Thanks for all your valuable comments regarding cartographic production with Adobe products.
Some of you asked about the what types of work will I be doing and about the specific problems I wish to solve. I basically would like to completely remodel the cartographic workflow on my Government office with the primary aim of improving the quality of cartographic output. Up until now the office has been using ArcGIS for output. As a result the maps are standard boring examples of geometries styled with ArcGIS. My main concerns are the poor use of colour, terrible choices regarding symbology, little consideration of legibility and absolutely no use of techniques to simply make the maps enjoyable to look at.
All these points are due to a basic lack of training, cartographic awareness and motivation to create beautiful maps. I took over this position 1 year ago and want to change this!
Having had few opportunities to use illustrator in cartography now is my chance. I would like to improve the use of basic cartographic principles including intelligent use of colour palettes, hierarchy of colours and symbols, the use of self-made topographic maps for transport routes and land features instead of the topography provided by the surveying office, more use of stylised relief images from DEMs, intelligent use of contours, incorporation of high quality Infographics into thematic map production and really to make our cartographic output something to be proud of.
My personal shortfalls are the methods of creating beautiful but accurate hill-shades and relief backgrounds from DEMs, point and line symbol design methods which also allow for continued update of GIS data - I don´t want to end up with one-off maps which can´t be updated once the content changes. The use of fonts and styling of text and diagrams is also another area which required work.
If anyone has workflows which help me create such things as Swiss Hill-shades, beautiful contours, border effects (drop shadows, shading, glows etc) I would be very grateful,
Thanks for any comments,