An Economic Development | Marketing Tutorial by John B. MarekQUICK AND EASY CUSTOM MAPS
Quick and Easy Custom Maps Economic developers often need to produce custom maps for marketing materials, client packages, presentations and other purposes. Drawing maps by hand is a tedious process which requires a moderate-to-high level of graphic design skill. On the other hand, using screen captures of Google Maps does not portray the professional image ED organizations require.
Quick and Easy Custom Maps Following is a quick method for creating custom maps with minimal graphic design experience or skill. This method requires a basic understanding of Microsoft Publisher. I am using 2007, but the same general principles apply to any version.
Step One – Google MapOpen Google Maps inyour browser, enter adescription of thegeneral area you wantto map in the searchbox at the top and clickthe blue “Search Maps”button.In this example, I havesearched for“Statesville, NC.”
Step One – Google MapUse the tools on the leftto adjust the screen tothe area you want tomap. You can pan left,right, up or down andzoom in or out. Themap on the screen doesnot have to be exactlyas you want it in thefinished map, butshould be fairly close.
Step One – Google MapPress the Prt Scr key onyour keyboard. Thiscaptures an image ofthe screen to yourclipboard. You can nowclose Google Maps.Note: Some keyboardsrequire the Alt key to bepressed simultaneouslywith the PrtScr key tocopy a screenshot.
Step Two – Publisher ImportOpen MicrosoftPublisher on yourcomputer. Click theicon for “Blank PageSizes.” This will allowyou to select from anumber of differentpage sizes andconfigurations. Notethat once the map iscreated, the size can beeasily scaled down.For demo purposes wewill choose 11 X 8.5”.
Step Two – Publisher ImportSimultaneously pressthe Ctrl and V keys onyour keyboard. This willpast the savedscreenshot of yourGoogle map intoPublisher. Clickanywhere on thescreenshot to bring upthe Picture tool bar, andclick on the Cropbutton.
Step Two – Publisher ImportWhen the crop button isactivated you will seeblack bars at the middleof each edge of thescreenshot. Drag thosebars inward to crop outany unwanted portionsof the screenshot,leaving just a map inroughly the proportionsyou want for thefinished drawing. Thenclick again on the Cropbutton on the Picturetool bar to turn offcropping.
Step Two – Publisher ImportDrag the corners of theremaining image to fillthe desired area for thefinished map. Theimage may be a littlefuzzy and there maystill be some icons,scales or characters youdo not want on thefinished map. This doesnot matter.
Step Three – Trace ImageNow that you have aguide to work from, thenext step is to trace allof the elements thatyou want to capturefrom the image ontoour map document.To do this select theAutoshapes tool fromthe toolbar on the leftof the screen, thenselect Lines andFreeform.
Step Three – Trace ImagePosition the cursor atthe edge of the imagewhere a road you wantto trace starts, andclick. Then move thecursor to the next“turn” in the road andclick again. Repeat thisuntil you have come tothe other edge of theimage and hit Esc.When you havefinished, you shouldhave a line whichclosely approximatesthe path of the road.
Step Three – Trace ImageNote: If the line doesn’tlook exactly the wayyou want it, you canright-click on the lineand click on Edit Points.This will allow you toadd or delete a point(the place where youclicked when you werecreating the line) or youcan drag the individualpoints to a newlocation.
Step Three – Trace ImageNow you are going tomake the line look morelike the road on a map.Click on line you justcreated, then click onthe Line/Border Styletool at the top of thepage and select 4 ½.This will increase thewidth of the line. Itypically use 4 ½ forInterstates, 3 for majorroads and 2 ¼ for otherroads, but that is up toyou.
Step Three – Trace ImageNext, select the colorfor the line by clickingon the Line Color tool atthe top of the screen.You can choose anycolor, depending onyour palette, but fordemo purposes I amgoing to choose a darkyellow.
Step Three – Trace ImageYour line should nowlook very much like theunderlying image.
Step Three – Trace ImageYou will want to identifymajor highways withtheir official symbols.These can be easilycopied from theInternet. Simply do aGoogle search on thename of the road, inthis case I-77. Mostmajor highways have aWikipedia entry with animage of the symbol.Right click on thatsymbol and select CopyImage.
Step Three – Trace ImageReturn to yourPublisher documentand simultaneouslypress Ctrl and V. Thiswill paste a copy of theimage into yourdocument. Drag onecorner of the image youjust pasted until it is thesize you require –usually the same size asshown on theunderlying image – andthen drag it intoposition.
Step Three – Trace ImageTo more closelyapproximate the look ofthe original map, youmay want to copy andpaste this symbol oneor more times.
Step Three – Trace ImageRepeat this processuntil all of the desiredroads are traced. Formost economicdevelopment purposes,it is not necessary totrace all of the minorroads, just the majorhighways and criticalsurface streets, such asthose leading tobusiness parks or otherpoints of interest.
Step Three – Trace ImageYou may also want toadd otherdistinguishing shapes,such as the city limits,the perimeter of abusiness park or a lakeor river. These can beadded using the sameAutoshapes>Lines>Freeform tool we used totrace the roads. Simplyclick to bring the endsof the line together tocreate a shape. Fordemo purposes, I havetraced the city limits.
Step Three – Trace ImageYou can then apply acolor to this area byclicking on the Fill Colortool at the top of thescreen and selecting acolor from the menu.You may also want toget rid of the linearound the shape byclicking on the LineColor tool and selectingNo Line.
Step Three – Trace ImageAs you can see, there isa problem with this. Theshape we just createdcovers up the lines wepreviously traced. Wecan move our shapebehind those lines byclicking on Arrangefrom the top menu andthen selecting orderand Send Backward.You may need to do thismore than once to getthe shape where youneed it. You can alsoright-click on the shapeto select Order.
Step Four – CustomizeNow, you will probablywant to add some textto your map; things likecity names, airports,business parks, etc.To do this, click on theText Box tool on the leftof the screen and clickon the document in thegeneral area you wantthe text to appear.Begin typing. Your textwill appear on thescreen. You can adjustsize and font as needed.
Step Four – CustomizeYou may also want toinsert some icons, anairplane to represent anairport, for instance.To do this select Insertfrom the menu at thetop of the page andthen select Picture andClip Art. Near thebottom left side of thescreen select Clip Art onOffice Online. This willopen a browser windowwhich will allow you toselect from thousandsof images.
Step Four – CustomizeSearch for a relevantkey word such as“airplane” or “factory,”and then copy andpaste the desired imageinto your document.Remember that you candrag the corners of theimage to adjust thesize.
Step Four – CustomizeNow, click anywhere onthe original image andclick Delete. You shouldhave a finished mapthat you will be proudto include in brochures,client packages andpresentations.There are a few morethings you can do tomake it look even moreprofessional, however.
Step Four – CustomizeYou can add abackground byselecting the RectangleTool from the tool baron the left of thescreen, and thendragging that corners ofthat rectangle to matchthe outside perimeterof your map. Then,select a color with theFill Color tool.You can also ad adecorative borderand/or a banner usingthe Autoshapes tool.
Step Five – Save as an ImageThe demo map wecreated today was fairlysimple, but using thesesame techniques, youcan create attractive,highly customizedmaps which rival thosehand drawn by graphicdesigners.The final step is to savethe map as an image. Todo this, click File andSave As, then choosePNG from the Save AsType menu.
Quick and Easy Custom Maps I hope you have found this Economic Development | Marketing tutorial useful. Please feel free to contact me if you have any comments or questions. John B. Marek Economic Development | Marketing Ph. 704-237-0719 email@example.com www.johnbmarek.com