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#1
frax

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Hi,

I have been interested in seeing how much problem it would be to prepare isometric/perspective maps from GIS in Illustrator. I am just curious how easy/hard it would be.

My colleague, Philippe Rekacewicz, has been doing maps like this in Freehand, but none that are coropleth maps or that display anything on the maps, mostly for placeholders for diagrams, like this.

For a current project, I have a need for a simple Africa map, with all the countries.

I started with Illustrator and the extrude/bevel 3d effect. Works well, and gives nice results, but it doesn't really like it when there are multiple polygons (countries) - it can cause gaps in between them. Just the land mass and country boundaries work well (a bit slow) though.

Next option is to prepare the display in ArcScene and then export it. Seems like the export works just as in ArcGlobe - only raster (even if one chooses a 'vector' format like pdf/eps/ai, it just puts an image in it). So that didn't work that smoothly.

Third option, which is a bit 'dirty' but works -- export from ArcScene as raster and then vectorize using LiveTrace (this functionality is really really impressive). One has to export each 'layer' in the map separately for the vectorization to work ok.

See below for result:
Posted Image
this map is not truly isometric, since it has perspective. the sea/box on the bottom might not match perfectly, since I had to guess what the parameters were, since I think ArcScene understand the angles differently than Illustrator. I obviously haven't bothered to crap some stuff on the top to pretty it up...

Are there better/smoother ways?
Hugo Ahlenius
Nordpil - custom maps and GIS
http://nordpil.com/
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#2
Hans van der Maarel

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Try to crop instead of crap it :P

[ducking and running, this one was too easy]

There's probabely various ways of doing a perspective map, I would personally look at VNS first. Produce a map the normal way, export it as a geotiff, drape it over a terrain in VNS (or even a flat plane), put the camera in the right position and render away.

Problem is, this will generate a raster image.

One interesting thing to try is get the polygons in a 3D package like 3D Studio Max, although I doubt it will do an Illustrator output.

So at first glance it seems you've got the most logical way to do it already.
Hans van der Maarel - Cartotalk Editor
Red Geographics
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#3
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he, he :)

I think there is some overlap in the functionality of VNS and ArcScene, so that workflow is similar. I guess one could do the whole design in ArcScene and then move over to Illustrator (with the map as raster).
Hugo Ahlenius
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#4
Hans van der Maarel

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he, he :)

I think there is some overlap in the functionality of VNS and ArcScene, so that workflow is similar. I guess one could do the whole design in ArcScene and then move over to Illustrator (with the map as raster).

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


I've never used ArcScene but from what I've heard of it, they can do pretty much the same so the general idea remains the same.
Hans van der Maarel - Cartotalk Editor
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#5
frax

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Hans - I'd be curious to hear on how MaPublisher handles this, if at all - since I retains some topology (right?) would it be possible to use the extrude/bevel 3d-effect in MP and get it to hold all the polys together?
Hugo Ahlenius
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#6
Hans van der Maarel

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Hans - I'd be curious to hear on how MaPublisher handles this, if at all - since I retains some topology (right?) would it be possible to use the extrude/bevel 3d-effect in MP and get it to hold all the polys together?

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


I honestly don't think it'd be much of an improvement. MAPublisher still uses Illustrator objects, which don't bother with topology.

Methinks the only way to really solve this is use 3D vector software.
Hans van der Maarel - Cartotalk Editor
Red Geographics
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#7
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ok, I have a map ready, will post in the map gallerix...
Hugo Ahlenius
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#8
Matthew Hampton

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I think the ArsScene/Illustrator-Livepaint option is probably a really good path to follow. I've used Livepaint just a little bit and find it's raster-to-vector conversions for basemaps extremly attractive.

Having the option to vectorize a raster in selective colors (even binary) can be a powerful way to bring information over.

co-cartographic creator of boringmaps.com


#9
frax

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yep - the problem though can be when things that should align, are traced separately. In the Africa map that I posted in the gallery, the (country) polygon boundaries does not align properly with the country boundaries (a line only layer on top). They both have ancenstry from the same shape file... (one can't see it if one's not looking to closely though...)
Hugo Ahlenius
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