User Forum » Mapdiva » ORTELIUS | How-To & General Discussion

Creating Shields

(5 posts)
  1. dspencer

    First, let me say this software is awesome. I've been waiting for years for something like this, and Mac friendly at that!

    I would like to be able to create my own highway shields. There is a nice set built in, but limited for what I would like. I have played around creating symbols, but none have taken the route_num tag. I even mimicked the - color; narrow in the description wondering if that was a key. When you click on an existing shield on a path, it gives you the path attributes, but no attributes on the symbol.

    It looks as if you can load your own symbol library, but I can find no information on how to create one, and exporting the existing one didn't help unlock its secrets.

    Oh and a bridge without stobs in the middle would cool too


    Posted 5 years ago #
  2. gcox

    Hi - glad you like our product! Creating shields and other smart symbols is not too involved, but it needs some explanation. We plan to have some tutorials on this subject prepared soon. The key to it is having a Text Adornment within the object's style which is tagged with the attribute you want to refer to, for example route_num. A tag is a text label prefixed by a pair of % signs, e.g. %%route_num. The Text Adornment is a component of a style, so to build a shield, you need to create the style(s) that it will use, including the Text Adornment which specifies all aspects of text appearance - font, colour, position and which attributes it tags, if any. Once you have the graphic looking like you want it, turn it into a symbol using the Create Symbol... command. Then it will appear in the library and will be automatically saved and reloaded next time.

    You can take apart an existing shield to see how it works. Place the shield, then right-click and choose 'Detach From Symbol Master'. That reverts it to an ordinary object. It might be a group, so would need to be ungrouped. Then you can examine the various styles it uses with the Style Inspector and there you'll find a Text Adornment having the %%route_num tag.

    Regarding bridges, you can create custom bridge styles also using the Style Inspector, and again, add them to the library. To apply a custom bridge style to a track, Select the track using the linear select tool where the bridge is to be positioned, and option-click the style in the Style/Symbol picker. By option-clicking, you tell the style to be applied as an overlaid rather than an in-line style.

    Posted 5 years ago #
  3. dspencer

    Thanks, that worked perfect. My biggest problem turned out to be I was trying to edit the symbol when it was already attached to the path. Once I dropped the symbol standalone I was able to see the options that were once grayed out.

    In a way its neat to add the attributes to the path and have the symbols take on the property, but if you want to have two symbols of the same type it gets tricky.

    I have found a couple of bugs, nothing major and they seem to be mostly self correcting, and so far I have been extremely impressed with the overall stability of the software, not a single crash in the entire weekend of fun playing with it.

    So far a couple of things I found:

    1) If I cut a road path, using the scalpel, sometimes other connecting road paths get confused about their endpoints, and snap to the cut point. Its generally pretty easy to fix it up, but it can be disorienting at the moment to figure out what just happened.

    2) Sometimes when it gets confused, as in the case above, undo stops working.

    3) If add a %%route_num tag to a path, then cut the path, and change the %%route_num tag in the other path, one or the other paths revert to the old or new route num. I have only been able to solve this by deleting one of the paths are re-adding it. This came partly from me joining too many paths together to make on huge path.

    Overall, very good quality for a first release of software of this magnitude.


    Posted 5 years ago #
  4. gcox

    Hi. Regarding your points 1 and 2 above, I believe changes coming in the 1.0.3 update should address that issue. I'm not quite sure what's happening with 3 - when a path is cut it becomes two separate objects but the attributes are duplicated across the two parts. The route_num attribute will initially have the same value but should be able to be changed without affecting any other object, including the one it was originally part of. (Note - ensure just one object is selected when editing attributes in this case - if you still have both selected, the attribute will be changed for both). If there's a bug there I'm not seeing it, so it would be good to get some more information about what you did - feel free to mail me off-forum and I will work on it some more.

    You mention that it's tricky to add attributes that are different for different symbols attached to a track. You can obtain that as follows: First, place the symbol standalone. Edit its attribute(s) as you wish, then right-click and "Pick Up" the symbol. It can then be dragged onto a track, where it will use its own attributes rather than use the track's. Essentially any object will search its containment hierarchy from inside to out when looking for an attribute, e.g. itself -> parent track -> groups (if any) -> layer -> layer groups (if any) -> drawing root. The Pick Up trick is needed because once attached to a track a symbol can't currently be selected to isolate it for inspection, though that is likely to be improved in a future release.

    Thanks for the great feedback - it's much appreciated, and do please keep it coming.

    Posted 5 years ago #
  5. gcox

    More - on 3. I did reproduce the bug and you'll be pleased to know that it has now been fixed (1.0.3). Thanks again for helping us to make Ortelius better!

    Posted 5 years ago #

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