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Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What are Mobile Maps?
  2. What is the Mobile Map Viewer?
  3. What is mobilemaps.com?
  4. Who are High Country Software?
  5. What are Mobile Maps used for?
  6. How can I make Mobile Maps?
  7. Are Mobile Maps based on open standards?
  8. How can I publish Mobile Maps?
  9. How realistic are Mobile Maps?
  10. What is the resolution of Mobile Maps?
  11. Is there a high resolution screen mode?
  12. Will future versions of the Mobile Map Viewer support current Mobile Maps?
  13. Can I add URL hyperlinks to Mobile Maps?
  14. Is there an Apple/Linux version of the Mobile Map Viewer?
  15. How do I find my geographic co-ordinates to add as a URL?
  16. What format should my geographic co-ordinates be in?
  17. What if the hyperlinks fail to work?
  18. Why is a river missing/distorted in a Mobile Map?
  19. What are the colours on the maps?
  20. Why does the water in my Mobile Map go up the sides of hills?
  21. How do I represent roads in Mobile Maps?
  22. How do I teleport/levitate?
  23. What does the 'Ozone layer' movement mode do?
  24. What does the 'Hand of God' movement mode do?

  1. What are Mobile Maps?

    Mobile Maps are three-dimensional internet maps that represent the real-world.

    They are based on the concept of geographic web browsing rather than text web browsing. While it may be difficult to find local websites with a text search, in Mobile Maps this information can be instantly seen.

    Mobile Maps are viewed with a small software program called the Mobile Map Viewer.

  2. What is the Mobile Map Viewer?

    The Mobile Map Viewer is the software program that enables internet users to move freely around Mobile Maps, and link to geographically located websites.

    With the Viewer a user can move rapidly around a Mobile Map using an intuitive 3-D interface that includes movement modes such as walk, levitate, teleport, and 'ozone layer'. Clicking on a URL marker instantly hyperlinks to the URL in the user's web-browser.

    It is even possible to add URL's to a Mobile Map on the Internet from within the 3-D interface.

  3. What is mobilemaps.com?

    http://www.mobilemaps.com is the fundamental internet resource for Mobile Maps, offering:

    • a searchable index of Mobile Maps on servers around the world
    • public registration of URLs on Mobile Maps in a similar manner to search sites like Yahoo!
    • the most up-to-date download page for the Mobile Map Viewer
    • developer information describing Mobile Map creation and software

    Mobilemaps.com is maintained by High Country Software.

  4. Who are High Country Software?

    Founded in 1996, High Country Software Limited are a core internet technology company based in London, UK, which has consistently pursued the goal of implementing a geographically based internet that is visually compelling, fast, and easy-to-use. Our in-house expertise extends to three-dimensional real-time graphics, 3-D user-interfaces, geographic information systems, website and database development. High Country Software contact details.

  5. What are Mobile Maps used for?

    Detailed Mobile Maps are currently used to represent ski-fields and hilly/mountainous areas that are popular destinations for outdoors people and tourists. Useful website links that may be found on these Mobile Maps often relate to local services such as ski-chalets, huts, hotels, camping sites, transportation, and shops/stores. They may include physically located photos and webcam videos.

    Low-detail Mobile Maps are used on the home page of mobilemaps.com to give a geographic overview of places at similar scales to paper atlases. Useful website links found on these Mobile Maps include regional, city, business, and travel information, zoom-ins to more detailed Mobile Maps, and 2-D mapping resources.

  6. How can I make Mobile Maps?

    The following link covers the basics of creating Mobile Maps.

  7. Are Mobile Maps based on open standards?

    There is a public format that is based on ASCII text and is open, and there is a private format that is compiled for purposes of speed, size and stability, and is only readable by the Mobile Map Viewer.

  8. How can I publish Mobile Maps?

    You can create the Mobile Maps yourself, or you can link to another website's maps such as mobilemaps.com. For information about offering the Mobile Map Viewer for download, please follow this link.

  9. How realistic are Mobile Maps?

    This depends on a number of factors: the data, the Mobile Map creation process, the Viewer software used to view the maps.

    If you want accuracy you should be looking at photos or topographic paper maps - Mobile Maps are merely representative of reality (think of a cartoon) rather than being 'virtual realities' and are designed primarily to give a quick overview of a place and link to associated information - which may include more realistic sources such as photos, topographic maps.

    The 'resolution' of maps is often associated with how real they are, and while theoretically this is an unwarranted assumption (It's like saying a photo of something taken at a distance is less real than a photo taken closer up.), in practice it is often the case.

  10. What is the resolution of Mobile Maps?

    The source elevation data that provides the shape of the landscape is created at a particular sample 'resolution'. Imagine an invisible grid laid out over an area of the earth, and a measurement of the altitude being taken at each point of the grid. If that grid has, for example, 10km gaps between the points, then it could be called 'low' or 'coarse' resolution data, and the resulting Mobile Map might resemble a view from space, and be best used to represent international geographic information. If on the other hand, the grid had 30m gaps between points, representing a 'high' resolution source of data, the resulting Mobile Map could portray the landform of hills and valleys as they would be seen by someone walking there.

