between versions 8.7 and 7.99 makes their comparison senseless. Abilities of ET 8.7 are shown here.

The latest ET version provides tenfold and greater vectorizing acceleration even for shabby color maps (image resolution should be 400 dpi at least).

We all have immunity to boom though, and such states require solid grounds. And do have them.

Why so much faster?

The very paradigm of vectorizing has changed. We refused from manual and semi-automatic line tracing. The tools remain of course, but we charge automatic utilities with 9/10 of the work now. The operator just runs the "production line" and smoothes "rough edges". Human participation is necessary of course, and will be until computers get real mind.

Our product today is more than a vectorizer - we suggest Vectorizing Technologies (decisions). The package itself is just a set of tools and utilities that provide access to these technologies. Unlike many other automats, it is rather a flexible kit than a black box. Easy Trace enables you to create YOUR OWN technology focused on YOUR materials and YOUR tasks.

What are our technologies based on? First of all, these are:

  1. Utilities for image processing
  2. Utilities for automatic tracing and object recognition
  3. Editing tools
  4. Utilities that support topological structure of vector data
  5. Means for operators' handwork organizing and support

That's far from being all but enough to understand the difference from the free version.

Image processing utilities

One who processes clean copies of maps, i.e. unshrinkable films for printing of every color layer, is a lucky dog indeed but mere mortals can only dream about such high-quality materials.

It's something common to process images of shabby, warped and faded paper maps. No wonder that the idea about inaccuracy of old maps is so widespread. Where can accuracy come from after "georeferencing" of a warped paper based on a dozen points of the map frame?!

Everything changes if you apply correction of all grid cells . One can afford it as correction of more than four hundred cells takes only several tens of minutes and all the job will be done by automats.

The image is corrected. Is it ready for vectorizing? No, it isn't.

Black-and-white images with distinct lines and boundaries of filled areas are required for efficacious tracing. We have no them yet. Black lines in a color image are parted by the grid. Lines are faded in archival maps, stuck together in blueprints, etc.

That's why image processing always precedes vectorizing if you are going to trace more than several lines. Even a black-and-white image may be separated into 2 layers - Thin (for lines) and Thick (for filled areas and... points!). Easy Trace readily extracts symbols-points, circles, and dotted lines.

We do not limit ourselves with raster tools at pre-vectorizing preparation. Vector data can be extremely useful at this stage. For example, it is possible to recognize the grid and then delete it from the image. Black lines can be vectorized with a rush after it, and color lines get rid of many "conglutinations" and even gaps sometimes. Polygonal objects may be also vectorized and then deleted from the image to simplify line tracing.

And remember that it is not necessary to invent such technologies. We have already tested them - just make use of our discoveries.

Automatic tracing utilities

Our feeble attempts to use automatic tracing in the seventh version have evolved into a sound set of utilities in version 8.7, each with a specific mission. The process of automatic vectorizing is structured and transformed into a production line. That is the only possible approach considering the kind of input data - line scraps seasoned with a fair amount of noise.

The set comprises utilities for :

  • vectorizing
  • filtering of vector lines
  • joining of line segments across gaps
  • object recognition
  • reconstruction of topological relations
  • optimization of line form

A specialized group of utilities is provided for relief tracing.

Tracing utilities are not uncommon perhaps but filtering of "raw" lines is something special! Joining of line scraps into something sensible required a lot of manual editing previously, but now thousands of defects disappear after several seconds.

Effectiveness of line fragment joining becomes an order more after this operation, let alone the fact that filtering itself mends at least one half of all gaps. Final assembling of objects involves participation of the operator of course but there are tools and tricks for manual backfitting discussed below.

Breakup Joining is followed by recognition of different objects - the grid, polygons of swamps represented by strokes, lakes, buildings, round objects, etc. At that, lake polygons may be assembled out of tens of lines and buildings / constructions may adjoin each other.

Round objects is an individual subject matter. Isn't it a nice idea to outline boundaries of small points, recognize them as circles, and then automatically restore up to 95% of all dotted lines? Or to recognize automatically most of elevation marks in a topographical map and actually all lampposts in a 1: 2 000 map?

Reconstruction of topological relations and line form optimization are final steps of automatic vectorizing. Shape refining often destroys connections of polygons (lakes, buildings, etc.) with linear objects (rivers, communication lines, etc.). They should be restored with the Topology Correction utility before optimization of linear objects.

Partition of vectorizing into simple and understandable steps protects you from annoying surprises typical of automatic vectorizers. You needn't to shovel a pile of nice but senseless vector lines. Our result is an accurate and topologically correct model of vector data reliably connected with their attributes.

