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#1
cmdrico7812

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I'm not sure if this has been covered elsewhere in the forum and I just can't find it, but I figured the best way to find out was to ask.

I have always created final map documents within ArcMap and haven't always been pleased with the results. The lack of editing options, color schemes, lines styles, etc. has always left me feeling like my maps could be more than they are. Recently, I have discovered Adobe Illustrator (long time coming I guess, I've always used Photoshop but had some work that required vector drawing and have become quite adept at using it. What I want to be able to do is create final maps using Illustrator.

To make a long story short, I am looking for advice on the best way to export an AI file from ArcMap in order to create a map in Illustrator. Do I set colors, do I have to export each individual layer, etc.? What is the best way to export from ArcMap to Illustrator? Thanks in advance.

Eric

#2
Nick Springer

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Others may be able to add more specific advice, but in general you can style as much or as little as you want to in ArcMap. On export to Illustrator the layers and styles will be preserved.
So if you are more comfortable with ArcMap you might want to start there with styles and then clean things up in Illustrator. As I am much more comfortable with Illustrator, I typically do very little styling in GIS and just use it to process data, and do all my design work in Illustrator.

Nick Springer

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Owner: Springer Cartographics LLC


#3
cmdrico7812

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Others may be able to add more specific advice, but in general you can style as much or as little as you want to in ArcMap. On export to Illustrator the layers and styles will be preserved.
So if you are more comfortable with ArcMap you might want to start there with styles and then clean things up in Illustrator. As I am much more comfortable with Illustrator, I typically do very little styling in GIS and just use it to process data, and do all my design work in Illustrator.


Could you post an example of your work? Could you post a screen shot of what your data looked like before exporting from ArcMap and then what your finished product looks like in Illustrator? Like I said, I'm very reliant on ArcMap right now for creating my finished map products and I want to learn to move away from that and start creating better looking maps with Illustrator. Thanks.

#4
Nick Springer

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There are numerous examples in the map gallery of finished products of mine. Also these days I don't use ArcMap really, just Manifold, but the process is the same.

Typically I color the GIS data on each layer a basic color just so I can visually tell the layers apart on screen, but this has nothing to do with the final design. Also for any classified data like roads I use a thematic style so each road type has a different color.

Once I have all the data setup, and the map framed, I export to Illustrator. In Illustrator there will be a layer for each data set. For the classified roads, they will all be on one layer. You will have to select one segment and use the Select > Same > Fill and Stroke command to select all the roads of that class and move them to a new layer. Repeat this for each classification.

There is other cleanup work that usually needs to be done in Illustrator. GIS exports usually saves objects as 1 line per link segment, which is a pain. Rick Johnson's Concatenate plugin is a must have for this. Once the lines are concatenated, you will probably want to use Illustrator's Path > Simplify feature set to 98-100% shape preservation to reduce the number of points.

Of course there is also the MapPublisher route, but I am not very familiar with that.

Nick Springer

Director of Design and Web Applications: ALK Technologies Inc.
Owner: Springer Cartographics LLC


#5
A. Fenix

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Hello,

Just thought that i'd chime in since I too have always made all of my maps using ArcMap. In fact, for years I have refused to move them into Illustrator with the hard headed mindset that the potential to skew the data was too high. Course, what with the project on the fly option that ArcMap has, I don't see much difference :blink: Anyway, I digress... I now make my maps using the methods that Nick spoke of. Since I am very comfortable in ArcMap, I do most of my coloring, symbology etc there. Than I export to.ai format from ArcMap and clean up my map in Illustrator. Unfortunately, I'm not very proficient in Illustrator yet so I'm sure that there are numerous splendid tools that I am not yet wielding. But, practice makes perfect right?

good luck!
Analisa Fenix
GIS Manager/Chief Cartographer
Ecotrust

#6
pfyfield

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The problem with doing too much finish work in ArcMap is that it can really mess up the export file. Transparency, dashed lines, fill patterns- these things tend to cause more problems than they're worth when done in ArcMap.

Another problem is that exporting to ai changes the data by aligning all points to a grid based on DPI. This is not such a big deal with a single export, but then if you want to add another layer by exporting along with a layer used for alignment purposes that alignment layer will be slightly different.

More and more I have been losing patience with ArcMap's cartographic features (and yes, I have 9.2). The inability to work with non-data graphics in layers, the fact that text properties (leading e.g) apply to an entire piece of text rather than an individual character, the inability to convert fonts to outlines or even do overprinting- these things drive me nuts.

