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#1
geofictionalist

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Hey there,

I discovered this forum today and created an account immediately. I'm not a cartographer but an urban planner, this might be an excuse for my low level of GIS experience - and for drawing maps like these

Forberg 1
Forberg 2
Wittersberg 1
Wittersberg 2

with Illustrator and not with a professional GIS software like ArcMap.

Apart from problems like the non-existing object linking and so on, this way of drawing imaginary maps works quite well. But my current project is getting far too big to work on it with Illustrator (a 1:20,000 scale map on 4x DIN A0 format, 1682 × 2378 mm). Has anyone got an idea how I can export an illustrator file (.ai) to .shp format? Or other ideas for a program that might be better do finish such a giant project?

Maybe it sounds a little crazy to do something like this for imaginary maps. But as you may realize by looking on my maps, it's not just for fun - but for a detailed reflection of contemporary European urban structures and a "sampling" of urban patterns from existing cities...

Best regards
geofictionalist
Johannes Bouchain, Stadtkreation
www.stadtkreation.com

#2
Matthew Hampton

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Hi there and welcome to Cartotalk.

No need for excuses! I think there would be many to argue that the "cartographic toolkit" in Illustrator presents many advantages with respect to visual styling of geographic data. There are several reasons you would to consider moving these vectors over to a GIS including the ability to perform spatial analysis and modeling based on attributes associated to the shapes and other (semi) automated functions (labeling, systematic changes based on data attributes, etc.).

It appears to me that your workflow is dialed in quite well. Your maps look fabulous as do your imaginary places. Great work!

co-cartographic creator of boringmaps.com


#3
Gretchen Peterson

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Wow, those maps are fantastic. I want to live in those places now. :)

#4
rudy

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Looks good. Best way to move from Illustrator to a shapefile format would be Mapublisher.

#5
Dennis McClendon

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Beautiful work, and I find myself trying to reconstruct the urban history that led to various situations I read in them. How is it that the through-railway line needed to be on a bridge over the old railway yards, or how is it that the municipal boundary divides the town forest, or how did the industrial park end up so far from the railway. Fascinating.

But I don't see the need to switch from Illustrator. You obviously don't need to link these to real-world coördinates, nor to do statistical analysis on them. In ArcGIS you'll find it more difficult to keep smooth curves, to accomplish various graphic design details, and to place labels where you think they look best. Many of us regularly create FreeHand/Illustrator files with 25,000 objects or more, so these should not be a strain on the software.
Dennis McClendon, Chicago CartoGraphics
chicagocarto.com

#6
geofictionalist

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Hey there,

wow, thanks for your replies. I also think that Illustrator is a good choice for graphical reasons. As for the statistics: even for my imaginary cities I would like to make statistical analyses (defining population density of certain areas, measure the sizes of the city and its districts, then make calculations with these values and so on...). As for now, I have to measure shapes with Adobe Acrobat, it works quite well. I used to do it with AutoCAD, but my old version ist not running on my current 64bit system.

Here's the statistics sheet for Forberg:
http://www.stadtkrea..._statistics.pdf

I will try to go on with Illustrator in "creating" the cities and then work with Mapublisher - this seems to be the perfect tool for my purpose. Just have to look if I can realize this, regarding my budget.

My current project has 12,376 paths so far, and I guess it's only 20 percent of the final data. Well, I'll just have to try how far I can get with Illustrator, I think.

@Gretchen: Where would you like to live? Would you prefer Forberg or Wittersberg? ;) In Forberg, there's even a street name with your forname in it. You'll find it in square I9, close to the Fora river.
http://urbangeoficti...m/?city=forberg

@Dennis: pretty cool analysis of some aspects of Wittersberg's city structure. Indeed, I don't have answers to all such questions. A city's history can be too complex to explain all the curiosities in its "evolution" in a simple way and if I want to imagine a city and to explain all the details of its development over many centuries - even a small city like Wittersberg would take a lifetime to finish. But to raise such questions is one of my goals: I think that "watching" imaginary places based upon the same "variables" as existing places can be a good way to reflect contemporary urban situations.

My dream is to setup my own GIS server one day and to create a WMS as well as a client interface based upon OpenLayers - and to create something like OpenStreetMap for an imaginary "parallel" world - where eveybody can participate in imagining parts of the world. Well, it's a dream. Everybody needs to have dreams...
Johannes Bouchain, Stadtkreation
www.stadtkreation.com

#7
natcase

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One of the things I learned at NACIS was that simply adding lots of RAM to a fast processor (like 8GB to a Mac Quad processor) speeds up these files with lots and lots of type. That type seems to me to end up being the big memory drag. That and raster effects, especially those applied to layers.

All that said, if you want to transfer the linework to Arc, you could simply use MaPublisher and set your towns in a section of land in the middle of the North Sea or Baltic Sea. Atlantis Stadt!

Nat Case
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maphead.blogspot.com



#8
geofictionalist

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Hi Nat,

thanks, I also had the idea of putting my imaginary country somewhere in the Atlantic Ocean, as a first step. This doens't work for my "final plan" of a complete parallel world, but it would be good as a first step.

Concerning your RAM remark: I also found out that type and raster/transparency effects blew up my file remarkably. For the moment, I'm working with a notebook that has a 4GB RAM processor (don't know the name of it). It's OK to work with it, but it takes almost more than five minutes to save the file.

As I said before (in my reply that wasn't yet visible when you posted yours): I will stay with Illustrator for now (as long as it works...)
Johannes Bouchain, Stadtkreation
www.stadtkreation.com




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