Editing tools

Correct line form is not a commonplace for shabby color maps or low-resolution scans. Strictly speaking, there are no lines at all sometimes, only their remnants. As a result, the shape of "raw" lines is usually imperfect.

Filtering corrects many defects but not all of them and the operator will have to do the rest. Thus, the time of vectorizing depends greatly on available tools of manual editing. It takes just seconds or minutes to run the utilities, but manual control and correction of vector data is much longer.

It's winter now, and there is a lot of snow in the street. It does not take long to feel the difference between the best shovel and the simplest snow-plough, does it? The same is true for our editing tools. We do not fish out individual vertices. Instead, we improve the shape of objects.

There are not so many editing tools in Easy Trace. The easier - the quicker. It is quick and easy to master and apply them all.

The long known Vector Eraser has learned to cut and extend lines - just keep Shift or Ctrl pressed.

It is difficult to understand now how could we manage without the Camber Editor. Tens of working seconds are substituted for a couple of clicks. Note that the tool can edit even boundaries of adjoining objects.

It is convenient to apply the Shift/Resize tool together with the Comber Editor. This tool is particularly effective at polygon vectorizing in photos.

The Topology Editor can now bundle vertices up. One click is required to specify the exact position of a node or common vertices. Shears can use polygonal objects as cutting contours. And the Group Editor not only selects objects but "puts them on the conveyor" for quick review and correction.

The Search for Lines tool is added to tracers (which are seldom in use today). It extracts even long dashed lines out of "raw" vector data.

Topological utilities

First of all, they work faster now. Radically faster. You will have time for a cup of coffee only if your project contains several hundred thousand of object.

We apply topological utilities together with editing tools at data refining after automatic tracing.

It is possible to drag line ends to snap points or adjust boundaries with any Editor, but the utility makes thousands corrections at once. It takes a dozen of seconds to correct a map sheet.

The utilities have acquired the shell that helps to form groups of tests (correction tasks). Besides, they have become much more clever and powerful.

For example, the "Adjust polyline segments" operation corrects not only common boundaries of polygons, but also more complicated situations such as boundaries along a river or a road. At that, it does not generate a line full of vertices taken from all the objects to be adjusted. On the contrary, the boundary strictly corresponds to the line of the reference layer.

You may control both total and patchy polygonal coverages in ET 8.7. False errors are eliminated. The process itself takes only seconds. Subtraction of polygonal coverages is provided.

The group is crowned by the Topology Optimization utility. It can delete up to 30% of "rubbish" from a typical GIS-project without any violation of its topological connectedness.

Means for operators' handwork organizing and support

Any "correct" working place comprises a comfortable seat, sufficient light and air conditioning together with a powerful computer. Similarly, a "correct" vectorizer does not come to tools and utilities but has a set of additional features that form its shell.

What do we include in this term?

View modes. This is the mean to look at the material from different points of view. Control of data structure, coverages, attributive data input, elevation model, joint use of maps and photos require different ways of material presentation. It may be semi-transparent image overlapping, mosaic coverages, coordinated presentation of photos taken at different time, and other approaches.

Navigation. This is the mean to review methodically the entire project field without omissions and accidental returns. It is also the possibility to "receive objects from a delivery line" instead of tiresome search.

Inheritance. Everything adjusted in one project may be used in another. Settings of tools and utilities may be saved as strategies, and projects have "the memory of generation" about projects-prototypes. Prototypes of maps on different scales are included in the delivery.

Accelerators. These are custom tools adjusted for different object types. They attribute the object to the right vector layer and optimize its form on their own. These are special buttons for pattern-based attribute data input and the list of previously used values in attributive fields. Finally, these are icons instead of names for hundreds of topographical symbols.

Help. This component is represented by a powerful HELP menu first of all (unfortunately, not so many users read manual kits). Besides, there are detailed instructions for every option at the bottom of every utility's dialog box. Videos of technological approaches and projects - examples are also very useful.

Register. This is an integrated system of time accounting together with information on amount and type of vectorized objects. You have control over operators' per man-hour output and can easily estimate time required for vectorizing of this particular material.

Compatibility. Results of vectorizing are destined for a GIS, that's clear. But the vectorizer should be also able to take from the GIS a lot of information. The list of layers, layer color, structure of fillings. Attributive tables. Domains of values for every attributive field. This is the only way to ensure data compatibility.

P.S.

The free version may help newcomers in professional vectorizing to do their first steps towards the technologies we have been developing for more than fifteen years. Many our users have moved from a piratic copy to the latest version. That's life. Hope, you will appreciate friendliness and convenience that we put into the software. Just calculate advantages of the up-to-date version and do not defer the decision. Good luck!