For a presentation on Pearl Harbor in October at Johns Hopkins University (and elsewhere later) and an accompanying brief book I wanted a series of maps showing Japanese expansion between 1930 and 1942—and I didn't have a great deal of time to devote to the project. The principal practical problem was boundary delineations for that period. What were the boundaries of "Manchukuo," for instance?
Rather than wrestle with these issues I decided to take a shortcut by using one of the West Point Atlas maps as a base: http://www.westpoint.../WWIIAsia02.pdf . Lieut. Col. Ray Hrinko, the West Point cartographer, readily gave his blessing.
I disassembled the PDF in Nuance Power PDF Advanced, discarding what I didn't want and saving the rest in separate layers which I imported into Adobe Photoshop, where I added layers (including all the titling and a little symbology) with the information needed to emphasize the points I wanted to make. One constraint is that the colors have to such as to show well in greyscale for book printing.
The results are attached.
I recognize that a serious cartographer would have used Adobe Illustrator in place of Power PDF and Photoshop, but as an author and consultant who's only an occasional mapmaker I don't feel it is worth either the money for Illustrator nor the time I would have to expend to develop and maintain skill in its use. I would rather have done the mapping in Manifold if I knew where to find boundary shapefiles, but feel that this method has served my purposes adequately. Any ideas for future improvement are welcome.