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Manifold for Cartography?

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#16
Hans van der Maarel

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Just wanted to point out to everybody here that our discussion has been noticed by the Manifold people and it has sparked an interesting debate over on their community messageboard. In one of the posts, Manifold representative Dimitri Rotov is asking for suggestions to improve Manifolds cartographic capabilities, so if anybody here has some suggestions, please feel free to contact Manifold and make them known.

I have never used LableEZ personally, but I have heard it's a difficult application to use and the results are spotty.


I haven't used it myself, but what I've seen of the results is very impressive. As for difficult, it sure is complicated, but that's something that can be expected at this level.
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#17
rudy

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Just wanted to point out to everybody here that our discussion has been noticed by the Manifold people and it has sparked an interesting debate over on their community messageboard. In one of the posts, Manifold representative Dimitri Rotov is asking for suggestions to improve Manifolds cartographic capabilities, so if anybody here has some suggestions, please feel free to contact Manifold and make them known.


Being a user of Manifold I occasionally have followed the Manifold discussion forum off and on - more off than on, lately. Your link to the follow-up discussion on this discussion (is that a meta-discussion?) reminds me why I don't particularly enjoy participating in the Manifold forum: I generally don't like the tone. That's never been the case with Cartotalk.

As one participant in the Manifold discussion pointed out, "improved cartographic capabilities" means alot of added or improved tools and little functions. Where does one start? Better ability to export files, improved page layout, improved text labelling options, curved text, improved symbol use . . . . I could go on.

I too would like to be able to produce my maps all within one software package. When I used ESRI software I could, for the most part - occasionally for the very high end stuff I would need to export to Illustrator or Photoshop. With Manifold anything beyond a very basic map requires another piece of software to finish.

That's not to say I don't find Manifold useful. It is. The reason why I purchased Manifold was that it provided a complete GIS package at an affordable price. It is a great piece of software but not necessarily suited to mid to high end cartography.

Not yet, at least.

#18
mdsumner

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If you want new features in Manifold, read this and send your suggestions in:

http://www.manifold....uggestions.html

While there's no guarantees, they are incredibly responsive to well-thought out requests.

#19
Hans van der Maarel

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Hmmm...

I decided to keep an open mind and try and recreate a portion of the beanbag maps in Manifold. The majority of the work there has to go into labelling (the rest of the map is simply a raster image with some lines displayed on top, nothing special), so I started looking into that.

It's not easy...

It's really not easy...

Most of the differences between Manifold and Illustrator are minor ones. You can't draw a bezier curve, but you can draw a freeform line and by using a Wacom tablet on the side you can get a nice smooth line out of it.

The main problem points are the fact that Manifold sets font sizes on-screen. I.e. a 20 point text is always 20 point on-screen. I haven't found a way yet to change that, although I assume that by setting a layout to a certain size/zoom and working in the Map view at that same zoom, you'll have reference of the size it will be on-paper. I can't seem to change the spacing of a text label, so that's another handicap.

Another big one is the speed. I've got a pretty big raster image (1/6th of the earth at about 1km per pixel resolution at the equator) in there and it's slowing things down a lot. Illustrator isn't a speed wonder on my machine, but Manifold with such a large image is just unbearably slow.

So, in short, this confirms something I already strongly suspected. For the kind of maps that I make, Manifold isn't the right tool. It's a great tool for a part of the process (data preparation), but not for labelling, which covers most of the time spent on these maps.
Hans van der Maarel - Cartotalk Editor
Red Geographics
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#20
frax

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Hans, I think the main argument for using a GIS s/w for the graphics aspects of the design is how you can automate things - e.g. re-use templates for maps, create a "style template" and prepare labels, priorities etc out of the feature attributes (maybe even based on complicated programming).

If you are not taking advantage of those features/possibilities in your GIS s/w - or not able to, if the tools are lacking, then it is basic graphic design, and Illy is a dedicated s/w for that - so for advanced (mostly) manual labelling, Illy (or Freehand and the like) is unbeatable. Esp if you have MP too, I guess!
Hugo Ahlenius
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#21
Hans van der Maarel

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Hugo,

Hans, I think the main argument for using a GIS s/w for the graphics aspects of the design is how you can automate things - e.g. re-use templates for maps, create a "style template" and prepare labels, priorities etc out of the feature attributes (maybe even based on complicated programming).

If you are not taking advantage of those features/possibilities in your GIS s/w - or not able to, if the tools are lacking, then it is basic graphic design, and Illy is a dedicated s/w for that - so for advanced (mostly) manual labelling, Illy (or Freehand and the like) is unbeatable. Esp if you have MP too, I guess!


Absolutely. However, the question (and the argument arising on the Manifold forum) is whether or not Manifold is suitable for it. So I decided to simply try it out... and gave up after a short while...
Hans van der Maarel - Cartotalk Editor
Red Geographics
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#22
John in Louisville

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I've imported GIS map data into Illustrator CS2 from Manifold...the street grid came in fine but Manifold has grouped the hundreds of streets into multiple groupings. CorelDraw has an "Ungroup All" feature but Illustrator does not. Does anyone know a quick way to ungroup all in Illustrator without have to to hit Control+Shift+G hundreds of times?

#23
BEAVER

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Not sure why you would need to hit Ungroup hundreds of times. I import everything I do in Lilly from Manifold and I select everything and hit ungroup just once. Make sure to save the Illustrator file after import from Manifold, close AI and reopen the same file, otherwise the ungroup will not work.

#24
John in Louisville

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[quote name='BEAVER' date='Feb 14 2007, 10:11 PM' post='10318']
Thanks for the advise. I exported a rather large shapefile of a street map of Ft. Collins, CO from Manifold to Illustrator format. For some reason the file created strange groupings that normally might have required having to hit "Ungroup" many times. Here's what worked: I saved the Illustrator file created by Manifold to "Illustrator EPS" format, version 3 (very old). I opened this EPS file back up in Illustrator, selected the map and "Ungrouped" just one time...voila! Whatever works.....




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