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Feed back on my maps and my next project

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#1
Mike Breiding

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Greetings,
It is pretty clear to me based on the critiques of my map samples as well as the maps posted by otheres in the gallery and at members web sites, I am in a class by myself! :)

Having said that, I will most likely continue to plod along and try to get a little better with each map. However, I only take on 2 or 3 projects a year and these are generally small and simple. So months can go buy and I will never launch ArcView. Anyway, that's my main excuse for being sloppy and producing crude maps - lack of experience and continuity.
This is also why I cannot justify the cost of a full suite of cartographic tools.

So - on to my next project which I hope will be gently guided by various members of CartoTalk.

I have been asked to produce a watershed map to be used in a brochure for the Dunkard Creek Watershed Association. The finished size of the brochure will be 18"x24". The main map will cover most of one side.
I will be using AV 3.2 to make the map.

The map will consist of the following layers:
Watershed boundary
Streams
Roads
Towns
State Boundary ( Mason-Dixon Line )
Public Lands

Additionally there will be an overview map showing the location of the watershed in WV and PA.
I would also like to produce a small shaded relief map of the watershed, but I currently have no way to make such a map.

Here is my first of many questions:
Would it be best to assemble the data in AV and then export to AI CS2 for labelling and embellishment?
Up to now I have always used AV and AVALabel for all the labels.

I have very limited experience with AI. I just purchased a copy this summer and have produced only one project with it - a golf course map.

Here is what I have done so far:
Dunkard Crk WS 1

The file is and EPS. I couldnot get the fonts to embed in a PDF.
If there is a preferred format, please let me know.

-Mike

#2
Derek Tonn

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Mike,

Hey, don't take any of our comments or feedback personally! I can find 100+ things about my own work that I think could be improved upon (keeps me up at night sometimes), as a lot of times it is simply an issue of what a client is willing/able to pay versus the amount of time I can afford to spend on a job. That being said, I would imagine that this group (CartoTalk) is generally a lot like me: living in the details to the point of being considered for a six-month vacation in an asylum somewhere on issues related to mapping... :P

I think that if you are stuck using AVALabel for placing all of your text, iconography and such, then your maps are pretty darned good! Personally, I would MUCH-rather get my fingers dirty via the use of Adobe Illustrator or Corel Draw on all those finishing touches, but if you do not have a great deal of experience with or confidence in those types of applications, you could find the process to be challenging.

I think the key is this: do what you need to do to make each map you are working on the best map you have ever made! Every project I am involved with teaches me new lessons on how to do things faster/better than I have before...and time and quality-of-work DEFINITELY equals $$$ if you want to make maps as a full-time gig. Anyone with a copy of ArcView or Illustrator can essentially try and market map-making services....but your (our) work has to really stand out from the noise/crowd if you want to be able to earn a decent living at it.

For sample screenshots of your work, I would recommend simply tucking some 8-bit .png files on your server for us to link to and look at. .eps is fine, but I often worry about having to download and open files from other people on my local computers here (viruses/spyware/malware). Hope that helps.

Derek
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mapformation, LLC

datonn@mapformation.com
http://www.mapformation.com

#3
Hans van der Maarel

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Mike,

As far as placing texts and 'other twiddly bits of cartographic furniture' (Terry Pratchett), I would personally prefer to do that in Illustrator. But I guess any application that gives you a wysiwyg view of the whole thing and lets you move objects by simply selecting and dragging would do just fine. I know Manifold is a bit tricky in that respect, for example.

Producing shaded relief, at least the automatically generated kind, is a fairly straightforward task and there's been some discussions on the subject here in the past. If you don't have the means (i.e. software) to do this yourself, I'm sure there's many people here (including myself) who are willing to do that for you.

Finally, as far as being in a class by yourself, we have a rather diverse group here in terms of experience, and there are definately a number of very experienced cartographers amoung us. I personally think that this is what makes Cartotalk an interesting place for everybody, as we can all learn from eachother. As you get more mapping projects, you will gain experience, there's no doubt about that.

Re. attachments: PDF, JPG or PNG would be preferred. If you have trouble with fonts in a PDF, try and convert the text to outlines in Illustrator and then save it as a PDF.
Hans van der Maarel - Cartotalk Editor
Red Geographics
Email: hans@redgeographics.com / Twitter: @redgeographics

#4
Mike Breiding

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Hey Derek,
I didn't take you comments personally. I completely agree with your POV - attention to detail is all important.

I have yet to develop the discipline and work ethic that you have so I often settle for: "That't good enough" because I am sick of looking at the map or feel I have already spent waaay to much time on it.
If I were relying on mapping for a full time living it would be different. I would be sink or swim and I would not be so quick to compromise. I need to change that POV so I start producing a better product.

And you aren't the only one who has lost sleep over these issue- believe me!

I am willing to take the leap to AI CS2. My biggest concern is the labelling. As clunky as they are I have gotten used to the labelling tools in ArcView 3.2 and AVALabel and I think the migration will be time consuming. But I need to do it sooner or later and now is as good as time as any.

Concerning PNGs: Using Pshop 7 I was able to save the EPS as a PNG but could not see any way to save as an 8 bit file. Any suggestions? I did some surfing this morning but did not find anything of use.

Thanks!
-Mike

Mike,

Hey, don't take any of our comments or feedback personally!  I can find 100+ things about my own work that I think could be improved upon (keeps me up at night sometimes), as a lot of times it is simply an issue of what a client is willing/able to pay versus the amount of time I can afford to spend on a job. That being said, I would imagine that this group (CartoTalk) is generally a lot like me: living in the details to the point of being considered for a six-month vacation in an asylum somewhere on issues related to mapping... :P

I think that if you are stuck using AVALabel for placing all of your text, iconography and such, then your maps are pretty darned good!  Personally, I would MUCH-rather get my fingers dirty via the use of Adobe Illustrator or Corel Draw on all those finishing touches, but if you do not have a great deal of experience with or confidence in those types of applications, you could find the process to be challenging. 

