Ruby script for downloading high-resolution topographic maps of NSW and Tasmania. Pre-built maps also available:
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sources don't use 1m contours for shaded relief Aug 11, 2018


Summary (Version 1.6.1)

This software allows you to download and compile high-resolution vector topographic maps from the NSW and TAS geospatial data servers, covering the states of NSW, ACT and Tasmania. The resulting maps include many of the features found in the printed NSW topographic map series and are well-suited for printing. You can specify the exact extent of the area which you wish to map, as well as your desired scale (typically 1:25000). The topographic map is output in scalable vector graphics (SVG) format for use and further editing with vector graphics programs such as Inkscape or Illustrator. Other map formats including raster, KMZ and GeoTIFF can also be produced.

This software was originally designed for the production of rogaining maps and as such includes several extra features (such as aerial imagery overlays, marker layers for control checkpoints, arbitrary map rotation and magnetic declination marker lines). However the software is also useful for anyone wanting to create custom NSW topo maps for outdoor recreation.


The software is run as a script, so you will need some familiarity with the command line. It was developed on a Mac but has also been tested on Windows and Linux.

The following software is required in order to run the script:

  • The Ruby programming language. You'll need at least Ruby 2.3, or better yet the latest stable release (2.4.1 as of August 2017).
  • ImageMagick, a command-line image manipulation tool. Only the 8-bit (Q8) version is needed and will work faster and with less memory than the 16-bit version, particularly for larger maps.
  • The GDAL command-line utilities. These are utilities for processing geospatial raster data. Version 1.9.x (January 2012) or later is needed.
  • Google Chrome web browser, for getting font information and creating a raster image of your map.
  • Inkscape (a vector graphics editing program), if you wish to make manual edits or additions to your map.
  • A zip command utility, if you wish to produce KMZ maps.

Finally, a geographic viewing or mapping program such as Google Earth is very useful for easily specifying the area you wish to create a map for, and for viewing your resulting map in conjunction with GPS data.

  • Windows:
    • A complete Ruby 2.4.1 installation for Windows can be downloaded here (be sure to select 'Add Ruby executables to your PATH' when installing).
    • Download a pre-built ImageMagick binary for Windows. The Q8 version is preferred for speed, but either will work. Be sure to select 'Add application directory to your system path' when installing.
    • Install the GDAL utilities using the OSGeo4W installer. Unless you want all the software offered by the installer, use the 'advanced install' option to install only GDAL. When presented with packages to install, select 'All -> Uninstall' to deselect everything, then open 'Commandline Utilites', choose 'Install' for the gdal package (some other required packages will also be selected), and install. Subsequently you should use the 'OSGeo4w Shell' as your command line when running nswtopo.rb.
    • (Other ways of obtaining Windows GDAL utilities are listed here, however not all of them include GDAL 1.9.x or above, including FWTools which was formerly recommended.)
    • Download and install Google Chrome and Inkscape, if required.
    • (If you want to create KMZ maps, install 7-Zip and add its location, C:\Program Files\7-Zip, to your PATH following these instructions, using a semicolon to separate your addition.)
  • Mac OS X:
    • ImageMagick and GDAL can obtained for Mac OS by first setting up MacPorts, a package manager for Mac OS; follow these instructions on the MacPorts site. After MacPorts is installed, use it to install the packages with sudo port install gdal and sudo port install imagemagick +q8
    • Alternatively, you can download and install pre-built binaries; try here for GDAL, and the instructions here for ImageMagick. (This may or may not be quicker/easier than installing XCode and MacPorts!)
    • Type ruby -v in a terminal window to see whether a version 2.3 or greater Ruby already exists. If not, you can install Ruby a number of ways, as explained here. (If you are using MacPorts, sudo port install ruby24 +nosuffix should also work.)
    • Download and install Google Chrome and Inkscape, if required.
  • Linux: You should be able to install the appropriate Ruby, ImageMagick, GDAL, Inkscape and zip packages using your distro's package manager (Pacman, RPM, Aptitude, etc).

You can check that the tools are correctly installed by using the following commands:

ruby -v
identify -version
gdalwarp --version

You should receive version or usage information for each tool if it is installed correctly and in your path.

