7 Replies Latest reply on Nov 17, 2009 12:33 PM by Scott Falkner

    Dilemma in drawing a geographical map...

    smittyboy63 Level 1

      ...weird title for a thread post, I know. But, here's my problem.


      I am drawing what's called a "walking map" for a client. This map illustrates a 6-block area of a city. Each block contains the respective buildings that sit on it. I have been asked to "label" fifty-five points-of-interest on this map (museums, schools, restaurants, etc.). I am using Google maps (street view) to help me find exact locations all of the POI's (points-of-interest).


      Here's my problem:

      I have a map AND a key. The map shows all the little POI's as color-coded circles with numbers inside of them. I am using the same color-coded circles with numbers inside of them for the key. The key is an alphabetically ordered listing of all the names of the POI's on the map (McDonalds, Starbucks, etc.). The problem occurs when a client asks me to add more POI's, alphabetically, which throws the numbering of the key off, hence the key no longer is matching the POI's on the map.


      What I am looking for is a way to edit the map so that if I add a new POI to the middle of the key, the POI numbers in the map will move accordingly...........the POI key always has to match the exact locations on the map. Right now, I am having to manually change ALL numbers and it is a nightmare to edit and make changes to.


      Does this make sense?

        • 1. Re: Dilemma in drawing a geographical map...
          Scott Falkner Level 5

          Such a thing may be scriptable, but it would be difficult to write. Otherwise, the only way to do this is manually, as you are no doubt doing now.

          • 2. Re: Dilemma in drawing a geographical map...
            D. Fraser-1eqWmH Level 2

            Welcome to the bane of all cartographers... I've wrestled with this for years. There really isn't a good way to do this besides doing it manually. Unfortunately the only way to avoid not having two indexes (one sorted alpha, the other numeric) is to have it numeric/alpha, hence the dilema. I have played with scripting but it isn't that much quicker than doing it manually. There are too many variables for a script to work accurately anyway. What I used to do was have a spreadsheet with a numeric column that wouldn't change and an alpha column that I could add to. Make the necessary changes to the spreadsheet and in Illustrator, do a Find/Replace for the numbers that have changed. (You need to start with the highest number first.) Fairly quick with ~50 POIs. I have POIs in the hundreds and this is a nightmare. To avoid doing this repeatedly, during the proofing stages, I would only have the list sorted alphabetically, but when it the proof stages are over and the file is 'ready for print', I would then sort it numeric/alpha, double-check and triple-check that the list is correct and then send it to the press. If you plan to go this route, make sure your client understands that this will save you time and save them money. This approach always works.


            The MAPublisher plug-ins from Avenza has somewhat simplified this for me. It allows you to associate data with point plots on a geo-referenced map. Basically, it is a spreadsheet associated with objects in your Illustrator document. What I do now is: add my POI to my map, export that layer as a dataset, open the resulting database file in Excel, re-sort the list, save the file, re-import the dataset into my illy map and do an Auto-label on the new dataset. Takes about 2 minutes to add one location this way, but it would take a lot longer to do it manually. The plug-ins unfortunately cost more than a full version of Illustrator though, so it isn't really an option if you don't absolutely need this type of thing.


            There might be a way to do this with some of Illustrator's data capabilities, but since I've never dabbled in them, I don't know. Seems too complicated to me.




            Message was edited by: D. Fraser

            • 3. Re: Dilemma in drawing a geographical map...
              Scott Falkner Level 5

              I find maps in which POIs are numbered alphabetically unintuitive. By all means, list items alphabetically, so it’s easy to find “Museum of Anthropology.” But number the dots geographically, so 1 is close to 2 is close to 3, and so on. This way, If I’m looking for the Museum of Anthropology, and it’s numbered 14 I don’t have to hunt for 14, I can find it by it’s proximity to 13 or 15. Otherwise, I’d have to hunt all over the map for whatever number it is.

              • 4. Re: Dilemma in drawing a geographical map...
                JETalmage Level 6
                Welcome to the bane of all cartographers... I've wrestled with this for years. There really isn't a good way to do this besides doing it manually.





