Mountain High Maps Plus review
This double DVD set comprises the entire updated Mountain High Maps collection, a cornucopia of accurate charts, globes, textures and images on a variety of political, artistic and topographical themes. There are over 7,000 files on the Regular disc, with five bitmap and four vector files for each map, each at 300ppi resolution. These are fully editable and often include masks for land/ocean, coastlines, states, rivers, borders and other geographical data.
In addition, there are Photoshop path files for physical features and names, which you can drag on to the relevant map images. All city, town and feature names are in point text in all Illustrator files, with correctly justified origin points.
The Studio disc holds 675 files, but includes something a bit different: 3D globes in the form of U3D and FBX files. The former is compatible with Photoshop (CS3 onwards), able to be opened in the imaging application as 3D layers. The globes in FBX format take advantage of the standard for exchanging 3D objects and animation data between 3D applications like Maya or Strata 3D.
Textures for the maps are of two kinds, both rendered in equidistant cylindrical projection to easily map onto spherical objects. Those labelled PSC feature detailed terrain derived from elevation data, with colouring based on satellite imagery. The MHM textures are highly detailed 8,000 x 4,000 pixel maps that feature one of four colour schemes (elevation, vegetation, political or greyscale) and a cloud mask based on weather patterns.
Royalty-free images are a great timesaver, but there’s always the option of just shooting some photos yourself. This is not the case with maps, as few designers double up as cartographers. You probably won’t require everything in this collection, but it’s bound to come in handy.