COMPASS to DXF to Adobe Illustrator?

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Postby Doug McCarty » Jun 6, 2007 5:44 am

Hmmm. Here's a new one. I'm going to answer my own question.

I've been playing around with Adobe Photoshop this morning and I believe I came up with a way to use it to get a Compass lineplot into AI

1. Save the Compass screen image as a bitmap and open it in Photoshop.
2. Erase the background with the background eraser tool.
3. Create two new layers--one for the scale and one for the stations
4. Cut and paste the scale into layer #2
5. Copy layer one and paste it into layer #3
6. Line up the lineplot in layer #1 with the lineplot in layer #3
7. Select layer three and use the magic eraser tool to erase the lineplot and just leave the stations.
8. Select layer one and use the magic eraser tool to erase the stations and leave the lineplot

Now save it as a psd file. The psd file can be opened in illustrator and saved as an ai file with the scale, lineplot and stations on three separate layers.

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Postby Martin Sluka » Jun 6, 2007 2:06 pm

Doug McCarty wrote:I've been playing around with Adobe Photoshop this morning and I believe I came up with a way to use it to get a Compass lineplot into AI


Hi Doug, have you ever tried Therion - to draw maps directly in software developed specially for drawing of cave maps?

therion.speleo.sk - check wiki section with many examples.

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Postby Aaron Addison » Jun 6, 2007 3:30 pm

Doug McCarty wrote:Hmmm. Here's a new one. I'm going to answer my own question.

I've been playing around with Adobe Photoshop this morning and I believe I came up with a way to use it to get a Compass lineplot into AI

1. Save the Compass screen image as a bitmap and open it in Photoshop.
2. Erase the background with the background eraser tool.
3. Create two new layers--one for the scale and one for the stations
4. Cut and paste the scale into layer #2
5. Copy layer one and paste it into layer #3
6. Line up the lineplot in layer #1 with the lineplot in layer #3
7. Select layer three and use the magic eraser tool to erase the lineplot and just leave the stations.
8. Select layer one and use the magic eraser tool to erase the stations and leave the lineplot

Now save it as a psd file. The psd file can be opened in illustrator and saved as an ai file with the scale, lineplot and stations on three separate layers.

Doug Mc



Might work for a small cave, but the screen resolution will betray you on bigger lineplots. Best bet is to figure out your DXF route so you still have vector data in AI.

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Postby Stan Allison » Jun 6, 2007 5:24 pm

Hi Doug,

I've tested DXF exports from Compass with both Adobe Illustrator CS1 and CS3 and neither version of Illustrator can open the Compass DXF files. I use a DOS program called css2srv.exe that comes with Walls to convert my Compass data to Walls and then I export the lineplot as a Scalable Vector Graphic (SVG). The SVG has the labels, lineplot and station markers on different layers. If you have an ongoing survey project and are adding to the data or changing the data you can use Walls and Illustrator to roundtrip the SVG files so that your map artwork will always match your survey data. Walls and Compass are both great programs, but Walls is much better for exporting lineplots to Illustrator.

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Postby Martin Sluka » Jun 7, 2007 3:28 am

Stan Allison wrote:Hi Doug,

I've tested DXF exports from Compass with both Adobe Illustrator CS1 and CS3 and neither version of Illustrator can open the Compass DXF files.
Stan


BTW Therion is able to export maps in PDF or SVG file format (among others formats) and both of them you may import to Illustrator and change what you want.

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Postby Doug McCarty » Jun 7, 2007 5:58 am

have you ever tried Therion - to draw maps directly in software developed specially for drawing of cave maps?


No, Martin, I haven't tried Therion, but I have been interested in it. I have friends who use it regularly and swear by it, but I just haven't had the time to play with it.

Might work for a small cave, but the screen resolution will betray you on bigger lineplots.


Aggh. I hadn't thought about that. I'm pretty new to AI, and the only maps I've tried to do so far were small--but thinking about it I can see that it wouldn't work with larger maps.

Walls and Compass are both great programs, but Walls is much better for exporting lineplots to Illustrator.


Walls is another one I need to play around with more. I've used it a couple of times, but I'm more comfortable with Compass

Thanks to everyone for all the suggestions--and Aaron, I'm still going to send you that dfx file tonight if you don't mind.

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Postby Rick Brinkman » Jun 7, 2007 10:38 am

Here's what I do:

1 Save the plot as a .wmf in COMPASS
2 Create a 'plot' layer in AI
3 PLACE (it's under the file menu) the wmf file in the layer
4 expand the layer and erase the 'sublayers' that you don't need (like the border)


From what I gather, those that are used to the dxf file, don't have to redraw the plot line. The way I do it, I have to. However, doing it this way doesn't create another large memory eating jpg like you are doing in Photoshop.

