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Illustrator mapping tutorials?

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#1
Darren

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Hi everyone,

My first post. I'm a Cartography/GIS tech for a municipal gov't in Nova Scotia Canada. We use the full suite of ArcGIS 9.1 products for our map production. Most or almost all of the maps I create are "functional" maps. Meaning they don't have to be pretty, just do the job. From time to time I do get to let the cartographic juices flow and do some real design and layout of a map (Tallships 2007 will probably be the next one I get to do).

Anyways, I've been reading more and more about the freedom that Adobe Illustrator gives us cartographers in creating maps with just that extra "umpf" that ArcMap can't. What I'd like to know is if there are any online tutorials for AI in regards to mapping. Just some get your feet wet type tutorials to see how much of a difference it can make to a map. I know enough to be dangerous in PS CS so I thought I might give AI a shot.

Thanks for any information.

Darren

#2
MapMedia

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Hi Darren. Smart move - the more your learn and experiment with AI and Photoshop the better your map products will be. I only know of tips & tricks in various documents and sites re AI techniques in cartography, not an overall tutorial. You might find some material (intro to AI for cartographers) on a university cartography program's website.

If you want to broaden your knowledge of AI itself I'de recommend the AI CS Wow! book. You will find that ArcMap AI export to AI Layers opens a whole new world for you.

Mountain High Maps has some useful intro tips on drawing apps

Would like to see the Tallship map when you get a draft - that is if you'de like it to be critiqued! :D

#3
ELeFevre

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I wouldn't spend too much looking around for Illustrator mapping tutorials...because you won't find many. I recommend Adobe's classroom in a book

Also, cartagram and directionsmag will post Illustrator "how to" tutorials every now and then, but nothing substantial and ongoing.



#4
margaret

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How about simply enrolling in a cartography class? It might also satisfy that dream to do more design.

#5
Matthew Hampton

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I think Margaret is on to something here. It's not that bringing data through Illustrator and Photoshop is the magic bullet. I have seen plenty of poor map products out of each.

What AI and PS give you is freedom.

Freedom from the overbearing weight of data in a rich design environment. ESRI is getting better and better at providing design tools and I have seen plenty of nice maps from their software - but I think it takes more work to make a map look good in ArcView than it does in Illustrator - primarily b/c the tools are are geared for different purposes. However, the syntax for making good maps are the same in each environment.

Learning good cartography and understanding its underlying principles will help greatly in both software environments. I sometimes think you have to be a better cartographer to make really good looking maps in ArcView than you do in Adobe's products.

The tools cartographers use in AI are pretty much the same tools that graphic designers (and the like use) so the afromentioned links are perfect.

co-cartographic creator of boringmaps.com


#6
Dennis McClendon

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Welcome.

You might get a kick out of the Tall Ships Chicago map I posted for critique back in June:

Tall Ships Chicago Map
Dennis McClendon, Chicago CartoGraphics
chicagocarto.com

#7
MapMedia

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Dennis - very nice piece!

Darren - as mentioned, DirectionsMag has an intro piece on moving from ArcGIS to 'Desktop'(i.e. Illustartor/Freehand etc) by Steve Gordon.

#8
Darren

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Hi Margaret,

I have enrolled in a cartography course, I am afterall a cartographer. It was just back in 1987 and computer aided mapping was just emerging with simple line digitizers etc. I feel extremely confident in my cartographic skills. I am just looking for alternatives to ArcGIS that may give some of the presentation maps I do that much better.

I know the cartography courses offered nowadays have a full section on using AI or Corel to enhance maps from ArcGIS but I work fulltime and there aren't night courses available in my area. I will look for a photoshop/AI class that I might be able to take and get my employer to pay the shot ;)

Darren


How about simply enrolling in a cartography class? It might also satisfy that dream to do more design.



I think Margaret is on to something here. It's not that bringing data through Illustrator and Photoshop is the magic bullet. I have seen plenty of poor map products out of each.

