Creating a custom map’s roads, rivers, and areas is often a balance between importing GIS data and drawing features with Illustrator tools like the Pen tool. When data is missing for areas like parks, school districts, or tourism zones, mapmakers must rely on Illustrator’s creation tools to fill in the blanks.
Among Illustrator’s newest tools is the Shape Builder. Introduced with CS5, this tool behaves like a “live” pathfinder cursor that also caries a paint palette in its back pocket. It only needs paths like crisscrossing roads or intersecting boundaries to create and color new shapes in the space between paths. The Shape Builder can save time compared with drawing features with the Pen tool or using the Pathfinder panel.