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How to make good Street Maps using GIS?

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#1
nauboone

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I'm new to GIS and map-making.

Can anyone refer me to some "Guide for Making Street Maps using GIS" ?

I want to make some street maps that look as good as AAA's paper maps (so, really freaking good). My maps would be about the same scale as AAA (1 inch = 0.5 mile). I'm using ArcMap 10 because it's free at school (Stanford). My maps will be of places in the San Francisco Bay Area.

I cannot find anything about how to make a street map. No ArcMap help, no online guide, no book in the library, nothing. As if I'm the first person who ever wanted to make a street map.

Where do I get the street data? The street data needs to have the streets classified by street type (residential, arterial, highway, etc.) so they can be represented differently in the GIS. The Census TIGER street data doesn't contain street types in it.

Where do I get the data for shopping centers? For schools? For parks? For rivers and lakes? All the stuff that's on a street map - where do get it?

I did make a simple street map using ArcMap but it looks like crap. The labeling of the streets doesn't work. Many labels are missing, other label I want to get rid of. Seems like I can't control the labels in ArcMap.

Please help.

#2
Esther Mandeno

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Oh, dear. Where to begin?

First off - data. Often, the folks who have the best data for specific places are the city or county. If this is a school project, you might be able to get the data free from the City of San Francisco, they have a well established GIS department. Look 'em up on the web. You might also be able to use the data that ESRI provides, their StreetMap data. It might be detailed enough for your needs (this is usually a separate DVD that comes with a license of ArcMap).

Second - map design...I'm not sure where to start. There's a whole host of things you need to think about and those labels? Often, unless you have Maplex, the best way to place them is individually, by hand.

Other than that, the background colors and font choices is what make the map yours. If you want it to look like the AAA maps, keeping in mind that tons of cartographic work went into those, then just copy the styles that they use on a AAA map. You have to change the line widths, styles, and colors to match on everything.

Have fun! :)
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Esther Mandeno
Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving. - Albert Einstein

#3
jrat

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You can also try using Open Street map or ArcGIS Online for Data sources. The arcmap label engine is meant for quick placement of labels. If you want something that looks just the way you want it you are going to have to use annotation and place the labels how you want them.

There may be no manual for making a street map but most of the processes you need to make your map (i.e. where to find data, how to work with annotation. ect) will have tutorials or help support.

#4
James Hines

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The key is knowing how to classify roads & where to place them either on the same layer or in several layers in their proper places. To best use as an example of creating several layers:

- lets say you have classifications that list them as numbers 1, 2, 3, 4 , & 5. Normally classification #'s are most important as #1. Lets assume that you know what each classification # stands for rather you find it in the metadata or through the federal code system:

Class HwyType
------- --------------
1 Interstate with Toll
2 Interstate
3 Federal Highway
4 State Highway
5 Secondary Road

Whether you put it in several layers or in the same layer always put the least important at the bottom & the most important at the top. Therefore Class 1 is at the top followed by class 2, then 3, etc. This is especially important if you want to achieve the look of clean corners. However there is a lot more to learn when you creating a road map. Often when it comes to GIS data you have to pay attention to how clean the corners look, for example haw smooth or if they have jagged edges is important on how effective you can design a road map.

Do you want to use single lines or double lines? Design & text placement rules are effected.

Layer management? Priority is important this includes rivers, lakes, points of interest, etc. One clue is never place the river as the top layer over the roads. And in general terms with some exceptions to the rule: text features most important over points then lines, then polygons.

There is way too much to write on this board. The best way to learn is in the classroom.

"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."


#5
Charles Syrett

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The reason you can't find any guide for making street maps using GIS is that making street maps is not a GIS process. It's a cartographic process. As such, it may or may not include some aspects of GIS, but it includes a lot more as well.

To give you a very rough idea:

First, you have to compile information to create your map. The idea here is to get the best information you can, from multiple sources, as efficiently as possible -- and then put them all into one place, called a manuscript. Pre-digitally, this would have been something like a punch-registered sheet of drafting film or clear mylar. Nowadays, it would be a drawing application file, such as FreeHand, Corel, Ortelius, Ocad, or Illustrator.

