RoseLine Help

RoseLine FAQ
RoseLine Help
Fun Stuff
RoseLine WA
RoseLine OR
Press Release 1/11


bulletRead me first if you read nothing else
bulletHow to use RoseLine maps in the wild
bulletAbout your maps
bulletAbout Visibility
bullet Determining what peaks are visible from a location - an overview
bullet Determining what peaks are visible from a location - details
bullet The Viewpoint List - Choosing your viewpoint
bulletThe Visible Targets List
bulletGenerating output
bulletCreating Google based maps
bulletCreating text files - lists of peaks and stats
bullet Creating maps with the National Geographic TOPO program
bulletCreating GPX output
bulletCreating CSV files
bulletUsing filters
bulletReset Filters button
bulletReset filters for each new panorama
bullet Restore filters at program startup
bulletLimit display to nn best peaks
bulletDistance filters
bulletHeading filter
bullet"Naked eye vs Binoculars" filter
bulletProminence filter
bulletCreate a custom viewpoint
bulletGet info Here
bulletSystem requirements to install and run
bulletLimitations, restrictions, etc.
bulletCoordinates and Statistics
bulletPeak names
bulletTips and Tricks

Read me first if you read nothing else

If you are pretty computer savvy and don't like reading manuals, here are the minimal sections to read. The rest you should be able to figure out on your own:   

bulletAbout your maps
bullet Determining what peaks are visible from a location - an overview
bulletCreate a custom viewpoint
bulletHow to use RoseLine maps in the wild
bulletTips and Tricks

You might also skim the " Fun Stuff" page. It will give you a good idea of the kinds of things you can do with the program.


bulletRose Line : a line of sight, drawn on a map in red from a viewpoint to a visible target. It is also a name for the meridian that passes through Paris, featured prominently in the novel "The Da Vinci Code".
bulletFilter : devices with which the user can control or limit what targets are included in the Visible Targets list - for instance, the heading filter could be used to limit the list to only those peaks east of a viewpoint.
bulletViewpoint : is any place for which you are interested in knowing what peaks are visible. Most viewpoints in the program are summits but you can create custom viewpoints anywhere (top of the Space Needle, your living room window, the false summit of Mt Adams, etc.).
bulletTarget : is a point visible from a viewpoint. This will usually be the summit of a named mountain but can also be a custom viewpoint that you create which could be anywhere (a pass, the top of a building, a rest stop, etc.)
bulletVertical angle and prominence score - vertical angle is the measurement in degrees of how far a target sticks up from its surroundings. The prominence score is derived from this value and weighted for taller peaks that are farther away. The prominence score is used to determine which Visible Targets are "best"
bulletHeading : is always the angle of view from a viewpoint to target, in degrees from true north.

How to use RoseLine maps in the wild

In the wild and on your maps it's easy to be overwhelmed by too much, too many peaks, too much data. So almost all these tips involve ways to limit the complexity of your maps and put the focus on the peaks you are interested in.  Note that some of these suggestions only apply if you own and have installed the National Geographic TOPO mapping program.

bulletUse the "Limit view to nn best peaks" filter. No matter how you set the other filter settings it's a good idea to keep the peak total below 50 to avoid overwhelm. (Note that the Google map does have a technical limit of 50 peaks but the Topo program if you own it, can display a much larger peak count.
bulletIf you really want a Google based map that has say 100 peaks you can create that as two maps of 50 each. Use the Heading filter to limit one map to only northerly peaks (270 to 90 degrees) and the other to southerly peaks (90 to 270 degrees).
bulletFor Google based maps it's useful to print the map on one side of a piece of paper and print the peak list on the other. If you want to do this for TOPO program maps you have to generate the peak list separately - choose Text as your "Output Format" and press the "Generate Output" button.
bulletOften a whole section of view is not of interest. Use the Heading filter to exclude that area completely.
bulletUse the navigation, cropping and zoom controls on the Google based map to create the map that suits your interests
bulletIn the TOPO program you can create labels and place them near the Rose Lines making peaks easier to identify.
bulletA useful trick to remember is that the face of the full moon is one half degree. You can print peak lists that include the heading angle from the viewpoint and the vertical angle (how much the peak sticks up).  Being able to estimate distances and elevations in degrees will help identify peaks on the map.
bulletSometimes it's useful to use the heading filter to limit a map to a narrow swath say 10-20 degrees. Leave the "Limit view to nn best peaks" filter set to approximately 40. This will be a lot of peaks in a small area but you can sometime create a more useful map with the viewpoint in one corner and the Rose Lines using the rest of the paper.

