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#1
Artie28

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Hey Ted. Forgive my ignorence, but I am a GIS/mapping Analyst and I am trying to ehance my maps. I am at a new position and it requires for me to get better at building cartographic products. Do you use the adobe products and would you recommend the adobe illustrator product for a beginner. I am an ArcGIS 9.2 user and I would like to really ehance my maps for web news artilces, monthly publications, and for prints for clients.

Any tips?

#2
Hans van der Maarel

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Hey Ted. Forgive my ignorence, but I am a GIS/mapping Analyst and I am trying to ehance my maps. I am at a new position and it requires for me to get better at building cartographic products. Do you use the adobe products and would you recommend the adobe illustrator product for a beginner. I am an ArcGIS 9.2 user and I would like to really ehance my maps for web news artilces, monthly publications, and for prints for clients.

Any tips?


I've split this off from the original topic.

In answer to your questions (well, at least some of them)

- Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop are quite often used by cartographers. They can be daunting at first, but I think that's the case with pretty much any software product in this niche of the market.

- I would, personally, recommend using Illustrator, with MAPublisher, for cartographic production. Having said that, it's also possible to produce very impressive maps with ArcGIS/ArcMap (as displayed by some of our other members here).

I'm sure others will add their thoughts to this... ;)
Hans van der Maarel - Cartotalk Editor
Red Geographics
Email: hans@redgeographics.com / Twitter: @redgeographics

#3
DaveB

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I suppose I have my own bias, since I work for ESRI, but my opinion is that no tool will make better maps for you. You need to learn good cartographic design, then you can use a variety of tools to achieve the design you want.

Having said that, different tools do offer different capabilities and no single application does it all.

Many cartographers do some of their work in a GIS and then move it out to a graphics application for finishing (of course, some do all of their work in graphics apps and some do all of their work in GIS apps). There has been some discussion and papers presented at the NACIS meetings on "when to bail" (when to leave the GIS environment and finish the map in a graphics app). Depending on your needs and experience/knowledge "when to bail" varies (remembering that "when" may be never for a given project).
Dave Barnes
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#4
merft

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I suppose I have my own bias, since I work for ESRI, but my opinion is that no tool will make better maps for you. You need to learn good cartographic design, then you can use a variety of tools to achieve the design you want.

Having said that, different tools do offer different capabilities and no single application does it all.

Many cartographers do some of their work in a GIS and then move it out to a graphics application for finishing (of course, some do all of their work in graphics apps and some do all of their work in GIS apps). There has been some discussion and papers presented at the NACIS meetings on "when to bail" (when to leave the GIS environment and finish the map in a graphics app). Depending on your needs and experience/knowledge "when to bail" varies (remembering that "when" may be never for a given project).


I agree with DaveB on this. The tool (ArcGIS, Illustrator, Photoshop, etc) does not make better maps for you. Each application has it's pros and cons. I guess if I had $1500 and had to choose between ArcGIS or Illustrator w/ MapPublisher the desired output would drive my purchasing choices.

If the majority of your maps are going to off-set press where color and "press-ready" EPS/PDF graphics are required, I would lean towards Illustrator/MapPublisher. Illustration programs are for the creation of graphic representations. Illustration programs are weak in data management and really not intended for that use.

If the majority of your maps are for inkjet/laser printer and you need to manage/analyze datasets, I would recommend ArcGIS. GIS programs are intended for the management and analysis of spatial data. Nearly every GIS program has a cartographic component for the presentation of maps. Though this tends to be one of their weaker areas. ArcGIS by far has the best cartographic output of the GIS programs I have used but it has limitations. Its knowing those limitations and how to work with or around them.

Since my projects bounce all over from pure GIS to pure cartography I use a variety of applications as does nearly every other cartographer here. In concept it would be nice to have an application that did everything, I don't know how practicable it would be. GIS has its place, CAD has its place, Graphic Design has its place. I would prefer applications that specialize in what they do and deal with translating data between them, rather than one uber application that kinda does everything so-so.

As for making yourself a better cartographer, the first thing to realize is that you are an author. You are communicating to the map reader using a map. The trick is not what you put into a map but rather what to take out of a map.

#5
frax

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Artie,

If you have ArcGIS and if you are comfortable with that, I would suggest you try to export maps and finish them in Illustrator. I am no MAPublisher user, but I have evaluated a little bit, and I felt that it didn't add anything fundamental for my workflow - I use ArcGIS with Illy.
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#6
rudy

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I'm with frax on this. My ideal workflow would use ArcMap for all my products and Illustrator for those products requiring additional touching up not possible in ArcMap. Cost, however, often determines what I use in various places of employment.

#7
CHART

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I personally use a combo of GIS softwares with MapPublisher. Although I do more GIS data assembly and maintenance work and programming I don't get to use MapPublisher as much. That beeing said for your clients and the type of work you described as doing, I would suggest that you investigate MapPublisher. I personally like that back and forth strength of MapPublisher. e.g. Bring your shape files in Illustrator and save then back for your GIS environment as you please. However when you push the limits of most GIS software (ArcGIS in your case) you can get some very good results without going to a graphics package.

Regards,
Chart

#8
danielle

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I usually create maps in ArcGIS, and for the more complicated ones, finish them in Illustrator.

There are a couple of things I do differently when I know the map will end up in Illustrator:

In ArcMap:
- No transparencies
- No fill patterns
- No dashed lines

Then in Illustrator I apply these design elements if needed. It makes for much easier editing, and keeps the file size down.

#9
Adam Wilbert

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I'm still learning the trade as well, but currently my workflow involves doing all data collection, projections, page layout, and mockups in ArcGIS, then exporting raster layers to Photoshop (via tiffs), and vectors to .ai. Once the rasters have been merged and blended and colored and whatnot in Photoshop, I piece the whole composition back together again in Illustrator. So far, I've avoided downloading the MAPublisher trial because I can't afford it and don't really want to know what I'm missing!

I've gotten some good results with an ArcGIS-only workflow, but unfortunately some of the processes that you must work through feel more like hacks. Trying to match a legend color to a transparent layer for example involves a ridiculous series of steps, and the raster calculator can only do so much when you're trying to attain some complex hillshade effects. The fact that Arc doesn't support smooth vector curves (though thousands of little line segments can approximate smooth curves) has always been a sore spot with me. I understand that some major improvements to Arcs cartographic capabilities are in the pipes though, so we'll see what happens.

Adam Wilbert

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CartoGaia.com
Lynda.com author of "ArcGIS Essential Training"





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