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Update Your Legends (Even Existing Ones) Using Automatic Legend Update

With the release of MAPublisher 10.1, you no longer have to worry about recreating map legends every time you update them. Automatic Legend Update, available in the latest release, now allows for simple updating of an existing legend. Automatic Legend Update lets you update attribute data, or change the symbology/classification method/attribute field that is linked to a legend, and automatically have the legend update to reflect these changes – no more having to recreate the legend each time you want to change something! This is possible even with MAP Themes and Legends created in older MAPublisher versions once they are brought into the 10.1 environment.

In this blog, we’ll discuss how to open MAP Themes and Legends created in older versions of MAPublisher in the 10.1 environment in order to transform them into Automatic Legend Update. This example classifies populated places in Hawaii based on elevation. We will use the ‘Create MAP Theme Legend’ tool to create a copy of the legend, which by default will be set to automatically update. Any future changes applied to the associated MAP Theme will automatically be applied to the new legend.

Step 1

Open the MAP Themes panel from the MAPublisher toolbar. With the ‘Elevations of Places’ MAP Theme selected, click the ‘Create MAP Theme Legend’ button to create an Automatic Legend Update.

Step 2

You’ll be prompted to create a Legend layer if you don’t already have one. Click ‘Create Legend Layer’ to continue.

Step 3

Note the legend in the ‘Preview’ section and how the legend styling and symbology are preserved, thus saving time. Click the ‘Updating’ tab to see or change your Automatic Legend Update settings. The “Automatically update legend when source theme is applied” checkbox is checked by default. In this blog, we’re also going to check the option to “Match original legend extents” to maintain the size and extents of the legend so as to not change the map layout when items are added to the legend. Instead, the legend elements will change size in order to fit within the existing legend extents. “Maintain aspect ratio” is checked to make sure that the legend elements resize proportionally and a ‘Centre’ anchor allows the resizing to start from the centre of the elements. Once you’re satisfied with your settings, click ‘Create’.

This will create a new legend with Automatic Legend Update that can be moved to any location on the map.

Now that you have created a copy of the legend with Automatic Legend Update, your legend will update when changes are applied to the associated MAP Theme.

A legend characterises a map and MAPublisher 10.1 helps to keep it up to date.

MAPublisher 10.1 Released

We’re excited to announce that we’ve released MAPublisher 10.1 for Adobe Illustrator. The MAPublisher product team has been working closely with our customers to build these features to improve map design productivity.

MAPublisher 10.1

MAPublisher 10.1

This update contains new features and performance improvements as well as fixes for reported bugs. Some highlights are mentioned below, for the full release notes see below.

Automatically update existing legends when MAP Themes are modified. It’s here! MAP Theme legends are can now be automatically updated when legend items are updated in a theme. This is great time saver when you’re in the fine-tuning phase of selecting the right colour palette for your map and there is no need to manually update your legend.

Automatically update legends

New ability to create lines from text on a path. Creates a line based on a text on a path source. It’s useful for creating map features and to assist in indexing for manually created maps (i.e. scenarios where text was created manually instead of being created from attribute values). The text utility can be applied to text on a specific layer, on a specific MAP View, on the entire document or only selected text.

Create text on a path

New ability to include page numbers when creating indexes. In the Make Index tool, a new Include Page Numbers option provides the ability to split a single artboard (horizontally or vertically) at the middle point to make indexes that include a reference to a page (left or right, top or bottom). This feature is useful when a map spreads over a single artboard that is intended to be split into two pages in a final output (e.g. a spread in an atlas). Text and features that span both “pages” can be listed in the index as appearing on both pages (i.e. indexing the extents of the text or feature).

Make Index page numbers

Export to GPS Exchange format (GPX) now supported. MAPublisher has long supported GPX import and now supports GPX export. It’s a format that contains contain tracks, routes and points and used to exchange data between GPS units and mapping software. It is compatible with the Avenza Maps app and many other third-party applications.

MAPublisher GPX export

New ability to scale charts by radius. You now have the ability to scale MAP Chart Theme pie charts by radius, in addition to the existing method of using area. This provides another level of fine-tuning while adjusting charts to get proportional scaling correct. Remember that there are advanced scaling features available in the Scaling dialog box (just click the Scaling button). Learn more about chart scaling here.

