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#1
Pyzdra

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Dear All,
Looking for opinions from MP experts here.
I have started using MP 7.3 for Illustrator hoping to achieve good graphic outputs for publications but I am running into more and more limitations of this program every hour. The lack of a larger number of statistical mapping types was just a start, but now new things pop up that either make my mapping work really slow, or in extreme cases completely inefficient in MP. Am I wrong on this? For example – is it possible to control the extent of viewable area of an imported layer by zooming and panning in MapView editor? If not – all layers need to be cut to size before bringing them to MP – is that right? Is it possible to copy a layer from one MapView to another on the same map? If not – all operations that are done on this layer need to be repeated in each view, starting with the import, right?
Confirmed shortcomings:
- No control over the number of decimal spaces for either imported or created in MP variables.
- Attributes in objects modified in Illustrator (e.g. cut) are lost.

At this point with only these limitations I see that my work using this software will be a real challenge. I cannot imagine building more complex plates with insets, where layers cannot be easily manipulated or scaled properly. I have not even gotten to labelling yet and I am already afraid to go there. Please prove me wrong before I dump this piece of … software and go back to the good old exporting map files from GIS and manipulating the exported files in pure graphic software.
Thanks.
Pyzdra

#2
Sky Schemer

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The lack of a larger number of statistical mapping types was just a start


MAPublisher isn't a tool for automatically creating thematic maps.

#3
ELeFevre

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Hey Pyzdra,

Keep in mind that Mapublisher isn't a GIS, it's a powerful plugin that allows you to work with referenced geographic data with attributes in a 100% design oriented environment. If you decide to use MP/Illustrator on a project that requires GIS processing, then you need to determine what processes need to be done in the GIS beforehand and which ones are more suitable for Illustrator/Mapublisher. Here's an example concerning the "statistical mapping types" you mentioned. If you want to create a multi-variate thematic in Illustrator, the best approach is to classify and aggregate your attributes using a GIS before bringing the tables into Illustrator. Basically you supply the statistical classifications. There isn't an "apply a six-class standard deviation classification to such and such columns" magic button anywhere in Illustrator or Mapublisher. You can create classes using Mapublisher's Selection Filters and query tools, but that's not it's real strength. It's real strength comes when it's time to actually apply and control the thematic using Mapublisher Style Sheets and Illustrator symbols. The better you understand the strengths and weaknesses of both environments, the better you can use the combo to your advantage. It all depends on the project at hand.

Don't count-out Mapublisher just yet. There's a lot more functionality in there than you think!



#4
Hans van der Maarel

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Dear All,
Looking for opinions from MP experts here.
I have started using MP 7.3 for Illustrator hoping to achieve good graphic outputs for publications but I am running into more and more limitations of this program every hour. The lack of a larger number of statistical mapping types was just a start, but now new things pop up that either make my mapping work really slow, or in extreme cases completely inefficient in MP. Am I wrong on this? For example – is it possible to control the extent of viewable area of an imported layer by zooming and panning in MapView editor? If not – all layers need to be cut to size before bringing them to MP – is that right? Is it possible to copy a layer from one MapView to another on the same map? If not – all operations that are done on this layer need to be repeated in each view, starting with the import, right?
Confirmed shortcomings:
- No control over the number of decimal spaces for either imported or created in MP variables.
- Attributes in objects modified in Illustrator (e.g. cut) are lost.

At this point with only these limitations I see that my work using this software will be a real challenge. I cannot imagine building more complex plates with insets, where layers cannot be easily manipulated or scaled properly. I have not even gotten to labelling yet and I am already afraid to go there. Please prove me wrong before I dump this piece of … software and go back to the good old exporting map files from GIS and manipulating the exported files in pure graphic software.
Thanks.
Pyzdra


One of the major differences between making maps in a GIS and making maps in the Illustrator/MAPublisher combination is the point in the production process where you decide on the map size. In GIS, it can be done pretty much at the end. In Illy, it has to be done right at the start. So yes, it's best to cut the GIS files to size before importing them.

