Top Five Cartography Workflow Options

Professional cartographers tend to use multiple software products during the course of a map-build. They’ll start with a GIS product — usually ArcMap — and use one or two design software tools to finish labeling, rendering, and producing complex hillshade effects.

According to a recent thread on CartoTalk here are the most used cartography production methods:

  1. ArcMap
  2. ArcMap > pdf > Inkscape
  3. ArcMap > Illustrator > MAPublisher
  4. ArcMap > Photoshop
  5. Global Mapper / Manifold > FreeHand

What workflow do you use?

  1. #1 by Don Meltz on August 4, 2010 - 6:09 pm

    Gretchen –

    Most of my clients are small, rural towns with very tight budgets. On top of that, a typical project involves producing anywhere from a dozen to over 30 resource and analysis maps. Given a choice, my clients would rather have me do more analysis rather than spend more time tweaking label placement. Therefore, the most efficient workflow (read – fewest billable hours) works best for me. I typically print and produce PDFs directly from ArcMap. I have both Photoshop and Illustrator at my disposal, but rarely use them.

    What I’ve done is set up a set of templates, color shcemes, styles, fonts, etc. that seem to work for me in a majority of situations. That way I don’t have to tweak 30 maps at the end of the project(or at least keep the tweaking to a minimum).

    What I’m doing now is incorporating many of your suggestions into my templates and styles. I’ve found your book to be extremely useful.



  2. #2 by Gretchen on August 5, 2010 - 6:43 pm

    Don – thanks for your input. Yes, it does certainly cut-down on design time to have proven templates at your disposal. I know that @amandahstaub (twitter) is a big fan of templates for her organization – Douglas County, WA – as well. The only problem is the sacrifice of originality.

Comments are closed.