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Designing your own, free map

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#1
occi

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For those of you who like to design their own maps with a browser based editor, I recommend these two links:

1) http://www.stepmap.de (German version)
2) http://www.stepmap.com (English version)

Here's an exmaple map form the English version: http://www.stepmap.c...usa-trip-110232

...and here's one from the German version: http://www.stepmap.d...ht-texas-119712

It's split up into 3 steps. First, you pick a region (e.g. Spain), second you edit/modify the design, third you add locations, lines, icons and descriptions. You can then also decide whether the map is public or private.

I hope this was helpful.

Cheers
Occi

#2
Hans van der Maarel

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Looks nice, but the map data for The Netherlands is quite bad.
Hans van der Maarel - Cartotalk Editor
Red Geographics
Email: hans@redgeographics.com / Twitter: @redgeographics

#3
James Hines

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Thanks for making the case for one of the reasons why the world will always need cartographers. That was brutal!

"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
rudy

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Thanks for making the case for one of the reasons why the world will always need cartographers. That was brutal!


I agree! No ability to project, zoom in to a user defined area or add or delete layers. The detail on Canada is appalling - no provincial boundaries or cities. I'll spend a little more time and make my own maps - thanks very much.

#5
christine.skl

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Useful for express maps. Otherwise I agree with comments above. Thanks for the link.
Christine

#6
occi

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You can zoom. You need to click on the zoom feature of course. You can also add layers (cities, rivers, borders, relief, political or mixed). Of course, you need to have a closer look.

Thanks for the feedback. We will work on the improvemnets. It's only a start, of course it's far from perfect. It's designed for people who need a simple, easy to modify, free map. Of course it doesn'r replace professional cartographers. That would be a very foolish goal.

Cheers
Occi

#7
James Hines

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That would be a very foolish goal.

Cheers
Occi

Google, Microsoft, Bing all have that goal.

"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."


#8
heath b

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I see this as a nice idea, but I would say that the site definitely needs a lot of work before it's marketed. You say that there's a zoom function, but I can't find it. Apparently, there's no pan feature, either. I like the controls allowing the user to shade bordering areas to highlight the state/country of interest, and assigning colors to borders and text is a nice, simple design. But I started making a map of Oregon and Portland (the largest city in the state) is not labeled and the relief colors do not match up with reality. Trying to create a custom location for Portland, I can't get the symbol and the type to match the other city labels. So I quit entirely. I looked at the sample map that you linked to and wasn't very impressed. The title scrolls right off the map. I would have liked to explore the site a bit more, but I felt like it would be a waste of time to delve further.

Good luck with revisions,

Heath

#9
Andrew

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Hey Occi,

I like the idea, I think potentially its offering a little more customisation and the ability to output a better looking map than Google or Bing. However I think that is let down by the process flow in creating the map from start to finish and the fact that the data isn't as good as Google or Bing.

I think with some positive feedback from here and a little process refinement you could well be onto a useful product. I don't think it was "Brutal" as i seen earlier in the thread but poor process flow and issues like not being able to find a zoom tool will annoy users. As much as we hate to admit it, when we are surfing the net we don't always think for ourselves we need the web page to guide us to the content because we are lazy (well I am) :P A good web page or web app will do that!!

Good luck,

Andrew

#10
Kathi

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I agree with the statements above: This tool is alright for a fast quick-and-dirty map.

But please, please, please get some better data. I looked at Switzerland and find cities in the wrong place, major rivers missing while bits of smaller rivers are drawn, and in the south there's an absolute novelty: a small river flows over a mountain pass! Wow!

I also think the colour coding of elevation should be smoother, there are too many sharp steps like between the dark green and the light beige. maybe reverse light and dark green so that dark green is at the lowest elevations, then light green, then beige. It's even worse in the grey elevation colouring (I'm shying away from calling it a relief, because it isn't, why not use a hillshade instead of these grey colour blocks that look just confusing?)

I found the zoom tool but then I got a map where I wasn't able show or hide major cities and waterbodies or show relief/elevation.

The supposed links at the bottom of the screen aren't working...

In short: You need to put a lot more work into this before it's really useable.
Cheers,

Kathi

#11
occi

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Again, thanks for all the feedback. I really appreciate it and our small team is aware of the fact that a lot needs to be done. That's one of the reasons why I posted here... to get feedback from people who are familiar with maps and who give valuable input.

At the moment we are working on the relief style for the zoom-maps. The old, static maps are based on EPS graphics that we converted into web-usable PNGs. In some locations the rivers and cities are not 100% correct, which is, of course, a major flaw.

The main decision was "when do we launch?" and of course you can drag that date out until you have the "perfect" product. We decided to launch with a simple (and in some cases faulty) version in order to get feedback and develop using that feedback.

I am in touch with Hans and Mark now, who offered additional feedback and help.

Even though it's not perfect yet, I still think the usecases are there:

http://www.stepmap.d...ock-tour-119843 (Tour map)

http://www.stepmap.d...pakistan-119898 (News Map)

http://www.stepmap.d...intensiv-119908 (Tourism Map)

Thanks again for everyone who helps us make StepMap better.

Cheers
Occi

#12
ELeFevre

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Hey Occi,
Congratulations on the project. You definitely have a good starting point and it looks like you've put a ton of work into it.

I think the key to any interactive mapping system - or online application for that matter- is simplicity and quality results. You can't replicate the cartographic process online. You can only provide brief snap-shots of the process and an end-result. Too many options provide too many opportunities for things to get ugly and I think that's where your application needs some refinement. IMO a quality online application is one that does one thing extremely well. I would focus on getting some quality base-map data and then on symbolizing the layers effectively. Once you have a solid base-map I would look at simplifying the overall process. Keep us posted. Nice work.

Erin



#13
occi

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Quick update: Hans told us that the Dutch map was wrong so we fixed it (it's probably still not 100% correct but at least a whole lot less wrong than before).

#14
occi

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Quick update: We will be adding the zoom feature in the next 1-2 weeks. You can then zoom in to and out of the map.

Again, thanks for all the feedback that I have received from you guys, also via email.

Cheers
Occi




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