I´m new to this forum and mainly subscribed to improve my map making skills. I work on seafloor imaging since a while, mainly bathymetry and backscatter data and the interpretation of seafloor features and tectonics. I´m scientist and neither a cartographer nor designer but I work since years on my map making skills to avoid ugly maps in my publications. You see often simple bathymetric maps and models in publications that lack any sense of esthetics, design and in the end look ugly and are totally overloaded with information. However, I started as geochemist but I love maps since I can think and always tried to do nicer maps than others in my field (not always successful). It begun with some simple maps for data points and sampling locations but over the years I started to make more maps, also for colleagues and two years ago I got my own position for seafloor imaging.
I have the feeling that I´m - due to my work - software wise very well equipped and mainly work with Fledermaus Pro, Global Mapper, Surfer, Photoshop (with Geographic Imager) and CorelDraw. I also have MaPublisher available as well as ArcGIS but with the last two I don´t really work yet. Recently I discovered the Terrain Texture Shader by Leland Brown and decided to invest the small money for the GUI by Natural Graphics because it´s very cool for structural interpretations. But even if I´m may good equipped I have the feeling that I only scratch the surface of possibilities and the creation of well designed, scientific maps that can be used for publication as well as potentially hang on (office) walls recently became my favorite task when making maps.
I love the charm of old maps and try to give my maps a painted look in bathymetric colors. Often it´s difficult to paste additional information into the maps as text for feature names or outlines of volcanoes. It also is often somewhat problematic that our data are patchy, often contain better and not so good quality areas and often don´t fill the frame.
So, I guess I go over to another part of the forum now to finally show a map :-)