Hope this helps.....
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Postby rchrds » Jul 4, 2007 10:59 am

Here's another method- but not as easy, and a little expensive software intensive:

I start with the survey in Winkarst (not sure I really like it that much)
I can then export to an ArcGIS ShapeFile. In ArcGIS I can do all my topo and DOQ overlays or 3d imaging business, and then from arcGIS I can export directly to an AI file!

The AI file can either contain just stations or stations and shot lines depending on what layers you have activated in ArcGIS when you export it.

I tried Xara, Therion, fiddling with DXF and the whole rigamarole, and ended up with the arcGIS/Illustrator combination. There are a lot of other advantages as well- from arcGIS you can also export to scale (and anglularly oriented) north arrows and scale bars that match the map scale.
Not to mention the whole pile of good things you can do for presentations with arcGIS such as 3d surface representations over the cave using DOQQ or topos.

I think a lot of what works for people is what they learn first, (or best). I could seriously use some real training in arcGIS and Illustrator, but coming from a pencil background it has turned out to be the least painfull.
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Gratitutious Opinions (c:

Postby bsignorelli » Sep 19, 2007 9:08 pm

Gratitutious opinions to follow... consider yourself warned :-)

It seems that there are many cave-oriented software programs out there and they all seem to do SOMETHING neat that the others don't... but none of them do everything.

Which is what happens when there is nearly no comercial market for the software we're talking about :shock:

It will be nice when someone designs the holy grail of software (i.e. mathmatically sound, easy to enter data, easy to customize, uses a standard method to store data so you can port it to whatever you want, talks to Auriga, exports to AI and Xara, supports SVG-based "roundtripping", etc).

Walls does many of those things and I expect the next release will have a bunch of neat features (the last update was over a year ago) but it doesn't talk to Auriga :(

Anyways... we have multiple "solutions" depending on what you need to do.
    Data Collection... Auriga or paper

    If Auriga... then export to Compass then convert to Walls

    If paper... then enter it in Walls

    If you need to roundtrip then... export SVG to AI

    If not then export a WMF or SVG to AI or Xara

BTW... Why Walls? It seems to be the most mathmatically sound, it is highly custimizeable to your data entry needs and it cooperates with AI and Xara.

Or as a friend said "It also doesn't hurt that the largest cave system in the world is is managed on it by choice." That would be the Flint Ridge-Mammoth-Joppa Ridge-Roppel-Hoover System :kewl:

On...Therion... I don't think it's ready for prime time yet. It's been a few months since I spent a week trying it out but the poor user interface and poor documentation killed it for me.

It also seemed to only read Compass and Survex files if I recall correctly and Compass is duddy in the ways it manages your data (and corrects errors) and Survex is another non-starter for me.
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Re: Gratitutious Opinions (c:

Postby Martin Sluka » Sep 20, 2007 2:49 am

bsignorelli wrote:On...Therion... I don't think it's ready for prime time yet. It's been a few months since I spent a week trying it out but the poor user interface and poor documentation killed it for me.


:) therion is so simple as the drawing of cave map itself is. The documentation - have you checked the Marco Corvi's part of wiki section of therion page?

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Re: Gratitutious Opinions (c:

Postby Martin Sluka » Sep 20, 2007 6:09 am

bsignorelli wrote:It also seemed to only read Compass and Survex files if I recall correctly and Compass is duddy in the ways it manages your data (and corrects errors) and Survex is another non-starter for me.


Therion reads xyz data exported from any program. So you may have you surveying data in your favorite program and export the actualized xyz coordinates of points. Therion will read them and adjusts the drawings according to new data.

It is able to import the SVG files.

It exports DXF and ESRI shape files for GIS applications, VRML, SVG and more.

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Re: COMPASS to DXF to Adobe Illustrator?

Postby Marbry » Jul 16, 2008 6:51 pm

I finally decided to look for a replacement for the now aging CAD software I've been using to draw my maps with. I figured I'd give Illustrator CS3 a try since $348 was more appealing than $4800.

When I tried to open the line plot in Illustrator I ran into the same problem as others in this thread. My dxf from WinKarst would not open in Illustrator. Having worked with the format before, I was well aware of the vagaries of the implentations of the 'standard' from app to app. I figured the easiest thing should be to find a tool that would accept the WinKarst dxf, and output a dxf that Illustrator would give the OK to. Preferably a free one.

I tried a pretty fair number of applications, and after much cussing of same, I was about ready to just write something myself. However DevConv http://www.devcad.com/eng/tools.htm did the trick. And it's free. I took the dxf exported from WinKarst and converted it to a 2007 ASCII dxf and it opened in Illustrator CS3, although with a message that certain incompatible features would not be imported. But, it got the line plot, stations, and station labels in just fine.

This may work for a dxf exported from Compass as well, I'd be interested to hear from someone how that goes.

It says DevConv supports the command line, so you may even be able to automate the conversion to some extent, although I'm not familiar yet with the scripting or macro capabilities of Illustrator.

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