Layers can be moved between Map Views without any problem. Can even be Map Views with different scales and projections.

Labelling... unless you've got straight roads, it's probabely better to do that one manually. They've made a lot of improvements in this field with MP7, but it doesn't beat the quality of manual labelling, or special software such as Maplex and Label-EZ (it also has a different price tag...)

As Erin has also pointed out, MAPublisher can be a bit more hardcore when it comes to thematic mapping. It basically won't take you by the hand and do the mapping for you.

Do check out the Avenza Map Awards, there's some really beautiful maps in there produced with MAPublisher. You can produce great products with MAPublisher, and it's capable of some tricks that a GIS can't do.
Hans van der Maarel - Cartotalk Editor
Red Geographics
Email: hans@redgeographics.com / Twitter: @redgeographics

#5
Richard

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I echo the previous comments. You can 'cut and shut' once in AICS, but sometimes things go astray (polygons can do odd things in my experience), so its worth getting it nearer to the finished size before import. On that note do you have access to GIS? Manifold is a very powerful and cheap option. And its easy to get going with IMO.
When exporting to AICS MAPublisher you should also consider exporting only the attributes you're likely to use. That way the file size in AI doesnt bloat too much.
AICS MP is a fine combination and worth sticking with if your goal is a polished output.
regards, Richard

#6
Martin Gamache

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IMO a good GIS with good export to Illustrator format is far more versatile and superior to Mapublisher unless you need to export your files back to a GIS format from Illustrator after some editing. From a GIS you get geoprocessing, the ability to integrate far more data formats, many more data classification options, and the strength of a good labeling engine if you can afford it, Not to mention things like the option of a geo-databases for storing lots of data and specialized tools for doing raster manipulations and analysis. The cost of Mapublisher is far too great given the limited functionality it offers. It used to be the only option for getting data into drawing software, it no longer is, yet it's price point continues to increase in a way I find unjustifiable. The illustrator output of ArcGIS and Manifold has matured to the point where I simply do not understand the need for this plug-in. I have yet to hear a compelling argument for having it around other than going back to a GIS format from Illustrator. Seems to me a very simple plug in could be written to do this that would not cost $1100.

#7
frax

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One argument for using it (I don't) would be to have a tighter connection to the data, if one needs to revise the map, or produce a series of maps (with slightly different data).

I have been working in a project now, preparing a set of thematic maps - suddenly the report was upgraded to a more official status, which meant I needed to revise them and change the projections, to an inferior projection, to confirm to the publication standards.

That meant I had to re-export the data from ArcGIS and then redo all the simplification and styling in Illy, it didn't take overly long time, but it feels like very stupid and boring work...
Hugo Ahlenius
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#8
rudy

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IMHO (since you're asking) if you can do all the work in the GIS and export to a graphics compatible file, all the better. Ideally you'd use one tool for all your mapping needs - there are always issues (with work arounds) when importing and exporting data. Switching between programs mid stream always adds time to the process. Not all GIS software, however, are as flexible and robust in their graphics capabilities as Illustrator might be (e.g. Manifold) but if your maps are data-intensive and require constant updating you'd be better off manipulating your data in a GIS. You can do this in MP but I understand that you'll need to export your edited files as shapefiles for them to be accessible for other map projects (correct me if I'm wrong here, MP users). My biggest complaint about MaPublisher, however, is that your system will bog down once you start dealing with large data files (fields or graphics). There's work around for this but work arounds are still work.

#9
ELeFevre

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Mapubulisher IMO is just like any other investment where success or failure depends upon a lot of different factors, i.e. project requirements and update schedules, audience, organization type, available $$$, et cetera. If I worked for myself rather than working for a large organization where we've found MP to be a time-saving, money-saving tool, I'd re-evaluate Mapublisher's necessity based on my new situation. More than likely I'd go back to working with my aging Manifold 6.5 license (or cough up the cash and get an Arcview/editor license) and return to exporting AI files into CS2 or working solely in my GIS.

