While NexStorm offers support for self-made background maps in Windows BMP format most of out users opt for our proprietary Composite Vector Map format, or CVM for short.

Vector... huh?
A vector is essentially a pair of graphic X/Y coordinates. Utilizing vector graphics a map can be scaled to virtually any size without image quality loss. This is in contrast to raster based images (such as the Windows bitmap format, BMP) which are composed of pixels. Zooming in on a raster image will cause the image to become pixelated and the more you zoom in the worse it will get.

A vector map, on the other hand, redraws itself when zooming in which means there is no graphics quality loss whatsoever!

Vector maps are extensively used in professional GIS software (Geographic Information Systems). The Astrogenic CVM format was specifically designed for use in NexStorm and has been optimized to provide the best possible geographical resolution-to-performance ratio.

A single CVM file contains map data for all possible NexStorm zoom levels, hence "Composite". You can change outline and fill colors of the included geographical features such as roads, lakes and borders.

Vector map configuration dialog

• A CVM map will save you a lot of time, headaches and frustration that comes with trying to make your own map. The CVM is custom made and projected for your latitude and longitude which means distance and angular errors are minimized.

• With NexStorm and a CVM you can export the map to PNG images which can then be used in other applications. NexStorm's Map snapshot feature can create map images of arbitrary dimensions. For each exported map image there is also a separate XML file generated which contains geographical border coordinates. This information is vital if you ever plan on using your exported maps in other geo-aware applications.

Northern Europe at 1000km/750mi zoom. Exported size 310x310 pixels

Excerpt from Map snapshot XML file

• Using NexStorm's Place layer feature you can add points of interest to your map. Populating your map with additional information such as cities, airports and landmarks is easily done through a text file which is loaded into NexStorm.

Place layer enabled showing major cities at 500km/310mi zoom

The Place layer is zoom sensitive, meaning you can configure it to show more details as the zoom increases.

Place layer with more details shown in 200km/124mi zoom

• Last but not least, it just looks great. Finding a map or making your own with just the right amount of geographical details can be extremely difficult and time consuming. The CVM is both feature and color balanced so that the critical information - detected lightning plots - is not overshadowed by an overly flashy map.

NOTE! The CVM format is fully compatible with NexStorm Lite. The Place layer and Map snapshot discussed on this page are software specific features which are not available in the Lite edition.

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