The printing features are overwhelming and seem very complex - what can I do?

How to make the most of the Printing features, and troubleshoot common problems.


When MyTopo acquired Terrain Navigator in 2008, we looked long and hard at the product to see what improvements could be made. We read through thousands of feature requests, and ones that occurred with greatest frequency were focused on expansion of the printing capabilities. Since we have a good deal of experience with printed topographic maps through our map services, we thought that we should try to re-design the printing features to include as many capabilities as possible, while retaining the ease-of-use that Terrain Navigator Pro is renown for.

This effort culminated in the release of version 8.6 of Terrain Navigator Pro in December of 2009. It contains, by far, the most advanced printing and publishing features ever assembled into a topographic map software product. These features have been further refined and improved since the initial 8.6 version, increasing compatibility and usability on a variety of printers and operating systems.

The new features are overwhelming. How do I use them?

We've attempted to make the new printing and publishing features as simple to use as possible. However, because the capabilities are so extensive, it is easy to be confused.

Here are two tips on how to get started:
We've put together a quick (silent) YouTube video that shows how the basic functions work.
You can see it at:
Once you have seen the video, most of the basic features should become apparent. (Note that this silent video references TNP version 8.6, but the concepts remain the same in TNP's current incarnation.)

At the top of the print window, there is a large Help button. Pressing this button will open the electronic documentation for the printing feature. You will find that there are 11 topics covering specific aspects of the printing capabilities. Each topic has been crafted to explain each feature, to help you get the most from Terrain Navigator Pro. (If you prefer a printed manual, you can access the .PDF manual for Terrain Navigator Pro, and look up the section "Printing and Publishing Maps".)

Is there any way to make it look like the "old" version?

While the new controls can not be reverted to their pre-version 8.6 configuration, you can produce the exact same print as was available previously. In fact, we've created two templates to help you do that.
To create an "old style" print:
1. Open the Print window.
2. Switch to the "Templates" tab.
3. Select either "Old Style Terrain Navigator Page" or "Old Style Terrain Navigator Page with Grid" and press Load.
4. Note the Preview area now appears like a map that was printed with an older version of Terrain Navigator (with the most popular options turned on.) Adjust these page blocks (if required.)
5. Press Print.

When I try to Print, I do not get the desired result. What's wrong?

First off, be sure you are running the latest version of Terrain Navigator Pro. We are always identifying and correcting various incompatible situations with specific printer brands, operating systems and video cards.
Click here for a link to the latest version of Terrain Navigator Pro

If the software updates do not correct the issue, you may be using an out-of-date or incompatible Video Display Driver, Printer Driver, or both. For instructions on how to update your Video Display Driver and Printer Driver, please see this knowledge base article.

I've updated the Terrain Navigator Pro software to the latest version, and I have updated both my Video Display drivers and Printer drivers. My prints are still not coming out correctly. What else can I try?

Locate the 'Imaging' option in the Printer/File tab of the Print window. This allows you to specify exactly how the 'images' for the printed page are to be constructed.

Basically, there are two ways you can create a printable page. You can use the computer's internal memory and processing to create it, or you can use the processing built into the printer (and its driver). Each method has its advantages and disadvantages.

When the computer's internal memory and processing is producing the printed page, the results are very uniform among printers - especially those that can not properly render certain types of overlays, leaving unexpected black blotches. However, some printers are not able to handle the large raster image that is produced - resulting in long delays in generating the final output. In a few cases, printers do not have enough memory to handle a hi-resolution raster image, which can result in a partial print, or no print at all.

If the printer (and its driver) is used for processing, the results may not be consistent between printers. However, in most cases, the printer and its driver know how to best optimize the map data to perform a speedy and accurate print. Unfortunately, in some cases, the driver has an incomplete implementation, and certain functions may not work as expected.

In Terrain Navigator Pro there is an option on how to image the printed page. Open the Printer/File tab and note the three options listed next to the Properties button: Image on PC (High DPI), Image on PC (Low DPI), and Image on Printer.

Which option should you choose will depend on your printer, your printer and video drivers, and some experimentation. In general, we have found that the 'Image on Printer' option gives the best results on most printers. However, some printer drivers do not support all of the imaging commands properly. This is especially apparent on Postscript printers (including any PDF creation software.) These symptoms include: areas of fills appearing solid or not filled at all, black blotches around GeoPins and street route labels, and various other annoyances. If you are experiencing any of these, try the 'Image on PC (High DPI)' option. If that fails (or your printer runs out of memory, or the print process is unacceptably slow) try 'Image on PC (Low DPI)'. While the quality may not be as high as possible, the page should now print.

When I attempt to manipulate an aerial photo in the Preview window, everything runs slow. Is there anything I can do to speed this up?

Having a real-time, accurate, print preview was the most often-requested feature of our customers prior to the version 8.6 release. On most types of maps (such as topographic maps) the screen should update quickly. With aerial photos, additional processing is required. This processing can delay the refreshing of the Preview.

If the processing seems unacceptably slow, be sure that you are using the latest version of Terrain Navigator Pro. For example, version 9.1 includes a number of improvements to the software to increase the speed of the Preview window.

If the latest version of Terrain Navigator Pro is performing sluggishly, it may be due to a damaged, incompatible, or out of date video display driver. For information on how to correct this, please see this knowlede base article.

If an updated video display driver does not alleviate the issue, then the photo(s) being printed may not be fully downloaded from the Internet - causing some performance delays. Use 'Copy Maps to hard Drive' under the File menu to copy the desired 1:12,000 aerial photos to the local PC. This may improve the processing required to generate the preview.

Also, be aware of the scale of the photo (as set in the Properties tab for the Map Page Block.) Since aerial photos are 1:12,000 scale, printing/previewing at the 1:12,000 scale will require less processing than at any other scale. Therefore, use the 1:12,000 scale for aerial photos whenever possible. Alternatively, you can lay out your printed page using a 1:24,000 scale topographic map (scaled to the desired size), then swap in the aerial photo (again using the Properties tab for the Map Page Block) before pressing the Print button.

Finally, please note that a significant amount of processing must take place to construct the printed map page. This processing occurs after the Print button is pressed. A thermometer will indicate "Performing Print/Export." Depending on the size of the area, Internet connection speed, and computer processing power, this operation could take less than a minute to many minutes. Know that this processing allows Terrain Navigator to create the highest quality print possible.

JustTrails Blog: Exporting Maps

Terrain Navigator Pro expert Dick Blust has a blog entry on getting started with publishing maps as JPG images. Read it at:

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