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Reprinted from Business Geographics

QuickScans Review - Mountain High Maps 2.1

Note: Earlier this year, Digital Wisdom released Version 4.0 for Mac a DVD set for $95. Upgrades from 1.0 to 2.5 are $45.

In a few hours you’re meeting a foreign business delegation well-seasoned in international commerce. Your presentation needs an impressive map graphic to take it over the top - a drop-dead map image for the opening PowerPoint slide would be great. Designed for graphics software packages, such as Photoshop and Illustrator the Mountain High Maps package can do the trick. Its detailed regional views of high-interest areas make it a worthy addition to your graphics library. This isn’t software or market analysis data - it’s the graphics in geographics.

Consisting of two discs featuring 74 textured, shaded relief maps, the package contains 39 global perspectives, available in grayscale, high-resolution (300 dpi) or low-resolution (72 dpi) images. The high-resolution images are perfect for imagesetter output, and the less memory intensive low-resolution images work well for experimentation and output to monitor based graphics.

A basic set of TIFF “masks” allowing easier, faster customization of land and seafloor are included for use with the high-resolution JPEG base map images. Yes, seafloor relief is included. There also are a few vector-graphic layered masks that provide country outline detailing major rivers and cities by name and location, primary latitude/longitude lines and a scale bar. Precolored political and vegetation maps also are included, decreasing the time required to create colorful maps.

To further enhance production several friendly cheat-sheets for each platform are available, as well as suggestions for map design development. An extra collection of globe animations in QuickTime and AVI also are available for Mac artisans.

If you have Adobe (preferably 64MB) and a little practice, you’ll soon have the entire office watching you create imagesetter or monitor-ready graphics in minutes. These images have numerous applications, including publishing, multimedia, communications, advertising, education and travel. Business geographers will find these images particularly useful when visually conveying small-scale geographic information.

Digital Wisdom’s staff put together a wonderful set of images to enhance your presentations. If you’re tired of boring, uninspiring graphics and wondering how to dress up your presentations with attention -getting maps, Mountain High Maps may be the panacea. Creative and entrepreneurial minds should be inspired by this product.

According to Digital Wisdom, new versions feature Adobe Illustrator and FreeHand paths that are pre-filled and closed, allowing quick, easy map modification by all skill levels. Both Mac and Windows versions will have an additional precolored map based on elevation, and animated globes will be included on the Windows CD-ROMs. Version 4.0 is greatly expanded toa DVD which may increase minimum operating requirements. Finally, when using any proprietary product, users are wise to inquire about usage restrictions.

MOUNTAIN HIGH MAPS 4.0

Strengths: Significantly fulfills an across-the-board demand for visually stimulating map bases.

Weaknesses: Memory intensive; additional masks would add to versatility; packaging needs a close edit; a bit pricey.

Reviewed by Stephan P Pollard, research specialist, Center for Advanced Spatial Technologies
12 Ozark Hall, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville AR 72701

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