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Thesis help/poll: Reasons to use Photoshop for mapmaking?

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#1
awie

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Hello all,

 

I'm currently writing my Master's on the use of Photoshop in cartography, and I've seen some fantastic maps on here that were either completely or partially created with PS.

 

So I wanted to ask: When making/modifying a map, would you use PS? For the whole thing or just for certain steps; if so, which ones?

 

I'd also be interested if anyone uses GIMP or other well-known, non-specialised raster(!) programs.

 

 



#2
Hans van der Maarel

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I use Photoshop, in combination with Avenza's Geographic Imager, to manipulate raster images. Either generating or compositing shaded relief images, or preparing maps produced in Illustrator that need to be delivered in a raster format. The last time I used GIMP is several years ago and to be honest, I was not very impressed with it back then.

 

To show a real-life sample: http://meteox.com

 

Attached File  Screen shot 2013-05-02 at 09.15.53.png   443.95KB   43 downloads

 

The terrain base layer is Tom Patterson's Hypsometric Natural Earth with shaded relief. The first step was to fiddle with the curves in Photoshop to make it brighter. Then the other data (rivers, oceans/lakes, coastline, boundaries, cities) were done in Illustrator, exported as seperate PDF files and rasterized in Photoshop, then layered on top of the terrain (the customer is currently using a flattened file, but wants the option to offer seperate layers). I added an inner glow to the ocean layer to create a bit of a coastal vignette, then manually painted out the unwanted bits of vignette (around the edges of the map). So a lot of Photoshop work on this one.

 

For a more detailed version I couldn't use Tom's standard Hypsometric base map, since it was not detailed enough (by a factor 10), so I used his non-shaded relief version, scaled that up in small increments and layered that on top of a shaded relief layer that I generated in Global Mapper (using elevation data that had the required resolution). Again Photoshop for compositing the whole thing and color matching it to the lo-res version.


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Red Geographics
Email: hans@redgeographics.com / Twitter: @redgeographics

#3
Ted Florence

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It depends upon what type of data you are working with.

If you are using raster data like aerial and satellite images, scans, DEMS and such then for sure Photoshop is the way to go.

The only thing is that you have to appreciate that Photoshop does not natively have any geographic awareness nor can it open and save many of
the specialized geo formats.

That is why some folks, like Hans at Red Geographics, use the Geographic Imager plugin for Photoshop.

Now if you are using vector data like shapefiles and stuff like that then a vector environment such as Adobe Illustrator would be better.

- Ted


Ted Florence

Avenza Systems Inc.

When Map Quality Matters ®

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Cartographic and spatial imaging solutions for Adobe Creative Suite

Mobile mapping solutions for using, selling and distributing maps to mobile devices

 

 

 

mp_logo.gif    gi_logo.gifpdf-maps-icon.png
 


#4
razornole

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I use photoshop to create/modify  my hillshade, DEM, and Hypsographic tint (all which I export from ArcMAP in a PDF format) to create my digital terrain model.  This will be registered and placed under my vector work in Illustrator.  For my larger maps I will eventually rasterize my isohypse and add them to my terrain model to help keep Illy up to speed.  Once all vector work is complete, I will turn my map into one large print-ready PSD or TIFF in Photoshop.  Then it is off to InDesign for page layout of text blocks, legends, etc.

 

kru


"Ah, to see the world with the eyes of the gods is geography--to know cities and tribes, mountains and rivers, earth and sea, this is our gift."
Strabo 22AD

#5
David Medeiros

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As with many others, I use PS for processing my terrian images which are then used as backgrounds or base layers in Illustrator (with MAPublisher). It's indespensible for getting the rigth look to your terrain images and getting fine control over texture, color, saturation etc.

 

As for using PS entirely for making maps, I know you can, but I think that would be very tedieous when Illsutrator has much better tools for creating the line work and labeling needed.


GIS Reference and Instruction Specialist, Stanford Geospatial Center.

 

www.mapbliss.com

 


#6
Dennis McClendon

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To me, the clean crisp look of simplified, even stylized, vector linework is so intrinsic to mapping that it would be a very unusual circumstance to ever use Photoshop—except, of course, for shaded relief or aerial imagery.


Dennis McClendon, Chicago CartoGraphics
chicagocarto.com

#7
awie

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Thanks for all the kind responses so far!

 

So if I am summarising correctly, raster graphics (or basically PS) are an option for aerial photographs, shaded relief, hypso tints and artistic maps. And post-production.



#8
Derek Tonn

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Thanks for all the kind responses so far!

 

So if I am summarising correctly, raster graphics (or basically PS) are an option for aerial photographs, shaded relief, hypso tints and artistic maps. And post-production.


I think that might be a reasonable summary of what a few people have mentioned so far.  However, I think to even need to ask if Photoshop (essentially what you're asking seems to be whether anything other than GIS/vector software) is necessary, wise, and/or useful when creating maps shows just how much the fields of art and cartography have diverged over the past few decades.  It makes me sad.  Sad and angry.