A large amount of memory is helpful; you'll really want at least 4Gb or ideally 8Gb to run the software smoothly. You will also need a decent internet connection. The topographic download won't use a lot of bandwidth, but the aerial imagery could amount to 100Mb or more for a decent-sized map. You'll want an ADSL connection or better.


The software can be downloaded from github. It is best to download from the latest tagged version as this should be stable. Download by clicking the 'ZIP' button. For more experienced or frequent users, I suggest installing the git command and cloning the entire repository with git clone; update to the latest code at any time with git pull from within the nswtopo directory.

You will first need to create a directory for the map you are building. Running the script will result in a various image and data files being downloaded, so a directory is needed to contain them.

Most likely, you will also want to create a map configuration file called nswtopo.cfg in order to customise your map. (This format of this file is YAML, though you don't really need to know this.) This is a simple text file and can be edited with Notepad or whatever text editor you use. Save this file in your map directory as nswtopo.cfg (be sure not to use nswtopo.cfg.txt by mistake).

Specifying the Map Bounds

The simplest way to create a map is to trace out your desired area using Google Earth (or other equivalent mapping program). Use the 'Polygon' tool to mark out the map area, then save this polygon in KML format as bounds.kml in the directory you created for your map. When running the script (see below), your bounds file will be automatically detected and a map produced using the default scale and settings. You can also specify the bounds file explicitly in your configuration file:

bounds: bounds.gpx

If you are using a waypoints file to mark rogaine control locations, you can use the same file to automatically fit your map around the control locations. In this case you should also specify a margin in millimetres (defaults to 15mm) between the outermost controls and edge of the map:

bounds: controls.kml
margin: 15

(Using a track to specify the bounds will also work, and a 15mm margin will again be used by default.)

Alternatively, specify the map bounds in UTM by providing the UTM zone (54, 55 or 56 for NSW) and minimum and maximum eastings and northings, as follows:

zone: 55
- 730500
- 741500
- 6014500
- 6022500

or, as latitude/longitude bounds:

- -35.951221
- -35.892871
- 149.383789
- 149.489746

Finally, you can specify a single coordinate for the map's centre, and a physical size for the map at the scale you specify (1:25000 by default). The map size should be specified in millimetres. For example:

zone: 55
easting: 691750
northing: 6070500
size: 220 x 360


latitude: -33.474050
longitude: 150.137979
size: 60 x 60

(Make sure you get your map bounds correct the first time to avoid starting over with the downloads.)

Specifying the Location of Google Chrome

If available, Google Chrome is used in headless mode to measure font sizes and create more consistent labels. It's also the preferred way to produce raster outputs of your maps. The Chrome application isn't available on the command line, so you'll need to find and specify its location in your configuration file. Likewise, if you wish to create a vector PDF output file, the Inkscape path needs to be set:

chrome: /Applications/Google Chrome
inkscape: /Applications/

(For Windows, the path will point to a .exe file in one of the Program Files folders.)

Running the Script

Once you have created your configuration file, run the script in the directory to create your map. The script can be run as ruby /path/to/nswtopo/bin/nswtopo (where /path/to/nswtopo is the location where you downloaded or cloned the program). On Mac and Linux system, I recommend adding /path/to/nswtopo/bin to your executables path variable. (How to do this will vary by operating system, Mac OS or Linux.) You should then be able run it simply as the command nswtopo.

When the script starts it will list the scale of your map (e.g. 1:25000), its rotation, physical size and on-the-ground extent. The script will then proceed to download topographic data. Depending on your connection and the size of your map, many minutes may be required. (I suggest starting with a small map, say 80mm x 80mm, just to familiarize yourself with the software; this should only take a few minutes.) It is best not to interrupt the program while the topographic data is downloading, as you will have to start over.

You can ctrl-c at any point to stop the script. Files which have already downloaded will be skipped when you next execute the script. Conversely, deleting an already-created file will cause that file to be recreated when you run the script again.

After all files have been downloaded, the script will then compile them into a final map image in .svg format. The map image is easily viewed in a modern web browser such as Chrome or Firefox, or edited in a vector imaging tool like Inkscape or Illustrator.

Labelling of the map is performed locally. Depending on the size and complexity of the map, this can potentially take many minutes; have patience.

