The Weather Forecasting Forum

Digital Atmosphere trick: Giant weather maps
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Author:  Tim Vasquez [ Sun Nov 23, 2003 10:36 pm ]
Post subject:  Digital Atmosphere trick: Giant weather maps

The new Digital Atmosphere test version is well-suited to making giant printout charts.

To get started, here's how:

Simply download the style file and save to your Digital Atmosphere \styles subdirectory. Be careful saving it from Internet Explorer, as it is really bad about appending *.txt to the end (you may have to go in and edit the filename so that it appears in your directory just as analysis.sty). This style file contains jumbo-sized fonts and line widths. You don't necessarily need to download this file... it just gives you some ideal settings to help you get started.

Then, generate weather maps that are at least 2000 x 1500 pixels in size. It's a good idea to use the 8.5 x 11" proportion of 1:1.3, thus a size of 2500 x 1923 is a good choice. Choose to create the map with the Big Analysis style. If you don't see Big Analysis in your style list, the style file was not saved to your \styles directory or the browser created a bad filename which you'll have to edit to analysis.sty.

Then make your maps. It will look oversized on the screen, but when you copy a map to the clipboard and paste it in your favorite graphics program (Paint Shop, etc) and send it to the printer, it will look quite professional. If the plots are too small to read, generate a smaller map size (which makes the fonts appear larger); likewise, if you want smaller plots generate a larger map. If you generate maps larger than 3000 pixels your computer may begin slowing down or might even crash as this consumes a lot of memory (the memory requirement increases exponentially with map width).

To round out your perfect weather center, get a large-format inkjet printer. I use an Epson 1520, which I bought in 1997 and is still only $500... the ink cartridges it uses are easily available. This beast will handle paper sizes up to 17 x 22" (US C). I routinely print giant weather maps like this.

The trick is finding such huge paper sizes. Paper warehouses and office supply stores do not carry anything larger than 11 x 17", so don't even bother looking unless 11 x 17" is OK with you. For larger sizes, the trick is to go to an architectural supply store and ask for this size or have them cut it down for you (which is most likely what you'll have to do). Cost should be about 5 to 10 cents per sheet. Make sure you get a few extras for the inevitable misfeed or incorrect print setting. Also be sure that when preparing to print that you (1) remember to size the print to fill the whole page; (2) remember to choose portrait or landscape setting as appropriate to fill the page; and (3) choose the right paper size.. sometimes it defaults to 8.5 x 11".

Hope that gives you all some interesting ideas. Feel free to report on your success with it.

Tim Vasquez

Author:  Stefan Lichius [ Sun Nov 30, 2003 9:02 pm ]
Post subject: 

Hi Tim,

really great feature.
I have tested it with my Laser Printer "Minolta Color Plus Page Pro" with exact the settings you have given in your message and the result is great.


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