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#1
dveit

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I am looking to see if anyone can suggest a high quality alternative to Arc to create maps, I do not require a layout view as I am creating tiled images. I am currently using ArcMap (Info) and charged with producing maps that display several data layers. I am utilizing the Mapplex labeling engine to help with annotation, however, due to the rather large size of the datasets I am getting general labeling errors. If MapInfo a viable option?

#2
David Medeiros

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My work flow for this would be to take the assembled map from ARC, output it as a PDF (or EPS if possible) and open it in Illustrator. If your after "high quality" maps your going to have to look outside of the GIS map design environment. You can work in Ill with the PDF or EPS file and no refernce info, which should be ok if all your doing is final map production. Or you can use MAPublsiher to handle the geospatial data and import direct from shapefille to Ill. For one-off maps of GIS data you don't need to handle them spatially in Ill so just bring over a PDF and make it look nice.

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#3
frax

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A lot of people here recommend Manifold, maybe something to look into?

dveit - you don't mention the rational for looking at an alternative? If you need a better labeling engine than MapLex, then I think there are not that much options...
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#4
Ted Florence

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Apologies in advance if some of you consider this as a biased and self-serving posting but nonetheless it does respond in point to the original question posed by dveit and should hopefully open the door to perhaps some less partisan responses from others.

Firstly, dveit asked if "anyone can suggest a high quality alternative to Arc to create maps" and to that I would like to suggest that he (or she) have a look at MAPublisher for Adobe Illustrator. MAPublisher is widely used around the world by many prestigious and well-known organizations for producing high quality maps including the USGS and National Geographic. It supports the import (and export) of most major GIS data formats with attributes and geodata intact and accessible and provides dozens of tools for working with that data within the Adobe Illustrator environment for high quality map production. The intent is to leverage all the wonderful and powerful design tools in Illustrator for map-making.

dveit also mentioned that he/she is using Maplex for labeling and to that I would like to note that the current MAPublisher release, version 8.0, does offer automatic label placement using attribute values although not with the sophistication and collision detection algorithms that professional labeling apps like Maplex offer. However, the upcoming release of MAPublisher 8.1 (due this month) will include the new MAPublisher LabelPro advanced text placement engine which will offer full rule-based collision free label placement right in Adobe Illustrator.

I will leave it to the rest of you to comment further and again direct dveit to www.avenza.com for more information.

Ted

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#5
natcase

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...I would like to note that the current MAPublisher release, version 8.0, does offer automatic label placement using attribute values although not with the sophistication and collision detection algorithms that professional labeling apps like Maplex offer. However, the upcoming release of MAPublisher 8.1 (due this month) will include the new MAPublisher LabelPro advanced text placement engine which will offer full rule-based collision free label placement right in Adobe Illustrator.

Cool. I'm looking forward.

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#6
David Medeiros

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I'll ad to that post.

MAPublisher is indeed a wonderful program and with it you will have a very powerful map design tool at your hands. It is however fairly expensive and is strictly speaking not necessary if you only do occasional one off map production from GIS data. If you can cover the cost from your employer, tax write off or just have the money to spend it's an invaulaube cartographic tool with great support.

On the labeling issue I'd add that even if the current MAPub label engine isn't that sophisticated I'll bet that once it's done placing labels, editing them in Illy is way easier than in any other GIS program and maybe even Maplex (don't know, never used it).

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#7
ELeFevre

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I am looking to see if anyone can suggest a high quality alternative to Arc to create maps, I do not require a layout view as I am creating tiled images. I am currently using ArcMap (Info) and charged with producing maps that display several data layers. I am utilizing the Mapplex labeling engine to help with annotation, however, due to the rather large size of the datasets I am getting general labeling errors. If MapInfo a viable option?



- ArcMap + Adobe Illustrator - It's a great combination. You can build a basic map in Arcmap and then export it as an Illustrator file. Adobe offers a 30 day trial version of Illustrator.
-ArcMap + Illustrator + Mapublisher plugin - this is another great way to go if you still want to work with geographic data. Just know mapublisher isn't a GIS. It's plugin that allows you to work with GIS data on basic level in Illustrator. More than likely you will still be using ArcMap for data preparation.
- MapInfo- I'm not sure there would be any point in leaving one GIS for another. Cartographically you are not going to gain anything.



#8
MapMedia

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What you have on your desktop (ArcMap & Maplex), imho, are the best tools out there. You just have to learn how to label better - post your issues in the GIS forum (search it first :)) and we can help you.

#9
mary lou

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I am looking to see if anyone can suggest a high quality alternative to Arc to create maps, I do not require a layout view as I am creating tiled images. I am currently using ArcMap (Info) and charged with producing maps that display several data layers. I am utilizing the Mapplex labeling engine to help with annotation, however, due to the rather large size of the datasets I am getting general labeling errors. If MapInfo a viable option?



- ArcMap + Adobe Illustrator - It's a great combination. You can build a basic map in Arcmap and then export it as an Illustrator file. Adobe offers a 30 day trial version of Illustrator.
-ArcMap + Illustrator + Mapublisher plugin - this is another great way to go if you still want to work with geographic data. Just know mapublisher isn't a GIS. It's plugin that allows you to work with GIS data on basic level in Illustrator. More than likely you will still be using ArcMap for data preparation.
- MapInfo- I'm not sure there would be any point in leaving one GIS for another. Cartographically you are not going to gain anything.


axpand is more than a good alternative. Everything you need is in one, integrated system. It includes text placement, printing options, etc and will soon be available online on a subscription basis.

#10
josie

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Like Frax mentioned, Manifold is a viable alternative to Arc. I have both but since getting Manifold I never use ArcGIS anymore. However, this is due to personal preference. For me, there is nothing I need to do that Manifold can't provide me the necessary tools for. In contrast, ArcGIS lacks many of the qualities I need for my own work. Manifold is quick and can handle large amounts of data, the graphics are nice and I find it such an easy environment to work in.

On the other hand, this does not mean it is better for everyone. Manifold for me is especially great for programming and making our own specialist tools easily and quickly. I still have nothing against any other software and think it is down to personal preference, whichever software best suits your workflow.

:)

#11
Guest_gloryforixseal_*

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hi all,

just wanted to know if anyone has a software for mac or pc to design. I found one once but it cost 10 000 canadian dollars but still

please let me know, it would be of great help

thanx
priya

#12
ajay

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axpand on Demand Software as a Service is an end-to-end cartography design software. Monthly subscription fee, no local installation needed. Runs on Windows and Mac and requires a Java-enabled browser and a BB Internet connection. Ping me if you want to know more.

#13
SouthernCross

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For me, there is nothing I need to do that Manifold can't provide me the necessary tools for. In contrast, ArcGIS lacks many of the qualities I need for my own work....


I'm curious at what those are exactly? I've used both and programmed in both and from a feature and customization point of view, I had most definitely not had those results! :) Of course, neither are native cartographic tools as opposed to GIS/analytical tools. They both have a long way to go to become a complete cartography solution.
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#14
SouthernCross

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Incidentally, I use the ArcMap/Illustrator/Photoshop (MapPubliser and Geographic Imager) combo the most. I find the MapBook extension you can purchase invaluable and saves me tons of programming time.

Fortunately I have access to ArcGIS through my primary job so I can stay late and work away on a station when I need to. I can see how Manifold is attractive since it is feature rich for the price, but they really aren't on the same playing field with their capabilities. Global mapper is my favourite quick-use software as it opens so many formats and saves in just about anything (including polish format) :). Most of the real cartography work is done outside of GIS software anyways for me.
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