NIMAMUSE 2.1 Documentation


Welcome to the National Imagery and Mapping Agency's NIMAMUSE: NIMA MC&G Utility Software Environment, Version 2.1. NIMAMUSE is a self-contained set of computer programs and computer utilities designed to work with NIMA MC&G data and information. NIMAMUSE is designed to be loaded on to and run from several popular computers: IBM PCs running Windows, Sun, Hewlett-Packard and Silicon Graphics. NIMAMUSE installed on your computer and NIMA Digital Products is all you need to do digital cartography.

The documentation for NIMAMUSE is organized in three different levels:

The top level, 3 Cartographic Activities, is for new and experienced users of NIMAMUSE and NIMA digital data. The documents at this level present a high level look at how all of the NIMAMUSE Applications work together.

The next level, Introduction to NIMAMUSE Applications, is also for new and experienced users of NIMAMUSE, and contains individual presentations for each of the major NIMAMUSE Applications.

The documents in the Applications Users Guides level contain both detailed references for experienced users of NIMAMUSE and detailed hands-on tutorials for new users.

3 Cartographic Activities

NIMAMUSE provides new and experienced users with three distinct activities that can be performed with NIMA data. These 3 Cartographic Activities of NIMAMUSE are:

This NIMAMUSE documentation has full presentations for each of these 3 Cartographic Activities. Refer to any one of the corresponding documents listed above and you will be presented with the what, why and how of each activity.

Introduction to NIMAMUSE Applications

The above Cartographic Activities are supported by nine major application programs, listed here with their corresponding introductory documents:

The NIMAMUSE documentation has full presentations for each of these 9 major applications. Refer to any one of the corresponding documents listed above and you will be presented with the what, why and how of each application.

Applications Users Guides

In addition to the documents listed above, each NIMAMUSE application has its own Application Users Guide. These Users Guides are generally very detailed. Listed below are the corresponding users guide documents:

In most of the ten documents listed above, there are step-by-step tutorials included. You can refer to these tutorials on-line or print them out.

There is a group of other stand-alone applications included on the NIMAMUSE distribution that are considered to be "miscellaneous". You won't find them included in the many NIMAMUSE "data flow" diagrams, but they can perform a valuable support function to the major NIMAMUSE Cartographic Activities. Refer to Miscellaneous NIMAMUSE Applications, MNA.DOC, for descriptions and documentation of these programs.


NIMA Digital Data

The National Imagery and Mapping Agency produces and distributes Mapping, Charting and Geodesy (MC&G) products to the Armed Forces, and to all other national security operations. Among these products are paper maps and charts of many scales, printed aeronautical and nautical information, and geodetic and gravity data. Also included in the list of NIMA products are "digital data", which is MC&G information that is able to be read into and displayed on a computer. This digital data is information that has been previously portrayed on paper maps and printed lists , and that is now stored on computer readable media such as magnetic tape and CD-ROM. Two of the most common types of digital MC&G data are raster and vector. These two types are methods of representation, just like colored-ink-on-paper and printed-words-and-numbers-on-a-page are methods of representation.

Raster digital data is a rectangular picture of something made up of many tiny colored dots which, when viewed together, looks like a smooth, cohesive picture to the human eye. A television screen and a computer screen are good examples of a raster of colored dots which define a picture for the human eye. NIMA has converted many of its paper maps and charts into raster data so that they can be viewed on a computer screen. Also considered to be raster data is a regular, rectangular array of elevation data. Although individual elements of elevation data are not considered to be dots in a visual picture, this kind of data can be visualized in various ways so as to depict surfaces on the earth such as terrain and the ocean floor.

Vector digital data is a positional list of all of the cultural and physical features and objects of interest in a given area. When portrayed on a computer screen, all of the features and objects appear in the proper physical relationship to each other, but the actual appearance scheme -- color, shading, line weight, etc. -- can be altered and changed at any time. (For example, a road going through a particular area is represented by a series of coordinate points. To display it, your computer can visually connect the points with a solid black line. The next day, your computer could connect the points with an orange dotted line, or whatever display scheme you choose.) Vector data can also be organized to attach descriptive data to the coordinates (like road width and surface material).


You encouraged to explore the entire contents of the NIMAMUSE CD-ROM. In addition to the documents listed above, there is sample data, source code, and other miscellaneous information that may help you better understand and use NIMA digital data.

NIMAMUSE can be downloaded via Website "" . Send email to for login and password to the Website.