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Covered in this section:

The test data

In order to demonstrate the full functionality of Visual-tm a set of test data has been supplied. By default it is located in C:\Program Files\Peter Davidson Consultancy\Visual-tm\TestData.

This data is focused around a fictitious project in Kent. This project will be used throughout the tutorial to demonstrate most of the elements of Visual-tm’s functionality.

Analyse Test Data
Visual Transport Modeller includes sp-Analyse, which enables the coefficients for the Mode Choice software to be obtained from the results of stated preference surveys. The sp-Analyse program and associated test data are in the “AnalyseTestData” directory in the Visual-tm Test Data directory.

To use sp-Analyse in a project, copy the Analyse test data into the project. Further details are given in the Visual-tm manual.

This folder contains simple 20x20 matrices stored in a variety of formats used by other proprietary transport software suites.

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Opening an existing project

The installation will have created a program group called Peter Davidson Consultancy on your Start menu. Navigate to the program Visual-tm and select Launch Visual-tm.exe to open the software.

Opening and main screen for Visual-tm

This is the opening and main screen for Visual-tm. At the top of the screen is a menu bar. Initially the only option available on it is File.

The first stage is to open a project. Let’s begin by opening the Ashtest project. Click File/Open Project on the menu bar.

Open project dialogue box

As above, the Open Project dialogue box appears. Navigate to the location of the test data. By default this is C:\Program Files\Peter Davidson Consultancy\Visual-tm\TestData.

Select the Ashtest project and locate the TransportDatabase.pdc file. Select this and click Open.

After a few seconds (depending on the processing power of your computer), a graphical representation of the network will be built on the main form (shown below). The project is now open and ready to be used.

The Ashtest project

Project opening may be cancelled before it is complete by clicking on the display then pressing Escape.

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Viewing the network

Returning to the main form, you can see the road network displayed graphically by a series of red dots and lines. Each red dot depicts a node in the network; each line depicts a link between 2 nodes. The rail network is plotted in a similar way, with black squares for the nodes and black lines for the links. Also plotted is a background that shows the geographical location of the network.

All the menu items now appear at the top of the screen and we are ready to begin. Start by maximising the internal network display window. Firstly I will explain the tools on the toolbar.

There are 3 checkboxes which when activated have the following functions:

This allows the user to click and drag a square on the map. When the mouse button is released the map will zoom in to show the area of the square chosen. Try it. Using the left mouse button, click near an area of interest and drag.

Zooming box

See how the map zooms in when released (below).

A zoomed in view of the Ashtest project

You can click the Zoom 100% Zoom 100% button button on the toolbar to return to the original view.

The Zoom In Zoom In button and Zoom Out Zoom Out button buttons can be used to zoom in or out on the centre of the network.

Plot Curves
As you can see, the lines currently drawn on the map are straight lines. It is possible to create a curves file that shows the actual route of the roads. Select the Plot Curves checkbox and note how the links change. Only the centre of the Ashford Test data network (shown below) is set up to demonstrate this.

The centre of the Ashtest network with curves plotted

The Panning button enables the user to pan across the map at will. Highlight the Panning checkbox. Now zoom in on an area. Panning is now achieved by right clicking on the map and dragging in the direction you want the map to move. Try it. In a matter of minutes you should be very confident in moving around the map. The Zooming tick box must also be ticked for panning to work.

Below the toolbar an Easting and Northing co-ordinate are displayed. This is the position of the mouse cursor. As you move the mouse around the Easting and Northing values change. This is a useful tool when trying to locate a specific place on the map.

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Display options

The Mode Specification tab of the Display Options form is used to set the display options for each mode.

Display Options form - Mode Specification tab

The plot colours can be changed by clicking on them and selecting a new colour from the form that opens:


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Creating a new project

To create a new project, select New Project from the File menu.

New project dialogue box

As above, the Open New Project dialogue box appears. Navigate to the location you want your project to be in, type a name for it and click Open. The project structure will be created and a blank network display will open. The project is now ready to be used.

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