You will likely want to tinker with the configuration file to change the appearance of your final map. To rebuild your map after changing the configuration, you can simply delete map.svg (or whatever name you've configured) and run the script again. The map will be recreated from the intermediate files which have been downloaded. You can also add or remove layers without deleting the map; more on this later.

Map Configuration

By editing nswtopo.cfg you can customise many aspects of your map, including which additional layers to include. If no other configuration is provided, reasonable defaults are used. The customisation options are shown below with their default values. (It is not necessary to provide these default values in your configuration file.)

Set the scale of the map as follows:

scale: 25000              # desired map scale (1:25000 in this case)

Set the map rotation angle as an angle between +/- 45 degrees anticlockwise from true north (e.g. for a rotation angle of 20, true north on the map will be 20 degrees to the right of vertical). There is no degradation in quality in a rotated map (although horizontal labels will no longer be horizontal). The special value magnetic will cause the map to be aligned with magnetic north.

rotation: 0               # angle of rotation of map (or 'magnetic' to align with magnetic north)

Another special value for rotation is auto, available when the bounds is specified as a .kml or .gpx file. In this case, a rotation angle will be automatically calculated to minimise the map area. This is useful when mapping an elongated region which lies oblique to the cardinal directions.

rotation: auto            # rotate the map so as to minimise map area

Set the filename for the output map and related files.

name: map                 # filename to use for the final map image

By default a map's contour interval is chosen according to its scale: 20 metres for 1:40000 or smaller scale or 10 metres otherwise. To override this default and specify a contour interval to use (either 10 or 20):

contour-interval: 10

Available Map Layers

A number of different map layers are available for your map, each obtained from different online and local sources. To specify which layers are included in your map, use an include: directive in your configuration file, with a list of the layer names to include. The order of the layers determines their overlay order in the map. For example, a basic NSW topographic map with shaded relief and UTM grid would have the following layers specified:

- nsw/topographic
- nsw/relief
- grid

Viewing the map in Inkscape allows you to toggle individual layers on and off. This if helpful, for example, if you wish to view the aerial imagery superimposed against the topographic feature layers for comparison.

There are a number of map layers specific to NSW and the ACT. These are described here in detail. They include several topographic data sources various and various aerial imagery.

Generic layers depicting shaded relief, UTM grid and magnetic declination are also available.


By including a layer such as nsw/relief in your map, you can include an intuitive shaded-relief depiction. This can be a helpful addition for quickly assessing the topography represented in a map. The shaded relief layers for NSW and TAS are automatically generated from contour data.

You can specify the azimuthal angle, altitude and terrain exaggeration used to generate the shaded relief layer. (The conventional azimuth angle of 315 is set as default, should probably be left as is.) You can also specify the opacity of the layer to change the aggressiveness of the effect.

  azimuth: 315            # azimuth angle for shaded relief layers (degrees clockwise from North)
  altitude: 45            # angle of illumination from horizon (45 is standard)
  exaggeration: 1         # vertical exaggeration factor
  opacity: 0.3            # opacity of the shaded relief; determines how subtle the effect is
  lightsources: 3         # number of light sources to use (change to 1 for conventional hillshade)

By default, a multi-directional hillshade is produced. This simulates the combined effect of light sources at three different azimuthal angles. It emphasises local terrain variation more while being less overbearing. (Single-direction relief shading is still available by changing the lightsources parameter.)

Although contour-generated shaded relief is superior, it's still possible provide your own elevation data from a DEM (Digital Elevation Model). DEM data takes the form of a geo-referenced data file (such as a GeoTIFF, or ESRI grid with hdr.adf as the filename). Specify the location of the file as follows, and set its resolution appropriately:

  path: /path/to/my/dem.tif  # path for the GeoTIFF or hdr.adf file
  resolution: 30             # render the relief data at 30 metres/pixel

All sources of elevation data will include some noise which produces artifacts in the shaded relief image. By default, a modest sequence of median and bilateral filtering is applied to the shaded relief to smooth such artifacts and produce a more natural effect. (Theses filters remove noise while preserving edges.)

UTM Grid

The grid layer marks the UTM grid onto the map, for use with a GPS or to give grid references from the map. You should include the UTM grid if the map is for normal use; for a rogaining map, the grid is not needed and clutters up the map, so leave it out.

