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Illustrator and large maps

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#1
Igor Brejc

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Hi everyone,

For the past couple of weeks I've been working on a city map of Dublin based on OpenStreetMap data. I'm using my own software (http://maperitive.net/) to create a map style and then export everything into a SVG file which would then be manually postprocessed by the client. Here's a sample of the map: http://www.flickr.co...in/photostream/

I've already done a lot of work to make a customized SVG export just for Illustrator (since Illustrator has quite a few bugs & quirks when it comes to the SVG support): http://igorbrejc.net...obe-illustrator

Everything nice and fine, except when I load the Dublin map into Illustrator, it just freezes for hour or so, slowly loading snd taking up RAM and then dies. After a lot of investigating and experimenting I came to the conclusion that the problem is in the large number of text elements - there are around 25,000 text elements on the map, since the map covers the whole Dublin and the vicinity and some street labels are broken into several pieces because of winding streets. If I remove the text labels from the SVG export, the map loads just fine.

I've got report from the client that he managed to load the same map into CorelDRAW without problems. I also tried converting it to PDF before loading it in Illustrator, but it doesn't help.

So my question: has anyone had any experience with large maps in Illustrator? All the maps I found on the Web covered smaller areas (just the Dublin center), so I couldn't compare them with my own work. Thanks for any hints.

Igor

p.s. my computer is running Win7, 4 GB RAM and CoreDuo CPU
Igor Brejc
author of Maperitive, an OSM-based mapmaking software

#2
Gert-Jan van der Weijden

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Hi Igor,

Windows (XP, Vista, 7) makes 2 Gb available to the operating system, and 2 for applications.
You can change this with the bceedit system command as described on this page: http://www.cadforum....ID.asp?tip=5551

Should be supported by Illy CS5, not sure about CS4 or CS3.

Greetings,

Gert-Jan

#3
Patrick Sewell

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Hi Igor,

Windows (XP, Vista, 7) makes 2 Gb available to the operating system, and 2 for applications.
You can change this with the bceedit system command as described on this page: http://www.cadforum....ID.asp?tip=5551

Should be supported by Illy CS5, not sure about CS4 or CS3.

Greetings,

Gert-Jan


I can tell you for sure that CS2 would never use more than 1GB of RAM, despite my 4GB enabled by bceedit. Glad to know they've fixed it.

I've had lots of experience with large maps. The best method for dealing with them I found was to group the heavy stuff (in your case, text) in a separate AI file (with PDF compatibility enabled) and place it into the original. My worst project actually had three AI files linked together like this. I could do most of my work in the ones without the heavy graphics, and then use the file that linked them all together just to export the final document.

You may also want to try "expanding" the text into paths and fills.

When I work on large documents, I like to keep an eye on the Windows Task Manager to see how much memory the Illustrator process is using. I knew I was in trouble when CS2 got above 800 or 900 mb, and restarting would usually help some. Get a feel for how much memory your version can work with and keep an eye on it.

#4
frax

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Windows (XP, Vista, 7) makes 2 Gb available to the operating system, and 2 for applications.
You can change this with the bceedit system command as described on this page: http://www.cadforum....ID.asp?tip=5551
Should be supported by Illy CS5, not sure about CS4 or CS3.


Note that this only applies to 32-bit systems. If you are not on 64-bit yet, change that as soon as possible.
Hugo Ahlenius
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#5
Andrew Patterson

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Note that this only applies to 32-bit systems. If you are not on 64-bit yet, change that as soon as possible.


64-bit Windows still enforces the 2GB limit on 32-bit applications by default. The /3GB workaround only helps if the application is compiled with the LARGEADDRESSAWARE linker option. I don't know right now if Illustrator has been compiled with that option. Its seems reasonable that CS5 might be, but I'll have to do some testing to see. As Gert-Jan says, CS3 & CS4 seem unlikely.

If you're on a 64-bit system you actually get up to 4GB with that flag set. Microsoft's page on Memory Limits mentions /3GB and they specifically note that you have to have both that and LARGEADDRESSAWARE to get 3GB on a 32-bit Windows. On a 64-bit OS you either get 2GB if LARGEADDRESSAWARE is not set, and 4GB if it is. It sounds like /3GB is unnecessary on 64-bit Windows, so I'm not sure what the value of the workaround is -- it all seems to revolve around LARGEADDRESSAWARE.

I've read that it is possible to flip the LARGEADDRESSAWARE flag on an existing executable. This sounds like a no-brainer, but if the application isn't written with that in mind you could have bad things happen. Still, the commentary on doing this was talking about Illustrator specifically and it seemed like they didn't have trouble. If I was going to try this though I'd definitely keep a backup of the original Illustrator.exe and I'd be very careful about any files I saved just in case it broke things. Modifying the executable is definitely 'At your own risk' territory.
Andrew Patterson
Lead Software Architect
Avenza Systems Inc.

email: andrew@avenza.com
phone: 416.487.5116

#6
Andrew Patterson

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I wrote a little code and I've determined that CS5 is NOT LARGEADDRESSWARE. That means it doesn't matter what you do the OS /3GB setting, it won't affect Illustrator. This makes sense, as I'm running on 64-bit Windows 7 and I've never seen any sign it can handle more than 2GB. If the flag was set, it'd go up to 4GB.

Now you could alter the flag yourself on your Illustrator -- I've already done that on a copy here locally -- but like I said above, all bets are off that point. If you run into any problems after that, don't go wasting Adobe's time by calling them up and asking for Support :) Frankly, that just wouldn't be fair, since you've just potentially thrown any number of spanners into the works. Still, you might try and it see if it helps with that big file you can't quite get open. Just be careful.
Andrew Patterson
Lead Software Architect
Avenza Systems Inc.

email: andrew@avenza.com
phone: 416.487.5116




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