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New to cartography: Illustrator/ArcGIS Combo

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#1
ellen c.

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I'm a recent geography/GIS graduate, settling into my job as a GIS technician. I learned how to use Illustrator in concert with ArcGIS in a Cartography course but would like to improve my skills.

The company I work for doesn't use Illustrator, but would be open to it if I can prove its usefulness. My job doesn't allow a lot of time for experimentation as we are consultants and must charge every second of the day to a project. :) But they are willing to pay for me to take a class or two if it will improve our work product.

Does anyone have any advice on how to learn more about the ArcGIS/Illustrator combo?

Thanks for any help!

Ellen

#2
dsl

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I've had good luck using Inkscape, an open source alternative to Illustrator. Don't expect illustrator, but it has at least the basic features such as layers and different stroke style. Typically I export each layer from the layout mode to a pdf file with my page size and scale set up before hand. Then open each of these in Inkscape and combine them into one file, separating them by layers. I find labelling much easier in inkscape than ArcGIS. Using Inkscape might be a way to demonstrate the value of Illustrator without the cost. Maybe just pick a project that requires a nice set of maps to be produced and just go for it. It will take you a bit longer, of course, but doesn't that just get billed to the client? :D

You can still do quite a bit with ArcGIS by itself, though. If you have an ArcInfo license, you might look into representations for creating some cartographic effects (e.g. tapered stream lines). If you have the spatial analyst extension you can create (IMHO) some nice hillshade backgrounds.

Hope that helps.

Cheers,
David

#3
James Hines

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Consider the ArcGIS > Illustrator > MAPublisher combo ;)

"There is much beauty that we fail to see through our own eyes teeming with life forms that give us that perception of our reality.  Leaves on the trees blowing gently in the wind, or scarily, the waves pounding through high surf, or lightly on a warm summer’s day; that opportunity to sit or swim in the water on a white beach.   That comfort to shout, “The universal conscious do you hear me?  I am alive, guide me dear logos towards the path of rightnesses.”  Earned what has been kept, no longer to be absorbed into a life filled with cold damn winds and  that stubborn fog clouding  my vision with nothing but darkness."


#4
BioGeoMan

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There are many tutorials on the web, some better than others. You can also take some graphic design classes at your local community college, almost all CC's have a class to learn Photoshop and Illustrator. The transition from GIS to AI is fairly simple and as Hasdrubal noted can be enhanced by MAPublisher to make your work flow between the two software programs more efficient.

I rely almost exclusively on AI and PS for the design aspects of maps. GIS has improved significantly over the years as a cartographic tool, but still has many limitations.

I can't speak for others on the site, but I learned these programs by spending hours upon hours in front of the computer, which is not the most efficient way to learn, but helps build character :) .

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#5
Kimi

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Hi. If you would like to try MAPublisher and Adobe Illustrator, I would recommend you to take the MAPublisher training. It is a 2-days course and it covers all the MAPublisher functions so that it will help you when you plan your workflow for your mapping project. Also, if you have any cartographic question and workflow question, your instructors will be happy to assist you with any of your questions :)

Of course, there are other options to learn MAPublisher/Adobe Illustrator as well. When installing MAPublisher, it comes with 1) Quick start, 2) Full tutorial, and 3) MAPublisher tutorial DVD. Those will help you understand MAPublisher functions when you study them alone.

If you would like to concentrate on studying AI tools / photoshop, like BioGeoMan suggested, taking a class for Adobe illustrator at a local community college and any other training centre is very effective. :)

Good luck!
Kimi :)

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#6
ellen c.

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Thank you all for your responses! I think I am going to proceed with taking Illustrator and Photoshop courses at the junior college. I would love to use MAPublisher, but the cost! I will work with the software I have now (ArcGIS and Adobe) and maybe once I've mastered that I can talk them into MAPublisher. :)

Thanks again for the advice!

ellen

#7
Kathi

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In our company we have ArcView and Illustrator, and I use them a lot to draw our maps and plans. Typically I do as much work as I can in ArcView, plotting map opbejts, labelling them, adjusting background raster imagery and also adding grids, north arrows and the like. Then I export the whole thing to Illustrator, there I can then add all the finishing touches like choosing the correct (desired) fonts for labels etc. and also adding our compny title page to the plans, which is a hassle in ArcView.

When exporting to Illustrator, ArcView puts its data into (at least more or less meaningful) layers which you can handle separtely if necessary. Just make sure you check "update old text" when opening the file in Illustrator! And don't get scared by a huge file size of the export file, once it's been opened and saved in Illustrator it will shrink considerably.

