When it comes to printing Geographical Information Systems (GIS), the HP DesignJet Z6 24-Inch Postscript Printer is not the first one from HP and probably not the last.
The HP DesignJet T1700 printers that were introduced earlier this year were marketed as the most secure large format printers for this type of printing. What makes the DesignJet Z6 different, however, is the fact that it is designed specifically for GIS users and creators. It also presents a superb choice for large format prints that are resistant to water and fading.
But does the HP DesignJet Z6 24-Inch Postscript Printer really meet printing needs for GIS mapping?
The answer lies on whether or not the printer satisfies the physical and technical requirements of a plotter for printing GIS maps.
The larger the maps are, the better. This means printing maps require a bigger printing width. To print 40 by 40 aerials, for example, a 44-inch printer is needed. Take a look at Gom
GIS files can run in the GB range which requires the processing power to chew those large files that contain several layers. A printer must meet the processing requirement if it will be used for GIS mapping.
On-board hard disk
Print and file spooling can help relieve stress on your hardware and network resources, something that most printers and plotters with on-board hard drive can do. So it is important for a printer intended to print maps to have one.
Random Access Memory (RAM)
256 MB of physical RAM in a printer is enough to get the job done. Most plotter manufacturers use virtual memory for a RAM which has its share of pros and cons. But as long as there is a hard drive on board, speed should not be a major concern.
Maps are often displayed for the long-term and should not fade quickly. If regular dye-based inks are used, you can say hello to fading in a matter of months as they are susceptible to the effects of oxygen and ultraviolet light.
Pigments, on the other hand, are resistant to scratching and fading, resulting in a better quality and more durable printout. So the best GIS printer must use pigment inks.