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CC2 Day 3: Stacking Pancakes


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30 March 2002page first published

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©1994-2018 Bill Armintrout
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What I wanted to do next was add contour lines to my map. Properly speaking, contour lines are an "advanced" mapping feature, not even covered until Chapter 10 of the User's Guide. But having read the manual, I thought I could handle it.

contour bar

What you do is import a map part, parts being defined as various decorations you can add to maps - such as compass roses, mileage bars, and in this case, a contour bar. It illustrates a set of colors you can use to mark the contour bands. The bar doesn't even have to be "on" the map - you can tuck it off to the side (which is what I did, then deleted it when I was done).

The way the manual describes building contour lines involves building actual "bands" of color by combining multiple polygons, using the MultiPoly command. I decided to keep things simple - I figured I'd just make each color a big poly, and stack the contours in the right order so you could see them all.

Drawing the contours is a piece of cake. I used the layering feature to put the contours on a separate layer from the main landmass, which means I can "hide" the contours if I want by hiding that layer. (This hiding feature also means you can have "secret" information on a referee-only layer, or make a map fill multiple purposes by using different layers at a time.)

drawing with Smooth Poly - you can see the points, and the curved line connecting them

The drawing tool I used was Smooth Poly, which works like normal polygon drawing except that the final shape makes curves between all the points you select.

However, somewhere along the line I screwed something up - probably due to inexperience! Some of my polygons got out of order. And when I tried to fix the order - using a set of commands that tell entities to sort to the front, to the back, or relative to another entity - I screwed things up more.

What were also driving me nuts were the navlines. On the map template I started with, there were these cool compass lines which the manual calls "navlines." Based on the examples, I think the lines are supposed to sort over the water and under the land. Well, when I was clicking to try to select my contour polygons to fix their sorting problem, I didn't realise that I was also (in some cases) selecting navlines and sorting them into my problem, too!

can you spot the BAD navline?

After a bit of frustration, I got everything fixed, and in the process I learned a lot more about how drawing order works in Campaign Cartographer. I also got better at watching the (cryptic) message window to get a clue about what I was selecting when I clicked on things. There are also times when you can't help but click on multiple items, and I learned how to use the logic commands to tell the software which of the selected entities I really wanted to select.

close-up showing the contour lines

At the end of the session, I had my contour lines looking right, and I was more educated about the software...

the night's work