And concerning the $1,100 MP price tag. It is pricey and certainly ups the ante on the risk and necessity factor. I think more people would be willing to add it to their permanent set of tools if it was half or a quarter of the price. The only solid "bang fer yer buck, make it biggie sized" option is Manifold, which is one hell of an option. Beyond that you're forced to cough up the cash no matter which direction you choose.



#10
Sky Schemer

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IMO a good GIS with good export to Illustrator format is far more versatile and superior to Mapublisher


Not that I would ever defend MAPublisher's ludicrous price tag, but one reason it exists is precisely because of the lack of quality exports to Illustrator format. ArcView's exporting (even in 9.2) is best described as "awful". See this wonderful stairstepping that certainly does not exist in the original shapefile.

Manifold does a lot better (really well, in fact), but lacks many thematic mapping options.

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#11
Unit Seven

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IMO a good GIS with good export to Illustrator format is far more versatile and superior to Mapublisher


Not that I would ever defend MAPublisher's ludicrous price tag, but one reason it exists is precisely because of the lack of quality exports to Illustrator format. ArcView's exporting (even in 9.2) is best described as "awful". See this wonderful stairstepping that certainly does not exist in the original shapefile.


This is to do with your output resolution setting on the pdf, eps, and ai export from ArcMap, I am really against the fact ESRI called this resolution and made the setting in dpi because I initially thought, and most people I come across still think it only affects the reampling of raster data in the map but as you can see it also affects vector objects.

If you export at multiples of 72 it seems to be reduced (72 postscript points to an inch), i always export my vectors at 7200 'dpi' from arc as I think the highest setting is 10000 and this seems to place all my nodes where expected and my text point size comes through at the exact point size I set. No noticable performance problem going so high and can actually make your output file smaller as doesn't add those nodes for the steps. You can come into file size problems if you are using inappropriatly generalized basedata for your map scale though.

I do wish they had the export resolution of raster and vector as seperate controls (and allow the switching off of resampling of the raster) as if you have any raster objects in your map arc will upsample these to your setting so best to export them in a seperate step.
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#12
Sky Schemer

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This is to do with your output resolution setting on the pdf, eps, and ai export from ArcMap, I am really against the fact ESRI called this resolution and made the setting in dpi because I initially thought, and most people I come across still think it only affects the reampling of raster data in the map but as you can see it also affects vector objects.


I had noticed that changing this value affected the output quality, but I hadn't tried setting it to...uh...ridiculous values. :blink: Thanks for the tip!

#13
Unit Seven

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This is to do with your output resolution setting on the pdf, eps, and ai export from ArcMap, I am really against the fact ESRI called this resolution and made the setting in dpi because I initially thought, and most people I come across still think it only affects the reampling of raster data in the map but as you can see it also affects vector objects.


I had noticed that changing this value affected the output quality, but I hadn't tried setting it to...uh...ridiculous values. :blink: Thanks for the tip!


Yeah, pretty frustrating and difficult to find info on. Basically it seems to controls a grid that Arc outputs its nodes to so if it's a multiple of 72 the nodes should be placed where they were in the original geometry I think. Sorry that I'm a bit cloudy on the details, looked into it a long time ago and now just know that if I go 7200 and export my rasters seperatly I get what I expect.

Cheers.
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#14
frax

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I crank this setting up to ridicoulous levels to ensure that data is exported at full resolution. The resampling through the export is very crude, it is much bettter to resample the data before the export, or directly after (using simplify in illy).
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#15
Unit Seven

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I crank this setting up to ridicoulous levels to ensure that data is exported at full resolution. The resampling through the export is very crude, it is much bettter to resample the data before the export, or directly after (using simplify in illy).


Out of interest what do you use as 'ridicoulous,' am I right that 10000dpi is the max? and does anyone else follow the multiple of 72 guide that I do?
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