I think the key is this: do what you need to do to make each map you are working on the best map you have ever made!  Every project I am involved with teaches me new lessons on how to do things faster/better than I have before...and time and quality-of-work DEFINITELY equals $$$ if you want to make maps as a full-time gig. Anyone with a copy of ArcView or Illustrator can essentially try and market map-making services....but your (our) work has to really stand out from the noise/crowd if you want to be able to earn a decent living at it.

For sample screenshots of your work, I would recommend simply tucking some 8-bit .png files on your server for us to link to and look at.  .eps is fine, but I often worry about having to download and open files from other people on my local computers here (viruses/spyware/malware).  Hope that helps.

Derek

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#5
Mike Breiding

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Hello Hans,
I am going to give IA a shot. I am sure there will be much hair pulling and gnashing of teeth - but what else is new?
My main concern is meeting the deadline for this project and not having to do the project twice in two different applications.

I appreciate you comments about a shaded relief map. I was hoping it would add some "gee whiz" factor to the brochure as well as convey some visual information about the lay of the land. I was thinking of a SR section of a 24k quad.

I hope you are right about the diversity of the CartoTalk group. The amount of patience everyone has with me and my questions is another matter.

Thanks for the tip on embedding fonts and PDFs. When I get to the point of labelling in AI Ii will remember this. ( I hope...)

Thanks!

-Mike

Mike,

As far as placing texts and 'other twiddly bits of cartographic furniture' (Terry Pratchett), I would personally prefer to do that in Illustrator. But I guess any application that gives you a wysiwyg view of the whole thing and lets you move objects by simply selecting and dragging would do just fine. I know Manifold is a bit tricky in that respect, for example.

Producing shaded relief, at least the automatically generated kind, is a fairly straightforward task and there's been some discussions on the subject here in the past. If you don't have the means (i.e. software) to do this yourself, I'm sure there's many people here (including myself) who are willing to do that for you.

Finally, as far as being in a class by yourself, we have a rather diverse group here in terms of experience, and there are definately a number of very experienced cartographers amoung us. I personally think that this is what makes Cartotalk an interesting place for everybody, as we can all learn from eachother. As you get more mapping projects, you will gain experience, there's no doubt about that.

Re. attachments: PDF, JPG or PNG would be preferred. If you have trouble with fonts in a PDF, try and convert the text to outlines in Illustrator and then save it as a PDF.

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#6
Hans van der Maarel

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Mike,

Saving PNG's should be in Photoshop's "Save For Web" dialog. You'll have the option to pick an 8-bit file there.

A similar dialog, with the same options, exists in Illustrator
Hans van der Maarel - Cartotalk Editor
Red Geographics
Email: hans@redgeographics.com / Twitter: @redgeographics

#7
Mike Breiding

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Thanks, that did the trick.
-Mike

Mike,

Saving PNG's should be in Photoshop's "Save For Web" dialog. You'll have the option to pick an 8-bit file there.

A similar dialog, with the same options, exists in Illustrator

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#8
Derek Tonn

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Mike,

I'm glad Hans got you the answer on 8-bit .pngs via Illustrator and Photoshop. Beat me to it! :P

Yes, I'm sure I drive our designers crazy around here because "good enough" is not really a part of my vocabulary. I make mistakes all the time, but I'm pretty obsessive about trying to minimize them as best I can. I actually got my rear-end kicked in a graphic designer's forum earlier today for offering "War and Peace" on campus mapping related issues instead of the "executive summary" that the message poster had been looking for. My love of campus mapping probably goes a bit overboard, I guess. However, my life's work has unfortunately been most of my "life" for the better part of the past 2+ years (60-70 hour weeks), so I sometimes take some of this stuff a bit TOO seriously......

I need a vacation! :lol:

Derek

Hey Derek,
I didn't take you comments personally. I completely agree with your POV - attention to detail is all important.

I have yet to develop the discipline and work ethic that you have so I often settle for: "That't good enough" because I am sick of looking at the map or feel I have already spent waaay to much time on it.
If I were relying on mapping for a full time living it would be different. I would be sink or swim and I would not be so quick to compromise. I need to change that POV so I start producing a better product.

And you aren't the only one who has lost sleep over these issue- believe me!

I am willing to take the leap to AI CS2.  My biggest concern is the labelling. As clunky as they are I have gotten used to the labelling tools in ArcView 3.2 and AVALabel and I think the migration will be time consuming. But I need to do it sooner or later and now is as good as time as any.

Concerning PNGs: Using Pshop 7 I was able to save the EPS as a PNG but could not see any way to save as an 8 bit file. Any suggestions? I did some surfing this morning but did not find anything of use.

Thanks!
-Mike


Derek Tonn
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mapformation, LLC

datonn@mapformation.com
http://www.mapformation.com

#9
Martin Gamache

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Mike,

Even for occasional work it would be worth it for you to get a piece of software like Manifold. It would allow you to do things like shaded relief very easily and also to export to illustrator with many more features than the AI export from AV3.2. It wont make nicer maps but it will give you access to more powerful tools for data processing and exporting. Having said that I think if you design with the medium and with what you have available you should do fine, it's just a question of developping your eyes to see the things that other (perhaps more experienced) cartographers see more easily and critique in your work.

mg




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