You can customise the appearance of the UTM grid and labels if you desire:

  interval: 1000                 # interval between grid lines (1000 metres by default)
  stroke-width: 0.1              # width in millimetres of the marked lines on the map
  label-spacing: 5               # number of gridlines between successive labels
    font-size: 2.75              # font size (in mm) of the grid labels
    font-family: 'Arial Narrow'  # font family for the labels

Grid labels are rendered periodically across the map at an interval determined by label-spacing. Setting the label-spacing value to false will instead cause the grid labels to be positioned along the four edges of the map.


This layer marks magnetic north lines on the map, and is useful for rogaining maps. The magnetic declination angle for the map centre is automatically retrieved from an NOAA online calculator. (Override by specifying an angle: value.) Specify spacing and rendering for the magnetic declination lines.

  spacing: 1000           # perpendicular spacing of magnetic declination lines in metres
  stroke-width: 0.1       # width of the marked lines on the map, in millimetres
  stroke: darkred         # colour of magnetic declination lines (as a hex triplet or web colour)
  arrows: 150             # spacing in mm of directional arrows (set to 'false' for no arrows)


Drop a control waypoints file (controls.kml or controls.gpx) into the directory and a layer containing control circles and numbers will be automatically generated. A waypoint named HH will be drawn as a triangle, ANC as a square, otherwise a circle will be drawn. If a control has 'W' after its number (e.g. '74W'), or separate waypoints marked 'W1', 'W2' etc are found, those waypoints will be represented with a faucet icon to indicate a water drop. You can modify any of the defaults shown below:

  path: controls.kml      # filename (.kml or .gpx format) or path of control waypoint file
  diameter: 7.0           # diameter of control circles in millimetres
  spot-diameter: 0.2      # specify a diameter (in mm) for control centre spots, if desired
  stroke: "#880088"       # colour of the control markers and labels (as a hex triplet or web colour)
  stroke-width: 0.2       # thickness of control circles in millimetres
    stroke: blue          # colour of water drop markers
    font-size: 4.9        # font size (in mm) for control labels
    fill: "#880088"       # colour for the control labels


If you include a PNG image named canvas.png in the map directory, it will be automatically detected and used as an underlay for the map. It is intended that this map canvas should be derived from one of the aerial images using an image editing tool such as Photoshop or GIMP, in order to represent vegetation cover. This is useful in case you are not satisfied with the vegetation layer provided above.

Generating your own vegetation layer can be accomplished using the 'color range' selection tool in Photoshop, for example, or other similar selection tools. (Selecting on a single channel, such as green or magenta, may be helpful.) You can also create additional vegetation markings (e.g. for the distinctive, nasty heath that sometimes appears in ACT rogaines) using the aerial imagery.

If you wish to create your canvas at a lower resolution, it is fine to resample (resize) the aerial image to smaller pixel count before selecting and colouring the vegetation. However, it is important that you resample the image by changing its resolution (usually shown in pixels/inch), rather than by changing the width and height.

Excluding & Reordering Layers

You can remove a layer or layer set that you previously included in the map. To do so, list the layers you wish to exclude as follows:

- nsw.aerial
- nsw.topographic.reserves
- relief

Run the script again to remove the layers from the composite SVG map. (The original source files will not be deleted.) Use this option with caution, as any changes you have made to the layer in the SVG file will be lost.

It is possible to manually reorder layers using Inkscape. The new layer order is respected when re-running the script.


You can add overlays to your map for representing areas (polygons), tracks (paths) and waypoints. For rogaine maps, you can use this feature to mark out-of-bounds areas on your map, as well as to add extra tracks which are not shown on the topographic map.

The simplest way to create overlays is to use Google Earth or equivalent software. Mark out the out-of-bounds area or areas using the polygon tool, then save these areas to a KML file (e.g. boundaries.kml). Similarly, trace out additional unmarked tracks using the path tool, add waypoints with the placemark tool, and save them as KML (e.g. tracks.kml).

In your configuration file, add your overlay file in the list of included layers, as in the following example:

- nsw/topographic
- relief
- boundaries.kml
- tracks.kml
- waypoints.kml
- grid

This will cause new layers titled boundaries and tracks to be added to the map. Note the layer ordering, which places the overlays above the topographic layer but below the grid, as you would expect.)

