Tutorial Video Clips

About R2V

Our principle behind the development of R2V for Windows software is to implement a system for you to use quickly. The system is very straight forward and intuitive and anybody should be able to get started within 30 minutes. Of course, the best way to learn R2V is to use it. We suggest that you follow this section and go through all the steps with a demo image or your own image. (We assume the software has already been installed on your hard disk. If you have not done so, you should do it now).

R2V was developed using object-oriented technologies which makes the software highly efficient to process and manipulate both raster and vector data. It is important to have a good understanding of how different types of data, such as images, vector lines, points, control points, and text, are handled by the software and how they are generated, displayed, and saved to files. Each type of data, such as a raster image, lines, points, and text, are treated differently and each has their own set of processing and editing functions. Each data type can be stored in a separate file with different file formats.  For example, images are stored in TIFF or BMP format and vector lines are stored in ARC (*.ARC) and other vector file formats. Each data layer is also displayed as a graphical display layer, which can be toggled on and off using the functions under the View/Overlay menu.

In R2V, each vector data type is editable using their own editing functions under the Edit menu. For example, use the Edit/Line Editor to edit lines and polygons and the Edit/Point Editor to edit points. Once an editor for a data type is started, you are in that editing mode and you can do certain types of editing related to the data layer. You can exit or switch to another editor at any time. Raster images can be edited using the Image Pixel Tool options under the Image menu.

R2V supports the concept of layers, which is similar to the layer concept used by some GIS and CAD software packages, such as AutoCAD. The use of layers makes data creation and editing more flexible.  It is also a powerful way to get your data organized the same way as it was in the original map or drawing. A layer is a container for data items, such as lines, points, and text notes.

In R2V, a user can define as many layers as he needs and each layer has a name and other properties, such as a color. Layers can be created and modified using the Edit/Layer Define function. A layer can be turned on, off, or set as current. There must always be one current layer set at any time. All layers with an "on" status will be displayed in the image window provided the graphical overlay control is also set as "on". If you do not want some layers to be affected by some global post processing functions, you should turn these layers "off" . You can always turn them back on to view the data. Data can be moved or copied between layers using the Edit/Layer Manipulate function.

By default, R2V has a default layer with a name of zero (0). If you just need to vectorize some simple one layer maps, then you do not need to worry about layer definition. All data created will be in the default layer. If you need to use layers to organize your data, you should define the layers before you create your vector data. Define the layers using the Edit/Layer Define command or the tool button. Set a layer as current before putting data into it. When doing automatic vectorization or interactive tracing, all vector data generated will be put into the current layer.

When doing editing and vector processing, all layers currently turned on will be available to the functions. For layer sensitive functions, such as line snapping and polygon creation, R2V will use layer information to make sure lines and polygons are processed correctly. When exporting a vector file, all vectors in the "on" layers will be saved in the output file. If you need to export only one layer, you should turn all the other layers "off" and leave only one layer "on" for exporting. DXF export is an exception because it completely supports layers. When saving to a DXF file, all layers (on and off) are exported.

Step-By-Step Tutorial

Please follow the steps below to experiment with the software to have a better understanding of how data layers are handled and how easily you can get your raster image vectorized.

Step 1. Start the program by double clicking the R2V for Windows Icon.

Step 2. Open an image by selecting the File/Open Image or Project command. Specify the image file name (*.TIF or *.BMP) in the file open dialog box. The original image is displayed in the image window.

Step 3. Resize the Image Window by moving the mouse to the display window's border and dragging. The image is zoomed to its proper aspect ratio. Within the display you can zoom in and out by selecting a rectangle on the image and then pressing the F2 or the F3 key, respectively. The Arrow keys, Page Up and Page Down keys can be used to move the zoom window to a different portion of the image.

If the image is a 1-bit black and white image, you can change the display colors using View/Set Image Color.

If the image is a grayscale image, use the View/Image Contrast option to change the contrast display.

Image processing functions can be applied now to improve the quality for better vectorization results. For example, the Image/Smooth option can be applied to grayscale images and the Image/Despeckle function can be applied to monochrome images to remove image noise.

To change image orientation, you can use Vertical Flip, Horizontal Flip, Rotate (for any specified angle), Transpose (for 90 degree rotations), and Resize (to change the spatial resolution), all found under the Image Menu.

If you want to process only a portion of the image, you can use the Image/Crop Region option to keep only the selected image region and remove the rest, or use the Image/Region of Interest command. If your image is scanned at a very high resolution, you may use Image/Resize to down sample the image and make the size smaller for faster processing. If image processing functions have been applied to the image, you may want to save your image to a new file so the changes won't be lost.

