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#1
rudy

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I'm developing cartographic specifications / standards for my company and find that I am running into a familiar problem: what is the best way to store those specifications so that they can be easily accessed by al lthe cartographers in an easy to use format? Excel spreadsheet? Not very graphics friendly. Illustrator/Freehand/CorelDraw/other graphics software? Not very table friendly. Word? Too finicky when it comes to graphics. Database? Haven't tried it yet.

What is your solution? Notes on a piece of paper? Something tucked inside your head? What do you find is easy to create and distribute?

#2
MapMedia

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In case you are referring to a specific type of map (i.e. metro area road/POI map etc), I keep templates in AI (some in FH) that has the complete legend, arrow/scale, grid, logo, and notes, to be applied to a new map. When I pass a project on to someone else, I include the template, so they can do the rest (Arcmap project design/export, AI finishing, Photoshop touch-ups, etc.).

#3
CHART

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Rudy,

Are we talking about a reference document?....or something that will be used within a specific application e.g. ArcGiS, MapInfo, Manifold.... etc...

Anyway if I was to develop a cartographic standards document e.g. feature name, scale of representation, style, color ect... I would consider developing a document using an XML syntax. I am a strong believer in the XML syntax when it comes to metadata, GIS project files (e.g. workspace). The xml syntax is used by ESRI, MapInfo etc... for those purposes.

If you do a bit of research on XML you will understand how useful it can be for long and durable development of solutions for standard documents.

Regards,
Chart

#4
frax

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Rudy -- if it is just somewhere to store the written up specs, have you considered a wiki? That way you could also encourage collaboration, and easily have associated notes.
Hugo Ahlenius
Nordpil - custom maps and GIS
http://nordpil.com/
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#5
rudy

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You guys are great! Lots of ideas. Hmmmm . . . I've considered the wiki and ended up setting a webpage containing standards and procedures. The XML thing is new to me . . . any ideas what would be a good reference place to learn about this?

With regards to the template . . . we use that but it has gotten to the state where everyone has their own template (a bad thing). Most of our maps are created already, by the way, so it is mostly revisions. The tendency has been for people to do some tweaking . . . and then neglecting to tell others. It's one of my jobs to fix that.

#6
CHART

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webpage containing standards and procedures


from what I understand you just want to make specification documentation available to a specific group.

Then a wiki as mentioned (or a web page as you did) is probably appropriate. The use of XML might be overkill. It could be a long term consideration. e.g. set up your specifications using xml and have it parsed through a web application for web page display and access. The advantage would be that once the parsing set up is done you only have to maintain the xml file and not the web page layout (so changes and modifications are easier). Using xml would also help if numerous people are involved in maintaining the specs.

For xml syntax info. you could look up the wikipedia page ....
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/XML and
http://www.xml.com/p.../10/guide0.html

Hope this sheds a bit of light.
Chart

#7
benbakelaar

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In case this is useful to anyone, especially considering how technical those XML docs are, here's a quick explanation of XML.

XML = Extensible Markup Language
Markup Language = any way of indicating formatting or data organization inside a text document

For instance, most people are somewhat familiar with HTML which is used to display web pages. So to make text bold you put <b>brackets around your bold text</b>.

XML is exactly the same, except there are no pre-defined formatting/organization codes. You get to make them up yourself!

<myxmlfile>
<person>
<id>1</id>
<name>Ben Bakelaar</name>
</person>
<person>
<id>2</id>
<name>Nick Springer</name>
</person>
</myxmlfile>

That is valid XML! You create your data object (<myxmlfile>), add sub-objects (<person>), and data (<id>), and you just have to make sure you close out the bracket (</id>, </person>, </myxmlfile>).

Once you start getting more advanced, you can work with XSL (style sheets) and DTD (data definitions) and XSD (schema definition). But really, there is nothing intimidating about it. The above XML is the same as if you had a Microsoft Access file named MyXMLFile.mdb, had a table in it called "Person", and had two fields "ID" and "Name" inside that table.

#8
Rick Dey

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but it has gotten to the state where everyone has their own template (a bad thing). Most of our maps are created already, by the way, so it is mostly revisions. The tendency has been for people to do some tweaking . . . and then neglecting to tell others.


Ah yes, the rogue cartographer that has a creative new idea but doesn't bother running it by the others to find out why it wasn't implemented 5 years ago. The next person to revise the map ends up undoing what the last one did.

We maintain a PDF standards manual that exists on our server, everyone has a link to it on their computer desktop. Additionally we have 6 separate symbols palettes and action sets for each of the different types of maps, when any of these are changed everyone is notified to replace their existing ones. Within the PDF manual are a number of matrix charts that are used for basic symbology/colors standards. The advantage of the PDF format is that it is quickly searchable.

We've toyed with the Wiki format, but I just haven't been able to put the time into it that I need to get it going. There are just not enough hours in the day.
Rick Dey

#9
rudy

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Ah yes, the rogue cartographer that has a creative new idea but doesn't bother running it by the others to find out why it wasn't implemented 5 years ago. The next person to revise the map ends up undoing what the last one did.

Except that everyone is a rogue cartographer because all the cartographers think it should be done THEIR way! The joys of managing opinionated cartographers (a good and a bad thing!).




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