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Creating A New Map

II. Creating A New Map. The process of creating a new map is different from the process of updating an existing map. The following steps will walk you through the process.

A. Exporting An SVG File. The first step in the process of creating a new cave map is to process the cave as you normally would in Compass. If there are loops in the cave and you probably want to close the cave so there are anomalies in the cave plot. Processing the cave will produce a "Plot" file with the extension "PLT". This file will for the basis of your exported file.

After the file has been processed, run the SVG Exporter and load the particular PLT file that you have just created. Click here: for a detailed tutorial on using the SVG Exporter here.

After you have loaded the PLT file, an image of the cave will appear in the center of the window.

The gray portion of the image shows the paper size and margin. The cave passages, plot lines, and everything else in the display shows an exact image of what will be exported in the SVG file.

At this point you should adjust position, size and rotation of the cave so it will work with the cave map you are planning to draw.

The details of all the options are beyond the scope of this tutorial, but you can click here for a complete tutorial. They are also described in detail in the SVG Export Tool's help files.

Once you are satisfied with the appearance of the map, export it to an SVG File by clicking on the "Export SVG" button just above the map display

B. Run Inkscape. If you have Inkscape installed, you should be able to double-click on the SVG file and Inkscape will load the file and display it. The result should look something like this:

C. Open the Layers Panel. An SVG drawing is organized into layers. The layers are very important to the map creation process and we will be working with them all through this tutorial. For this reason, we are going to start with a brief tutorial on layers

To view the available layers in a drawing, choose the "Layer -> Layers" options from the menu bar:

1. The Layers Panel. The Layers Panel will appear on the right side of the screen.

When you first display the panel, the layers will be confined to a small window at the top of the panel. It only allows you to see two layers, so you will need to expand the window.

  You can expand the window by dragging the "divider" that is barely visible just below the "opacity" control. Just move your mouse over the divider and the cursor will change as shown in the image to the right. Now hold down the mouse button and drag downward. The panel will expand revealing the full list of layers.

The panel should now look something like the image to the right. If you don't see all the layers, click the [+] plus sign to the left of the "svg4" layer and the full list will expand.

2. Organization.  Layers are used to organize a drawing. Each layer can contain one or more elements of the drawing. This allows you to group common objects in the same layer. For example, you could put all the passage walls on the same layer.

3. Control. The layers are also used  to control which parts of the drawing are visible and accessible during the drawing process. You can hide layers and make them invisible.

4. Lock. You can also lock and unlock layers. When a layer locked, you cannot select it or change it in any way. It is useful to lock certain layers while you are working so they cannot be accidently disturbed, moved or changed.

3. Predefined Layers. Finally, Compass makes special use of the layers. When the Exporter generates an SVG file, it creates a set of pre-defined layers.

Each predefined layer has a specific function. Some layers are empty and you can put anything you want in them. In other layers, the SVG Exporter deletes and replaces all the content, so you should never put any drawings or object in those layers. Finally, some layers are manipulated and adjusted by the exporter to track changes in that have occurred in the cave data.

Because each layer has a different purpose and is treated differently, it is important that you understand the functioning of the layers before you begin drawing you your cave map. In order for the layers to be adjusted properly and not deleted be delete by the exporter when it updates your data, it is important your drawings are placed in the correct layers. Click here for a detailed description of the layer system.


4. Controlling Layers. There are several tools in Inkscape that allow you to control the Layers in Inkscape.
The first tools is the Visibility Control. It is represented by a small "eye symbol" to the left of the layer. If the eye is open, the layer is visible. If the eye is closed, the layer is hidden. To change a layer from visible to invisible or vise versa, simply click on the eye.

The second tool is the Lock Control. It controls whether the items on the layer can be selected or modified. It represented by the small "padlock" to the left of the Layer. If the padlock is locked, the layer is locked. To lock or unlock the layer, simply click on the padlock.

5. Layer Hierarchy. Layers are hierarchical. That means you can have layers inside other layers. This gives you more precise control over particular parts of your drawing.  For example, locking the top layer will lock all sub layers, while locking a bottom layer only locks that specific layer. This allows you lock large sections of the drawing all at once, while still being able to control specific sub-categories.
If you see a plus sign [+] next to a layer, it indicates that there are sub-layers underneath that layer. To view those sub layers, click the [+] sign. It will change to a [-] sign and all the sub-layers will be displayed. Likewise, clicking on a [-] symbol will collapse the sub-layers so you only see the top layer.

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