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5 Big Mistakes

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Are you looking to simplify your map production? Is time for you to choose a replacement for Freehand? Which map-making system is right for you? Which mistakes do you need to avoid?

A choice for a replacement based on an educated, well-informed selection ensures efficiency and a rapid return on investment.

In order to help you make the right decision and following up on a survey conducted on our behalf, I’ve come up with a list of the five biggest and most costly errors to avoid when considering a replacement of your current production systems. You can read my blog here:


Please feel free to forward this link to anybody you think this information might be useful to.

Hans van der Maarel

Hans van der Maarel

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Regarding point 1:
I fail to see why a database system is inherently better than a file-based system. A database can be designed to keep your data 'hostage' as well. ETL operations are important, but there's tools for that too.

Regarding point 2:
I don't see a problem with using 2 systems. One to maintain the data and one to visualise it. Use every system for the tasks it's best at. Heck, in a practical environment, such as mine, there's often multiple applications on both sides. Once again: use whatever is most up to the task.
Hans van der Maarel - Cartotalk Editor
Red Geographics
Email: hans@redgeographics.com / Twitter: @redgeographics



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My two cents . . . .

1. Replacing one file-based graphic system with yet another file-based system.

In my estimation a file-based system is not ideal but sometimes, because of cost and legacy issues, it is the only practical alternative. A file-based system need not lead to a constant expansion of files - no more so than a GIS system would (think of the number of data sets and the final product files that would result).

2. Changing to one or more GIS systems.

"Despite the promises made by some GIS vendors in glossy advertisements, traditional GIS systems . . . ."
You're starting to sound like the folks at Manifold. Granted, GIS systems may not be as flexible and easy to use for producing pretty maps as graphic design packages but it can be done. Might require a bit more work but it can be done.

3. Failing to prepare for the change.

I agree that the best approach to data migration is to start producing immediately with the new software but you are forgetting time and cost constraints when you say that piecemeal migration is a result of lack of acceptance by users.

4. Not focusing on where the most money is made.

Existing channels are where map-makers continue to make the most money while they build on new distribution and collaboration channels.


5. Choosing something because others have it too.

This is a very important consideration when producing files for print. Like it or not, Adobe is the industry standard when it comes to printing and the files we produce for printing need to be completely compatible with what our printers are using. As well, if you are producing digital data files for customers to use you'll certainly want to provide them with useable (commonly accepted) files such as a shapefile. Of course, in both cases non Adobe and non ESRI products can be used to produce them without concern but it is something to keep in mind.

This is not say that the product you sell is not worth its price - I can't speak to that since I haven't used it. Don't forget that it is not always the cartographers who make the decisions about what software to use. Sometimes are choices are limited by cost (actually, quite often).

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