Specify the colour, width and/or opacity of the overlays as follows:

  fill: black           # colour out-of-bounds areas in black...
  opacity: 0.3          # ...with 0.3 opacity to give a nice grayed-out rendering
  stroke: none          # no outline for the area (or specify a colour)
  stroke: red           # mark tracks in red...
  stroke-width: 0.2     # ...with a width of 0.2mm
  stroke-dasharray: 4 2 # add a 4mm/2mm dash to the track, if desired

For waypoints, specify a symbol using a path:

      stroke: black      # draw shape in black...
      stroke-width: 0.5  # ...with 0.5mm lines...
      fill: none         # .. and no fill
      d: M -4 -3.5 L 4 3.5 L 4 -3.5 L -4 3.5 Z

For each type of overlay (area, track or waypoint), multiple styles can be applied by name:

  day1:       # applied to track with name 'day1'
  day2:       # applied to track with name 'day2'
    symbol:   # applied to waypoints with name 'fishing'
    symbol:   # applied to waypoints with name 'camping'

Build or rebuild your map by running the script to add the overlays.

Importing Layers

You can also embed other georeferenced image files into your map as layers. Most GDAL-supported formats should work. For example, if you have some OziExplorer raster maps which you would like to include, add them in your configuration file as follows:

- /Users/matthew/maps/DVD/25k/  # path of a georeferenced image
- /Users/matthew/maps/DVD/25k/   # path of another image

Run the script to embed the new map images. A local PNG file will be stored containing the relevant portion of the map. (The original source files should not be stored in the same folder, to avoid accidentally overwriting them.)

The embedded images will be stored as layers at the bottom of the layer stack; they will not be visible if you have included other opaque layers (vegetation, aerial imagery). Use Inkscape to view the layers and/or change their order.

Updating Your Map

You can add or update layers in an existing map without deleting the map. This allows you to preserve any editing you may have done in your map while adding or updating other layers.

To add a new layer, add its name to the include: list in your configuration file (or add a new overlay or controls file). Run the script to render the new layer into your existing map. If a download is required (e.g. when adding an aerial imagery layer), the download will also occur.

You can also update an existing layer. This will happen automatically when you run the script. Updates are detected by comparing the timestamps for the map and layer files. For example, if you make changes to an overlay or control KML file, its timestamp will then be newer than the map's. Simply the script again to re-render the changed overlay layer in your map. (No need to delete and rebuild the whole map.)

Output Formats

Once your master map file has been created in SVG format, you can create other output formats by specifying their file extensions from among the following in your configuration file:

- png
- gif
- jpg
- tif
- kmz
- mbtiles
- pdf
- map
- prj

These file extensions produce the following file formats:

  • png, gif and jpg are common raster image formats. PNG is recommended. JPG is not recommended, as it not suited to line art and produces ugly artefacts.
  • tif yields a TIFF image, a raster format commonly required by print shops. Additional GeoTIFF metadata is also included in the image, allowing it to be used in any GIS software which supports GeoTIFF.
  • kmz is a map format used with Google Earth and for publishing interactive maps on the web. (This would be useful for publishing a rogaine map with NavLight data.)
  • mbtiles is a tiled map format commonly used for online maps and mobile mapping apps.
  • pdf is the well-known document format. Map data will be preserved in vector form within the PDF.
  • map specifies the OziExplorer map file format (using the PNG image as the companion raster).
  • prj produces a simple text file containing the map's projection as a PROJ.4 string.

If you update or make manual edits to the master SVG map, running the script again will cause the output formats to be recreated from the updated map.

The raster image formats (PNG, GIF, JPG, TIFF and KMZ) will render at 300 pixels-per-inch (ppi) resolution by default. You can easily override this default however. For example, say a high-resolution, 600-ppi TIFF is desired for printing, and a more modest 200-ppi KMZ for publishing on the web:

- tif: 600
- kmz: 200

For the mbtiles format, a maximum zoom level (normally 15 or 16) can be specified:

- mbtiles: 16

For significanly smaller mbtiles file size, I recommend installing the pngquant utility and specifying its path as follows:

pngquant: /path/to/pngquant

You can also specify an output resolution for the PDF format, in which case the PDF will render as an embedded raster image (instead of vector data):

- pdf: 600

(This option will likely produce a larger PDF file, but guarantees the map's final appearance; it should be considered if the map is being sent as PDF to a print shop.)