                The NumberedCallouts script is described here.

                The ConcatenateTextAtEnd script is described here.



                • 5. Re: Dilemma in drawing a geographical map...
                  D. Fraser-1eqWmH Level 2


                  That is true to a certain point. But there is a problem with this. If you are looking at the map and want to know what POI #43 is, you have to search the index to find #43 in a list that is not sorted numeric. This isn't as much of a problem as what you described (the reverse of what I'm saying) but it still is a problem that is solved by the numeric/alpha sorting especially if you have a bunch of POIs. Not only that but you can have other types of POIs in the same area that are different in color. Example: I can have an index that is strictly businesses, another that is restaurants, and another that is just the advertisers that have sponsored the map publication. Your example will work if you are only doing a map that covers something like a CBD (Central Business District) but when you are working with a map that covers an entire city's limits, your implied solution breaks down. There is a reason maps should always have an outer grid surrounding your map's coverage area: to narrow down your search area. From the cartographer's perspective you have only two options. Make it hard for the usage of the map and make it easy on you, the cartographer, or make it easy for usage and hard for yourself. I have, in the past, made it easy for me by doing what your are implying and creating two separate index lists; one sorted alpha and the other, numeric. This only works if you have the space available and is not a 'recommended' practice.



                  • 6. Re: Dilemma in drawing a geographical map...
                    D. Fraser-1eqWmH Level 2



                    Very good idea. That should really simplify the process for the OP. I never thought about linking the POIs. (I've been drawing maps in Illy for too long I guess, well before you could link area-text) I wish I could use your solution, but since my indexes, for the most part, are auto-generated, I can't have linked text areas. MAPublisher will generate a text entry in the spreadsheet based on the wording of the text object. Therefore, linked text will only generate one entry in the spreadsheet. My solutions work well for me and are pretty easy and not time consuming, but that doesn't mean you didn't have a great idea for most users.



                    • 7. Re: Dilemma in drawing a geographical map...
                      Scott Falkner Level 5

                      D. Fraser.

                      Yes, I know it makes for more work finding a name for a found POI. But I think that’s a lower priority. More likely people will consult the index then try to find a specific site.

                      I was assuming a very localized map, like a theme park, mall, or downtown or CBD. Yes, for larger maps, grid coordinates are the way to go. But people who make such larger maps rarely show up on this forum with questions how to do it.

                      It this were a map for a downtown area, and I needed to mark restaurants, museums, shops, hotels, bars, cafes, etc. I would also add colour. I would still number as I suggested, geographically. I would also ensure unique numbers. Colour could be added as a tip to the type of business (Restaurants are Blue), or the neighbourhood (Blue is the Pearl District). Businesses would be sorted alphabetically and grouped by category, perhaps even further grouped by location.

                      Of course, I would not be doing this alone. There would be a client and an art director all with their own ideas. My goal would be to use the least amount of data to do the job. As for the trade-off between more work for the cartographer vs more work for the reader: I get paid for my work, so more work for me it good. Also, my goal is to make the best map for the reader I can.

                      I try to make maps as clear an unconfusing as possible. Recently I was responsible for all the maps for an auction company. These maps were small GIFs on the website and a 3˝ × 4˝ image in a brochure. Sales were held all over Canada and the US, with a few overseas as well. I had to show the route from the nearest major airport(s), with driving distances and major routes. It was a small area to put that much info, so I aimed to show only major routes Most people reading the map were from out of state and would rent a car. They would have a more thorough road map, either from the rental company or from AAA, so if they got lost, they would not rely on my map. One thing I always got right was state roadmarkers. Most maps use an oval for state highways. I Wanted no confusion, so I hunted the internet for photos of road signs in the state to know what a state marker looked like, and then I would use that in my map. My favourites are ones that use an outline of the state (Florida, Tennessee, Ohio, Nevada) and Washington. I often had to tell a lot with a small map, and I’m pretty happy with the feedback I received.