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was wondering just how many hours other GIS people spend on making your
average map? I've been working on my map for three months and I know I
still have at least three to go. I have over 8000 labels and 2000
symbols and all of them I place by hand so I get them the way I want
them. I spent at least a month manually moving all the roads so that
the line up with other stuff since 60% GIS data I got was based on
24:000 scale where other data was based on 4,800 scale. I also spent a
great deal of time modifying contour lines so that they match with
lakes and rivers. I can't stand maps where you see contour lines going
over the lakes or streams flowing up according to contour lines so I
move those manually so that the look right. Am I wasting my time here.
I see so many maps out there that just by looking at it, you can tell
that it was all generated using GIS data and no final editing was done
to improve on imperfections. So here I'm siting day and night
downloading satellite photos and tracing roads because I'm not happy
with the simplified GIS data. The biggest problem is that I can't stop
and let go some of the things. I want everything perfect and if I keep
going this way I will never get this map done. Are there others like me
or should I seek professional help?

Hans van der Maarel

Hans van der Maarel

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always a choice between time spent on it (and consequently pricing
towards the client) vs cartographic quality. Deadlines are important
too... You don't always have the liberty to make the map as beautiful
as you want.
Hans van der Maarel - Cartotalk Editor
Red Geographics
Email: hans@redgeographics.com / Twitter: @redgeographics

Martin Gamache

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There is some amount of abstraction and generalisation that needs to happen based on your final map scale.

it sounds about right in terms of time. Don't give up, but feel free to
call on us if you feel like you are heading in the wrong direction and
spending too much time with details that are unimportant for the map
scale you are working at.

Since this is your first big map projectthink of it as a learning experience.



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if it is *your* map, I say do what works best for you. You are not
wasting your time if the end product is for you, and what will satisfy
you is perfection.

If it is a map for a client, you have to do
what is best for them. If you are clear on the deadline, and have the
months necessary to do your perfecting work, the only other thing I
might add to consider is what they will notice. Are you getting paid
for all this extra work, and will the client notice the difference
between a 10 hr map and a 100 hr map? My guess is no. If it's a
flat-rate or project-based fee, I would say the extra work is not
necessary, spend it on your own personal project.



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of course, I should add, whether the extra work is ""necessary"" and
something the client will ""notice"" is obviously debatable, and
ultimately will rely on your decision and opinion. I'm sure there are
plenty in this forum who will say I am wrong that the client will not
notice the difference between a 10 hr and 100 hr map. But my experience
has been, and I think someone mentioned this in a recent post in
another topic on the forum, the client is looking for very specific
things. If you meet those criteria, if they have been well-defined,
then they may not notice that all the coverages/lines/roads/rivers
match up, for instance. I think you get what I mean. "



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guess it will vary with each project. But spending months and months on
a project will really get to me. Luckily, I have multiple projects
going on at the same time (which can be bad too) that switches things
up for me. So if I get tired on one project, I'll just change it up by
switching to another project.

Mike H

Mike H

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I've been working on my map for three months and I know I still have at least three to go.

Are there others like me or should I seek professional help?


like a labor of love, which is something to be appreciated in itself.
We find ourselves in a variety of situations: if you do work for a
daily, or weekly or monthly - you never have enough time to do what you
really want to do. A map publishing job may allow 3 months or more per
map title, but we may be frustrated with a 'template' or rigid
stylesheet that doesn't allow much artistic interpretation. A client
may not have the budget, nor the eye for it, to be appreciated or to be
produced the way we know in our hearts it should be...

I think
the best thing any map can have is time - and that includes time away
from it. Open up the project after a few days, or weeks, or longer, and
you'll see things differently. maybe you are tweaking it to a degree
that doesn't make sense... or maybe you're not tweaking it enuf? Most
of us spend alot of time doing aesthetic edits only we will see, that
is what drives us. If our respected colleagues look at our work and say
""Yes, that is truly a beautiful map"" then it's worth it! If that wasn't
part of the equation all we'd need is mapquest. (metaphorically -
apologies to the hard working designers at mapquest) "
Michael Hermann
mike [at] purplelizard.com




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"how many hours?

a 'typical year', I'll do map projects that take 10/20/50/100/200 hours
a 500 hour job once in a few years. The distribution is heavily skewed
left in terms of number of jobs...

I reach compromises of some
sort on every project. One of the early stages in every project is the
'decision procedure' stage where you assess the client
needs/priorities/perceptions, what needs to be done to 'get the job
done', what you personally need to put into it to feel good about
putting your name on it - and formulate principles that allow you to
make reasoned and fair judgments about quality.

Wasn't it
Deming that said something like ""quality is meeting customer
expectations""? - personally, I take a more absolute view about quality,
but in business, Deming's definition is usefull

Don't lose
heart! You will pick up and develop tricks along the way to speed
things up - it's a continual process - it's always a learning
experience for me...

I second herm! on stepping away from the work when you can - invaluable, but often a luxury I don't get on tight deadlines

my $0.02

e "

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