Scale by radius

MAPublisher 10.1 Release Notes

  • Automatically update existing legends when MAP Themes are modified
  • New ability to create lines from text on a path
  • New ability to include page numbers when creating indexes
  • Export to GPS Exchange format (GPX) now supported
  • New ability to scale charts by radius
  • A number of user interface and usability enhancements.

 

MAPublisher 10 Released

We’re excited to announce that we’ve released MAPublisher 10 for Adobe Illustrator. The MAPublisher product team has been working closely with our customers to build more useful features, tools, and to improve the look and feel.

MAPublisher 10

This update contains new features and performance improvements as well as fixes for reported bugs. Some highlights are mentioned below, for the full release notes see below.

Adobe Illustrator Creative Cloud 2018 support. We are fully committed to providing the best map design tools seamlessly built into Adobe Illustrator. We have improved our user interface (panels, tools, buttons) to support high-resolution monitors. This release is fully compatible with the latest Adobe Illustrator CC 2018 on both Windows (32-bit and 64-bit) and Mac.

Manage Data Links. This feature has long been requested by our customers. You now have the ability to create and manage data links for MAPublisher documents. MAP layers in a document can be updated when its source data has been modified. Data links are checked automatically every time a document is opened and will display the status of affected layers in the MAP Views panel. This allows you to keep track of data that may have been moved or modified. When a data source is missing, a notification will alert you in both the Edit Data Link dialog box and MAP View panel. Note that only the link is dynamic and not the actual map features, meaning that manipulating your features in the document does not directly affect the source data. You will need to export your data if you want to overwrite your source data.

Filter attributes and filter geometry on import. A common workflow our customers encounter is trying to reduce the amount of data being imported. Often times, a dataset covers a much larger area or has too many attributes included. There is now a way to streamline import so that it’s not only quicker to import, but also results in improved Adobe Illustrator performance due to the reduction in the number of map features on the artboard. The new attribute filter helps you  select which layer attributes (or layers) to include or not include prior to import. The new geometry filter provides several options (including an interactive map) to help you select which area to include or not include prior to import.

Redesigned Scale Bar tool. We’ve worked a lot with our customers to redesign the scale bar tool. In addition to new customization options, new scale bar styles were generated with the help of the US National Park Service, Harpers Ferry Center. You also now have the ability to save, import, and export scale bar styles, making it easier to share defined styles with others.

Improved MAP Tagger Tool. You now have the ability to create custom leader lines with various arrow styles and option to snap leader line to different positions around a label. This provides a new level of customization and efficiency without having to style leader lines afterwards.

New Simplify Art simplification method. A new Visvalingam-Whyatt simplification method and fault tolerance setting to accommodate positional error between shared edges in the topology. The Visvalingam-Whyatt method is an area based algorithm which eliminates points based on their effective area. By iterating through points of lines and areas, it calculates and removes the point with the least effective area.

 

MAPublisher 10 Release Notes

  • Fully compatible with the latest Adobe Illustrator CC 2018 on both Windows (32-bit and 64-bit) and Mac
  • New ability to create and manage data links for MAPublisher documents. MAP layers in a document can be updated when its source data has been modified.
  • New attribute filter capability to select which layers and attributes to include or exclude prior to import
  • New geometry filter capability to select which features to include or exclude prior to import
  • New scale bar styles and customization options including ability to save, import, and export scale bar styles
  • New Visvalingam-Whyatt simplification method and fault tolerance settings to simplify art
  • New MAP Tagger Tool ability to create custom leader lines with various arrow styles and an option to snap leader line to different positions around a label
  • A new Point Utilities action that can rotate points to the angle of latitude
  • A modified Text Utilities action that can draw a point for text based upon text alignment for indexing purposes
  • New settings for North Arrow location including True North and a custom coordinate and options to use Great Circle or compass method
  • New MAP Web Author HTML5 export customization options including adjustable scale bar
  • A number of user interface and usability enhancements.