Finally, projection formats other than PROJ.4 are available. Any of the format options listed here may be specified; for example, the projection may be desired in well-known text format:

- prj: wkt

If you select prj as an output, a corresponding ESRI world file will be produced for each raster image. The world file may be used in conjunction with the projection file to georeference the image. (World file extensions for PNG, GIF, JPG and TIFF are .pgw, .gfw, .jgw and .tfw, respectively.)

Producing Raster Images

For printing purposes, it's preferable to render your map as a high-resolution raster image. Available formats are PNG, GIF, JPG, TIFF and KMZ. The Google Chrome browser is used for this purpose. Don't forget to specify the full path of the Chrome executable on your system, along with the raster formats you wish to produce:

chrome: /Applications/Google Chrome
formats: png

The resolution of the raster image defaults to 300 pixels per inch, but may be specified explicity as follows:

  png: 200
  tif: 600

Suggested Workflow for Rogaining Maps

Here is a suggested workflow for producing a rogaine map using this software (alter according to your needs and tools):

  1. Set out the expected bounds of your course using the polygon tool in Google Earth, and save as bounds.kml. (Set the style to partially transparent to make this easier.)

  2. Select the topographic, aerial and reference layers, as well as landholdings, using the following configuration:

    name: rogaine
    bounds: bounds.kml
    - nsw/aerial
    - nsw/vegetation-2008-v2
    - nsw/topographic
    - nsw/holdings
    - declination
    - grid
  3. Run the script to create your preliminary map, rogaine.svg.

  4. Use the maps and aerial images to assist you in setting your rogaine. Ideally, you will carry a GPS with you to record waypoints for all the controls you set.

  5. When you have finalised your control locations, use Google Earth to create a controls.kml file containing the control waypoints. This can either be directly from your GPS by uploading the waypoints, or by adding the waypoints manually in Google Earth.

  6. In Google Earth, mark out any boundaries and out-of-bounds areas using the polygon tool, and save them all to a boundaries.kml file.

  7. You'll most likely want to recreate your map with refined boundaries. Delete the files created in step 2 (nsw.topographic.svg, rogaine.svg, nsw.aerial.jpg etc), and modify your configuration to set the bounds using your controls file. Include only the layers you need for the printed map.

    name: rogaine
    bounds: controls.kml       # size the map to contain all the controls ...
    margin: 15                 # ... with a 15mm margin around the outer-most controls
    rotation: magnetic         # align the map to magnetic north (optional)
    - nsw/vegetation-2008-v2   # show vegetation layer (or use a canvas)
    - nsw/topographic          # show topographic layers
    - boundaries.kml           # show out-of-bounds areas
    - declination              # show magnetic declination lines
    - controls                 # show controls
    boundaries:                # set style for out-of-bounds
      fill: black              # (black)
      stroke: none             # (no outline)
      opacity: 0.3             # (partially opaque)

    If you have trouble fitting your map on one or two A3 sheets, you can either reduce the margin or use the automatic rotation feature (rotation: auto) to minimise the map area.

  8. Run the script to re-download your map using the final map bounds. Your map should now show vegetation, magnetic declination lines and the controls and boundaries you have set.

  9. In a separate layer, add any other information you need (title, acknowledgements, logo etc.) to the map using a vector graphics editor (Inkscape, Illustrator). At this point you can make any desired tweaks to topographic features of the map (e.g. contours or watercourses) to more accurately represent what you've found on the ground.

  10. Prepare your output file for the printers. It is possible to save directly to a PDF, however I recommend instead exporting your map to a high-resolution raster image (TIFF is traditional). Exporting to a raster lets you ensure the map has rendered correctly. A resolution of 300 dpi would suffice, however there is no harm in going higher (say 600 dpi).


The map projection used is transverse mercator, with a central meridian corresponding to the map's centre. This conformal projection is ideal for topographic maps. A grid for the relevant UTM zone(s) (usually zone 55 or 56) can be added to the map (for use with a GPS) by including the UTM grid layers. All output layers (including the aerial imagery and shaded relief layers) are precisely aligned and in the same projection.