Learning good cartography and understanding its underlying principles will help greatly in both software environments. I sometimes think you have to be a better cartographer to make really good looking maps in ArcView than you do in Adobe's products.


Yes I do agree. I feel I have utilized a lot of the tools in ArcMap 9.1 and with more cartographic tools coming in 9.2 it will help that much more. I've been used to the "use what you have available to you" and have done well. Even won a couple of ESRI's map competitions with maps strictly made in ArcGIS, but nothing wrong with trying to improve the product (when necessary) to put it head and shoulders above the rest by learning a graphic package.

As of today I've installed AI CS2 and the Total Training for Adobe Illustrator CS2 so we'll see where it all ends up. Just have to find time to go through it all!

Cheers
D.


Welcome.

You might get a kick out of the Tall Ships Chicago map I posted for critique back in June:

Tall Ships Chicago Map


I have seen your map and reviewed it thoroughly, Dennis. Good work :)


Darren - as mentioned, DirectionsMag has an intro piece on moving from ArcGIS to 'Desktop'(i.e. Illustartor/Freehand etc) by Steve Gordon.


I've been reading and printing off the articles. Thanks!

D.

#9
araki5

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One thing I'm noticing about my work as I've "progressed" as far as vector work is concerned, I think that ARCGIS is very close to Illy as far as linetype/line weight/offsets and the like. If someone could post some really big differences, that would be nice.

But the big thing is using Aerial Photography in my maps. I use photography from our photogrametrist and sometimes we'll get aerials that are "too green" or maybe an engineer that I'm working for will want to brighten the Specific development we're doing. That's why PS is VERY superior to ARCGIS, at least as far as RASTER side of the house is concerned, you can do that stuff very easily in PS.

One more point. Fortunately I live in an area that has 5 junior colleges and 2 universities that offer some GIS classes. I still have not been able to find any class that shows how to merge Illy/PS into your GIS workflow. I really think I have learned a lot about merging the 2 on this site - more than anywhere else.

hth
Randy Long
GIS/CAD Tech
Mackay and Somps



Raster is Faster, but Vector is Corrector.

#10
margaret

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I have enrolled in a cartography course, I am afterall a cartographer.
...
I know the cartography courses offered nowadays have a full section on using AI or Corel to enhance maps from ArcGIS but I work fulltime and there aren't night courses available in my area. I will look for a photoshop/AI class that I might be able to take and get my employer to pay the shot ;)

My apologies Darren...
Sounds like you're pretty busy.
But you do have night courses: you have Cartotalk! (as araki5 wrote). just start posting your experiments in "extra umpf" to the map gallery....

#11
frax

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Randy - there is no problem in using imagery in ArcGIS that has been processed through PhotoShop. Just use TIFFs with a world file, manipulate all you want as long as you keep the same dimensions -- that is the key thing. You can resample (but not skew) and recalculate the world file, it is no rocket science, though. (resampling would prolly be better in ArcGIS though).

Save it, recalculate pyramids (or turn off pyramid building) and open it again. Or save it as a new file and copy the world file (and name it properly).

I think the color handling in ArcMap, for output, might be inconsistent though. Or maybe it is consistent if everything is RGB, but I think CMYK could cause problems (and RGB/CMYK mix)
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#12
Darren

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But the big thing is using Aerial Photography in my maps. I use photography from our photogrametrist and sometimes we'll get aerials that are "too green" or maybe an engineer that I'm working for will want to brighten the Specific development we're doing. That's why PS is VERY superior to ARCGIS, at least as far as RASTER side of the house is concerned, you can do that stuff very easily in PS.


Araki, You can do a lot with raster images in ArcMap. I use colour digital orthos and some of them are off in a little in colour balance. With ArcMap you can go into the properties/symbology of the photo and adjust a wealth of attributes of the photo including colour balance, brightness, contrast, HSV, histogram etc.




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