On the map

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Ordnance SurveyÝs Print Services is benefiting from the latest print technology from HP to deliver excellent photographic quality for aerial photographs, crisp line drawings and smooth area fills with subtle tones.

Ordnance Survey has been providing accurate, reliable and detailed geographic information for more than 200 years. As Great BritainÝs national mapping agency, it provides the most accurate and up-to-date geographic data from complex digital information to traditional walking maps for Great Britain, relied on by government, business and the public.

Ordnance Survey offers a complete mapping process from flying over the country taking aerial photography, to shipping of the final, printed products through Ordnance Survey Print Services. Its modern and extensive in-plant facility at its headquarters in Southampton, allows Ordnance Survey Print Services to provide its clients with a one-source total solution.

Ordnance Survey originally invested in a HP DesignJet 5500 Printer from City and West End Solutions to play a critical role at Print Services, producing large-format proofs for production printing of maps on offset machines. The inkjet printer was used to print the map covers themselves on cardboard, printed 8 up on a carrier, showing a picture of the area covered by the map, and with a surrounding silver spot colour. The HP DesignJet 5500 was also extensively used for advertising material, from small A2 posters up to billboard, large wall displays for trade shows and for shorter print runs on resistant media for specific products, such as maps used in the field.

Although overall performance of the HP DesignJet 5500 Printer was satisfactory, when HP introduced the HP DesignJet Z6100 Printer, Ordnance Survey was eager to assess its impact on their map printing business.

Garry Heaton, Prepress Technical Business Officer at Ordnance Survey, describes how the new printer was an instant success. ýThe most obvious improvement using the new DesignJet Z6100 Printer is the speed of the machine. ItÝs much faster than the DesignJet 5500, and the quality is much better. The fast printing takes the sweat off coming up to deadlines for trade-show displays and other publicity material production.¯

Stand out image quality

Image quality is the critical area for map printing businesses. Printed images present a series of unique challenges, demanding range, clarity and precision for data-intensive mapping applications combined with photographic quality for aerial photographs, crisp line drawings and smooth area fills with subtle tones that can make all the difference.

Garry was delighted with the results from the new printer. ýThe outstanding print quality from the DesignJet Z6100 is a selling point for the map. There are people out there that buy maps because they just love maps. When the maps look that much better, our customers are that much happier.¯ The difference is marked he adds. ýWe have a series of touring maps where we highlight areas of Britain that are of a great interest to tourists. We put hill shadings on these, but on the DesignJet 5500 the shading didnÝt stand out very well. On the DesignJet Z6100 weÝve noticed a marked difference. Shading is much clearer and crisper. The image quality has improved immensely.¯


Thanks to original HP Vivera pigment inks, with the HP Three-black ink set (matte black, photo black, and light grey), the HP DesignJet Z6100 achieves millions of colour combinations across a wide colour gamut and across a wide range of media, producing a broad range of blacks and grey with smooth, subtle transitions, true grey neutrality, and rich black density. Garry claims the image quality compared to the old printer has greatly improved. ýFor a trade show we laid lots of display images out on a black background, and on the DesignJet Z6100 we got much more depth of colour, a denser black, and much more vivid colours than on the DesignJet 5500.¯

Printed to last in the field

Original HP Vivera pigment inks deliver an unmatched combination of outstanding photo-image quality, water resistance, and exceptional fade resistance for over 200 years (for interior displays away from direct sunlight). The HP DesignJet Z6100 Printer inks also dry much quicker than on the old printer. The improved resistance and shorter drying times also help avoid damaging prints from handling and accelerate finishing processes. In combination with the new HP Vivera pigment ink durability, Garry says this is a major time-saver and allows them to produce maps that can be used in the field. ýPrints on plastic-like material from the Designjet 5500 would take quite a while to dry. On the DesignJet Z6100, itÝs a lot quicker.¯ He adds, ýChanging from dye-based inks to UV inks on the DesignJet 5500 was a bit time consuming, but with the DesignJet Z6100 a job comes in for display purposes and thereÝs no problem. With just one ink set for everything all prints are long-lasting so we just go straight ahead and print the job.¯

Garry is also extremely satisfied that colour accuracy and consistency are no longer a trial and error process with the HP Designjet Z6100 Printer, saving time and eliminating waste. ýUsing the DesignJet 5500, we had to alter colour profiles a number of times before we got a print that was not oversaturated in the dark areas – we were wasting time and material there. On the new DesignJet Z6100 the ink density and colours are fantastic first time off. ItÝs perfect from the word go.¯ Their confidence in the reliability and colour accuracy has never been higher. ýEvery map is folded and contained in an individual cardboard cover with a picture of the area concerned surrounded by a spot colour, silver. The DesignJet Z6100 gives us the outstanding image quality we are looking for, with accurate colours straight off.¯

Maximising resources

Saving time, maximizing efficiency and minimizing waste are recurring themes for Ordnance Survey Print Services, and according to Garry Heaton the HP Designjet Z6100 Printer optimises productivity and resource utilisation in every area. ýOur Designjet Z6100 is going all day, every day. We havenÝt had to change a cartridge yet. TheyÝre much larger and the ink usage is a lot more efficient than on the DesignJet 5500.¯ The large-capacity ink cartridges combined with long HP rolls, give Ordnance Survey added confidence in trouble-free overnight printing runs. ýWe were printing old mapping, 150 or 200 years old, originally hand drawn, covering the country. The DesignJet Z6100 had a long roll of paper loaded, so we left it to print overnight. The maps looked stunning when we came in the morning.¯

The outstanding quality and range of media designed with the HP Original Vivera pigment inks, give Ordnance Survey greater peace of mind to explore innovative GIS printing applications. ýThe DesignJet Z6100 has opened up the possibility for us to experiment with different material while always getting accurate colours. We produced a series of 40 aerial photographs on photo paper along with corresponding drawn maps on transparent paper. The drawings sat over the photos to highlight changes on the ground. Our customers were very pleased. It was probably the first time theyÝd had something like that done,¯ confirms Garry.

Expressing professionalism

The HP Designjet Z6100 Printer has truly transformed GIS printing capabilities at Ordnance Survey Print Services, allowing them to work more effectively with increased confidence, improving their productivity and streamlining their workflow. Garry concludes, ýJob turnaround with the DesignJet Z6100 is much faster compared to our previous printer, giving us more confidence on tight product schedules. Our workflow is now quicker and simpler, and there is no trial and error. The printer efficiency is impressive, saving us time and materials.¯