About your maps

The main thing to understand about your maps is that although the data for the map is calculated on your local computer, the actual map is created on the web and displayed as a web page in your internet browser. By default when you create a new map on the web it replaces the the memory and the data of the previous map.  Also, if you don't access the data for about an hour the map and it's data are deleted.

In this sense, your map is a temporary thing: If it's data isn't replaced by the next map you create then it is freed by the web server about an hour after it was created.

In the Full version of the program there is a checkbox labeled "Make this map permanent". This causes your map and its data to be saved on the web site. When you create a "permanent" map you are creating a web page and so you must create a favorite/bookmark in your browser or else you won't be able to find the web page.

You must manage the links to your maps or else you will lose the ability to reference them. The program and the website does not currently have a way to organize your maps for you. Note - You can also manage your maps by cut/pasting the web addresses of your maps to your desktop, file system or emails.

About Visibility

In a program dedicated to helping you identify what you can see in the mountains much of what is actually visible depends on the weather conditions. Colder weather can produce dense, still air and crystal clear viewing conditions. Warm summer air is often turbulent and hazy. Certain air conditions can actually cause distant features to appear to rise by refraction while the curvature of the earth make them appear to fall.

Be aware that the program produces it's data based on ideal viewing conditions. Your mileage may vary.

Determining what peaks are visible from a location - an overview

Here is a quick list of steps for the computer savvy user - how to see what peaks are visible and generate a map:

  1. Start the RoseLine program on your local computer (you must be connected to the web)
  2. Type the name of a peak in the box labeled "Enter Viewpoint" - as you type, the box below will display a list of peaks with names that match what you have typed. When you see your peak in the list, select it.
  3. Click the "Show names of visible summits" button
  4. The 40 "best" visible peaks will be displayed in the Targets Visible list.
  5. Where it says "choose output format", select "Google based map" and click the Generate button.
  6. Your map will appear in your browser window.

Extra credit:

  1. explore the Visible Targets list by clicking on the headers to sort the data
  2. explore the Visible Targets by playing with the various filters
  3. use the Reset Filters button to put the filters back to their original setting
  4. use the navigation buttons on the map to explore

Determining what peaks are visible from a location - details

The Viewpoint List - Choosing your viewpoint

The first step to creating a map or finding out what targets are visible from a viewpoint, is to choose the viewpoint. The viewpoint list contains the names of every peak in the state known to the USGS. It also contains a number of predefined custom viewpoints and you can create your own custom viewpoints as well. The viewpoints are sorted alphabetically with "Mount XYZ" listed under "M" and "The Pinnacles" listed under "T". Note that there are lots of peaks with duplicate names - when this occurs, the peak name has it's state and county appended to the name. If that still isn't unique then we append "_1" and "_2" to the names.

Select an entry in the list by clicking it or type the name of a peak in the "Enter Viewpoint" box. As you type, the viewpoint list will only show entries that match what you've typed. With a little practice you can find peaks in just a few keystrokes even when you are unfamiliar with their name.

The Visible Targets List

After you select a viewpoint and press the "Show Names of Visible Summits" button the program will generate the list of all visible targets. The peaks that are actually displayed in the list depend on the settings of several filters. The default setting is to display the 40 best peaks where "best" generally means "most prominent".

