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#1
Giggles

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Hello Cartographers!

I would like to ask the professionals if they could share any resources (specifically guides, references, etc.) for improving the cartographic quality of GIS maps once exported out of ArcMap. Step by step guides or how-to guides would be most helpful. After much research, it seems Adobe Illustator is the program of choice.

I am a recreation specialist with the U.S. Forest Service and much of my GIS work focuses on producing trail, campground, and recreational site maps at the Ranger District level covering ~700,000 acres. I am striving to produce better quality maps. We do not have the budget to purchase MAPublisher, which seems to be a popular Illustator plug-in that bridges the gap between GIS and Illustrator. Any advice from professionals would be great!

#2
dsl

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I am a GISer that dabbles in Cartography...in other words I try and make my maps look a little nicer than the standard GIS output, but am not a Cartographer by trade. You can actually produce fairly nice quality maps in ArcGIS now, especially with the introduction of "representations" so it is worth looking into those. Unfortunately it requires ArcEditor or ArcInfo. Also become familiar with Annotation and avoid using Auto-labels. That presumes you have ArcGIS of course.

I've had good luck printing maps to pdf files and opening them in Inkscape (an open source Illustrator-like program) for editing and labeling. You have much more freedom using a program like Inkscape and Illustrator. I haven't figured out a way to easily update these maps as data changes though, so I think that is the power of map publisher. Maybe someone else can suggest a workflow for this.

This might be useful to you if you want to duplicate the symbology found on NPS maps:
http://www.nps.gov/h...map-symbols.htm

To improve my own cartographic skills, I read cartography books, try and mimic maps I like (the NPS maps provide an abundance of inspiration), and read the feedback the submitters get from cartotalk. If you have some maps you've created, I suggest submitting them to get comments from the expert.

Hope that helps,
David

#3
Giggles

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Thanks David. That link was helpful.


Cheers.

#4
David Medeiros

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Below are links to several very good but basic books on cartographic design. Making Maps is specific to GIS Cartography, although the principles of good map design are more or less the same whether done for GIS or not. Edward Tufte's excellent works on information design are another great resource for map makers. The best way to improve your own maps is to study what you like about other peoples work. Look for inspirational maps and break down the technical details of what you like and don't like about them, take what you learn and apply it to your own work. And of course, utilizing a forum like CartoTalk will help tremendously. Lots of talented people here.

MAPublisher is not strictly necessary for making good maps out of GIS data, it just makes things easier. Because you can export from Arc into Illustrator you can do most of the same post processing without it and it's really Illustrator thats doing the heavy lifting so to speak.

Making Maps:
http://www.amazon.co...n/dp/1593852002

Designing better maps:
http://www.amazon.co...mp;sr=8-1-spell

Cartography an introduction:
http://www.cartograp...p?contentID=753

Tufte:
http://www.edwardtuf...ufte/books_vdqi

GIS Reference and Instruction Specialist, Stanford Geospatial Center.

 

www.mapbliss.com

 





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