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Creating Simple Presentation Quality Maps - Advise?

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#1
The Doomed Mapper

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Good Morning Everyone!

I come seeking advice on a topic you folks may be familiar with. A friend of mine is interested in creating a few simple maps to place into a powerpoint presentation. The data displayed is very basic in nature: it would display the rough geographic locations of his companys holdings (marked by a dot) superimposed on a map displaying the countries political boundaries. The analogy I got out of him was "basically google maps without all the text labels and the like."

Does anyone out there know of a simple (read free?) way to accomplish this? He was originally looking at Microsoft Mappoint, but we both feel that would be like buying a toolbox when all you need is a nail (his company does not need sophisticated geographic analysis or the like). Especially when there are people giving nails away for free. Myself, my first thought would be to use a GIS (such as ArcGis), find some country boundary shape files, and just work from there (inital work in the GIS, export as Illustrator files, tweak in Illustrator).

So 1) what free programs could accomplish this?
2) baring free programs, where would be a good data source to obtain this type of general shape files?

This is a pretty simple question, I think, but I am curious to learn how some of you more experienced professionals would handle something of this nature! :)

#2
David Medeiros

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If all he wants shown are the national boundaries with company markers, than I would do it manually in a graphic program. No need to use geo-referencing if it's just a quick and dirty map for powerpoint. You can find graphics of national boundaries online, drag and drop those images to your PC, place them in illustrator or similar and redraw them (maybe add some other details like major cities and some type for nations, water etc). Mark your locations manually and export the file as an image or PDF than can be placed into a PP presentation.

HTH dave

FYI, Google Maps is a fine place to get this info (boarders, rds, cities and your locations). You can load up a map with your locations shown and use that as your reference for drawing the finished map. You may have to tile several screen shots to get this to work.

GIS Reference and Instruction Specialist, Stanford Geospatial Center.

 

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#3
Dennis McClendon

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Google "clip art maps." There are also probably some that came with Microsoft Office that he can use.

If he wants something a bit more sophisticated graphically, or there are a lot of locations, companies like mine do this sort of thing frequently (at prices similar to good clip art maps).
Dennis McClendon, Chicago CartoGraphics
chicagocarto.com

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frax

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Check out also stock photo repositories - like iStockPhoto
Hugo Ahlenius
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#5
The Doomed Mapper

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Check out also stock photo repositories - like iStockPhoto


Hmm, so it sounds to me that you are all essentially recommending tracing the maps or the likes inside of Illustrator, yes? That make's me feel a bit more confident about my own experiences in the field (that's what I was thinking of doing but I wasn't sure that was the most efficient way of going about all this).

Dennis - Thanks for offering your services, but this is something that I can nail down pretty well myself. =D

Dave - Again, thank's for the input. I do have some clip art like that at my disposal, but was curious to see how you folks would have handled it.
Also, I would have only used the GIS as a glorified file converter: download shapefiles of the countries boundaries (which are traditionally free) and then export the resulting shapefile as a AI layer. (And place the locations there).

Thanks for the advice folks!




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