Memory Map: A User’s Guide – Part 5
Updated for Memory Map v6 – December 2015
You can find the previous part of this guide here: Part 4 – Working with Routes, Tracks, Marks & Overlays
Part 5 of this parallel user’s guide covers Printing. Yes, it gets a whole section to itself – it really is that important.
One of the great advantages of MM is that you can print your own maps; again and again with different routes highlighted on them each time and there is no license fee to pay to Ordnance Survey – at least no more than you already paid for the digital map itself.
A half decent colour printer is a requirement here of course, but most modern ink-jet printers will produce a perfect copy of an OS map – certainly good enough to go out walking with. Memory Map also sells Tough Print paper, a sort of semi-waterproof, resilient paper you can use in a standard ink-jet.
The printing options are available through the Map > menu option. There is a section in this menu for the printing options: Print and Print Route/Track
Before we go into detail on each of these options, just click Map > Print… and let’s have a look at the printing dialog box that we have to work with in almost all our printing activities. We’ll look at each of the panels in this dialog box, in turn.
Scaling Mode: The first thing we need to decide is whether we want to print a selected area onto a single sheet of paper – or whether, more realistically we want to print at a fixed scale and spread the area of printing over a number of pages. I almost exclusively use the latter – I see very few applications where the first option would actually be useful. But you should make your own decision here.
If you choose the ‘Print at a fixed scale’ option, then you need to select the scale you want to print at. Remember, the most detailed OS maps are 1:25K, but with MM you can print whatever scale you like – I tend to aim for about 1:17K which gives the best mix of detail and coverage. It’s important to note that you don’t get more detail by printing at say 17K (not like moving from a 50K OS map to a 25K map), all that really happens is you basically zoom in to the map you’re printing – like using a magnifying glass on a paper map.
Again, you need to decide which scale works best for you. If you’re walking across hills or moorland then a scale like 25K will be fine – if you’re doing lots of field or town walking then 15K may give you better visibility of the field boundaries and streets etc.
Grid Overlay: The Grid options allow you to create your own 1Km grid lines, over the top of the OS grid lines already provided on all OS maps. I’ve never found a use for this, but you may. You can define the colour of lines, the line width and whether you want tick marks (Labels) down the borders of the map.
Title: You can specify a title for the map, which will be printed in the top left hand corner of the final printed version of the map, along with a page number and total page count (1 of 4 for example) if you are printing a route that runs over multiple pages. The name defaults to the name of the map you’re printing, or the name of the route or track, if you selected Print… from the context menu on either of those items.
Copies: is obvious I think
Margins: Allows you to add white space around the edge of the map you are printing. Again I’ve never found a use for this, but perhaps if you want to annotate a map it may be useful. You will need to experiment with the values (inches) to see what works for you.
Print Options: This option lets you print relief shaded maps – almost a 3D effect using shadows to represent the difference between high ground and low ground.
You can adjust the brightness and contrast for the shading and the position of the theoretical sun.
I tend to use this option for printing maps I’m going to use on my website or in a guide book and not so much for daily maps I’m using on a walk.
You can find your own setting by trial and error, but 100/80 seems to be about the best mix for me.
Resolution: This is a printer option and will depend on how much detail your printer can put down on the paper. I set it to the maximum allowed value of 2,000 and let my printer do its best to meet that number.
Printer Setup button: This is the same as any Windows Printer Setup button with probably one difference; the option to print Portrait or Landscape is provided here and not in some other page setup menu. I’m fairly sure you’re limited to a maximum paper size of A3 too.
If your route is mostly north to south then printing Portrait is going to be best, if walking east to west then print in Landscape mode.
Again, experiment and see what works for you. Clicking [OK] here returns you to the print dialog box.
Continue button: This button launches you into what I like to think of as ‘Print Adjust’ mode. It changes the ribbon toolbar to the print ribbon and provides a way of fine tuning what it is you want to print.
The white X in the red square backs out of the ‘Print Adjust’ mode completely, while the X beside it (Red when you highlight a print square) just deletes that particular print square you’ve highlighted. See below for what I mean by ‘print square’.
Selecting what to print
It’s a good time to come back to this menu option now.
If you select the Map > Print… menu then you are asking MM to print part of the map that currently appears on your screen. You get all the options mentioned above, to adjust how this will look. When you click the Continue button you get the following screen.
MM provides a green square that identifies the area of the map that you’re going to send to the printer. MM then scales that area to fit the size of the paper you identify in the printer dialog box. You can make this square larger or smaller by dragging the corners and you can move it around the screen by using the red cross that appears in the middle of the square when you click the square itself.
Clicking the Printer icon in the Ribbon will send the job to the printer.
The option to Print Route/Track is only available when you have a route or track loaded in memory and selected in the Overlay Properties panel. It’s also available by right clicking a route or track and selecting Print Track (or Print Route) from the Operations context menu.
In this case, the Continue button provides the following screen (or something similar).
MM provides a series of green squares covering the whole route or track. If the route you are trying to print spreads over more than one map then MM will create these squares only for the map currently in memory. You will need to repeat the process for the rest of the route once you’ve finished printing the first section and then loaded the second map.
In many cases you will need to adjust the squares to create the best flow of printed maps, especially if you have a winding route like the one shown above. MM tends to make a fairly good stab at this, but more often than not I have to adjust to ensure I have enough map visible either side of the route to cover me for leaving the path.
In the example above I would move the middle green square to cover more of the area to the south of the track I have created – which may mean moving the right hand square to ensure an adequate overlap. See the finished, tweaked version below.
You will notice that the square turns red when you click on any of the edges and a red reticule appears in the middle of the square to allow you to drag it around the screen to the best position. When you’ve moved it you can select another square and move that one, until you are satisfied with the final route print.
At that point you click the printer icon in the Print Toolbar ribbon.
The finalised version has better coverage either side of the route and still has sufficient overlap between printed pages. Depending on how you carry your maps on a walk will determine the best paper size to use and the best way of folding the printed sheets.
Personally, I use A5 sheets of paper and carry them back to back in an A5 waterproof document wallet. When I’ve finished with a sheet I can remove it and fold it away in my pocket, revealing the next sheet beneath it.
In my experience, if you want to produce maps to take with you on a walk then it is much better to print a track than it is to print a route; mainly because the visual appearance of a modified track is far superior to that of a modified route (see previous section).
Ideally, if you want to include a highlighted route on your day walk map then it needs to be as unobtrusive as possible, while still being visible on the paper. It should not cover up essential map features like boundaries and rivers and the sort of path you are walking along. This means that you need to print a semi-transparent highlight onto the route. When you do this with a route, you still end up with the blue waypoint markers getting in the way, but not so with a track.
So the first thing to do is convert any route you’ve created, into a track. Then change the properties of the track to meet your needs. In my case I use a Yellow track line, with a Thick width, Dash style and 50% Transparent. The yellow doesn’t clash with any OS map symbols or lines, the Thick is wide enough to see easily, the Dash helps prevent obscuring detail and the 50% transparency means that you can see through the highlight to the map detail below.
The next part of this guide can be found here: Part 6 – Importing and Exporting Data