 

Optimizing Point Symbol Placement with MAPublisher LabelPro

This post was contributed by Hans van der Maarel of Red Geographics.


The problem with using GIS data for point symbols is that depending on the scale and symbolization you often end up with symbols partly overlapping each other. Of course, the symbols can be manually moved around after initial placement to get a more aesthetically pleasing result, but that can be a tedious and time-intensive task.

Thankfully, there is a way to automate at least part of this process by using MAPublisher and LabelPro.

Example map of Breda, The Netherlands

This example shows the heart of an old European city (Breda in The Netherlands to be exact). The map is composed of Dutch Top10NL topographic base data, a few labels were manually added for larger features (such as the park), and points imported from OpenStreetMap (OSM) and styled using a Map Theme. As you can see, there are a number of spots where the symbols are densely located and overlap each other.

The MAPublisher LabelPro add-on is capable of collision-avoidance to make sure overlaps don’t happen. But it only works when generating labels (text). Fortunately, the solution is to trick LabelPro into processing symbols too, so that they can benefit from better placement without overlaps.

Let’s start by adding a column to the attributes to the OSM points layer and filling it with a default value, a capital O.

Thankfully, there is a way to automate at least part of this process by using MAPublisher and LabelPro.

Editing the attribute schema

Next, determine how big the symbols are. On the artboard, use the Type tool to place a capital O and adjust its size so that it’s about the same size as one of the point symbols. In this case, a 14 pt Futura Medium, shown here in red, seems to cover it well (your results might be different).

Determine the approximate font size

Futura is a good font in this case because the O is a perfect circle. Once you’ve determined the approximate font size to use, delete the O text as it won’t be needed anymore.

Next, set up the LabelPro labelling rules. Since there is already a layer with the manually placed labels and the symbols shouldn’t interfere with them, the manually placed labels will be designated as an obstacle layer. The symbols layer will be labelled with the attribute created earlier and the style set to the font and size that was just determined.

Set obstacle layer

Setting the appropriate rules partly depends on personal preference but it’s important to specify that the placement prefers the center position (position 1 on the placement control). In other words: if there’s enough space for placement, the label doesn’t need to be moved or offset. Another important rule to configure is that font reduction should be turned off. All of the labels (eventually symbols) are going to be a fixed and similar size.

Set placement point rules
Set fitting point rules

Also, another good practice is to specify a suppression layer. Any labels that can’t be placed with the rules set will be placed on the suppression layer. After placement, you can determine if any labels need to be adjusted manually.

Let’s label! Go ahead and label with these settings and afterward hide the original symbols layer and the suppression layer. The map is filled with O’s where the original symbols are located.

O labels placed

At first glance, this does not seem very useful, but closer inspection shows that the labels have retained the attributes of the original OSM point symbols.

Attributes migrated to the O labels

This means that if they can be turned back into points, they will be able to be styled!

In order to turn them back into points, a text reference point needs to be created. In other words: a little dot on the text selection line, in the center of the O. This is a two-step process. First, select all the O’s on the artboard, open MAPublisher Text Utilities, and set the Action to Set text alignment and Alignment to Center. This action changes the alignment of the text without changing the actual position of the text (due to LabelPro labeling the text alignment is different based on where the label ended up in relation to the original point). This step takes care of the horizontal positioning.

Set text alignment in MAPublisher Text Utilities

The second step is to adjust vertical positioning. Vertical positioning is adjusted by moving all text up by a certain distance. Make sure all the O’s are selected, then use the (Adobe Illustrator) Move tool. In the Position group, set the Horizontal to 0 (no adjustment here since Text Utilities was used), set the Vertical to minus half the text size (font size in this example was 14 pt, so a vertical adjustment of -7 pt), and the Angle to 90 degrees.

Use the Move panel to fine tune position

For reference, this example is zoomed into a symbol that did not get displaced.

Next, these labels need to be turned into point symbols. There is a handy option in MAPublisher Text Utilities that can do that, but it places a point to the lower left of the text and the symbols need to use the center text reference point that was just created. Instead, with all of the O labels selected, open the MAP Attributes panel and export the attribute table to a text file. Make sure to specify the option Export All Attributes because there are two important hidden attributes needed to make this work: #MapX and #MapY, which are the coordinates of the text reference point.

