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Cartography plug-ins for Illustrator

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#1
sitesatlas

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The Institute of Cartography at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (where Imhof studied and taught) has a huge collection of plug-ins for Illustrator CS-CS4 here: http://www.ika.ethz....gins/index.html. Some of them perform simple tasks, such as joining and smoothing lines, selecting objects of similar path length, or normalizing topology. Others are more complex, such as "Adaptation to One Path", which matches one path to another (like a river to a boundary) within a specified tolerance. The "Special Move" tool performs a rubber-band pull on objects within a specified radius in order to line them up with a reference layer. And the most advanced functions are the thematic map plug-ins, which can be used to create impressive dot-density maps, pie and bar charts, and triangular diagrams.

The problem is...almost all the documentation is in German. I haven't found anything about them in English except for a very general overview. I was able to figure out how a handful of the tools work through trial-and-error and some translation help from Babel Fish, but I'm running into a wall since I don't speak the language. Are there any German speakers out there who could explain the gist of what each tool does and what the settings in the dialog boxes are for?

Three PDF files describe how to use the tools. The only English one provides a very general overview that isn't all that helpful. The main documentation (here for CS4) goes tool by tool and shows all the dialog boxes, but sometimes doesn't explain what the plug-in does very clearly. Finally, this document provides a useful description with fascinating real-world examples.

Is anyone interested in looking into this with me? If so, we could post a summary of the tools and how to use them for everyone's benefit.
Michael Borop
World Sites Atlas
http://www.sitesatlas.com

#2
Hans van der Maarel

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Can't get them to work in CS4, which is a shame because they look really interesting.
Hans van der Maarel - Cartotalk Editor
Red Geographics
Email: hans@redgeographics.com / Twitter: @redgeographics

#3
sitesatlas

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Can't get them to work in CS4, which is a shame because they look really interesting.


I have CS4 too, and I was able to get them to work by putting them in the Plug-ins folder of the Illustrator installation. When you restart Illy, some are accessible from the Object > Filters menu (they're greyed out until you select an object), and the others are at Window > KAR Dialogs. The only one I can't find is the "Special Move" tool.
Michael Borop
World Sites Atlas
http://www.sitesatlas.com

#4
Hans van der Maarel

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Can't get them to work in CS4, which is a shame because they look really interesting.


I have CS4 too, and I was able to get them to work by putting them in the Plug-ins folder of the Illustrator installation. When you restart Illy, some are accessible from the Object > Filters menu (they're greyed out until you select an object), and the others are at Window > KAR Dialogs. The only one I can't find is the "Special Move" tool.


That's what I did. First directly in the plug-ins folder and when that didn't work I put them in a folder inside the plug-ins folder. No luck though... I'm using a Mac, maybe that makes a difference...
Hans van der Maarel - Cartotalk Editor
Red Geographics
Email: hans@redgeographics.com / Twitter: @redgeographics

#5
sitesatlas

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I'm using a Mac, maybe that makes a difference...


You're right, Mac isn't supported. That's a downer...
Michael Borop
World Sites Atlas
http://www.sitesatlas.com

#6
MapMedia

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Great find! I had no problems with installation with CS3 for PC.
A little Google page translation for documentation helped, but the plugin text is problematic (need to make a German - English cheat sheet B) ). Fortunately enough the plugin names are in English.
Looking forward to using them all!

#7
Luca

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Hi all, for now I have only used the plugin for the diagrams in two school projects. Here's the last one:
Attached File  projekt_4_ldallacqua_strefalt.jpg   560.98KB   179 downloads
(Arcmap fot the choropleth and Illustrator for the diagrams and design)

I haven't used the others tools but I can try to translate some unclear points of the documentation.
Note that I come from Ticino (italian speaking part of Switzerland) and I don't speak very fluent German! :D

#8
rudy

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I've seen a few of these before but it looks like they compiled them all into one package. Great tools set.

Surely, there is someone on Cartotalk who can translate German to English . . . perhaps we could persuade them to do a little community service?? :)

#9
sitesatlas

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Nice map, Luca! I like the choice of colors and the transparent diagram for the city of Zurich.

I've been to Lugano a couple times and I really enjoyed it. The climate and vegetation are so different from the rest of Switzerland!

Next week, I'll post what I've figured out so far about how these tools work and if there are any German speakers out there, they can fill in the blanks. I've used some of the simpler tools a few times and they're really useful -- I can't wait to try the more complex tools for thematic maps.
Michael Borop
World Sites Atlas
http://www.sitesatlas.com

#10
sitesatlas

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Here is what I've figured out about the information tools in the Illustrator plug-in collection:

SELECTION INFORMATION DIALOG
Access from Window > KAR Dialogs > Show Inform Dialog
Select one or more paths or text objects, then click on Update Info at the top of the dialog to display information on selected paths (in English): total number of objects selected, number of simple paths, whether the paths are open or closed, straight or curved, how many compound objects, symbols, groups, and layers are selected, and the number of vertices and branches (paths within compound objects) the selected objects have. Note: the total number of objects figure can be misleading, since the count includes not only paths and text objects, but also layers, sub-layers, and groups.

MESSAGE DIALOG
Access from Window > KAR Dialogs > Show Message Dialog
Contains messages (in German) about results from executing other plug-ins. For example, if the Connect Paths plug-in is run and Update Messages is clicked, the Message dialog displays how many paths were connected, omitted, and examined. Use the <<< button to see a log of previous messages.
Michael Borop
World Sites Atlas
http://www.sitesatlas.com

#11
sitesatlas

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This is a description of the selection tools:

SELECT INSIDE AREA
Access from Filter > Data Harmonization > Select Inside Areas
I think this is used to select objects which are partly or completely within other objects, such as selecting all lakes within a previously-selected county, but I haven't been able to get it to work. Has anyone had any success with this one?

