Faint contour lines on USGS 7.5" layer

willmcw's Avatar


22 Jun, 2017 01:30 AM

The thin brown intermediate contour lines appear clearly on the screen. But when I go to Staples to print on a laser printer they disappear. The thicker index contour lines print legibly.

The only solution I can find is to export the maps as JPEG files and then use color replacement software to darken the lines. However that's tedious to do on multiple maps.

Does anyone have a better solution?

  1. Support Staff 1 Posted by matt on 22 Jun, 2017 03:25 PM

    matt's Avatar

    This is an issue for any map layer that 1) changes for each zoom level and 2) doesn't support custom scales, including OpenStreetMap - if you try to print an OSM map, all the streets and text will be really small because I shrink the map layers down to fit the PDF's scale. The only alternative would be to blow them up to the PDF's size, which would present a different set of issues.

    The only solution I have at the moment requires a paid pro-level membership. Add a custom MapBuilder layer with a transparent background and no features except contour lines. Because MapBuilder is redrawn at a custom scale for each PDF, the lines will be about the same width on the PDF as they are on the screen.

  2. 2 Posted by richelanders on 12 Apr, 2019 04:01 AM

    richelanders's Avatar

    I'm trying to use Open Street Maps base layer, which serves my needs for maps without topo lines, but the features such as trails are so light they fade out almost totally when I try to print from a pdf. Is there a way to darken the map information so it's readable in print?

  3. Support Staff 3 Posted by matt on 16 Apr, 2019 11:52 PM

    matt's Avatar

    No - that's just the way OSM's default maps are styled. MapBuilder, OpenCycleMap and TF Outdoors would all be options, but those contain topo lines. With a pro account, you can create custom MapBuilder layers without the contours or relief shading, but the roads will still be styled the way they are in MapBuilder Topo, not the way they are on OSM maps.

  4. System closed this discussion on 02 Oct, 2019 04:25 PM.

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