Everyone knows the iconic Google map marker. Looking like a hot air balloon in flight, this marker has landed squarely in the middle of our visual culture.
Many maps use similar-looking markers. While you can find lots of alternative marker shapes and designs online, why not be a little different and let Adobe Illustrator transform your markers into eye-popping icons? Placing your icons under the creative control of the Appearance panel gives you a myriad of visually sophisticated options.
Simonetta Moro (simonettamoro.com), an Italian-born artist now living in New York City, explores the meaning of places she loves and lives through cartography. Approaching maps not as a reader but as a maker, Moro layers the signs and symbols of city nuances in pencil, paint, ink, and pastels.
From the vocabulary of soft pastels and hard-edged colored pencils, Moro traces an autobiographical journey through an intimate geography of the places that hold significance in her life.
Often a map’s last word is spoken at its printing. For artist Sam Hundley (http://samhundley.com), printing is just the beginning.
Hundley, a Virginia artist, enjoys working with mixed media. Starting with this 1996 edition of a National Geographic landform map, Hundley mixed ink and colored pencil to turn a staid map into a capricious editorial illustration.
To call attention to type labels on your map, consider placing them in a box. Not just any box will do; place labels in boxes painted with Adobe Illustrator’s visual effects to help them stand out, or above, other details on the map.
For this economic development map, we created a call-out box graphic style that automatically sized itself to the height and width of each text label.
If you want a hand-rendered or antique look for a custom map title, you can search for one of the many fonts available with a distressed appearance. Or, you can distress regular fonts using Adobe Illustrator’s Appearance panel, Effects, and Opacity Mask. It’s fun and the experiments you create might move your creation in an unexpected—but delightful—direction.
Mapmaker Steve Gordon applied the Roughen and Scribble effects, and the Opacity Mask, to chip away at the edges of letters for this title graphic.
Every public place we visit, or can visit, appears on a map. In our hands we hold the latest streets, curbside views, and, now, interiors of prominent buildings. We’re convinced that everything worth seeing can be seen on a map. Or should be.
Imagine standing by the water cooler with a few co-workers at the world’s premier online map provider. Contemplating weekend plans, you suggest a meet-up on the slopes. Then someone suggests, wistfully, “I wish we could preview the ski runs with our maps and street views.”
Frown turns into smile a year later because accompanying you on your next trip is a smartphone trail map complete with street-style views of the major ski runs. Working for Google has its perks!
Updating an old map with new data is a familiar task facing cartographers. That task is simple when you use Avenza MAPublisher and Adobe Illustrator and when the existing map is already georeferenced.
But when you are handed a map whose georeferencing has been corrupted or removed, the task becomes a little more complicated. Fortunately, MAPublisher provides the tools needed to georeference any map, enabling you to import data that precisely fits existing map artwork.
To label curving features like rivers and roads on custom maps, cartographer Steve Gordon relies on setting type on a path using Adobe Illustrator. But kinks in the paths of geographic features mean spending a lot of time smoothing type paths. Gordon uses several strategies to get the kinks out of map labels.
Window seats are harder to get, thanks to the iPad.
Delta Airlines’ new Fly Delta for iPad app provides travelers with an in-flight interactive map of the world below as the plane traverses the sky to its destination.
The app features an option called the Glass Bottom Jet. Use it to view your plane’s position over a map, in real-time, along with markers for points-of-interest like famous landmarks, photos, and the “social content” of your friends.
Now you can spot Mount Rushmore and spy your friend’s secret, solar-powered cabin in the Black Hills. (So that’s where she’s been tweeting!)