The list displays some data for each entry:

bulletElevation of the entry in feet
bulletType: MTN=mountain, RDG=ridge, CLF=cliff, WTR=water or ocean feature, etc.
bulletProminence: this is a score that defines the "best" targets - that is the ones that are most prominent. Specifically it is derived from the "vertical angle" value (see below) and weighted for taller peaks in the distance. I high number means that the peak stands out amongst its surroundings. A low number means that the peak is not very tall and/or you can only see a bit of the top and the rest is obscured by foreground peaks.
bulletDistance: The distance in miles from the viewpoint to the target
bulletAngle: This is the vertical angle as seen from the viewpoint from the top of the target to where the base of that target is obscured by it's surroundings. A tip is to remember that the face of the moon is one half degree. A large number in this in this column means that the peak sticks up more than others.
bulletHeading: This is the compass heading in degrees from the viewpoint to the target
bulletRegion: This is the state (or province) where the peak is located (WA, OR, BC, ID, CA, etc.) or "USER" if the entry is a user defined custom viewpoint.

Note that you can click on the headers of the Visible Targets list and it will sort the list by that column. Click once and it sorts ascending. Click again and it sorts descending.

Note that no peaks under 3500 feet are included in the Visible Targets list.

Generating output

Once you have generated a list of Visible Targets you can select an Output Format (click the down arrow in the "Choose Output Format" box.  The options currently available are:

bulletGoogle Based Map - this generates a map in a format used by Google Maps and displays that map in your internet browser.
bulletTPO File - this generates a map in the format used by the National Geographic TOPO program and starts the program.
bulletText File - this generates a text file containing the same information as the Visible Targets list and displays it in Notepad.
bulletCSV File - this generates a comma separated value (CSV) file suitable to read into a spreadsheet or other application.

Creating Google based maps

Select "Google Maps" in the box labeled "Choose output format".

The first thing to remember about your Google based map is that it is created on the RoseLineMaps server as a temporary web page. When you generate a new map it clobbers the previous one and if you don't access the map for about an hour, the data is deleted from the server and you will see a message that the map has expired.

If you check the checkbox labeled "make this map permanent" your Google map will be saved but like any web page you must make a favorite/bookmark to remember how to get back to it.

You can use the navigation controls on the map to adjust the position, cropping and zoom. If you've created a permanent map there will be a "Save this map" button which will re-save any changes you make.

The map is limited to a maximum of 50 targets which are displayed as Rose Lines emanating from your viewpoint to each target. As you hover the mouse over a Rose Line you'll see the name of the peak and some information ( [E]levation, [D]istance from viewpoint to target, [VA]vertical angle, [H]eading in degrees from viewpoint to target (true north).

Creating maps with the National Geographic TOPO program

If you have the TOPO program installed you can use RoseLine to generate maps that you can display in that program. After you have created a list of visible targets from some viewpoint, click on arrow in the box labeled "Choose Output Format". Select TOPO. When you press the Generate button, it will open the TOPO program showing you the Rose Lines from your viewpoint to the targets in your Visible Targets list. Note - in new versions of TOPO it will open the map showing your viewpoint but older versions will require you to navigate to your viewpoint. This is a limitation of the TOPO program.

Note, once you've created a map in TOPO that contains a set of Rose Lines you can do some interesting stuff.  You can delete individual lines that either clutter your map or just aren't of interest to you (select the "route tool" and then right click on the red line, choose delete). You can right click a Rose Line and customize it - change the color, appearance or add a label.

A cool thing you can do is create a profile of an individual Rose Line. This lets you see all the intervening mountains and elevation changes between the viewpoint and the target.

Creating GPX Output

Once you have created a list of visible targets for your viewpoint you can output that list and its statistics to a GPX file. The GPX file format is a standard way to transfer map characteristic to most GPS programs. There are two forms: In the "Choose output format" select "GPX waypoint file" to output the target peaks as individual waypoints. Select "GPX route file" to create a file that contains a route from the viewpoint to each target resulting in a burst of rays from the viewpoint to each visible peak.

Creating text files - lists of peaks and stats

Select "Google Maps" in the box labeled "Choose output format".