 

What's to say a map has anything to do with scale?  Does a map need to be displayed on paper or an electronic screen?  Does a map need to have a single character of text?

 

We had a major medical equipment manufacturer ask us if we could develop a map of the human body.  I've drawn maps with a stick in the sand for people who needed to find their way from the beach to ???  I've created maps (albeit experimental, not for commercial distribution) that contained nothing more than colors, business logos, and/or quick sketches of major natural or man-made landmarks to watch for on their journey.

 

Personally, I think it is nothing but arrogance and self-projection...people proclaiming a map to be that which is drawn from a data set.  To be forced to a particular scale/orientation.  To adhere to some rules set forth by some academics in some classroom who might have barely had any experience developing maps in/for the real world.  To be almost completely devoid of any ounce of creative freedom and/or artistic training/talent. 

 

I found a link to this book at the University of Chicago Press that might be useful: http://www.press.uch.../bo5486535.html  If for no other reason then to hammer-home that maps are not (and should not) be "paint by numbers."  The world is a whole lot more beautiful, diverse, and whimsical than having everything done to-scale in planimetric form, with North always, ALWAYS being on the top of the design.  ;)

 

[/rant]  Sorry.  I just find the general question to be something along the lines of "should artists use clay and/or paint...or should they stick to Adobe Illustrator and deskjet printers?"  Maps ARE art!  Artistic, creative expressions.  Or at least most of them used to be...before all the left-brainers took over cartography and stomped out anything and anyone who didn't conform to their modus operandi.  


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#9
Dennis McClendon

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Well, I could make a map out of string cheese.  No one would question that it's a map.

 

But it seldom seems like the right tool for the job.


Dennis McClendon, Chicago CartoGraphics
chicagocarto.com

#10
David Medeiros

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Thanks for all the kind responses so far!

 

So if I am summarising correctly, raster graphics (or basically PS) are an option for aerial photographs, shaded relief, hypso tints and artistic maps. And post-production.


I think that might be a reasonable summary of what a few people have mentioned so far.  However, I think to even need to ask if Photoshop (essentially what you're asking seems to be whether anything other than GIS/vector software) is necessary, wise, and/or useful when creating maps shows just how much the fields of art and cartography have diverged over the past few decades.  It makes me sad.  Sad and angry.

 

What's to say a map has anything to do with scale?  Does a map need to be displayed on paper or an electronic screen?  Does a map need to have a single character of text?

 

We had a major medical equipment manufacturer ask us if we could develop a map of the human body.  I've drawn maps with a stick in the sand for people who needed to find their way from the beach to ???  I've created maps (albeit experimental, not for commercial distribution) that contained nothing more than colors, business logos, and/or quick sketches of major natural or man-made landmarks to watch for on their journey.

 

Personally, I think it is nothing but arrogance and self-projection...people proclaiming a map to be that which is drawn from a data set.  To be forced to a particular scale/orientation.  To adhere to some rules set forth by some academics in some classroom who might have barely had any experience developing maps in/for the real world.  To be almost completely devoid of any ounce of creative freedom and/or artistic training/talent. 

 

I found a link to this book at the University of Chicago Press that might be useful: http://www.press.uch.../bo5486535.html  If for no other reason then to hammer-home that maps are not (and should not) be "paint by numbers."  The world is a whole lot more beautiful, diverse, and whimsical than having everything done to-scale in planimetric form, with North always, ALWAYS being on the top of the design.   ;)

 

[/rant]  Sorry.  I just find the general question to be something along the lines of "should artists use clay and/or paint...or should they stick to Adobe Illustrator and deskjet printers?"  Maps ARE art!  Artistic, creative expressions.  Or at least most of them used to be...before all the left-brainers took over cartography and stomped out anything and anyone who didn't conform to their modus operandi.  


 

I think a lot of that is just sort of understood. I read
this question as more pragmatic in terms of what working map makers are using
particular software for, not prescriptive like what should and should not be
used for making maps.



I agree with you about art and cartography (and what
constitutes a 'map'), but I think your lament is about 5 - 6 years behind the
times. While there are certainly many very rigid users of map making technology
out there I've see an explosion in more creative and informal cartography
taking place (mostly online) in recent years. Not just 'mashups' but artistic
map work, work I would call cartography* not just map-making.



*I’m stealing that word back from Dennis Wood. I agree with
his assertions on academic map making (see Cartography is Dead) but I think he’s
wrong in implying that term means rigid, rule-bound academic map making. To me
cartography specifically implies knowledge of geography, geographic science, design
principles, AND artful expression.



I don’t think of cartography as having rules as much as best
practices and I’d never say any of them were required, but the least artful and
most prescriptive map work I see on a regular basis is often the result of map makers
who did not start from that knowledge base but relied upon the technology to
tell them what to do. In other words, you can’t break the rules if you don’t
know the rules.



