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#1
cmdrico7812

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I have been reading the posts on this site pertaining to map design and I have always just used ArcMap for my map design and layout (which is very limiting as far as artistic expression, symbology, etc. is concerned). I was looking at the ppost with the poll about which software you use for map design and noticed an almost equal number of people use ArcMap as use Adobe Illustrator for this purpose. I have experience with Photoshop but not with Illustrator and I very interested in the process you use to conduct map design in Illustrator. Could someone give me a brief run-through of how you design maps in Illustrator while maintaining their geographic accuracy? Do you export the map from Arc into Illustrator and use Illustrator simple as a design tool? I have no experience with Illustrator but my company just bought Adobe CS2 so I have it available and if it can offer me a better way of designing maps (so they don't all look so digital like the output from Arc) I am more than willing to learn how to do so. Thanks in advance.

P.S. Also, if you know of any website with tutorials, articles, tips, or tricks, examples, etc. on how to do this that would also be helpful. Thank you.

Eric

#2
frax

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Hi, for me, Illy is just the design tool, I create a very basic view and then export everything from ArcMap to Illy, which gives me more freedom with transparencies, gradient meshes, raster and vector effects, gradients and much much more.
Hugo Ahlenius
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#3
cmdrico7812

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So once in Illy do you have to trace all of your lines and such from the export from ArcMap of does it import as vector files and they are selectable and editable? I know I am asking for a quick summary of a detailed process but I am trying to learn more about the process so I can produce stunning maps for our clients. I will continue to research. I also just noticed MAPublisher and am looking into that. Thanks for your help.

#4
cmdrico7812

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Nevermind about the exporting question. I need to learn to play around with the software a bit more before asking. I figure out how to export to Illy and then play around with the vectors. Thanks.

Eric

#5
ELeFevre

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If you export an Illustrator file directly from ArcMap, it will import as vector lines into Illustrator. You won't have to trace anything. It gets a little more tricky when you have raster effects or images as a part of the ArcMap layout.

I typically do all of the attribute preperation work in Arcview first (data classification and aggregation, etc) then import the .shp files into Illustrator using the MaPublisher plugin (or I export directly from ArcMap). Once the .shp files are in Illy I will simplify lines if necessary and start designing all of the symbols and graphic styles that I'm going to use. I save any raster work (base map topos, glows, halos) until the very end so I can keep the file size at minimum while I'm working on labeling etc.

MaPublisher is a great addition if you're going to be creating maps with a lot of data behind them IMO. It's great to be able to bring in a new .shp file half-way through the project if you need to. However, whether or not you need MP depends on the maps you make IMO. Sometimes exporting directly from ArcMap is all you need. You can also design great maps in ArcMap. And don't forget about the new cartographic representations tools coming in 9.2 either.



#6
Dennis McClendon

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If you export an Illustrator file directly from ArcMap, it will import as vector lines into Illustrator. You won't have to trace anything.


Provided you're satisfied with the quality of the linework. I always end up tracing over the GIS data and redrawing all coastlines, but I gather that few other people do.
Dennis McClendon, Chicago CartoGraphics
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#7
ELeFevre

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If you export an Illustrator file directly from ArcMap, it will import as vector lines into Illustrator. You won't have to trace anything.


Provided you're satisfied with the quality of the linework.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


True.
Well, this is something that I (everyone) should do if the line-work sucks.
I'm guessing that cartographers who have a background in graphic design would automatically redraw all line-work...while those with a background in GIS would accept the lines as is, for whatever reason (perceived accuracy, etc). I redraw boundary lines on smaller maps, but rarely on a large one.



#8
FlatEarth

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We use ArcInfo, Arcmap, Freehand, Photoshop and Illustrator to make full colour 300 page topographic map books for Emergency services. Illustrator is indispensable because it gets around limitations in Arcmap - if you use an image or a stipple, Arcmap wants to convert the output from vector to an image. The batch processing in Photoshop and Illustrator let you fix Arcmap files (ie. find this colour polygon and fill with this stipple, find 11% black polygons and make transparent). You can also find all the annotation and convert it to paths eliminating font problems. We also use Photoshop to convert final map pages to CMYK TIF's with correct overprinting (added by Illustrator) to hand over to the film house so they can't #$%^^& them up.