The text file will contain the same data displayed in the Visible Targets list. It will be sort the same as well. The text file that is generated will be opened in your default application for files with the .TXT extension - usually this is Notepad. If you select a non-proportional font the data will be displayed in nice columns.

Creating CSV files

CSV Output files can be read into spreadsheet and other applications.
The columns are defined:

  1. The name of the peak
  2. Elevation (integer) in feet
  3. Heading (2 decimals) in degrees true north
  4. Distance in miles (2 decimals)
  5. Vertical angle representing the amount of vertical relief visible to the viewpoint
  6. Region - the 2 char state/province designator (WA, OR, ID, BC etc.) or USER for a custom viewpoint

Using Filters

When the RoseLine program calculates which peaks are visible, it calculates ALL the visible peaks whether it shows them to you or not. Often there are hundreds of visible peaks, many or most of which aren't of any interest and at worst can be thoroughly overwhelming. The filter help you specify which peaks you are interested in seeing.

By default the filters are set to show you the 40 most prominent visible peaks.

When you generate an output map or data file the data that is included will be the peaks displayed as filtered by the current settings.

Remember that the Google based map has a limit of 50 targets.

Reset Filters button

This is the most important filter button. When you are experimenting with the various filters it's easy sometimes get too much data or not enough and not know why. Press the Reset Filter button to return to the default display of the 40 most prominent visible peaks.

Reset filters for each new panorama

If this box is checked, then every time you generate a new Visible Targets list it will start out with the default filter settings: the 40 most prominent visible peaks. If it is unchecked, then the filter setting will remain unchanged. 

Restore filters at program startup

If you have a favorite filter setting that you always like to use, check this option and whenever you start the program it will be initialized with the current filter setting.

Limit display to nn best peaks

This is the easiest filter setting to use. It simply controls the number of peaks displayed and always shows the "best" where "best" means they have the highest prominence score.

Distance filters

The distance filter has two parts and limits the peaks being displayed to a particular distance range from the viewpoint. It will display "List only targets within nn miles" and farther than mm miles". Use the arrows next to these boxes to change their values.

Heading filter

The heading filter is very useful when you would like to limit the peaks being displayed to those in a particular direction or alternatively you're not interested in the peaks in a particular direction.  Either way, if you check "Enable Heading Filter" and then use the arrow buttons to set the two headings (in degrees) it will only display peaks between the two headings (clockwise from the first to the second).

"Naked eye vs Binoculars" filter

Normally "Naked eye" is checked and the peaks listed all will have a certain minimal prominence. This means that they stick up a certain minimal amount. If you are planning on using optical help like binoculars then check that filter and the program will remove that limitation.

If you want to simply see all the peaks there are, then uncheck the "Limit display to nn best peaks" and check "binoculars".

Prominence Filter

The  prominence filter is only enabled when you uncheck the "Limit display to nn best peaks" checkbox.  Click the up/down arrows to adjust the value and only peaks with a prominence score higher than the filter will actually be displayed.

Create a custom viewpoint

Why create a custom viewpoint:
Note that a custom viewpoint can serve as both a viewpoint and a target.)

bulletThe program viewpoint list contains a comprehensive list of peaks for your state but often you aren't hiking to a summit or there are interesting viewpoints on the way to the top.
bulletYou want to figure out what are the peaks visible from your friends living room or the top of the space needle or your favorite park.
bulletThe program will not list minor summits in the Visible Targets list that are less than 3500 feet but custom viewpoints are not subject to this limitation. You can create custom viewpoints on the smaller summits and they will show up in the Visible Targets list.