 


GIS Reference and Instruction Specialist, Stanford Geospatial Center.

 

www.mapbliss.com

 


#11
Derek Tonn

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Great posting, David!

 

As you can tell, this is one of "the" issues that frustrates me in our industry/community.  The stifling homogeneity that often exists in SOOOO much of map-making today.  Steve Holloway and a few others as noticeable exceptions to the rule/norm.  Where "variety" or "spice" often means daring to go with a 2 pt. line instead of a 1 pt. line.  Or C 40 M 11 Y 0 K 47 instead of C 41 M 1 Y 0 K 37 (gasp!).  Or Helvetica instead of Arial...since Helvetica?  Well that's hip/cool (iFonts, lol).  

 

I have contended, and I continue to contend, that about 50% of the population does not navigate space via lat/long, scale, distance, and "North on top."  Planimetric maps are about as intuitive/useful to them as telling them "drive down the street, turn when you come to another street, then keep going until you see the street you're looking for."

 

Think about how many/most people might have given directions 100-150 years ago, visually (maps) or verbally.  "Take the main road out of town, pass the Johnson farm, then go over the hill with the big oak tree with the Y-shaped trunk.  After a curve in the road, go over the small wooden bridge on Medeiros Creek, and look for the house over the next hill, on the left."  If you talk about this way of navigating space, most modern cartography (academic) programs seem to equate this to the time before cavemen could make and control fire.  Those poor, simple, unwashed masses...who haven't yet evolved to our modern, enlightened state of (boring) being!   :)  But talk with end users of the designs we are creating...REALLY talk with them, and I'll bet that nearly half will still find it easier and/or more natural/intuitive to navigate space in "the old" manner.  Versus being shown/told distance and direction.  From an arbitrary point tens of thousands of feet in the air...directly over the center of the area in question.  With East on their right.

 

So to the original question: "When making/modifying a map, would you use PS?"  I guess my answer simply needs to be "yes."  Before the moderators crack my knuckles for being a wind-bag...hehe.   :)


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#12
Charles Syrett

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I basically agree with Derek. Everybody uses the word "cartography" in a different way. A while back, some high-up Google exec also proclaimed that cartography is dead – but what he meant was paper street maps!

 

I just think of cartography as the study of, and making of, maps. <begin rant> It's not a subset of GIS. GIS is technology-dependent. Cartography isn't. As Dennis pointed out, one could even make a map out of string cheese. <end rant>

 

Re "north at top": Most of my business comes from commercial real estate, and I always use "local north", which is almost never true north! In Toronto, it's 17 degrees. Montreal, more like 50 degrees. These are locally perceived norths, and people shopping for properties don't necessarily appreciate being "corrected" with true north.

 

On the other hand.....it may be that 20 years from now, online data-driven mapping will be so much the default that local norths will have become an anachronism. We'll see. :huh:

 

Charles Syrett
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http://www.mapgraphics.com



#13
Jon B Ball

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Good thread!



#14
Adam Wilbert

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I move back and forth between Photoshop and Illustrator, but it doesn't necessarily depend on the raster/vector divide. Often it comes down to the look that I'm after or the story that I'm trying to tell. If I want something that is precise/perfect/calculated/scaleable then I'll stick with Illustrator because it excels at giving that sort of cold, computer generated look. If I'm going for something that needs to be warmer/textured/nuanced/organic/human then I'll move everything into Photoshop. And many things that you would think of as vector objects get pushed into a raster environment. Things such as streams that I want to taper out and "carve" into the shaded relief get composited in Photoshop as well. 

 

@razernol, I'm curious as to why you export rasters from ArcMap as PDFs (which I think is probably just a jpg in a pdf wrapper) rather than to a TIF, PNG or JPG directly?


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#15
razornole

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I move back and forth between Photoshop and Illustrator, but it doesn't necessarily depend on the raster/vector divide. Often it comes down to the look that I'm after or the story that I'm trying to tell. If I want something that is precise/perfect/calculated/scaleable then I'll stick with Illustrator because it excels at giving that sort of cold, computer generated look. If I'm going for something that needs to be warmer/textured/nuanced/organic/human then I'll move everything into Photoshop. And many things that you would think of as vector objects get pushed into a raster environment. Things such as streams that I want to taper out and "carve" into the shaded relief get composited in Photoshop as well. 

 

@razernol, I'm curious as to why you export rasters from ArcMap as PDFs (which I think is probably just a jpg in a pdf wrapper) rather than to a TIF, PNG or JPG directly?

 

I just assumed that a pdf was a lossless compression, but I may be wrong.  Either way, the first thing that I do with my raster is save it as psd, which I know is lossless.

 

kru


"Ah, to see the world with the eyes of the gods is geography--to know cities and tribes, mountains and rivers, earth and sea, this is our gift."
Strabo 22AD





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