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#1
marcotk

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Dear all,

I am not an expert of maps and/or their design but I want to learn how to draw map showing the evolutions of military battles. Just to make sure it is clear what I am looking for this is an old military map http://www.armchairg...une27_28_44.jpg
What I am looking to draw are very neat modern looking maps like the ones found in this book (can see an example in the cover (sorry for the quality): http://www.collectru...ages/yy/493.jpg

I'd be very grateful if you could point me out to the right choice of software and how to go about it.

Thanks,
Best Regards

#2
Nick H

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I guess you'll be starting with something like a scanned base map? Before you start spending money you might like to have a look at Inkscape, see:

Inkscape Web Site

This was done with Inkscape (not by me!):

http://upload.wikime...of_Waterloo.svg

Regards, N.
Caversham, Reading, England.

#3
marcotk

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Thanks Nick!

Ok, that seems to be a pretty good vector editor..!
However I am not going to scan any maps, I would like to start from a "plain map" (meaning a background color, cities, rivers, lakes, borders - like in the book cover I showed you in the previous post).. How do you guys usually go about to get such a thing? Do you buy it? Do you build it yourself with the GIS (I have been reading about it)? (If so, with what program?) I guess all the rest is made within a graphical editor.

The waterloo map, altough is a nice one, is really not the graphical touch I am lookign for: poor "icons and arrows" (no shadows..very geometric shapes..), and most of all no map-like background!

Looking forward to learn,
Best Regards

Edited by marcotk, 20 July 2009 - 01:07 PM.


#4
marcotk

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None can give me some advices?

#5
Dennis McClendon

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It depends on the project, and particularly the scale and era being represented.

If you want modern European borders at 1:1 million, or something similar, you can buy base maps in Illustrator format from Map Resources or Creative Force or Maps.com

If you are mapping 18th century boundaries, it often is easier to just trace from a combination of modern maps (for positional accuracy) and old maps (for historic boundaries, etc.). The CIA country basemaps, available on the Perry-Castañeda Library site, are a good place to start. Or you can scan the proper area from an atlas. One trap for the unwary is modern canals and reservoirs, and sometimes shoreline changes as well.

GIS is probably overkill for the kind of maps you want. However, many of us also sometimes start with the datasets that come with ArcGIS—modern borders, cities, rivers, and the like—and create a basemap at the scale and projection we want. Then we shift that into Illustrator or a similar program and draw other features based on scanned maps.
Dennis McClendon, Chicago CartoGraphics
chicagocarto.com

#6
Hans van der Maarel

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This might be an interesting discussion: Cartographic design software
Hans van der Maarel - Cartotalk Editor
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#7
DrJill

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Dear all,

I am not an expert of maps and/or their design but I want to learn how to draw map showing the evolutions of military battles. Just to make sure it is clear what I am looking for this is an old military map http://www.armchairg...une27_28_44.jpg
What I am looking to draw are very neat modern looking maps like the ones found in this book (can see an example in the cover (sorry for the quality): http://www.collectru...ages/yy/493.jpg

I'd be very grateful if you could point me out to the right choice of software and how to go about it.

Thanks,
Best Regards


Hello marcotk,

If you happen to be a Mac user, you can also take a look at Ortelius. It's newly released map illustration program (and I promise I'm not attempting to make a hard sell here ;) One of our first customers was in a similar position of being a lay map-maker producing historic Viet Nam battle maps for his upcoming book. It did involve tracing the relevant features off of a scanned source map (topographic). Given your examples and description of what you'd like to do, I'd expect that would be your most efficient route regardless of your vector graphics software choice.

Best of luck to you,
Jill Saligoe-Simmel
Ortelius™ – map illustration software for Mac OS X
www.mapdiva.com

#8
JaneT

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Hi marcotk,

I agree that Map Resources is a great place to get basic outline maps (you can also get terrain and elevation maps). This has probably already been linked elsewhere, but d-maps has a library of free outline maps for download, editable in your graphics program of choice; however, the Map Resources maps have better border resolution, various projections, etc.

Good luck!
Science Communicator / Information Designer
Integration & Application Network
University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science




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