Creating a custom viewpoint:

bulletFirst you must determine the latitude and longitude of your location of interest
bulletThe easiest way to do this is in Google maps.
bulletNavigate to your viewpoint
bulletZoom in as far as possible to that you can be very accurate (this is important!)
bulletRight click your viewpoint location and choose "What's here?"
bulletGoogle will display the latitude and longitude of your viewpoint in the Google search box
bulletIn the RoseLine program, click the "Create a Custom Viewpoint" button and a little window will appear.
bulletGive your waypoint a unique name and remember that lower case names sorts after upper case names.
bulletCut and paste the latitude and longitude from the previous steps into the window
bulletYou can supply an optional elevation. If it is lower than the corresponding elevation in the elevation data base, then the value will be raised accordingly. If it is higher, it will be left with the higher value. If you supply no elevation, we use the value from the elevation data base.
bulletPress the Create button to complete the creation of your custom viewpoint

You can also use this window to delete custom viewpoints and press the Cancel button to undo any changes you've made.

Now that you've created your custom viewpoint, type the name in the "enter viewpoint" box and you'll see it appear below. Select it and press the Show Names of Visible Summits button to see the targets that are visible from your custom viewpoint.

Get Info Here

In the upper left corner of the program window is a m enu labeled "Get Info Here". It contains the following entries:

bulletVisit our website - links to the home page
bulletView the help - links to this help page
bulletAbout RoseLine - displays the RoseLine product version number, copyright, your user ID and your registration number
bulletUpgrade your product - link to a page where you can upgrade to the full version of the RoseLine product
bulletView the FAQ - link to the Frequently Asked Questions list
bulletView the RoseLine Fun page - link to a page with lots of fun things you can discover with this program.
bulletCheck for Updates - link to a page with information about avail program updates

Help button

The help button opens this help page in your browser.


System requirements to install and run

in order to run the RoseLine program you must have:

bulletMS Windows - Vista, Window 7, XP, Win 98, Win 95, Win ME, NT, Win 2000
bulletThis program will NOT run on a Mac.
bulletA live internet connection
bulletApproximately 130 MB of free hard drive memory

Limitations, Restrictions, etc.

bulletWeb technicalities limit the number of targets that can be displayed on a Google map to 50.
bulletGoogle limits their map size to 640 x 640 pixels or less. The RoseLine program limits the smallest map to 200 x 200.
bulletGoogle maps have zoom levels of 1 - 17 though some areas may support less
bulletGoogle also limits the number of maps it will generate for you to approx 1000 per day. Their documentation says they don't count multiple requests for the same map but it's not clear what they mean by "the same map". If you exceed your limit you'll see an icon with an 'X' through it.
bulletMountains with elevations below 3500 feet are not considered potential visible targets. Custom viewpoints are exempt from this limitation.
bulletWhen generating a map for National Geographic TOPO, older versions of the TOPO program will open the map but require you to navigate to your viewpoint. Newer versions of TOPO open the map at your viewpoint. This is a limitation of the TOPO program.

Coordinates and Statistics

bulletLatitude and longitude are displayed in decimal degrees, ie latitude/longitude = 46.324, 122.642. the longitude is assumed to be in the western hemisphere.
bulletHeadings are in degrees (0.00 - 360.00) using true north.
bulletElevations are in feet.
bulletDistances are in miles
bulletThe datum used is the North American Datum of 1983 (NAD83)
bulletElevation data and peak names are all derived from USGS public domain information
bulletThere is currently no support for magnetic north.
bulletThere is currently no support for metric measurements

Peak names

In the viewpoint selection box (and Visible Targets list) names are sorted alphabetically on what is considered the "full" name as given by the USGS. Names that start with "mount" (Mount Saint Helens) are alphabetically listed under 'M'. Names that start with "the" (The Pinnacles) are alphabetically listed under 'T'. The sort is case sensitive with capitalized names preceding lower case names.

Abbreviations are always spelled out such as "Saint" in "Mount Saint Helens".

Tips and Tricks

bulletThe "vertical angle" statistic can be very useful in distinguishing side by side peaks. It's very helpful to remember that the face of the full moon is one half degree.
bulletIf you don't know how to spell the name of your viewpoint of interest you can type part of the name in the box labeled "Enter Viewpoint". As you type the program will only display peak names in the viewpoint list that have matches to what you have already typed. Try different spellings. Usually the viewpoint list will quickly contain only a few potential matches and it will be easy to find the one you are looking for.


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