I really like Xfig - the Linux/Unix X11 drawing program.
It generates compact PostScript and PDF
It understands printers bigger than letter-size
it has an easy-to-understand ASCII datafile
I have used Xfig for all sorts of things - viewgraphs, scaled architectural
drawings, party invitations. Also for some less usual applications.
Gerber format is used for printed circuit boards. Originally driven by
paper tape, an aperture wheel with 24 different shapes would be imaged onto
a big sheet of photographic film and either "flashed" - literally - to make
a single circle, square etc. or lit and moved to draw lines. Nowadays it's
all done with lasers and files off the net or email. Design used to
be done on Unix workstations with (very) expensive software, now it's
mostly PCs running Windows for small jobs. I'd written odd
utilities in the past to plot Gerber files on a pen plotter, so I adapted one
to convert Gerber to Fig. This lets you view a multilayer circuit board.
Then I thought maybe I can create Gerber from Fig - it supports layers
and library elements, as do real PCB design tools. There is no
concept of connectivity or design rule checking, though, so it would only be
suitable for very small projects. I subsequently found some (free) real PCB
tools for Linux.
I have some applications using the HTML imagemap method to pass
position data to a CGI program. Originally I used Thomas Boutell's
mapedit program, but I had trouble compiling and running the old code
under newer Linux, and the new Java version didn't easily do what
I want - it insists on an HTML file first - and it's not free. So, another
Fig program. This makes NCSA imagemap server-side files from Fig
rectangles, circles and polygons. If you place a 1:1 scale image
at (0,0) the pixels will line up, so just draw shapes on top of
the image. The URL comes from the comment in the shape - edit them
after drawing. Adaptable to generate client-side HTML I guess.
- Now client-side maps generated, too. Note that fig2dev
already generates client-side maps with a slightly different comment
format, using the whole Fig region (assuming it's converted to .GIF).
If there are no elements outside the
picture object, then this will probably come to the same thing, and
fig2dev is preferred (it does ellipses, too). I hadn't realized this
when I wrote fig2map, or I might have written an html-map to NCSA map
My daughter uses Xfig as a word processor. Weird, eh?.
txt2fig takes a Unix ASCII file (with linefeeds) and converts it
to a block of Fig text in a selected font. It can then be merged,
scaled, moved etc. in a Fig document.
pstoedit by Wolfgang Glunz will convert a PostScript file to
Fig (and other formats) so that it may be easily edited.
Google Satellite Images
Google Maps satellite images (and maps)
are made of square tiles. If these are collected (from a browser cache, or
from downloading), they can be fitted together like a jigsaw.
Normally, 16 tiles are displayed on the screen. Using these utilities,
you can assemble a much larger number (over 500) into a big image for printing.
You can also trace over satellite images in Xfig and make highly accurate maps.
kh2html.pl generate an HTML map
around UBC, Vancouver, Canada. Co-ordinates are hard-coded into the
script and must be adjusted for other areas.
sat2fig.pl read the HTML produced by
"kh2html.pl 1" (i.e. with newlines between tiles), and generate
a Fig file with embedded image tiles, which can be printed on
a large-format printer.
getmaptile.pl download map tiles
from URL list in Firefox "show page info"
tilematch.pl assemble tiles into a Fig
file by optically matching up edges (*new Aug 2007*)
fig2ozi convert a Fig map to Ozi files as used
(Windows utility to create/edit Garmin GPS maps)
(Google images are copyright and may not be used for commercial purposes.
Canadian copyright law allows a user to make one copy of documents
for research or personal use - but you can't make copies for all your friends,
track2fig generate Fig file from Garmin GPS
TSV track file (export as text)
NetStumbler is a Windows application
for mapping and recording WLAN signal strength and access point locations.
It can export a TSV file; additionally the native file format
is documented here.
ns12fig generate a Fig file from a netstumbler
data file directly
ns12tsv generate a netstumbler TSV file from
a netstumbler binary data file
ns1tsv2fig generate a Fig file from a
netstumbler TSV file
It would seem pointless to use ns12tsv when netstumbler will generate
TSV directly; however, with a large number of NS1 files it was easier to
mount the FAT partition under Linux and script the conversion rather than
do it manually click-by-click under Windows.
Also, it is useful to combine multiple files to find the best signal
for each access point. TSV files can just be concatenated, whereas
NS1 files would have to be read individually and intermediate data stored