If you need your map to be in a UTM projection (aligned to grid north rather than true north), you can specify this as follows:

utm: true

Several formats of georeferenced output image are available. You can specify tif in the formats list to create a GeoTIFF image for the map. GeoTIFFs can be used by many commercial and open-source GIS software (e.g. QGIS, Grass). OziExplorer map files can also be created by specifying map as an output format. Finally, kmz will produces a KMZ file suitable for use with Google Earth.

Customising Topographic Rendering

You can control how the raw topographic data (e.g. nsw.topographic.json) is rendered into you final map. This allows you to change the colour, size and opacity of individual layers. The default rendering was chosen to give a reasonable map with emphasis on contours, and changes to rendering may not be needed.

To change rendering of a feature, open your map and identify the name of the topographic layer (e.g. nsw.topographic.contours-10m) containing the feature.

For each layer which you wish to modify, add a corresponding section in your nswtopo.cfg file. Specify one or more of opacity, stroke, fill, stroke-width and dash values to change the opacity, line colour, fill colour, line width and dashes, respectively, of the features in that layer. Colours should be specified as hex triplets (e.g. "#FF0000" for red), alternately a web colour name. Use a colour picker to choose your desired colour and get its hex triplet. opacity should be a value between 0.0 and 1.0. The stroke-width attribute specifies the width of a line in millimetres. The dash value specifies a dash array for dashed lines (as a series of dash and space lengths, in millimetres).

In the following example, we change the colour of contours to black, and give a semi-opaque, dashed blue style to a route overlay:

- nsw/topographic
- route.kml
  stroke: black         # change contour colour to black
  opacity: 0.5          # set the route overlay to 50% opacity ...
  stroke: "#0000CC"     # ... with a blue colour ...
  stroke-width: 1.0     # ... a 1.0 millimetre width ...
  stroke-dasharray: 4 1 # ... and dashed with 4mm dash and 1mm space.

If a topographic layer contains several different colours or feature categories, you may need to override the colours according to category. For example, to change the colour of sealed and unsealed roads:

    stroke: purple   # sealed roads become purple
    stroke: green    # unsealed roads become green

(You may need to delve into the map source recipe, e.g. sources/nsw/topographic.yml, to determine the names of the various feature categories which are represented.)

