Good afternoon everyone! The topic I will be talking about today is one that I am currently researching for independent study this semester. For my studies, I am focusing on creating tutorials that teach an individual how to create a map in ArcGIS and edit it in Adobe Illustrator as well as how to create one from scratch within Illustrator. These kinds of instructions will include how to create features like buffered water line marks as well as creating something a little more useful like directional maps. The images shown here are examples of those features created by someone else. (include image of water map and directional map)
Before I decided to study GIS, my career path was in graphic design. Although I am concerned about the spatial and informative aspects of the GIS field, the designer in me feels as if the visual side is often overlooked, especially when it comes to producing professional maps. I know that personally, I need a little something extra visually to hold my attention when it comes to looking at something. ArcGIS does a great job of offering a variety of substantial ways to symbolize a map to present data to the public. However, those ways still have their own limitations. Symbolization and layout design are generally not as customizable as some may like. For those cases when you want to create something that is more visually dynamic, it may be a good idea to explore outside of a GIS environment, taking advantage of design software. Although it does not typically retain spatial information and can be a little tricky to get a hang of at first, it can be used to polish the basic styles of cartography as well as the overall layout.
To demonstrate some of the things that can be done I’m going to use some rudimentary maps I made for the Seabrook Island POA. The map you see here is of an area of the island called Captain Sam’s Inlet and a stretch of beach next to it. To begin, I made the map in ArcMap, showing boardwalks, roads, and nature trails. I also decided to add a little more diversity by showing the different environmental sectors, like marshes, developed land, undeveloped land, the dune system, and the shoreline and using the symbology available in ArcMap where applicable. I also applied a gradient to the waterways as best as possible. After selecting the layout view and exporting the map as an AI file, I changed some of the layers and decided to include this map as an inset map within Adobe Illustrator as shown here.
For this map, I changed the fill of each environmental sector taking advantage of both the Illustrator and Photoshop effects available in the software. Although some of these are predefined like those in ArcMap, the majority of these change the fill pattern or color based on what is already there. They give you a wider range of possibilities and allow you to overlay different effects to create a desired look. For the marsh and undeveloped land I used a waterpaper effect and another effect. For the dunes, I applied an outer glow to the shape to define it from the shore in height as well as style. I also used a glow effect on the shoreline and water to give it more of a sense of depth. Although there are tons of things that can be done with just line symbology, I used simple solid and dashed line for those shown here. For all of the effects, the default values were used but they could have just as easily been changed. It’s really just a process of messing with the values and the different effects to get something you find works well visually with the map you are trying to create.
I decided to use the previous map as an inset map and make another one that gives the viewer a better idea of where they are spatially. For this map, I applied a drop shadow to the coastline to show depth and define it from the water. I also applied a halo to the text. Although this is an option in ArcMap, I feel like Illustrator gives you more options as far as text goes. Instead of creating a halo, I could have created a drop shadow of the text instead if I had wanted.
For the final layout, the layers for the initial map were just copied and pasted into the new map and surrounded by a border, the legend was updated and stylized, and some little things were added here and there in addition to a title. Although ArcMap does have the ability to updated the legend with the click of a button, a downfall of Illustrator is that it has to be done manually. On the other hand, you will be creating more diverse symbols so it’s kind of understandable.
Adobe Illustrator opens up a world of possibilities as far as design and editing goes. I touch on a couple in the map, but the possibilities are seemingly endless depending on how your goal and how much time and effort you’re willing to put into it. There are a few more I’d like to mention that you might find beneficial. With the eyedropper tool, you’re able to match colors to one another rather than copying the RGB values or just guessing that they’re the same. This tool also allows you to match styles, like a dashed line, across the board so that you don’t have to go through and change every feature you want to be represented a particular way. Using the pen tool in Illustrator is also a lot like digitizing in ArcMap. However, it gives you more control on how smooth edges appear by allowing you to transform the space between each node. It also features a tool that you just run along the length of a line or shape and it instantly smooths out many of the bumps and anomalies. Illustrator already hosts a variety of brush strokes and patterns but it also gives the option to create your own and save those in a library to be applied to other applications. In addition to that, Illustrator also allows the user to include graphs and tables based on Excel files, making the feature as well as the map more visually interesting.
In sum, ArcGIS does a good job of giving you a nice head start to creating a map. Adobe Illustrator does a great job of giving you the tools to further expand on those maps and polish them to create a product that is more visually interesting and aesthetically pleasing. If you haven’t played around with design software, I’d encourage you to try it out to see how it could enhance your work. Although I talked primarily about Adobe Illustrator, there are Open Source programs out there like Inkscape that could be used for just getting a feel for it.
1. Jennifer Still------------------University ofSouthCarolinaFUNCTIONAL ANDDESIGNED MAPS IN ANDOUT OF ARCGIS