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Gps data to polished map?

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#1
katherine

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Hi folks,

I'm a graphic designer who has been asked by a client to make maps, a tonne of them, which are updated and changed frequently.

For the past few months I've been tracing satellite maps of the region and placing points of interest on the maps. This is taking forever and besides being boring, I'm not generating the maps fast enough for the client's needs. This is the sort of thing we'd be using Google maps for if the region was covered by Google Maps.

Is there a way to download map data from OpenStreetMaps or a company that we can purchase GPS data from, and then alter it with a script or coding of some sort to automatically generate professional looking maps with only major roads, major landmarks such as parks or airports and the points of interest my client is interested in?

Any suggestions are appreciated. I can do a bit of scripting and can probably authorize purchase of specialized software for editing maps as long as it's not too expensive.

Thanks in advance

(ps. this is a fascinating website, I had no idea cartography was such and interesting field.)

#2
Igor Brejc

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Hi Katherine,

First of all, tracing satellite maps is very time consuming (as you have already discovered) and it's also problematic from the legal standpoint (depending on the license terms of the imagery you are tracing over - Google's terms prohibit it, I believe).

OpenStreetMap is a much better option, but you need to be aware that any maps based on OSM data must be released unfer OSM's license (see http://wiki.openstre...wiki/Legal_FAQ) and those maps need to be properly attributed.

Here's a list of companies that provide OSM mapping related services: http://wiki.openstre...re_and_Services

BTW I'm a developer of a free mapping software called Maperitive (http://maperitive.net/) which uses OSM data to produce custom-styled maps which can be exported to Adobe Illustrator, Inkscape or as bitmaps. In addition to developing the software I also do custom mapping work for clients, so if you're interested, please contact me at igor.brejc at gmail.com.
Igor Brejc
author of Maperitive, an OSM-based mapmaking software

#3
dsl

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If your client is ok with a web-based solution, you migth look into cloudmade. It uses open street map data, and allows you to style it, then use it in a variety of different javascript clients (Leaflet, Polymaps, OpenLayers). Cloudmade also has shapefiles of open street map data you can dowload.

Another alternative is to use Mapnik. You can generate a georeferenced image layer from a style you create. I believe it will work well with open street map data. You need to know python to use it, I believe.

Finally you can use Quantum GIS to edit and style shapefiles, and export the file as pdf for editing in Illustrator.

All of these are free options, although cloudmade may require some fees depending on your application.

If google maps isn't in your area, I'm not sure open street map will necessarily be any better.

Cheers,
David

#4
David Medeiros

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Hi Katherine,

There's a lot of freely available GIS boundary data online, some of which may include the areas you have been hand digitizing. Good places to look are Natural Earth and the USGS seamless server as well as local government or university GIS clearinghouses. These sources require that you understand and have the ability to work with GIS data, but getting that data from GIS to Illustrator is an easy process and a typical one for most professional cartographers. If the work you have is complex or of high enough volume you may want to look into contracting with an actual cartographer to get you the base files. There are a number of freelance map makers on this site who may be able to help.

Two other notes: 1) the data your are interested in are more accurately described as GIS data not GPS data. Its a fine line but an important one when doing data searches for boundaries or roads etc.. 2) your digitizing of the online air photos is probably not an infringement of copyright. Copyright usually covers reproduction of original material or the coping of artistic or creative expression (i.e. maps style) but not the factual content of an image or map. But that doesn't mean that it won't be worded on the website to scare you off of using it as you have or that they might not contact you about your use... I'd be cautions about describing your methods or sources online when doing this kind of work for pay.

Good luck!

David

http://www.naturalearthdata.com/
http://seamless.usgs...less/viewer.htm

GIS Reference and Instruction Specialist, Stanford Geospatial Center.

 

www.mapbliss.com

 


#5
katherine

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Thanks for the links!

I may contact you. . Do you only use OSM data, or can you use GPS data as well?

Open Street Map does not have the street names of all the streets and some of the ones that are there are not in English. In fact, the locals apparently don't know the names of their streets either, they tend to navigate by points of interest, which are also not labeled in Open street map. We found a GPS service that seems to have the streets and points of interest named correctly, but it looks like the data can only be downloaded to GPS devices.

Thank you.

Katherine

#6
katherine

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Hi folks,

Thank you for all the information, I've spent a few hours looking at all the links you provided and looking up definitions.

OpenStreetMap does not have the names of all of the streets in the country I'm looking at, or if it does have street names, they are not in English. Also, my client tells me that often the locals don't know or use the street names, points of interest are more important for navigation. If there are not free databases of the sort of data we're looking for, what other options do we have?

We found a service that provides data that can be downloaded onto GPS devices that has street names and points of interest on it, but it seems to only work on GPS devices. I'm not sure they license their data for other uses.

The client wants maps of cities that he can place location markers in for his stores, and be able to zoom in on each location on the map. Once zoomed in "enough", he'd like more specific details about that location to be displayed. These maps would be displayed on his website and be printed.

I've told him this project may be out of my range of ability, so we're now looking at getting a cartographer if this is something you folks do.

#7
katherine

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Hi folks,

Thanks for all of the information, I'm sorting through it and all the excellent suggestions. At this point, I may direct my client to a professional. I do have one other question though.

If neither OpenStreetMaps or GoogleMaps have the street names of the locations I'm trying to map, (or they have them in a language I can't read), what are my options for getting map data ? We have found a vendor who sells data that can be downloaded into GPS devices with street names and places in English, but the data seems to be only for the devices and only one device at a time at that.




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