I use ArcMap for its strengths- projecting, dissolving, clipping, and other data processing. Then I bring the data into Illustrator with MAPublisher and do 100% of my finish work there.
Paul Fyfield
Cartographer, Bureau of Land Management
Oregon State Office
Portland, Oregon
pfyfield@blm.gov

#7
Martin Gamache

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Another problem is that exporting to ai changes the data by aligning all points to a grid based on DPI. This is not such a big deal with a single export, but then if you want to add another layer by exporting along with a layer used for alignment purposes that alignment layer will be slightly different.


I have never experienced any problems with this. I always using the map frame border to align my objects from multiple epxorts and they tend to line-up consistently I'm not sure I understand where the misalignment comes from with your workflow.




I use ArcMap for its strengths- projecting, dissolving, clipping, and other data processing. Then I bring the data into Illustrator with MAPublisher and do 100% of my finish work there.



I agree with the first part of this statement but I must say with Arcmap I have never felt that I needed to have MAPublisher on hand to get my GIS output into Illustrator for finish work.

#8
MapMedia

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Yes, the layout frame is the guiding tool to aligning new data imports to an existing AI project, even if you have changed the scale in AI.
There are a lot of important steps to make in Arcmap before the AI transfer, especially labeling and symbolization (EMFs and BMPs), but hues/transparencies are left for AI.

I know we've discussed this all before, somewhere, so here are some key pre-AI export to-dos: (other plz add/edit)

1. Do all generalization and classification in Arcmap (one reason why I don't really need MapPublisher)
- Simplify, Dissolved, etc.
- Set categorical or quantitative classification schemes as needed (use unique colors)

2. Set unique colors for all text and symbols and sub-classes in layers, so you can parse them into unique layers in AI using select/same fill/stroke color etc.
3. If you are going to replace a symbol in AI using find/replace scripts, remember to make the Arcmap symbol the size you want the AI symbol to be, otherwise AI will stretch the new symbol
to fit the symbol exported from Arcmap (make sense?)
4. Did I mention NO transparencies?
5. No layer groups (pull them out as indiv layers)
6. Rasters as bottom layer
7. If you are exporting a lot of vertices (i.e. complex polyline/polygon), you might bump up Arcmap's 'max' export vertices to AI using regedit.
8. Might as well do as much labeling in Arcmap as possible (use Maplex if you have it), set font type and unique color (Arcmap AI export will group all labeling together into one layer)


In AI:

1. Keep the frame, even if you want to bleed to edge, so copy it to a new layer and lock it! Make sure this goes thru any transformation you do, so in future you can use it as guide for importing new data from Arcmap.

others can add, but those are some big, not all, considerations from my experience. Caveats and disclaimers <here>.

#9
pfyfield

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Other considerations in Illustrator exports:

1. Finalize the projection (for obvious reasons).
2. Finalize the scale. Otherwise any data you add later will be generalized differently, unless you adjust DPI.
3. Eliminate fills, especially bitmap fills. In my opinion, all fills are better done in Illustrator, but bitmaps will rasterize all the layers below and including the layer using the fill. I've had some issues with vector fills disappearing on export, but I think that's fixed now.
4. Eliminate dashed lines if you want to possibly change the dashes and gaps. Dashed lines export as pieces, not a continuous line symbolized with a dash.

There are others I'm forgetting...

I work with a lot of datasets that have vertical integration (plss, ownership), so I just prefer the absolute point-for-point import of MAPublisher.
Paul Fyfield
Cartographer, Bureau of Land Management
Oregon State Office
Portland, Oregon
pfyfield@blm.gov

#10
byzantium

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All text seems to come into AI CS2 greeked, even when above the greeking limit in AI prefs. One way around that is to select all text in the AI document, then move it up one unit with the arrow key, then move it down one unit with the arrow key (where one unit is your cursor key distance, and it doesn't matter what the value is).

One thing that seems to always be mangled by the time it gets into AICS is symbol labels like highway badges. It seems like a waste to spend the time to delete such labels and recreate them in AI.

Another oddity I have not figured out is why some things like freeways sometimes get imported into AI as two slightly offset lines which wobble back and forth (and intersect). It's one thing if they actually represented both sides of the freeway, but the way these lines wobble, there'd be 1000 accidents every hour. That's not the way they looked in Arc!

Another tip is to try exporting to both AI and PDF formats, and if there is some real whacky problem with the AI export, try the PDF file. One time I found that solved my problem and I didn't have to go back into Arc. However you may not get the niceties such as layers that AI format provides.

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