Vintage Maps in Ads

In a 2013 ad for Ford, a 1950s atlas was used to talk about an engineer who grew up on two continents. Ford’s ad does not use a contemporary map. Instead the overly dramatic images from over 50 years ago had the visual punch to make good use of its second of video time.

Ford Motor Company has been playing a television ad for the past few months. In it, Ford points to the international flavor of the developers of its 2013 Ford Escape SUV. View the commercial on YouTube here: Ford Escape Hands-Free Liftgate Commercial.

Page from Frank Debenham's "The Global Atlas"
Page from Frank Debenham’s “The Global Atlas”

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Vectors from Google

Importing points from Google Earth to Adobe Illustrator brings an added bonus: high-resolution vector icons make the journey, too.

In the life of a busy cartographer, Google Earth is a handy tool.

Google Earth is an effective environment to map points-of-interest or to finetune the positions of points you export from Adobe Illustrator via Avenza MAPublisher.


But here’s a surprise: when importing a Google Earth .kml/.kmz file into Illustrator, Google’s playful icons enter your map file as editable icons.

Here’s what you can do to them.

Google icons on a map in Adobe Illustrator
Google icons on a map in Adobe Illustrator

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Google Earth as the Crow Flies

Google Earth can make creating radius rings on a map quick and easy. The trick is using the Show Ruler tool. When you’ve finished, you can import the rings into Adobe Illustrator or into Google Maps where you can share them on a map with others.

With Google Earth Pro as a free download, mapmakers now have additional tools at hand. One tool is Google Earth Pro’s Show Ruler tool. With it you can draw radius rings and save them as .kmz files you can then import into Adobe Illustrator using Avenza’s MAPublisher plug-ins.

Google Earth's Ruler dialog box
Google Earth’s Ruler dialog box

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From Excel to Google Maps

An address map is a valuable way of representing points of data. We’ve been asked to create membership maps for organizations. A request by a church to make a map showing church member addresses inspired us to write up this method of making an address map.

Google Map’s Your Places is an easy and free portal to seeing your spreadsheet data in an online map. While there are more involved ways of accomplishing this, including linking an online version of your spreadsheet data “live” to Google Maps, let’s explore the simplest way of mapping your Excel data.

(Note that some of the menus and names of interface features change when Google decides to update this service.)

Custom Google Map of church members
Custom Google Map of church members

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