  11. Is there a high resolution screen mode?

    This screen resolution should not be confused with data resolution, and describes instead the number of pixels visible across and down the monitor screen. The current version of the Mobile Map Viewer only supports the ubiquitous standard VGA screen mode (320x200). High Country's upcoming Viewer supports higher variable resolutions.

  12. Will future versions of the Mobile Map Viewer support current Mobile Maps?

    Yes, future versions of the Viewer will be backwards compatible with current map data.

  13. Can I add URL hyperlinks to Mobile Maps?

    Yes, if the host website of a Mobile Map lets you. Some sites may let you add the URL link in real-time, others may personally check your link is appropriate before adding it, and yet others may not let you add anything at all.

    Adding links is simple: Right-click on the terrain where you want to add the link, and select 'Drop waypoint' from the menu; then right-click on the waypoint and select 'Edit url'.

    You will be taken to a form on the map owner's website where you can enter the URL, and a title for the waypoint marker that will be displayed on the Mobile Map.

  14. Is there an Apple/Linux version of the Mobile Map Viewer?

    We would like to release for both of these platforms in our forthcoming updated Mobile Map Viewer, but neither is currently supported. (We don't discount the possibility that emulators on both platforms run the current Viewer.)

  15. How do I find my geographic co-ordinates to add as a URL?

    There are many options here: look on a paper map, look at the pointer x/y data in a Mobile Map, use zip/post code to coordinate conversion software/websites e.g.whereonearth.com, use a GPS satellite positioning unit, use a domain name to coordinate conversion system e.g. The NetGeo server.

    The easiest way is to add a URL interactively with the Mobile Map Viewer in which case you simply have to find the place you want to add your marker in the Mobile Map, right click and select 'Drop waypoint' then right-click on the waypoint and select 'Edit url'.

  16. What format should my geographic co-ordinates be in?

    As signed decimal degrees of latitude, longitude (y,x)

    E.g. 45.0167, -110.5

    But not N45.06 W110.5 or 45,01', -110,30', and Americans, please remember to add the '-' before your longitude!

  17. What if the hyperlinks fail to work?

    The most common problem is you are trying to use the Mobile Map Viewer on Windows NT, which it is incompatible with. While the maps appear to work for some users, the hyperlinks do not - freezing the screen instead.

  18. Why is water in a river or between land-masses missing/distorted in a Mobile Map?

    Either the source data is elevation-only and does not include any hydrographic information, or else the water data was taken from coarse satellite data that only 'saw' the wider areas of the river, or did not 'see' a narrow gap between islands, and may also have been distorted to some degree when creating the maps.

  19. What are the colours on the maps?

    Ultimately this depends on the map's creator and what they choose each coloured texture to represent. It is a good policy to check each Mobile Map's "About Map" screen if you are unsure. Usually the blue represents water, white - snow or ice, black - barren or rocky ground, green - vegetation, tawny brown - sparse vegetation, grey - cities or roads. Alternatively the coloured textures may be based on altitude, with a snow line at a particular altitude, perhaps rocks in the snow on steep slopes, sparse vegetation below the snow line, lusher vegetation further down.

  20. How do I represent roads in Mobile Maps?

    The current Viewer offers two methods which are suitable for some applications. The first method is to represent a road by a line of waypoint markers, and the second method is to plot grey textures where the road runs. The current viewer offers no suitable way to present a street map with many roads in 3-D, so we recommend simply offering a URL hyper-link to a 2-D street map (put it in the middle of a grey area covering the street area) which users will almost certainly find easier to use than any 3-D street map representation!

  21. Why does the water in my Mobile Map go up the sides of hills?

    This may be caused by the data source for elevation information being offset from the data source for the water. In this case the water will at times be mapped onto slopes rather than in valleys were they belong. The Mobile Map Creation Tool can be used to intelligently resolve this situation but it's success may be limited depending on circumstances.

    Another potential cause is that the elevation data has been obtained by radar that penetrates lakes and water bodies. In this case the water representing the lake will be seen dropping downwards rather than lying flat, and will actually show the lake floor rather than its surface.

    It can also be a software problem with the Viewer visualising the terrain in the distance with insufficient detail, which becomes more distinct when moving closer.

  22. How do I teleport/levitate?

    Click on the compass icon - which looks like a triangle - and then select teleport or levitate or some other movement mode from the menu.

    In teleport mode, click on the ground to instantly be transported there.

    In levitate mode, click on the up or down buttons in the levitate window at the top-right of the screen to raise or lower your view.

  23. What does the 'Ozone layer' movement mode do?

    This effectively lets you fly - you can levitate up or down as in levitate mode, but if you click on the ground you will be teleported to a position at your current elevation above the place you clicked. (However, if your current elevation is below a mountain you click on, you will end up on the surface of the mountain at the clicked location.) Note: a useful short-cut key to enter the Ozone layer is 'o'.

  24. What does the 'Hand of God' movement mode do?

    It lets you click on the land and drag it up or down so that you can see past a hill, or view the minimum and maximum elevations in the map.


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