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Large-Format Printing at Geological Agencies Fewer Trials and Tribulations, More Successes
Introduction The Illinois State Geological Survey formed a Plotter Support Technical Team in May, 2003. n Comprised of staff from IT, GIS, public outreach, mapping, and publications sections n Prompted a discussion session at DMT ’ 04 n Plotting Trials, Tribulations, and Successes n Presentation by, and Q&A with, HP representative. n n 5 -year product retirement schedule
Introduction n Goals of the ISGS Plotter Support Technical Team Develop a system to produce best possible output n Derive quick and easy plot submission methods n Educate staff and provide reference materials n Encourage software RIP n n ‘Field of Dreams’ strategy. n Discourage plotter hardware RIP n Introduces challenges to load balancing and trouble-shooting.
Introduction n Over the past two years, the team has addressed the stated goals and answered these questions: n Hardware and Software n n Media n n What do we have? What do we buy next? When can we drop hardware maintenance? Stocking priorities, work allocation between plotters. Legacy Plots n n File format compatibility with new plotters and software. Page dimensions. n Only one wide-format ISGS publication produced.
Introduction n Hardware Overview n n n Supplies n n n Large-format printers Related hardware Media Dye-based vs. UV-resistant inks Raster Image Processing (RIP) Other Related Discussions Successes and Future Planning
Hardware Trials and Tribulations Large-format printers
Hardware at the ISGS n Agency-wide use n HP 5500, 42 -inch (HP 750 c = HP trade-in) n Without onboard RIP. HP 1055 cm, 36 -inch n HP 3500 cp, 54 -inch wide n HP 750 c+, 36 -inch wide n n Section-specific use HP 750 c+ (Publications Section, drafts) n HP Design. Jet 488 ca (Southern field office, drafts) n
Hardware at (11) Other Agencies n n n Illinois State Geological Survey Kansas Geological Survey * Kentucky Geological Survey University of Minnesota Ohio DNR - Division of Geological Survey Oregon Department of Geology Pennsylvania DCNR - Bureau of Topographic and Geologic Survey Virginia DMME - Division of Mineral Resources Wisconsin Geological and Natural History Survey * Natural Resources Canada - Earth Sciences Sector The Geologic Mapping Institute
Hardware at Other Agencies n HP 5500 – 42 inch or 60 inch Canada (60) n Illinois (42) n Ohio (ps) n Oregon (ps) n Pennsylvania (ps) n n HP 5000 – 42 inch or 60 inch Canada (60) n Canada (42) n
Hardware at Other Agencies n HP 1055 ps - 36 inch Canada n Illinois n Ohio n Oregon n Virginia n
Hardware at Other Agencies n HP 800 - 42 inch Kentucky (ps) n n HP 2500 cp or 3500 cp – 42 inch or 60 inch Illinois (ps) n Oregon (ps) n Virginia n
Hardware at Other Agencies n HP 750 c+ n n Illinois (trade-in fodder) Epson 9600 - 42 -inch n Geologic Mapping Institute
Hardware at Other Agencies n 1 - Epson 7 - HP 5500 or HP 5000 n 7 - HP 1055 n 2 - HP 800 n 3 - HP 2500 or 3500 n 1 - HP 750 c n 20 HP Plotters
Hardware Discussion n Paul Staub, Oregon Department of Geology HP 1055 cm - our workhorse n HP 5500 ps - just purchased, not much use yet n HP 3500 ps - now basically a boat anchor n
Hardware Discussion n Maintenance discontinued for older plotters. – ISGS n Future hardware purchases. - ISGS n Photo-based media for 1055 identified. n Opted not to purchase another 1055 cm. n 3500 CP never fully utilized. n Maximum width not first-priority. n 5500 recently purchased, hope to get another.
Hardware Discussion n HP plotters are popular at the geological surveys n n With the HP time horizon, is it possible to buy identical models? Is your agency planning a hardware purchase? n n n Canada - recently purchased a RAID box for archives and a large format scanner to scan all our legacy maps. Illinois - purchased a dedicated computer for RIP software Illinois – want to acquire hardware for color calibration
Supplies, Trials and Tribulations Large-format printers
Supplies n Stocking supplies for ISGS plotters less tricky. One plotter, 1055 cm, became the favorite. n Popular plotter burns through plain paper. n Other supplies sit on shelves. n Older plotters side idle almost all the time. n n HP 3500 cp, HP 750 c n Newer 5500 slowly attracting users.
Supplies – Print Media n Criteria for selecting media. n Illinois n Media that does not smudge easily, and is resistant to smudging in humid conditions. n Sufficient thickness, paper should not feel weak or flimsy. n Canada n How well it held the inks (without bleeding). n A poundage that would be easy to fold.
Supplies – Print Media n Canada n n Illinois n n 27 pound bond paper Small company that gets their paper from the same manufacturer as HP. Clear film, Semi-Gloss Photo, and Tyvek. 98 gram Presentation Grade Matte (Magic) PSDRY 8 Photo-Dry Satin Photo Paper. Clear film, Tyvek, and Waterproof paper. Kentucky n n Coated bond paper. Heavyweight or Photo-based paper.
