RealMaps - Overview

RealMaps offers an alternative approach to GIS/Mapping on the Psion Series 5 and other EPOC32 computers. It has also been ported to the Series 3 (SIBO) platform. The software was initially developed to meet my own needs which were just to enable the display and smooth scrolling of map images produced on the PC.

I envisaged keeping local street maps, London underground, and a world Atlas etc. at my fingertips. I soon realised that there was a niche here, and that with a little work (well quite a lot really as it turned out) I could produce quite a versatile program that could be used for the following worldwide applications :-

A major feature of the software is that it can integrate map images from any number of sources together to meet the users own requirements.

If you are planning a journey or going on holiday, you can store very detailed maps for your destination, an overview of your route as produced by route-mapping software, even a detailed resort or theme-park map.

If you are a boat-owner with an NMEA-compatible GPS system, you can plot your position anywhere in the world and include quality charts for more detailed views on local ports, Maritime charts etc.

There are stringent copyright regulations that prevent me from including detailed quality maps in the distribution package. I have therefore created two world maps, one Europe, and a British Isles map using public domain world coastline vector data. These deliberately omit place names so that they are international. However, placenames and locations are included in the WorldCities.S5 database (a standard Psion Data file that can be user-customised). The names can be temporarily overlaid at any time when using maps without place names.

Readers may be curious as to why I have opted for bitmaps rather than vectors. The reasons are as follows:-

Another commonly asked question is how the moving map compares with Route-Planning and other vector-based GIS products.

I am in the process of preparing some comparisons.

The obvious advantage of vector data is the amount of information that can be supplied and the fact that there is little or no duplication. However on limited memory devices there is always an inherent trade off between the desired detail and the required memory/processing time.

The RealMaps approach offers virtually unlimited detail for user-selected areas and a standard low-resolution map area covering the whole world with the exception of the North & South poles.

Here are some sample screen shots; first of all, a shot from one of the supplied map files (Europe.MBM) with some overlaid city names :-

The 2nd example uses a map converted from the US Tiger maps server on the internet:-


This last example is a portion of one of the local area maps that I use personally. It was originally produced by Attica's Interactive Atlas of Great Britain. Unfortunately licensing restrictions prevent me from including any images of this quality in the distribution files. However, if there are any map software companies out there that would like some free advertising, I would be pleased to incorporate some sample images from your package.

It is my hope that the Psion community will generate large numbers of map images that can be shared across the web. If you do develop any map images for use with RealMaps and post them on the Web, please include the word - S5RealMapsInfo . In this way there will be a standard search keyword to assist other RealMaps users to locate them.

Last updated 16 February 2000

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