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  1. #51
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    I've done a bit of mapping for our local MTB org, CRAMBA.

    Here are four of the maps I've done in the last year or so:


    The general workflow that I use can be found here. As a result of this I contribute heavily to OpenStreetMap and then use the data to produce open source (CC BY-SA) maps for our trail users. This has worked out well and been well received by both trail users and land managers.

    If anyone has questions about these, feel free to email me at c0nsumer@nuxx.net.

    (Yes, I know there are no contour lines... Our area is full of gently rolling and short/steep stuff that is often of small enough grade changes that it's not well represented on topo maps. Thus this data is not included in these trail maps. This may change in the future for one or two parks, if I can get appropriately-licensed data.)

  2. #52
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    Quote Originally Posted by NateHawk View Post
    I think an ideal product is one generated in GIS for accuracy and then modified using graphics tools for aesthetic purposes. Most GIS programs have pretty poor graphics manipulation tools.
    This is exactly what I do. It is much easier and faster for me to take a map and "make it pretty" using Illustrator than to try to do it in ArcGIS.

  3. #53
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtbikerTi View Post
    This is exactly what I do. It is much easier and faster for me to take a map and "make it pretty" using Illustrator than to try to do it in ArcGIS.
    That's what I do as well (Illustrator), except my data source is usually OpenStreetMap. By having an .AI containing the map data it also makes it easier to hand off to a designer should it be used as part of a larger project.
    Last edited by c0nsumer; 01-31-2013 at 09:23 AM.

  4. #54
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    My problem is I know the GIS side of things fairly well, but I don't know Illustrator at all. I really wish there were some YouTube video that pertained a little more specifically to the processes involved with making maps pretty.
    I do custom ArcGIS and Google Maps, including data collection and sustainable trail layout. Ride Welsh Mountain

  5. #55
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    Quote Originally Posted by PHeller View Post
    My problem is I know the GIS side of things fairly well, but I don't know Illustrator at all. I really wish there were some YouTube video that pertained a little more specifically to the processes involved with making maps pretty.
    My best advise for this is to start small. Tackle learning how to do things in Illustrator one item at a time. Eventually you'll build a whole suite of knowledge and be able to do whatever you want. The built-in help is quite excellent, and there are loads of online tutorials that can help with things as well.

    Start out with the basics like drawing a frame on a page, or getting all the paths which make up the GIS data separated into groups so you can select them en masse and change them.

    Then work on text stuff, alignment, etc...

  6. #56
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    I'm comfortable with the GIS, but my illustration skillz are weak and rusty since I left grad school. A useful reference that I check from time to time is Esri's Mapping Center. Good articles and tips on making attractive maps. They'll show you what they can do entirely within ArcMap, but it definitely seems that most of the pros make their finished products in something like Illustrator.
    Last edited by evasive; 02-01-2013 at 12:02 PM. Reason: forgot to include URL
    "Back off, man. I'm a scientist." - Dr. Peter Venkman

    Riding in Helena? Everything you need to know, right here.

  7. #57
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    Quote Originally Posted by NateHawk View Post
    I am not sure that a scale bar is really worth including on maps made with illustrator. I certainly appreciate the graphic artistry that goes into such products, but without spatial reference information, you simply can't be sure that things like scale bars, north arrows with declination scales, and coordinate systems can be accurate enough to actually use them for navigation purposes.
    It depends on the source of the data used to create the scale bars. Mine are directly scaled off the USGS map I imported into Illustrator. I have a high level of confidence that they are accurate enough to give folks an idea of trail lengths.

    For those interested, the USGS maps can be found by clicking here. They can be downloaded in geoPDF format for easy opening in Illustrator.

  8. #58
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    another map example

    Nice maps! thanks all for sharing.

    Here’s a map my wife and I made last year – we plan to redo it this winter to extend a little bit further and fix a few things. The goal was to create a free map for download on our website that can be used on the trail or for trip planning. We wanted the map to be readable at 8.5x11 and be printed in color or B&W. It’s been a successful marketing tool for our advocacy group. Link is here: http://mountainbiketahoe.org/wp-cont...ps/Map_SLT.pdf

    This is our 3-step process :
    1. GIS - My wife is a GIS manager at a planning agency, so she did all the front end GIS work, compiled from public info and our own gps tracks.

    2. Export to Adobe Illustrator –The vector GIS work is exported in separate layers to an Adobe Illustrator file which I smoothed out and made pretty.

    3. Finish in Adobe InDesign – Then the map was put into Adobe Indesign to complete the page layout along with text and the second page of trail descriptions.

    DONE, export to pdf, print, post on web, email, etc…

    mapping help/show me your maps-tambamap-slt-pg1.jpg
    Support TAMBA (Tahoe Area Mountain Biking Association) http://mountainbiketahoe.org/

  9. #59
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    double post removed
    Last edited by benjaminj; 02-07-2013 at 12:30 PM.

  10. #60
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    ben, the map you linked to seems to have a different transparency level for the contours than that of the pdf that is attached.

    I can barely see the trails in this link: http://mountainbiketahoe.org/wp-cont...ps/Map_SLT.pdf maybe its just my computer.
    I do custom ArcGIS and Google Maps, including data collection and sustainable trail layout. Ride Welsh Mountain

  11. #61
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    Quote Originally Posted by PHeller View Post
    ben, the map you linked to seems to have a different transparency level for the contours than that of the pdf that is attached.

    I can barely see the trails in this link: http://mountainbiketahoe.org/wp-cont...ps/Map_SLT.pdf maybe its just my computer.
    I imagine you already do something similar, but after completing a map I do the following to be sure the colors and whatnot are good:

    1) Print it in color and B&W on a laser printer.
    2) Print it in color and B&W on an inkjet on cheap paper (so that it blurs -- this is what a LOT of users will actually do).
    3) Use Color Oracle to view the map onscreen and simulate different types of color blindness to ensure the lines still can be easily differentiated.
    4) Ask non-cyclist coworkers to look the map over and tell me if anything is confusing.

    I've found this goes a long ways towards making easily readable maps and has helped me develop some base techniques that result in readable maps. I also find a big part of map making is knowing what NOT to include as well.

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