SELECT BY SAME GEOMETRY
Access from Filter > Data Harmonization > Select by same Geometry
Selects objects having nearly the same path length as the selected object. For example, if you have a shape that is used repeatedly throughout your map, you could select one of them and this function would select the others so you could then perform a transform command, for example. The tolerance setting is limited to 1 mm or less, which means that the shapes have to be almost exactly identical to be selected.

KEEP PATHS SELECTED BY GEOMETRY
Access from Filter > Data Harmonization > keepPathsSelectedByGeometrie
All selected paths are examined to meet certain criteria; those not meeting requirements are deselected.
- Geschlossene Path-Objekte: if checked, closed paths will remain selected, open paths will be deselected.
- Path-Objekte mit nur einem Punkt: if checked, only points will remain selected, paths with multiple anchor points and text objects will be deselected
- Zu kleine Paths?: only points and paths shorter than the threshold setting (up to 35 mm) will remain selected, longer paths and text objects will be deselected
- Lagegleiche Paths (Kopien): ???
- Echte Untermengen von Path-Objekten: ???
- Aufeinanderfolgende, lagegleiche Punkte löschen?: ???
- Sollen die gelöschten Punkte markiert werden?: ???

KEEP PATHS SELECTED BY NAME
Access from Filter > Data Harmonization > Keep Selected by Name
Selected path names (not including text objects) in Layers palette are searched for specified name (case-sensitive); those without that word in their name are deselected. For example, three paths named "Arkansas", "Missouri", and "Kansas" are selected and the search word is "ansas": Missouri would be deselected and the other two would remain selected.

Babelfish and trial-and-error have gotten me this far, but I've hit a wall. Can anyone help out with the first and third tools above?
Michael Borop
World Sites Atlas
http://www.sitesatlas.com

#12
rudy

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Looks like a good start. Thanks for the efforts.

#13
Ernst Hutzler

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This is a description of the selection tools:

SELECT INSIDE AREA
Access from Filter > Data Harmonization > Select Inside Areas
I think this is used to select objects which are partly or completely within other objects, such as selecting all lakes within a previously-selected county, but I haven't been able to get it to work. Has anyone had any success with this one?

SELECT BY SAME GEOMETRY
Access from Filter > Data Harmonization > Select by same Geometry
Selects objects having nearly the same path length as the selected object. For example, if you have a shape that is used repeatedly throughout your map, you could select one of them and this function would select the others so you could then perform a transform command, for example. The tolerance setting is limited to 1 mm or less, which means that the shapes have to be almost exactly identical to be selected.

KEEP PATHS SELECTED BY GEOMETRY
Access from Filter > Data Harmonization > keepPathsSelectedByGeometrie
All selected paths are examined to meet certain criteria; those not meeting requirements are deselected.
- Geschlossene Path-Objekte: if checked, closed paths will remain selected, open paths will be deselected.
- Path-Objekte mit nur einem Punkt: if checked, only points will remain selected, paths with multiple anchor points and text objects will be deselected
- Zu kleine Paths?: only points and paths shorter than the threshold setting (up to 35 mm) will remain selected, longer paths and text objects will be deselected
- Lagegleiche Paths (Kopien): ???
- Echte Untermengen von Path-Objekten: ???
- Aufeinanderfolgende, lagegleiche Punkte löschen?: ???
- Sollen die gelöschten Punkte markiert werden?: ???

KEEP PATHS SELECTED BY NAME
Access from Filter > Data Harmonization > Keep Selected by Name
Selected path names (not including text objects) in Layers palette are searched for specified name (case-sensitive); those without that word in their name are deselected. For example, three paths named "Arkansas", "Missouri", and "Kansas" are selected and the search word is "ansas": Missouri would be deselected and the other two would remain selected.

Babelfish and trial-and-error have gotten me this far, but I've hit a wall. Can anyone help out with the first and third tools above?






For the first tool SELECT INSIDE AREA, you find in Example 6 page 6 this Plugin in action (http://www.ika.ethz....gsbeispiele.pdf)
You have to choose the layer for the selected areas and determine the search criteria

For the third Tool: "echte Untermengen" means real subsets (incomplete copies) of Objects
"aufeinanderfolgende, lagegleiche Punkte löschen" means consecutive points which have the same location (result of deletions)
"Sollen die gelöschten Punkte markiert werden?" the deleted items will be marked with symbols?
Example 1 Page 1 .ai-File: B1Start.ai show illustrate the problems above.

#14
sitesatlas

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I've compiled all that I've been able to learn about the Illustrator plug-ins in a MS Word document (attached). It includes detailed descriptions about what 23 of the tools do and how to use them. There are a handful of others that I either haven't been able to figure out or didn't have the time to look at, so if anyone can add to or improve the descriptions, it would be greatly appreciated.

I've also attached a PDF worksheet so you can see how some of the plug-ins work -- open it in Illustrator to try the tools out for yourself. The website of the Institute of Cartography has a number of real-world examples with matching Illustrator files.

Special thanks to ebentley for her translation help.

Attached Files


Michael Borop
World Sites Atlas
http://www.sitesatlas.com

#15
François Goulet

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That's great Michael, thanks!! B)




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