Export attributes to a .txt file
(Click for larger version)
Export attributes to a .txt file

Using MAPublisher Import, add the attributes text file that was just created to the map and make sure to appropriately specify #MapX and #MapY in the X and Y coordinate columns.

Import .txt file as Delimited XY

Since there is no projection information stored in the text file, you’ll need to specify that the coordinates are in the same system as the MAP View it’s coming from and you’ll need to add it to that MAP View upon import.

On the map, there is now a new point layer and because they still have all of their original attributes, the layer can simply be added to the MAP Theme to have all the point symbols reapplied to them instantly. Let’s admire the results:

Symbols reapplied with MAP Themes

If needed, repeat the last few steps for the suppressed labels as well (to a different file and different layer of course) to see what still needs to be done manually.

How to Create and Style Highway Shields with MAPublisher LabelPro

MAPublisher LabelPro intelligently labels your map layers using custom rules and styles. One of the popular uses of this feature is to create highway shields. The result is a cleaner map and is widely used on road maps around the world. While MAPublisher has many default options for highway shields, it is possible to create custom shields to improve your map as well. This blog will outline the steps to create and customize highway shields for your map.

Step One

Import your data into MAPublisher, ensuring your road line data has an attribute field for highway route numbers. Highway shields can work with any data type, however, traditional highway shields are created with a highway number with no additional characters. Using the integer data type enforces this and is recommended for highway shields.

 

Step Two

On the MAPublisher toolbar, in the Labels subsection, click the MAP LabelPro button.

 

Step Three

On the MAP LabelPro dialog box, click the Setup Layers button. This allows you to select which layers are going to be labeled or used as obstacles. This means you can label multiple features at the same time as the highway shields. Click the checkbox next to your roads layer and click OK.

 

Step Four

Optionally, you may want to only create highway shields on some of the roads within your road layer. For example, if your roads layer also contains roads that are not highways, you don’t want them labelled with a highway shield. The solution is to create a Label Filter. To do this, first create a new filter by clicking Add label filter button at the bottom of the dialog box. Next, in the Label Filter section, select Limit by expression and click the Edit icon. This opens the Expression Builder dialog box. In this example, the expression entered selects only roads that have a jurisdiction designated as “Federal” or “Province”. Only these roads will be labelled with a highway shield.

 

Step Five

If you didn’t create a label filter, click the layer in the Source list you would like to label. On the right side, ensure that the “Is labeled” checkbox is checked. Immediately below, in the Label Source drop-down, select the field that contains the highway route numbers.

 

Step Six

Select or create a rule from the Rules drop-down. The pre-defined Highways and Interstate rules that are included with MAPublisher follow conventional mapping patterns, but if you want to customize the setup of your shields, click the Edit button. Once you are satisfied with your rules, click OK to return to the MAP LabelPro dialog box.

 

Step Seven

To customize the appearance of the shields, click the Edit button beside the Style drop-down. To add highway shields, click the Label with symbol check box to enable its settings. The Symbol file is the shield library, where you can pick between Canadian, US State and generic shields. The Symbol drop-down is where you can pick the shield from the shield library specified. All shields will have the same symbol, if you want multiple shield shapes on your map, you’ll have to create label filters as outlined previously in step four. The Font family, Font Style, Size, Colour and Label case affect the appearance of the text within the shield. Click OK when finished setting the style.

 

Step Eight

Back in the MAP LabelPro main dialog box, click the “Output suppressed labels to” check box. This moves all excess labels such as duplicate shields or shields that clash with other features on your map to a Suppressed layer. You can view features on the Suppressed layer after to see which labels were not included and you can decide to keep or delete them.

 

Step Nine

Click Label to begin the labeling process.

 

Step Ten

When all of your shields are generated, you can do some additional customization. In the Illustrator Layers panel, select all of your shields. From here, any changes to the colour, stroke colour and other settings you would use on objects, will be applied to your shields. With this functionality, you can create the exact shields you want for your map.