Release History

  • 12/12/2011: version 0.1 (initial release)
    • 13/12/2011: version 0.1.1: added bridges, floodways, fixed narrow gaps in roads
    • 14/12/2011: version 0.1.2: reworked UTM grid to display correctly across zone boundaries
  • 21/12/2011: version 0.2: added map rotation; added specification of map bounds via gpx/kml file; added ability to auto-rotate map to minimise area.
  • 11/01/2012: version 0.3: misc. additions (e.g. lookouts, campgrounds, rock/pinnacle labels, etc); collected point markers into single layer; separated permanent and intermittent water layers; prevented label/feature overlap; decreased download times; removed unavailable ACT layers; added low-res reference topo.
  • 2/2/2012: version 0.4: added ferry routes, mangroves, restricted areas, canals, breakwaters, levees, road outlines; tweaked road & track colours; added grid-style UTM labels; removed absolute path from OziExplorer .map file; fixed bug wherein resolution tags in some output images were incorrectly set.
    • 8/2/2012: version 0.4.1: fixed bug whereby excluding labels also excluded control-labels
    • 9/2/2012: version 0.4.2: added kmz as output format
    • 13/2/2012: version 0.4.3: reworked road/track colours and outlines
    • 7/3/2012: version 0.4.4: fixed bug in OziExplorer .map files created by non-windows OS; added layer opacity; added overlay layers from GPX/KML/etc files
  • 3/6/2012: version 0.5: Substantial rewrite to use the new NSW ArcGIS server
    • 4/6/2012: version 0.5.1: added metadata to identify layers correctly to Inkscape
  • 30/6/2012: version 0.6: fixed bug with shaded-relief and vegetation layers on some versions of ImageMagick; added option for default nswtopo.cfg file stored in nswtopo.rb location; improved SVG topographic labels layer; added other output formats: .png, .tif, .kmz, .pdf, .prj, .wld, .map; added rendering using Inkscape or Batik; switched from 0.9996 to 1.0 for transverse mercator scale factor; changed config.yml to nswtopo.cfg; added configurations for individual output raster dpis and input raster resolutions
    • 5/7/2012: version 0.6.1: fixed vegetation rendering bug on linux; added time remaining estimations; bugfixes; added fix for java OutOfMemory error when using Batik
    • 5/8/2012: version 0.6.2: fixes to restore Windows compatibility and update Windows installation instructions
    • 4/10/2012: version 0.6.3: changed old LPIMAP layer names to new LPIMAP layer names; added the option of specifying a map bound using a track; fixed problem with ESRI SDS 1.95 1 font; fixed bug with KMZ generation; fixed broken cadastre layer; fixed broken holdings layer
    • 25/9/2013: version 0.6.4: fixed aerial-best, paths and holdings layers; expanded and renamed reference topo layers; updated vegetation layer to use v2 dataset.
  • 10/2/2014: version 0.7: added in-place updating of composite map svg; added manual DEM option for shaded relief layer; store intermediate vegetation layer; added qlmanage and PhantomJS options for rasterising; added online source for 90m SRTM elevation data; added ability to import georeference raster images; added SPOT5 vegetation source; for rotated maps, prevent download of tiles which don't fall within map extents; scaled labels better for small-scale maps; added option to use 20-metre contour intervals; added option to exclude layers from map.
    • 22/2/2014: version 0.7.1: used all tracks instead of just first when calculating bounds from a GPX/KML file; fixed bug preventing tiny maps from downloading; changed manner of specifying rendering options; added alternate source of basic contour/road/track/watercourse/label layers; reverted to flat layer structure for SVG file; changed HydroArea layer to perennial water areas only; changed to LPIMapLocal as default data source due to availability.
  • 3/7/2014: version 0.8: added RFS layers for stock dams and buildings; extracted various layer sources to external configuration files for greater flexibility; change way of specifying overlays; add ANC and water-drop icons for controls; add some SA and TAS map data sources.
    • 28/8/2014: version 0.8.1: change nsw/vegetation-2008-v2 woody vegetation colour; fix vegetation & relief rendering bug in Windows
    • 11/11/2014: version 0.8.2: add psd format output; fix bug in ArcGIS image servers; change to online source of 1-second SRTM relief data; apply median and bilateral filtering to shaded relief; fix label issues causing bad PhantomJS rasters; float vector label layers above feature layers.
  • 27/1/2015: version 1.0: major update with NSW topographic maps now available for all areas and TAS topographic and vegetation layers also available.
    • 28/1/2015: version 1.0.1: fix 'command line is too long' bug on Windows.
  • 1/8/2015: version 1.1: add features required for QLD maps; add version-checking; add TAS map features; fix some PhantomJS rendering bugs; misc tweaks/improvements/fixes.
    • 1/11/2015: version 1.1.1: add ability to render symbols for waypoint overlays; add fallback servers for unreliable map servers.
    • 13/11/2015: version 1.1.2: bugfixes for Windows and Ruby 1.9
    • 29/11/2015: version 1.1.3: bugfix for lambert conformal conic services
    • 13/12/2015: version 1.1.4: bugfix for Windows PhantomJS output
    • 5/2/2016: version 1.1.5: add template for NSW map sheets; update ACT server details; read gx:Track elements in KML files
    • 4/3/2016: version 1.1.6: bugfix for some changed NSW map servers
    • 18/6/2016: version 1.1.7: update NSW data sources
  • 22/8/2016: version 1.2: improve labeling quality and speed; update various map sources accordingly
    • 25/8/2016: version 1.2.1: bugfix for stack overflow
  • 23/9/2016: version 1.3: improvements to labelling algorithm; remove old NSW server references
  • 5/10/2016: version 1.4: further labelling improvements; break out code into multiple files
    • 2/11/2016: version 1.4.1: add Electron as rasterising option; add multi-point shaded relief option; miscellaneous small fixes and refactoring
  • 6/5/2017: version 1.5: calculate shaded relief from contour data instead of DEM; fix bug in rotated maps where shaded relief mask was not rotated; fix magnetic declination calculator; add mbtiles output format; improve Electron raster reliability (sorta)
  • 11/8/2018: version 1.6: fix bug with shaded relief when coastline is present; switch to Google Chrome as preferred rasterising method; more accurate font sizing when using Chrome; add ACT map source for 5-metre contours; numerous internal changes and fixes
    • 12/8/2018: version 1.6.1: Windows bugfix