Cheers,
kathi
Cheers,

Kathi

#8
Martin Gamache

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Consider the ArcGIS > Illustrator > MAPublisher combo ;)


Yes...if you want to try to convince your company to spend even more more money and waste more time.

#9
David Medeiros

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Consider the ArcGIS > Illustrator > MAPublisher combo ;)


Yes...if you want to try to convince your company to spend even more more money and waste more time.


It's pretty modest compared to the Arc licensee fees and in the end you can do A LOT of work without ever opening Arc.

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#10
Charles Syrett

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Very interesting. For me, both Arc and Illy are (like most "industry standard" apps, such as Word and AutoCad) clumsy behemoths, poorly-designed and unsuitable for the kind of commercial-grade mapping my company does -- whereas MAPublisher is a brilliant piece of work. The tragedy is that the current version only works with Illy.

My pref is Global Mapper / Manifold (to prepare shapefiles and shaded relief), then good ol' FreeHand with rough-and-ready MAPublisher 5. And Photoshop (exception to the usual "industry standard" phenomenon.). And the human brain. B)

Oh -- almost forgot. Drawing is an editing process, not some kind of "tedium" that somehow needs to be eliminated from cartography. (This said, not as a criticism of anyone on this thread, but of a growing fad that regards mapping as something that should be entirely automated.)

Charles Syrett
Map Graphics
http://www.mapgraphics.com

#11
David Medeiros

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Oh -- almost forgot. Drawing is an editing process, not some kind of "tedium" that somehow needs to be eliminated from cartography. (This said, not as a criticism of anyone on this thread, but of a growing fad that regards mapping as something that should be entirely automated.)


I could not agree more! Very closely related to the phenomenon where newer cartographers regard the making of a map as simply the assembling of it's parts and one reason our profession gets so little thought in the GIS world. Reminds me of a phrase an english teacher in college used to say, "writing is thinking".

I am curious about your Illy statements. I've never used Freehand but I have used ArcGIS, GeoMedia (blech!) and Illy and I find Illustrator to be a joy to use by comparison. Very well thought out interface and amazing control of the work. What was the last version of Illy you spent a good amount of time with?

GIS Reference and Instruction Specialist, Stanford Geospatial Center.

 

www.mapbliss.com

 


#12
Charles Syrett

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I am curious about your Illy statements. I've never used Freehand but I have used ArcGIS, GeoMedia (blech!) and Illy and I find Illustrator to be a joy to use by comparison. Very well thought out interface and amazing control of the work. What was the last version of Illy you spent a good amount of time with?


AI CS4. To me, using Illy is like trying to drive a car that has a great state-of the art stereo system -- but two steering wheels, and brakes that can only be used by first pressing a button, and then turning around to pull a lever behind the seat. Every time I use it I'm newly astonished by how clunky it is. That's why there are so many plug-ins and scripts written for it. It's held together with bandages and paper clips.

There are one or two things I've noticed over the years that I like, but I can't remember them just now.

There. That's as polite as I can get about it. :rolleyes:

Charles Syrett
Map Graphics
http://www.mapgraphics.com

#13
Kathi

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AI CS4. To me, using Illy is like trying to drive a car that has a great state-of the art stereo system -- but two steering wheels, and brakes that can only be used by first pressing a button, and then turning around to pull a lever behind the seat. Every time I use it I'm newly astonished by how clunky it is. That's why there are so many plug-ins and scripts written for it. It's held together with bandages and paper clips.



As far as I know, my company has Illy (CS4) without any plug-ins, and I find working pretty straight-forward. But I do admit that learning the keyboard shortcuts to those functions I use more often has drastically speeded up my work. And maybe another fact is that I work "only" on fairly basic line drawings and we have templates for most of our drawings. If I need to draw a map, I prepare it in ArcView, export it and do nothing but adding the finishing touches in Illy. Like adding a decent coordinate grid, which is something ArcView sucks at.


Cheers,
Kathi
Cheers,

Kathi

#14
Gretchen Peterson

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I just put some of the ideas in this thread into a summary slide. If I've left anything out let me know! Thanks.

Attached Files



#15
David Medeiros

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I just put some of the ideas in this thread into a summary slide. If I've left anything out let me know! Thanks.


I've used an ArcMap -> PDF -> Illustrator workflow where there is no MAPub to do .shp imports. I think you can also do .svg to illy workflows?

In the Arc > PDF > Illy workflow you have watch out for Arc based transparencies which can turn the vector layers into raster data on export.

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