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Need Advice: GIS and Adobe Illustrator

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#1
John in Louisville

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I need to import several GIS Shapefiles into Adobe Illustrator CS2 for a map design project. From my research there are two methods of doing this, both of which involve buying fairly expensive plug-ins/software....First, there's MapPublisher...which will set me back $1,200...a cheaper alternative is buying "Canvas X" with their GIS Module....this is a more affordable option at around $500. In this case I'd import the Shapefile into Canvas...then export to Illustrator format.

My question: Does anyone know of any other way to import GIS files into Illustrator that doesn't involve buying expensive third-party plug-ins or new software? Are there any shareware or open-source programs that would do they job? I'd really appreciate any advice as I'm right on the verge of paying $500 to buy Canvas X with the GIS Module.

#2
Hans van der Maarel

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My question: Does anyone know of any other way to import GIS files into Illustrator that doesn't involve buying expensive third-party plug-ins or new software? Are there any shareware or open-source programs that would do they job? I'd really appreciate any advice as I'm right on the verge of paying $500 to buy Canvas X with the GIS Module.


If all you need is have the shapefile imported, I could do that for you (using MAPublisher). Just contact me privately if you're interested.
Hans van der Maarel - Cartotalk Editor
Red Geographics
Email: hans@redgeographics.com / Twitter: @redgeographics

#3
benbakelaar

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If they are ESRI shapefiles I can just open them up in ArcGIS and then export to AI. If you had to do it yourself, you could request a demo of ArcGIS or you could go to your local bookstore and purchased "Teach Yourself ArcGIS" from ESRI Press and get a 180-day license for $60 bucks.

#4
rudy

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Another cheap solution is to buy Manifold. It handles shapefiles and does the whole GIS thing. You can export in a variety of formats, including to Illustrator (although you have ito do it in just the right way). It just doesn't do cartography well (see related discussion). I think the current version of Manifold costs about $295.

#5
ELeFevre

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John,

I have an unopened Arcview 9.0 demo disk that came with a tutorial text I purchased a while ago. Send me a PM if you want it.



#6
Martin Gamache

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Doesnt ESRI have a free GIS viewer that can print to a PDF...and voila...

#7
Matthew Hampton

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You are going to want to download ArcExplorer from ESRI (there is even a Mac version!). It's intended for the education market and is very simplified - but you can trick it in printing to a vector like Martin suggested.

co-cartographic creator of boringmaps.com


#8
John in Louisville

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Thanks...I'm going to try the ArcExplorer with the PDF export suggestion and see if if that works.

I should have pointed out that this would be an ongoing project, not just a one-time importing of Shapefiles...So the (much appreciated) offers from some of you to do it for me would not be practical. If the ArcExplorer option doesn't work I?ll either have to buy Manifold or Canvas X w/GIS Module to get the Shapefiles into Illustrator...I wish Manifold offered a free-trial like Canvas X....

To people who?ve purchased Manifold: Are you happy with your purchase of this software?

#9
Matthew Hampton

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Thanks...I'm going to try the ArcExplorer with the PDF export suggestion


Note that you won't be able to "export" to a PDF, but you'll need to be able to "print" to a PDF (you might need AcrobatPro - but there may be other workarounds to investigate). I am pretty sure that ArcExplorer only "exports" rasters. But you can always bring a raster into CS2 and LiveTrace...

co-cartographic creator of boringmaps.com


#10
benbakelaar

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I've used PrimoPDF to good effect. http://www.primopdf.com

Also Virtual PDF Printer or something like that. Can't vouch for the quality on that one.

#11
frax

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If you print to a postscript file, and then name that file as something.eps then I think you should be able to open that without problems in Illy. To see how to mount and print to a postscript/file printer - I think google is your friend!
Hugo Ahlenius
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#12
CHART

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The ArcExplorer proposed will probably do the job.

As for the PDF print driver you could look at the CutePDF solution (there is a free version)
http://www.cutepdf.com/
Chart

#13
Richard

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I have Manifold, AICS with MAPublisher and CanvasX GIS that I bought for my laptop as I considered 2 licences of MAPublisher prohibitive and I wanted to try Canvas - thay offered a cheap deal at time. I personally wouldnt recommend Canvas - appears to have fallen on hard times. It does the job but Manifold would be a far better option IMO. It will import a vast array of file types and export same in something useful for AI. Its not expensive and for what you appear are wanting to do will be easy to learn.
(I posted this just now and it all froze so apologies if its doubled up - this site is very very slow just now, others are working as normal)
regards Richard

#14
John in Louisville

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Thanks for everyone?s advise. To update, I just ordered Manifold. I?m keeping my fingers crossed. For $249 it?s worth a try. I wish Avenza?s MapPublisher were less expensive. I do my design work in Illustrator CS2 and it would be a good fit...yet, I can?t justify paying nearly $1,200 for a plug-in.

#15
Richard

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Thanks for everyone?s advise. To update, I just ordered Manifold. I?m keeping my fingers crossed. For $249 it?s worth a try. I wish Avenza?s MapPublisher were less expensive. I do my design work in Illustrator CS2 and it would be a good fit...yet, I can?t justify paying nearly $1,200 for a plug-in.

Welcome to the Manifold world. I'm sure you wont be dispapointed. The cartographic aspects are not very well developed - there's been much talk on that on Manifold community site - http://69.17.46.171/Site/Default.aspx
That resulted from a discussion started here in Carto Talk so it got a bit of a hammering over there.
Anyway there are many of out there using Manifold and I'm sure when you get stuck someone will come to your rescue.
regards Richard




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