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How to create custom basemaps using MapTiler

With MapTiler you can turn images into interactive map layers that can be displayed with Maps Marker Pro:

maptiler-demo

Tutorial:

1) Download an appropriate version of MapTiler from www.maptiler.com (the free version can cope with images of up to 10,000 pixels along the longest side and applies a watermark; increasingly expensive paid versions remove the watermark and allow for the use of larger images and more advanced functions).

2) Prepare your map image in a format which MapTiler supports (most standard image formats are fine).

3) Open MapTiler; on the initial screen select ‘Mercator Tiles’.

4) Drag your map image onto the next screen, or open it using the dialog box.

5) When the ‘Coordinate system’ popup appears, select ‘WGS84’ as the system to use.

6) From the next menu, select ‘Assign Location Visually’ (Georeferencer).

7) Your image will appear on the left, and a world map on the right.  Use the search bar above the world map to find the location to which you want to pin your map.  Click on a location on your map image and then the corresponding location on the map on the right.  Street junctions and prominent landmarks are good places to pin.  Repeat this process and add a second pair of pins.  Once you’ve made two sets of locations equivalent, the software will begin to predict correspondences once you place a pin in one of the maps – you can drag the pins if the positionings are incorrect.  The more pins you add, the more exact the georeferencing will be, but the increasing accuracy of the predictions will give you a good idea of when to stop.

8) Once you’re happy with the georeferencing, click ‘Save’ and then ‘Continue’ on the next screen.

9) MapTiler will now give you two options; for use with Maps Marker, use ‘Folder’ (selected by default).  With more advanced versions of MapTiler, you can adjust the zoom levels and other settings here, but the software is generally good at predicting the appropriate ones.

10) Click ‘Render’ and select a location to save the tiles to.

11) MapTiler will show you the render’s progress; once it’s done, you can preview the map in the program.  If you open the folder you instructed MapTiler to save to, you’ll find html files which will launch the map using Google Maps, Openlayers and Leaflet, as well as a data file and an index file detailing various web viewers.  The map titles themselves will be in a series of folders numbered based on zoom levels.

12) To use your map with Maps Marker, you need to upload the folder containing your tiles and their associated data and html files to a hosting account; this can be done using an FTP program such as FileZilla or through your web host’s control panel.

13) To add your map as a custom map in the plugin, select ‘Settings’, then ‘Basemap’, then one of the three custom basemaps.

14) Set the tiles url.  This will be the location of the folder containing the tiles, followed by {z}/{x}/{y}.png (e.g. http://www.myawesomemaps.com/mapnumberone/{z}/{x}/{y}.png).

15) Set the minimum and maximum zoom levels (these will be those selected in MapTiler, or the lowest and highest numbers used for naming the folders).

16) Switch to ‘Settings’ / ‘Map defaults’ / ‘Default values for new marker maps’ and change the custom base map name to the one you wish to display.

17) Switch to ‘Settings’ / ‘Map defaults’ / ‘Available basemaps in control box’ and make sure the appropriate custom base map number is checked.

You should now be able to use Maps Marker to annotate your map in the same manner as the standard maps for the plugin.

For more complicated uses of MapTiler, please consult the tutorials on www.maptiler.com.  It is possible to create maps without georeferencing and to host these using Maps Marker – to make a map like this in MapTiler, select ‘Raster Tiles’ on the initial screen.  Many of Maps Marker’s more complex functions rely on georeferencing data, so you may wish to disable things like the scale in the plugin if you’re planning on using raster tiles.

If you already have georeferencing data associated with your image (if, for example, you prepared it in ArcGIS), you can select this in MapTiler’s geographical location popup (number 6 on the above instructions).

Tutorial created by Matthew Sangster, many thanks!

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