I couldn't do serious map production without Illustrator - but I prefer working in Freehand.

Cheers,

#9
mike

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If you export an Illustrator file directly from ArcMap, it will import as vector lines into Illustrator. You won't have to trace anything.


Provided you're satisfied with the quality of the linework.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


True.
Well, this is something that I (everyone) should do if the line-work sucks.
I'm guessing that cartographers who have a background in graphic design would automatically redraw all line-work...while those with a background in GIS would accept the lines as is, for whatever reason (perceived accuracy, etc). I redraw boundary lines on smaller maps, but rarely on a large one.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


You're right, depending on what kind of scale you are representing, simplifying or redrawing the boundary lines could be done. If I am going to Illustrator, I use the path simplify tool at 98 or 99%. This decreases the amount of points along the lines and still keeps enough detail. It also allows for a smaller file size, which is a bonus when working with complex maps with a lot of line work.

#10
frax

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ditto to Mike's post, I use the simplify tool with a high value, that also ensures that you get bezi?r curves out of straight node/vertex segments.

I would love to have the time to redraw the linework, but project constraints rarely allow that.

There are some important things regarding the export (you can find lots of more info when you searching around here).

* never use any effects (transparencies etc) in ArcMap
* import any raster stuff separately (as images, perhaps via photoshop), make sure you have guides to line it up easily
* don't bother fiddling with colors in ArcMap, I usually pick whatever strong colors (to be able to easily separate things)
* never use both stroke/line colors and polygon colors in ArcMap, for polygons (i.e. districts/countries) use colors. I often add the country boundaries (without coastlines, which I remove on the GIS side), as a separate layer
* I try to dissolve as much as possible on the GIS side of things (i.e. merge polygons). Illy doesn't know about topology, and it has happened that the "Merge" tool on the PathFinder palette doesn't like to merge everything, or you get slivers. e.g. if you need "land", don't use the "country" polygons with a uniform color -- dissolve them in Arc as a separate layer. (it would be great if the export would have merged them!)
* Labelwork is a whole science, which I am sure others can fill in about, I am no expert there... I usually only need a handful of labels, and I re-label things in Illy.
* Try to make steps to be able to easily add or redo things at a later stage, bookmark the view, use some reference or fixed extent in ArcMap and make sure you retain this in Illy (as a hidden layer). The clipping masks are one way to do this.
* The export routine from ArcMap has an artificial limit that is stored in the windows registry. If you hit that, you will notice "banding" or that polygons that shouldn't be split up are that. Read more about that in this ESRI technote.
* When generalizing in Illy, keep in mind that it doesn't know about topology, so you might get in trouble with poly-poly boundaries. My dirty trick is to just simplify the linework, not polygons that have neighbours. e.g. if there are countries, I simplify the country boundaries, which I have as a separate layer on top. In some of my maps, you can zoom in on the simplified country boundaries and see that they don't match the country polygons perfectly, but it is usually good enough...
* I have never worked with beziers in ArcGIS, but that might be something very useful...
Hugo Ahlenius
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#11
pfyfield

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There are two approaches to making the ArcMap to Illustrator transition, and I use both with equal frequency. One is to essentially complete the map in ArcMap, then export to ai, which retains vector layers unless something (transparency e.g.) causes them to rasterize.

My preferred method is to use Arcmap for data processing- clipping, dissolving- then import the data into Illustrator using MAPublisher. I don't think there's any question that Illustrator is a superior environment for finished cartography despite the advances (with more coming) to ArMap.

