Posts tagged tiling

Imagery tiling sources not working

If you have attempted to use the mapquest imagery tiling background source you will have seen a message that the service has been discontinued.

Depiction is a low cost mapping solution. We have attempted to find as many free data sources that are available to use within our program.  Unfortunately some of these providers will change their API or stop providing the service completely, which is the case with MapQuest.  The NASA Landsat source also is not working and only delivers brown tiles of nothingness.  We are on the hunt for a new free imagery tiling service.  Once we find one we will issue a new build of the software.  In the meantime if you want to have imagery in your map then your only choice will be to take screen shots of other imagery and bring the images into Depiction and geo-align them.  We are sorry of the inconvenience.

Creating your own background map tile cache

In our last webinar the issue of the background tile cache came up.  One question was would it be possible to have the tile cache on a thumb drive so that it could easily be moved to another computer.  Currently if you go to the tools menu in Depiction and select settings and then the advanced tab.

You will see a display that shows the default location of the tile cache.  Currently you can not change this field and you would need to do this in order to place the tile cache in a different location such as a thumb drive.  We are exploring the possibility of letting you update this setting to the location of your choice.

If you are unfamiliar with the tile cache let me explain its use.  When you are viewing your story in Depiction the back ground map source can be a map or an aerial image.  Depending on which you have chosen the program goes out to the internet and finds the desired image tiles for that location and zoom level you have chosen. When it finds them it stores them on your disk in the directory specified in the settings above.  However, before Depiction goes to the internet to look for a particular tile or tiles it first looks in the cache directory to see if the tile is already there.  If it is then Depiction  takes the tile from there and doesn’t go to the internet.  The benefit of this is speed and also if the internet is down it is still possible to display the background tiles. The downside of this is that if the map tile has been updated then Depiction will continue to display the old tile.  You might particularly notice this if you happen to update an Open Street Map yourself and then don’t see the change you made.  To get around this on the Basic Settings screen there is a check box to Overwrite existing cache with new. If you check this box then Depiction will ignore the cache and go directly to the internet.  Normally you would want to keep this box unchecked.

So knowing how depiction works using the cached files it would be possible to create your own cached tiles from a map source other than those provided by Depiction.  We have one customer in Germany that did just that.  He has written a paper on how he achieved this.  It is fairly advanced but with his permission I am sharing it with those of you that have the skill set and maybe inclined to attempt this.  You can find the document here.

3 Imagery Background tiling sources not working.

Depiction attempts to use free data sources in order to keep the cost of our product as low as possible.  On occasion these sources stop providing the service or change how you access them.  A few years back we lost the topographical map source. Recently 3 of the imagery background tiling sources have stopped working.  The only one that is still working is the MapQuest imagery tiler.  We are attempting to resolve this and hope to have them restored or removed from the list.

How to create your own background tiler.

A few weeks back I posted how a German fire department was using Depiction.  He had discovered a way to take maps and make them into background tiles.  He has written a paper on how he did that and has graciously allowed me to share it. You can find it here.

USGS Topographical Background Tiler seems to still be working!

We had removed the topo background tiler back in May because they said that they were stopping the service.  We had created a topo add-on to allow those users that had the topo tiles in their cache to continue to access them.  But recently we have noticed that with the Topo add-on installed it is still bringing in topo maps even for areas where we have not been before.  So if you want to have topographical background maps, and you haven’t downloaded the topo tiler add-on, then please do so.  Of course we can’t guarantee how long they will continue to offer this but for now it is working.  You can find the topo add-on download here.

“Terraserver” Imagery Hotfix

Depiction users may have noticed that the USGS imagery denoted as coming from “Terraserver” has been spotty recently–this includes the USGS topographic map, both tiling and Quickstart, the USGS Hi-Res Urban imagery, both tiling and Quickstart, and the USGS 1m satellite imagery Quickstart source. This occurred because Microsoft, which hosts that USGS imagery, recently changed their domain name from to (Microsoft Research Maps). They did set up a redirect, but we’ve found that it is very unreliable.

To solve the problem, we’re putting out a hotfix–changing the URL where its present in a few system files. If you don’t use any of the Terraserver (or MSRMaps) imagery, then you don’t need to run the hotfix. Everything will continue to run as normal, and you’ll even be able to access the Terraserver imagery occasionally. If you want more consistent access, though, you’ll want the hotfix.

Click here to download the 1.8 mb zip file containing the executable. Running the program will install the hotfix, and you should be able to access the imagery immediately. If you have any questions, just email support -at-

New Getting Started Tutorial

Our Getting Started tutorial has been out of date for some time–but now we’re ahead of the game! Watch the above video to see how to get started using Depiction, and to get a sneak preview of the new version being released very soon.

A Quick Tip

I have had a few questions lately about the quality of our imagery and maps. There is some confusion on how Depiction handles maps and imagery, actually. When you select a map or image source in the Quickstart Data list, you are getting a static image at the zoom level of your depiction area. If you’re using 1.01.n, they will be put into Revealers and you will still be able to see the active map or image source you’ve selected for your background in the lower left corner of the Depiction screen. If you don’t have “N” yet, I highly recommend you run the Update program from the Help menu or the Depiction folder on your Windows Start Menu.

The background map or imagery is a live feed from a web server that changes as you zoom in and out, so that it will get better as you go in: not fuzzy as when you have a static image. Depiction also stores all of the tiles in a cache file, so the more you zoom and move around in a given area, the faster the performance will be.

I will add some images later, and I hope this will help clarify things for anyone reading.

Happy Depicting!
Depiction Support Manager