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#1
Derek Tonn

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Hello everyone!

Forgive the simple question from a non-GIS designer, but have any of you had to ever try and convert .ai output into forms that are suitable for ArcView or ArcInfo? And if so, how did (do) you do it? I've seen several threads in CartoTalk that have talked about converting GIS output into .ai files, but not the other way around.

I assume that trying to go from .ai to GIS would result in a big, muddy mess. However, a client of ours had their security office ask if a new planemetric map of their campus could "easily" import into ArcView for other data/planning applications, so I am tracking down the answer for them as best I can.

I am "GIS-challenged".....so if anyone out there is willing to take pity on me and set me straight on this particular topic, I would greatly appreciate it! B)
Derek Tonn
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#2
Martin Gamache

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Derek,

What is it they want in the GIS.

The completed map or some of the layers that were used.

It would be easy to georeference an image of the map either exported from illustrator or a rasterized PDF. You can then supply them with a GeoTiff or aJPEG or eveb a GRID file, whatever they need. If they are happy with a raster version of the map this would be the easiest way to do it. You would need to have some data to use for georeferencing however.

Depending on how the map was created it may be easy to export the vector lines themselves to a format supported by ArcGIS. You could try exporting as an Autocad file and then georeferencing those vectors in the GIS. My experience with this has been quite mixed.

Mapublisher would also be a good tool for this purpose.

#3
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Yep MapPublisher is the way to go.
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#4
Derek Tonn

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Thanks Martin and Jacques!

Basically the client is looking to tie a complete, more "aesthetically-pleasing" Illustrator map to data records (and geocoding information) within GIS applications. They are trying to kill two birds with one stone....designing one new planemetric map that will serve the needs of both "Plant" and "Public".

After looking at MAPublisher, that seems to be the route to take for this particular need. I haven't used MAPublisher in the past, but if all we are doing is converting output into something more suitable for ArcView/ArcInfo, I assume the process is relatively simple. (?)

Thanks again for the quick reply! That helps.

Derek
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After looking at MAPublisher, that seems to be the route to take for this particular need. I haven't used MAPublisher in the past, but if all we are doing is converting output into something more suitable for ArcView/ArcInfo, I assume the process is relatively simple. (?)


Derek


as you probably know.... relatively simple ... can not always be an assumption in this business... :) ... but if you run into problems you might be able to get some advise on this forum.... and the folks over at Avenza are helpful.
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#6
ELeFevre

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After looking at MAPublisher, that seems to be the route to take for this particular need. I haven't used MAPublisher in the past, but if all we are doing is converting output into something more suitable for ArcView/ArcInfo, I assume the process is relatively simple. (?)
Derek



Exporting an image of the map seems to be the only option in this case....unless you have the time to import the raster data, reference it (as Marting stated) and then recreate any vector work in your GIS. Mapublisher will export referenced vector files as .shp. .tab. et cetera, but you lose all of the Illustrator/Mapublisher symbology. On the bright side, you retain any modifications you made to the paths and attribute data.



#7
Derek Tonn

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as you probably know.... relatively simple ... can not always be an assumption in this business... :) ... but if you run into problems you might be able to get some advise on this forum.... and the folks over at Avenza are helpful.


Yes, by "relatively simple", I meant that I wouldn't lock myself up in a bell tower with a plastic squirt-gun, muttering to myself about an imaginary hat that I am wearing after two solid weeks of wrestling with file conversions between one platform and the next. Compared to moving graphical files between Adobe and Corel products, I assume the MAPublisher to .ai process would seem to take a nano-second by comparison. Adobe to Corel (and vice versa) made me "certifiable" about 6-7 years ago already. :P
Derek Tonn
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#8
Hans van der Maarel

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Just to echo some comments, in most cases GeoTiff or a similar format is the way to go. That's the only way you'll be able to get the map image into a GIS product.

MAPublisher can indeed export to Shape, Mid/Mif and DXF (perhaps one or two more, but those are the most often used formats), but you will lose all styling information such as color, line styles and widths and so on. You will be able to retain attributes though (but in your case I assume there aren't any to start with).

A very important thing is that you need to know the projection/coordinate system your data is in. Otherwise you'll have a hard time getting it to line up with other layers in GIS.

Feel free to contact me privately if you need more information.
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#9
frax

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This is actually super-simple - just rasterize the aestethically placing background map (you probably want to remove some features, possibly labels etc, or create multiple versions).

