Avenza Resources Blog

Using MAPublisher FME Auto to Load Raster Layers into Adobe Illustrator

The MAPublisher FME Auto add-on connects the analysis and processing capabilities of Safe Software's FME Desktop with the cartographic design and publishing environment of MAPublisher and Adobe Illustrator. Since MAPublisher 9.5, it has been possible to import georeferenced raster layers as well as vector data. This adds an extra layer of power and convenience to the FME and MAPublisher integration. The ETL (Extract, Transform, Load) power of FME can be used to pre-process raster images and load them into MAPublisher where they can be overlaid with cartographically styled vector layers.

Raster Layer in Adobe Illustrator
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Updating multiple MAPublisher templates with FME Auto

Drawing inspiration from this Safe software blog post we have developed an FME workflow that allows the user to update multiple MAPublisher templates with additional layers using two workspaces and a workspacerunner transformer.

Using MAP Themes to Automatically Style CanVec+ Data on Import in MAPublisher

Creating multiple maps that share cartographic styling is a common requirement for MAPublisher users. The most effective way to accomplish this is the use of MAP Themes. MAP Themes are a collection of thematic cartography tools designed to increase productivity by automating how styles and symbols are applied. Creating a number of MAP Themes based on regularly used layers with standard attribute schemas can greatly reduce the amount of time spent styling maps.

This guide will walk through creating and setting up MAP Themes to automatically apply to the appropriate layers upon import. If done correctly, rather than seeing this:

Unstyled CanVec+ layers
(Click for larger version)

Styling Your Map in Adobe Illustrator: Objects vs Layers

One of Adobe Illustrator's powerful yet occasionally confusing features is the ability to apply fills, strokes and Graphic Styles to art at either the Object level or the Layer level. This is extremely useful because you can effectively use Layers to set up symbology templates so that any art that is drawn on a Layer inherits its appearance from that Layer. Confusion often arises when users combine art styles at both the Layer and Object levels, and cannot figure out why their map does not look how they expect it to look. Most of the examples here are going to be based around using the Appearance panel to apply strokes and fills.


Where are Maps from the PDF Maps Store Saved on my Device?

Avenza Support often gets questions from PDF Maps users about where maps from the PDF Maps Store go once they are downloaded to their device. Usually this is because people want to move them onto their SD Card or copy them on to another device. Maps that are downloaded from the Map Store are locked to your device's internal storage. This protects a vendor's content from unauthorized copying and distribution.

One thing to remember is that if you are logged in to your free PDF Maps account any maps you purchase/download are associated with that account. This means that if you need to free up space on your device you can delete any of your maps and re-download them free of charge at a later date. If you need to use your maps on other devices, you can link up to five devices to your account and download your maps on to any of them.

Additionally, if you are loading maps from another source such as Dropbox, an internet URL or an email attachment you can set a storage location for these maps in the PDF Maps settings. This will not apply to maps downloaded from the Map Store.

More information about PDF Maps accounts, downloading maps and transferring them between devices can be found at this Avenza Resources Blog post.


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GDAL/OGR Scripts for Converting KML/KMZ Files Exported from PDF Maps to Shapefiles

Avenza PDF Maps has the ability to export user created features to KML or KMZ files for use in other applications. Avenza Forum user brymcbride helpfully created a script for Macs using GDAL/OGR to convert KML/KMZ into shapefiles for easy import into other GIS packages. Most GIS packages these days can consume KML/KMZ files, but the real strength of this method is its use of a SQLite database as an intermediate format in the translation process. This has allowed brymcbride to use some SQL formatting to adjust the resulting shapefiles attributes and create a user friendly link to any images that may be associated with a placemark, line or track captured in PDF Maps.

Top Reasons to Create a Free PDF Maps Account

#1 - It's free!

PDF Maps accounts are free for personal use.

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How to Purchase Maps From the PDF Maps Store and Share Them with Multiple Devices

The Avenza Support team commonly gets asked about downloading maps you have previously purchased from the PDF Maps Store onto other devices. We'll be using an Apple iPad and a Samsung Galaxy Tab to demonstrate this process. As these are both tablets they will have a slightly different interface than their smartphone counterparts, however the workflow is the same so do not panic if you are using a phone or another device and things look a little different.

The first section is a run-through of the map purchase process on the PDF Maps Store. Then we'll discuss how you can download purchased maps on to your other devices.

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Making a Map Without Knowing What the Final Extent or Scale Will Be

Ever have the problem that you want to make a map and you are waiting on the final extent or scale, but you want to get started adding data and working on the layout? Here are a couple of tips to make your life easier.


How to Distinguish Between Adobe Illustrator CC and CC 2014

Adobe Illustrator Creative Cloud 2014 was recently released. Unfortunately the naming of the latest version has caused a little confusion among users because in many places (including Adobe.com), Adobe has simply called it "Adobe Illustrator CC" without the "2014".

To make it a bit more confusing, in the Creative Cloud App, the newest version of Illustrator is distinguished by the designation "(2014)". It is actually a completely separate install, not simply an update of the existing Illustrator CC. The icon used is also the exact same, so there is further confusion because in the past, the icon would change colour or design ever so slightly.

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