next up previous
Next: In-line Report for Turning Movements Up: EMME/2 News 7 May 1989 Previous: Circles and Splines in Annotations

Extended Software Character Generator

Since the earliest versions of EMME/2, the limited national character sets for US, France, Germany, Great Britain, Sweden, Denmark and Spain have been integrated in the EMME/2 software character generator. This implementation is based on the 128 7-bit ASCII characters, the special national characters were substituting the US characters, depending on the font indicator of the corresponding device (bits 16-18 of the graphic device parameter, see manual III-2.7):


This method is standard for many mainframe systems, most stand-alone terminals and printers. However, it is not the method used on MS-DOS / PC-DOS systems. On PCs, an extended 8-bit character code is used to implement the special national symbols. This means that no US ASCII character is replaced, but the national characters have there own code in the range between 128 and 255. Besides the special national characters, this range also contains special mathematical symbols and line-drawing characters.

Unfortunately, the current version of the PLOTDEV driver (a product developed by Microplot Inc.) does not handle at all the extended 8-bit characters in graphic mode. As an additional complication, these extended characters are not displayed in text mode when the DOS-EDIT of PLOTDEV feature is activated. (Note that if this feature is not activated, the graphic input using the arrow keys refuses to work!).

From the above, it follows that, for an EMME/2 user working with a PC and a graphic PC monitor, it was up to now very difficult to access the special national characters of his country. While this did not affect the users in North America, it caused problems to many European users who depend heavily on these characters.

While it is beyond our influence to reprogram the PLOTDEV driver, we enhanced the EMME/2 internal software character generator in Release 4.0 to handle most of the national and mathematical extended characters. Note that the line drawing characters are not useful in the context of EMME/2 and, thus, are not supported. The following table shows the standard and extended characters which are supported in Release 4.0, together with their decimal representation:


These characters are now accessible without any change in the device table (i.e. bits 16-18 of graphic device parameter). Since this enhancement does not interfere with the old-style replacement scheme, the latter can still be used in parallel. In the above table, font 0 (US-ASCII) was used.

The new implementation offers the following benefits:

  1. On all PC systems, the extended characters can be used in annotations. If your keyboard does not have a special key for the desired character, remember that you can always enter any character by holding the ALT key depressed and typing its decimal code on the numerical key pad.
  2. On those systems that use the "PLOTDEV software chars" device and a mouse or tablet as pointing device, the national characters can be used universally, i.e. in texts, node labels, titles, descriptions and annotations. In this case, make sure that the DOS-EDIT feature of PLOTDEV is disabled. See the PLOTDEV manual as well as INRO's additional documentation to find out how this can be done on your system.
  3. On all non-PC systems which adhere to the ASCII standard and allow 8-bit character codes to appear in a text file, annotation files containing the new extended characters can be imported from PC systems and displayed. This holds especially for all UNIX systems which are currently supported.
  4. For some non-PC systems, especially graphic work-stations, fonts can be selected and even defined by the user. In these cases, it is possible to use a PC-like font, i.e. a font which uses the same extended character set, and obtain the same benefits as outlined above in 2).

Since the software character generator which is built into the GPR utility program has not yet been updated to handle the extended characters, it will not always recognize these characters if they appear in plot titles, transit line names and node labels. Annotations will always work with GPR, since they are vectorized within the EMME/2 system and thus never use the GPR character generator. In order to make GPR fully compatible with the extended characters, i.e. even in titles, transit line names and node labels, the GPR device entry in need to be modified by resetting to zero the bits 4-7 of the graphic device parameter. Note that, unlike GPR, the GPL utility is completely compatible with the extended character set and no modification to the device table is needed.

next up previous
Next: In-line Report for Turning Movements Up: EMME/2 News 7 May 1989 Previous: Circles and Splines in Annotations

Heinz Spiess, EMME/2 Support Center, Thu Jun 6 14:17:23 MET DST 1996