If you're lucky, you'll find some shapefiles that will be clean and up-to-date. If you do, you can use a GIS such as Manifold or Arc to further prepare the data for import to your drawing app. The advantage of a good GIS data set is that you can use it as "control", i.e. a framework to which you can fit other imported material.

However, most likely you'll find better data from other sources, such as CAD drawings, PDF files, air photos, etc. These will also have to be processed, scaled, rotated, etc. in order to fit into your manuscript.

Throughout this process, you should keep a log, making notes on the strengths and weaknesses of the different sources. For example, for the San Francisco city area, one dataset may be more up-to-date than another dataset that you may be using as your "default" covering the rest of the area (such as Open Street Map).

Once you have the sources of information compiled (including things such as schools, which you can usually compile from address lists on the internet), you should do an edit. This is the stage where you would decide which streets are arterials, collectors, etc. There is no reliable source out there that you can just use, as if there was some kind of exact science to street classification. What James (Hasrubal) suggests is also a good starting point for classification, but you won't get a finished classification by just these means. You need to go through all of your map area and do it yourself. One way is to simply use a printed map and mark it up. In any case, it's generally better to do this before you start the actual production.

Design is the next stage. What Esther said is good, but it's a very large subject that can't be covered in a brief summary such as this.

Next, production. If you have high-quality street centre line data, and you're able to dissolve by name in your GIS prior to compilation, you may be able to get away with simple editing of the lines themselves (smoothing, generalizing, and classifying by graphic styles).

However, you will definitely have to do some drawing, if you want a presentable cartographic product. At the very minimum, you'll have to draw all the freeways and their interchange details. You'll also want to design and draw your own map symbols.

There's a whole lot more to it than this brief sketch (such as street indexing, which should never be trusted to an all-automated process), but hopefully you can see from this that GIS is only part of the mapping process, not vice versa.

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

#6
david17tym

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save yourself the heartache:

http://www.esri.com/.../bing-maps.html

http://www.arcgis.co...92a30a10b95a461

#7
Hans van der Maarel

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Whether you put it in several layers or in the same layer always put the least important at the bottom & the most important at the top. Therefore Class 1 is at the top followed by class 2, then 3, etc.


Unless there's over/underpasses. Depending on the scale, I usually try and recreate the actual situation on my map. So if a class 2 road physically goes over a class 1 road, I display it as such. Assuming "street map" to be something in the 1:10.000 to 1:20.000 range, I definitely would do this (over/underpasses are important for navigation)
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#8
rudy

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save yourself the heartache:

http://www.esri.com/.../bing-maps.html

http://www.arcgis.co...92a30a10b95a461


The nice thing with these is that, in ArcGIS 10, you can load them directly from the desktop into your map document and use as a base map.

#9
James Hines

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Whether you put it in several layers or in the same layer always put the least important at the bottom & the most important at the top. Therefore Class 1 is at the top followed by class 2, then 3, etc.


Unless there's over/underpasses. Depending on the scale, I usually try and recreate the actual situation on my map. So if a class 2 road physically goes over a class 1 road, I display it as such. Assuming "street map" to be something in the 1:10.000 to 1:20.000 range, I definitely would do this (over/underpasses are important for navigation)

Somewhere on my computer I have a few tutorials sent to me by Charles showing me on how to deal with overpasses, interceptions, & ramps. Research skills are needed in this case by interpreting aerial imagery to see which road has the bridge crossing over the other feature. It can be a pain in terms of time consumption; but it's really easy to do. Of course that's using Illustrator to do the work, in Arc I believe you need to use the topology tools to achieve that result. Never ever redraw the area of the bridge assuming you want accurate results. Of course if I'm wrong you could always hit me in the head in order to knock some sense into it. ;)

"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."


#10
Charles Syrett

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Nauboone's original request was to be able to create street maps that "look as good as AAA's paper maps", at a similar scale (1" to 1/2 mile or so). I stand by my point, that such a cartographic product cannot be done by importing GIS data and then styling it. Compilation and edit are still required.

I never worked on AAA maps myself, but some who post on this board have, and I know that they put a lot of careful research into their maps.

