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Need Some Suggestions for Software!

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#1
James Moore

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Hello everyone.  I am looking to include mapping as part of my business.  I have little experience with GIS/Cartographic Design, and while doing some research stumbled upon this site. 

 

What I need: inexpensive, user friendly software that has the ability to create maps that include parcels, aerial imagery (the sharper the better), and basic design functions (text, lines, polygons, etc.) 

 

Also, it must be legal to sell maps created with the software.  Would there be copyright violations with the aerial imagery provider if the maps were sold?  Or do software companies have a contract that allows commercial use of their intellectual property? 

 

So, with that being said, I am looking for suggestions on what mapping software would be the best fit.  I appreciate your feedback!

 

 

 

 

 



#2
Matthew Hampton

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Hi James,

 

You will probably need to learn some GIS software (ArcGIS, QGIS, etc.) and some vector design software (Adobe Illustrator, Inkscape, etc.).  It also doesn't hurt to know some raster processing software as well (Photoshop, Gimp, etc.).  Conversely, you could check out some of the online mapping software tools like Mapbox - but you would have to be a bit more specific about "including mapping" as part of your business.


co-cartographic creator of boringmaps.com


#3
James Moore

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Thanks for the response Matthew.

 

Let me clarify a bit.  I'll be looking to sell these maps (printed hard copy) independent from any other product (rather than a supplement to another product) - in essence the customer would be ordering a map customized to their needs. 

 

I see QGIS is a free download - do you know if the terms of their license would allow this use?  If so, under what kind of conditions?

 

Once again- beginner here, so thanks for bearing with me lol.



#4
Matthew Hampton

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The list of software I provided includes the prevailing software you can purchase and use as well as an open source option (if you want to go down that road).

 

QGIS is a quite capable Open Source GIS software that I find rather straightforward for someone with a working knowledge of GIS.  I'm not too sure if it has licensing restrictions, but this website would be a good place to start looking.


co-cartographic creator of boringmaps.com


#5
kay

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Hello, James. Who are the audience of your maps? What are the purpose of your maps??

If you would like to make cartographically great maps, you might want to get professional graphic software like Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop. With Adobe CS6, Adobe introduced a new licensing system, "subscription system". This option may be interesting to you in terms of the cost of the software.

Plus, Adobe Illustrator is good for editing polygons, lines as well as text labels. It is very flexible than any other GIS software.

Also, if you are using high resolution aerial photographs, Photoshop would work. (.. and it is easy for editing and adjusting colours of the images as well) :)

Furthermore, if you are using GIS data (georeferenced data), you might want to preserve the georeferenced information with your map. In this case, you have an option to add the add-on/plugins to Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop. Those plug-ins are called "Geographic Imager" and "MAPublisher". (You can google them for more information) :)

Last, as far as I know, there is no legal issue with those software including Adobe products, MAPublisher, and Geographic Imager. I have been selling maps and I had never had legal or copyright issues with them at all. :)

I use Adobe Illustrator with MAPublisher and Adobe Photoshop with Geographic Imager for my map production because I make great maps with those products. I have tried other options but I couldn't make good maps with other options. Easy or difficult, this is going to be your learning curve and you will have to learn new things including software and cartography (and GIS, perhaps?) anyways. You might want to try and evaluate software before purchasing them. You will find a good combination of softwares you are looking for...

Good luck & happy mapping!
Kay :)

#6
James Moore

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Kay, its been a few weeks since I have had time to devote to this project, but thank you so much for your response.  I am planning to follow through with your suggestion.  

 

Do you have any experience using parcel boundaries?  After some research, the best service I found was Parcel Point by Corelogic.  They seem to have the widest range of parcels available, and they have a web mapping service which allows you to access their parcel layer and purchase the right to recreate parcel boundaries on your maps. 

 

Also, are their any 24-36" printers you would recommend?  I am leaning towards the HP Designjet T520.

 

Thanks again!

James 






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