Then you create a world file for that .jpg, and it is instantly openable in ArcGIS and geo-referenced! (no extra software needed)

How to create a world-file? You would need to know the coords for the center of the top-left pixel, and the cell-dimensions (in coord system units) in x and y (in most cases they are the same). There is also a rotational factor, but it is only used in rare cases (i.e. you probably don't need to worry about this).

http://en.wikipedia....wiki/World_file
http://www.kralidis....s/worldfile.htm
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#10
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This is actually super-simple - just rasterize the aestethically placing background map (you probably want to remove some features, possibly labels etc, or create multiple versions).

Then you create a world file for that .jpg, and it is instantly openable in ArcGIS and geo-referenced! (no extra software needed)

How to create a world-file? You would need to know the coords for the center of the top-left pixel, and the cell-dimensions (in coord system units) in x and y (in most cases they are the same). There is also a rotational factor, but it is only used in rare cases (i.e. you probably don't need to worry about this).

http://en.wikipedia....wiki/World_file
http://www.kralidis....s/worldfile.htm


Gentlemen,

Maybe they want to move the vectors from Illy to the GIS env.... check with Derek...
Anyway this is what I understood.
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#11
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Gentlemen,
Maybe they want to move the vectors from Illy to the GIS env....
Anyway this is what I understood.



Jaques,

I'm guessing you understood correctly. Unfortuneatly this can only be done if they are willing to give up all of the symbology that was applied in Illustrator. They would be better off symbolizing all (or most) of the vector work in their GIS and then importing and referencing the rasters.


Wouldn't it be great if you could export a Mapublisher mapview as an ArcGIS .mxd....and retain Illustrator symbology?! Now that's wishful thinking.



#12
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Gentlemen,
Maybe they want to move the vectors from Illy to the GIS env....
Anyway this is what I understood.



Jaques,

I'm guessing you understood correctly. Unfortuneatly this can only be done if they are willing to give up all of the symbology that was applied in Illustrator. They would be better off symbolizing all (or most) of the vector work in their GIS and then importing and referencing the rasters.


Wouldn't it be great if you could export a Mapublisher mapview as an ArcGIS .mxd....and retain Illustrator symbology?! Now that's wishful thinking.


I'll add another little twist :) , Maybe... they don't have any vector in AcrGis to start off with and the work that Derek is doing IS the base data....(lot of maybes here... just makes more interesting).

Your point on maintaining Illustrator symbology over the export process is interesting and yes maybe wishful thinking considering that there many other supported export formats to consider (e.g. MapInfo worspaces, Microstation etc...)

Cheers,
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#13
Dennis McClendon

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I think that's exactly the situation. Derek has built an accurate basemap in Illustrator and would now like to move it into Arc.

I have the same situation with a couple of large-scale basemaps. I've drawn all the building outlines in FreeHand, and now would like to turn that into GIS coverage, adding attributes such as building name and address, or possibly linking to something like Property Identification Number that already exists. I've never heard how this can be accomplished easily.
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#14
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I think that's exactly the situation. Derek has built an accurate basemap in Illustrator and would now like to move it into Arc.

I have the same situation with a couple of large-scale basemaps. I've drawn all the building outlines in FreeHand, and now would like to turn that into GIS coverage, adding attributes such as building name and address, or possibly linking to something like Property Identification Number that already exists. I've never heard how this can be accomplished easily.


If you plan to do what I call reverse engineering....AI (or Freehand) to GIS then MapPublisher is the way to go as far as I am concerned.
As Erin mentioned, you will lose the aesthetics for the most part but you will have the bear bone GIS vectors with attribute (is so desired) for the GIS folks.
I have done this a few times with success. Oh, and if you want to add the aesthetics (a raster back drop in the GIS env.) it can be done as Frax mentioned.
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#15
Martin Gamache

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This is where project planning helps and where if as a final desired output both a GIS dataset and beautiful map are needed it makes more sense to develop your plannimetric data in the GIS environments and the first draft (or entire )of a map and then export to DTP for final compilation.

When you are trying to migrate a legacy dataset it's understandable that this wasn't planned for (Dennis your datasets come to mind here) but in Derek's case I would think this kind of need on the client's part should of been well stated and adressed in the planning phase and a more GIS friendly workflow used.

Trying to backwards migrate like this is very difficult because you neither get the asthetic advantages that the Illustrator document map contains nor the attribute richness and precision accuracy that the GIS inherently contains.

The best scenario is to use a georeference raster of the final map and/or individual layers of exported vector data that can then be attributed ( if needed) and used to create a GIS version of the map. But you just won't easily be able to go from a stylised illustrator document to an equivalent vector GIS dataset in one step.


Martin




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