For 1-bit monochrome or grayscale images, you can go to the next step to start the vectorization process.

If you are working with a color image, you may want to perform a classification first to clean up the image before vectorization. For some color images with noise pixels, you can use options under the Image/Image Pixel Tool menu to remove noise pixels using Map Pixel Values, or clean up unwanted pixels using Draw Pixel Value.

Step 4. If your image has all the same type of lines, for example, a map separate with only contour lines or a parcel map with only parcel boundaries, then you can vectorize it using Vector/Auto Vectorize.

If you need to create several layers to organize the vector data, you must define the layers to be used. Use the Edit/Layer Define command for this. After the layers are defined, select one layer as the current layer to store the vector data from the automatic vectorization or interactive tracing. When vectors have been generated for one layer, you can select another layer as current to create more vector data for it. It is recommended to leave only the layer you are using as the "current" or "on" layer and set all other layers to "off" so only the data in the current layer will be affected by the editing and processing functions.

If the scanned image is in good quality, you can use the fully automatic vectorization function by selecting Vector/Auto Vectorize. A dialog box appears to allow selections of vectorization parameters.  Select the "Start" button to start the vectorization process. The cursor becomes an hourglass when processing and returns to an arrow when done. The extracted lines will be displayed in the image window as green lines. Use the View/Overlay options to turn on and off some display items, such as Line Nodes, Line Ends, and Line IDs.

The color of the lines can be changed based on their layer definitions using the View/Line Color/Use Layer Color option or based on their IDs using the View/Line Color/Set Line Color By ID.

If the image is a complex one with many graphic layers or items mixed together, you may want to use R2V's interactive tracing functions to vectorize the image selectively. To start the interactive tracing mode, you need to be in the Line Editor (Edit/Line Editor). Once you are in the Line Editor, stay in the New Line editing mode by selecting that option from the main menu, tool bar, or the floating pop-up menu. Make sure Auto Trace is also selected. Simply click a starting point using the left mouse button, and then select the next point the same way along the line for the tracing function to follow. Use the "Backspace" key to remove the last point if a mistake is made. When the line is completed, press any key to finish. Repeat the above steps to trace other lines. If you need to trace lines for another layer, simply select the layer as "current" and then start the tracing process again.

If you want to trace lines as a group, for example, contour lines, the Multi-Line Trace under the Line Editor menu should be used. Select the Multi-Line Trace mode using the main menu, tool bar, or the floating pop-up menu. Draw a line using the left mouse button across the lines to be traced and the selected lines will be traced automatically by R2V. Repeat this step for other lines.

Step 5. Edit the detected lines using the Edit/Line Editor options and use the right mouse button to bring up the pop-up menu for editing options. The editing functions can also be accessed through the tool bars below the main menu. Within the Line Editor you can add new lines, add nodes, move nodes, delete nodes, split lines, delete lines, and delete all lines within a selected region or within the entire image. Lines can be labeled using the Edit/Line Editor/Assign ID option. Elevations of contours can be assigned using the "Label Contours" option under Line Editor. Various vector data post processing and display functions are available under the Vector menu.

If you need to create 3D terrain model, then use the "File/3D Data/Create 3D Grid or DEM" command to create a 3D model. It'll be displayed in a new window. To drape an image to the model, open the image, then use the "File/3D Data/Drape Image" command.

Step 6. To convert the generated vector data to a certain projection system, such as UTM, select control points by using Vector/Select Control Points. Select 4 or more control points and specify the destination coordinates. Note, the control points will not be applied to the vector data until the vector data is exported to a vector file. The registration is applied only when exporting vector data to a file. The raster image can be geo-referenced by creating an Image World File using the selected control points. Raster images can also be registered or geometrically corrected based on selected control points using the Image/Warp command.

Step 7. Use the File/Save Project command to save all your data to an R2V project file. If you have done all the processing and editing, you can save your vector data by selecting File/Export Vector. The generated vector data can be saved to Arc/Info (ARC), ArcView Shapefiles (SHP), MapInfo (MIF), XYZ (3D points file), DXF, and MapGuide SDL, SVG ( Scalable Vector Graphics) and other formats. When exporting to a certain vector file format, you will be prompted with options, including whether you want to apply the control points to the vector data, and what transformation method you want to use. Select the "Apply Control Points" box and the transformation method (Bi-Linear or Triangulation), and then export your data.

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