Supplies – Print Media n Oregon n n Pennsylvania n n We're satisfied with Oce media. HP heavyweight paper. Virginia 3 M 6060 Waterproof paper used on rare occasions. n Does have another source for waterproof paper? n
Supplies - Ink n Standard dye inks n n n Illinois Kentucky Oregon Virginia Canada (posters, displays) UV-resistant inks n n Ohio Pennsylvania Minnesota Canada (field maps)
Supplies - Ink n Kentucky - Dye n n We are using dye-based ink, so the plots do fade quicker than UV and are sensitive to water. Lamination is an answer to this drawback. Virginia - Dye ink We typically use the dye ink and warn people that it is not UV resistant. n We do stock some UV-resistant ink. However, we don't keep much in stock as we find it doesn't keep well. It tends to separate and clog up. n
Supplies - Ink n Minnesota- UV n n We don't buy any maps from anyone who uses dye ink. We find that the dye ink prints are washed out and unusable after 6 months because deterioration. Canada - UV We find the UV to be lighter in saturation the Dye, but we thought the UV was more important. n We have test plots of UV and Dye based inks that were taken into the field for 4 weeks. n
Supplies - Ink n Canada n We have test plots of UV and Dye based inks. n Set 1 – samples plotted last week. n Set 2 – samples that spent 4 weeks in the field.
Software Trials and Tribulations File output and RIP
Software at the ISGS 2 Operating systems (UNIX and PC) n 9 software packages to generate for-plot files n 15 to 20 file formats within production paths n 5 methods to RIP (Raster Image Processor) files n n n 6 custom programs to ‘streamline’ plot submissions 9 common plot file production paths n (not to bad, considering variables multiply to 256)
Software at the ISGS n All these choices got overwhelming for users. Oldest method you know, for as long as possible. n Send any file direct to plotter, keep fingers crossed. n n Onboard RIP on 1055 cm became very popular.
RIP Options at the ISGS n Onyx became RIP choice focus for ISGS team. It the industry leading RIP. n Were disappointed with out-of-the-box trial version. n Spent time with Onyx software consultants. n n Sophisticated installation and set up. n “Plotting with Onyx” seminars offered early 2005.
RIP Options at Other Agencies Oregon - Internal RIP, which we're happy with. n Pennsylvania - Internal RIP n Kentucky - 800 ps onboard RIP. n Print directly out of various software programs. n Print PDF's distilled in Adobe Acrobat from exported EPS files or PS files. n n print to file using a PS print driver.
RIP Options at Other Agencies n Geologic Mapping Institute Designated plotter as a Windows printer; it does not have an on-board RIP. It prints quite well this way. n Does not take advantage of Arc. Press, so we are considering a software RIP. n
RIP Options at Other Agencies n Virginia Arc. GIS 9 using Arc. Press n If it is very large, we save it as a tif file and RIP it using a separate program. n Canada - software RIP, Zeh n Illinois – software RIP, Onyx n
RIP Options at Other Agencies n Canada - Zeh RIPware met our criteria. Able to rip postscripts from Arc. Info software n Able to track accounting stats n n user, footage of paper and inks used, etc n Have a web based interface for submitting files. n Bonus: all code was sent to us, allowing us to modify the interface specifically for our needs. n Collecting project numbers to charge, etc.
Software Discussion n Onyx at ISGS (after custom set up) Fast and consistent n Pretty good color adjustment tools n Good file management display n Control over scaling, rotation, output device, etc. n Accepts. ps, tiff, pdf, jpg and other file formats n Best format is a device independent postscript file. n n Can be used with any plotter. n Contains the color model, profile and rendering intent.
Software Discussion n File creation and submission process documented for ISGS staff. PDF file creation, for archival purposes. n Postscript (PS) file creation, device independent. n Submission of PS file for plotting via Onyx. n n Layout orientation, desired media, target plotter. n Hard Copy output from plotter. n Onyx will hold plot until specified media is loaded on target plotter.
Discussions Other Trials and Tribulations
Other Discussion Topics n Canada n Tracking who is using our plotters and charging back the cost to them. We have: n Cross-Canada sales outlets plot orders from the public n Production cartographers creating check plots n Geologists making plots for their field studies n n Basic "walk-in" services. It gets a little nuts keeping track.
Other Discussion Topics n Canada In the midst of creating an accounting system. n Trying to link up a cross-Canada on-demand plot archive for regional sales outlets. n n A RIPped file is pulled from an archive in Ottawa which can be plotted at any of our sales outlet plotters.
Discussion Topics What other issues will your agency be facing? n Ohio We have had IT problems with print drivers. n Our Survey is lacking an expert in this field. n We have one person trying to figure out the printing; he seems to have given up on this issue. n n Oregon n We had many "out of memory" errors when sending large files to the 3500 ps. We're hoping the 5500 ps solves this.
Successes Short Term Solutions and Long Term Planning
ISGS Short Term Solutions n Monetary priorities for Hardware and Software First priority, new HP 5500 plotter. n Second priority, Onyx and a robust PC. n Discontinue maintenance for older plotters. n n Logistical priorities for Media and Ink Last priority, ordering supplies for older plotters. n Stock special media only for newer plotters. n Stock only draft (cheaper) media for older plotters. n
ISGS Long Term Planning 15 to 20 file formats within past production paths. n 12 legacy file formats in ‘plot on demand’ archive. n n With respect to Onyx compatibility. We have legacy files that need to be re-constructed. n Ultimately want files that specify plotting parameters. n n Device independent PS file with embedded color profile.
ISGS Long Term Planning Purchase second HP 5500 if monies available. n Keep popular RIP options until Onyx wins. n Allow hardware RIP on 1055 to continue. n Refrain from buying plotters with hardware RIP. n