It's wonderful and heartache-saving that Arc can bring in Bing data, but as Rudy says, it's just a basemap. There are lots of major errors on Bing, as there are on any other source. So: start with Bing as control, and then build your maps from there.

As for interchanges: Lots of high-quality street maps don't bother indicating overpasses and underpasses -- especially when they use a single line road style, and at the scale in question. How many readers actually look at the interchange detail on such maps? My preference is to put such detail on, mainly as a way of instilling viewer confidence in the attention to detail given to the making of the map (or, to use business lingo, give it the "competitive edge").

The CSAA maps I have do, in fact, show bridges in interchanges, in spite of the single line style, so Nauboone is setting his bar high. :)

Charles Syrett
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http://www.mapgraphics.com

#11
Paul H

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The AAA maps had years of cartographic skill and experience built into them. Good luck.

#12
David Medeiros

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Nauboone's original request was to be able to create street maps that "look as good as AAA's paper maps", at a similar scale (1" to 1/2 mile or so). I stand by my point, that such a cartographic product cannot be done by importing GIS data and then styling it. Compilation and edit are still required.

I never worked on AAA maps myself, but some who post on this board have, and I know that they put a lot of careful research into their maps.


Not sure how I missed this post for so long. Charles is correct, emulating AAA (especially CSAA) map style and quality in Arc through simple styling is essentially impossible. There is a tremendous amount of research and data compiling that goes on before pen ever touches paper so to speak. The quality of the CSAA maps is largely a result of that research and effort in combination with traditional cartographic design and print production know how. Charles description of the process above closely resembles our historic work flow at CSAA*. And his description of this kind of work as a cartographic versus a GIS process is spot on.

For interchanges, bridges and overpasses we usually layered the roads hierarchically by road type (highest volume or importance on top, lowest class on bottom). Over that we placed a road k/o (knock-out) layer that captured all instances where lower class roads over passed higher class roads. We used a verity of bridge symbols with fills set to the background color to knock-out the lower road then copied and pasted a segment of the over passing road to the k/o layer. Interchanges sometimes got their own layer if they were especially complicated in their arrangement. I should say that different cartographer at CSAA may have had their own versions of this work flow and I used various approaches over the years myself. The simplest form of this is to only use two road categories (Hwys and Roads) and place the k/o's and bridge ticks directly into the layer, but this gets messy on larger maps.

*it should be noted for anyone who may encounter current or future maps of CSAA territory that these are no longer produced in house. Some have been shipped off to the national AAA cartographic office who does not use same processes we did (GIS only I believe). Some may be done by one or two smaller contractors or were replaced with other offerings and many were simply eliminated. Our old maps have been re-printed a few times to extend their life (and put some distance between the clubs decision to eliminate the map department and their members awareness of it).

GIS Reference and Instruction Specialist, Stanford Geospatial Center.

 

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#13
David Medeiros

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nauboone,

I just noticed you are at Stanford. I work on campus at the Branner Earth Sciences Library in the GIS lab. If you haven't been in yet you should stop by (email first). We provide basic GIS workshops to familiarize users with GIS software and data types. In the lab we support students and faculty in their various projects, mostly with locating data and preforming analysis, but cartographic design as well. I may be uniquely qualified to help you with your project. If you would like to talk about how to improve your output - and even how to approach the CSAA standard ;) I'd be happy to help.

David

GIS Reference and Instruction Specialist, Stanford Geospatial Center.

 

www.mapbliss.com

 


#14
rudy

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I think many of the response already posted go to the root of the problem of such a request: it is not an easy or simple thing to produce a good-looking street (or any other kind of) map. Many, if not all of the respondents have either been making maps for years or have gone to school to learn how to do so or both (as in my case). It is not, as has been said, a simple matter of styling things in ArcMap or any other software. To make a good map requires paying attention to many small and often (to the reader) invisible details: placement of text, fine tuning of colours and, above all, verifying and correcting data, just to name a few. If you are hoping to get a few quick tips and be off to the races, I think you'll be sadly disappointed. Cartography is an art and takes knowledge and experience to master.

#15
Lori Martin

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Well said Rudy and Charles!

There is more to making a map than styling in ArcMap. It (styling in ArcMap) is a starting point.
Lori Anne Martin,
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