ArcMap is increasing its graphic capabilities while MAPublisher adds GIS capabilities to Illustrator. It'll be interesting to see how all this develops in the next few years.
Paul Fyfield
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Oregon State Office
Portland, Oregon
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#12
KrafftyMan

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This is all great information. I will also stress that if you have any transparency, custom icons for point files, or layers on that are not displayed until a specific scale that the conversion from ArcMap to illy will produce raster not vector graphics. As for redrawing boundaries it really depends on the scale you are working with and the level of detail you are trying to achieve.

I made the switch to illy a few months back and I love it. I find if I am making a quick and dirty map for internal company use that I will just use ArcMap. However, if the product is going to be seen outside the organization or for a more professional look then illy is 100% the way to go.

#13
James Hines

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If you export an Illustrator file directly from ArcMap, it will import as vector lines into Illustrator. You won't have to trace anything.


Provided you're satisfied with the quality of the linework. I always end up tracing over the GIS data and redrawing all coastlines, but I gather that few other people do.


I rather use the smooth tool to get the results I need to make the line work look better. But sometimes the catch 22 to keeping the GIS data is that topology is sometimes not checked properly such as running into multiple lines.

"There is much beauty that we fail to see through our own eyes teeming with life forms that give us that perception of our reality.  Leaves on the trees blowing gently in the wind, or scarily, the waves pounding through high surf, or lightly on a warm summer’s day; that opportunity to sit or swim in the water on a white beach.   That comfort to shout, “The universal conscious do you hear me?  I am alive, guide me dear logos towards the path of rightnesses.”  Earned what has been kept, no longer to be absorbed into a life filled with cold damn winds and  that stubborn fog clouding  my vision with nothing but darkness."


#14
chris w

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Two workflow options:

At present I use this method:

1. Use ArcGIS to sort all the data you require for your map
2. Use ArcGIS to do the basic styling
3. Use Maplex to do your labelling in ArcGIS (or just use standard engine if you don't have Maplex)
4. In ArcGIS make sure you are in page layout view and the page is set up correctly (size, scale, etc)
5. Export the file as PDF (many posters mention retracing lines - if they mean what I think they mean, the problem is that the AI export in ArcGIS is useless as it removes far too many points from the features, exporting to PDF seems to pretty much eliminate this problem)
6. Open the PDF in Adobe Illustrator (the only downside is with PDF you get a sequence of groups and clipping masks, a bit of a pain to work with but if you've done all your preparation of the data in ArcGIS first then its not too much of a problem)
7. Now you can easily select objects by fill, stroke, colour or manually and apply the same whizzy effects that graphic designers use

I'm looking into this as a potential easier alternative:

1. Use ArcGIS to sort all the data you require for your map
2. Use MAPublisher to open the filtered shapefiles in Adobe Illustrator
3. Use MAPublisher's Label Pro to place text
4. Apply whizzy effects

Anyone do this 2nd method with the latest MAPublisher? Is it a much better way of doing things?
I'd be particularly interested if anyone has successfully applied this 2nd method to a tiled dataset.. at present our national coverage products which are tiled datasets are only styled in ArcGIS (controlled by FME), I'd be very grateful to anyone who can prove AI effects could be applied across a whole map series.

Chris

#15
Hans van der Maarel

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I'm looking into this as a potential easier alternative:

1. Use ArcGIS to sort all the data you require for your map
2. Use MAPublisher to open the filtered shapefiles in Adobe Illustrator
3. Use MAPublisher's Label Pro to place text
4. Apply whizzy effects

Anyone do this 2nd method with the latest MAPublisher? Is it a much better way of doing things?
I'd be particularly interested if anyone has successfully applied this 2nd method to a tiled dataset.. at present our national coverage products which are tiled datasets are only styled in ArcGIS (controlled by FME), I'd be very grateful to anyone who can prove AI effects could be applied across a whole map series.


I've done that, countless times.

You can set up a template document in MAPublisher that holds all of the styles and rules, then import your data and put the layers in the right stylesheets, run LabelPro and presto, you're done. Feel free to contact me directly if you want me to set up a proof of concept.
Hans van der Maarel - Cartotalk Editor
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