Handling GeoJSON Files with Unspecified Projected Coordinate Systems

In the latest GeoJSON specification (2016), the coordinate reference system for all coordinates is a geographic coordinate reference system—using the World Geodetic System 1984 (WGS 84) datum—with longitude and latitude units of decimal degrees. The previous specification (2008) allowed for the use of alternative coordinates systems, but this was removed because of interoperability issues.

MAPublisher still recognizes GeoJSON files with a specified coordinate system even though it is no longer officially supported. However, if no coordinate system is specified, MAPublisher will assume the coordinates are in WGS 84. Occasionally, this may cause a problem of improperly formatted files that contain projected coordinates but have no specified coordinate system. In this case, users will need to either choose a coordinate system during import or modify the GeoJSON file by adding a coordinate reference system (CRS) object manually.

Selecting a Coordinate System on Import

To change the coordinate system using the Import dialog box, click Advanced and select the WGS 84 link under Coordinate System. Ignore the warning about changing the coordinate system by clicking “Replace coordinate system”. Select the correct projected coordinate system from the list.

 

Modifying the GeoJSON File Manually

Coordinate reference systems can be specified in a GeoJSON file using a CRS object. You can view the contents of any GeoJSON file by opening it in a text editor such as Notepad. Copy and paste the text below after the line: “type”: “FeatureCollection”, (usually on line 2). Change the EPSG number to the correct CRS for your dataset. See Spatialreference.org to lookup an EPSG code.

"crs":
{
   "type" : "name",
   "properties" :
   {
      "name" : "EPSG:[EPSG Code]"
   }
},

Example:

The GeoJSON file can now be read properly by MAPublisher and can be imported as normal.

Cleanup Lines With MAPublisher Trim and Extend Tools

The latest release of MAPublisher includes the ability to trim and extend objects to a crossing or intersecting path. Extending a path lengthens it to meet the edge of a crossing object and trimming a path cuts the portion that extends past the edge of an intersecting path. Trim and extend tools are commonly used in CAD software and will greatly improve the ability to produce accurate and precise data in MAPublisher and clean-up imported data.

Location of the Trim and Extend tools on the Adobe Illustrator Tools panel. Click and hold the tool button to switch between MAP Trim Tool and MAP Extend Tool.

The MAP Trim Tool and MAP Extend Tools are located on the Adobe Illustrator Tools panel. Click and hold the MAP Trim or Map Extend tool button icon to switch between them. To use the tools, select the crossing or intersecting path and click the object to extend or trim. The diagram below illustrates the basic process.

Visualization of the trim and extend processes

There are many possible applications for these tools in digitizing and cleaning map data. In a hypothetical example illustrated below, we trim all the roads that extend past the edge of a border, and extend the imported roads (in bold) to meet the existing roads.

Examples of uses for the trim and extend tools. Extending imported roads to match existing roads and trimming lines that fall outside of a map border
Lines trimmed and extended!

Use MAPublisher to Import Layers from ArcGIS Online Directly Into Adobe Illustrator

With the latest release of MAPublisher 9.9, it’s now possible to easily import layers directly from an ArcGIS Online account or an ArcGIS web service. This will allow you to use shared data layers within your ArcGIS Online organizational account and connect to publicly available map servers from various online sources.

ArcGIS Online is a collaborative web GIS that allows you to store and share GIS data using Esri’s secure cloud. Before, you may have had to download layers as shapefiles to your local machine and then import them into Adobe Illustrator using MAPublisher. Now, MAPublisher has a much improved workflow to get ArcGIS Online layers into Adobe Illustrator will full georeferencing, all map features, and attributes.

Currently, the types of datasets allowed are Feature Layers, Map Image Layers and Tile Layers. To load a layer, use MAPublisher Import as you would with any data type and select ArcGIS Online from the Format drop-down menu. Click the login link to enter your ArcGIS Online credentials to access your organization’s web portal.

Import ArcGIS Online dialog box
ArcGIS Online user portal

Feature Layers contain vector data that will import as artwork into Adobe Illustrator. Optionally, you can extract specific features using standard SQL queries. Map Image Layers and Tile Layers are raster data layers that can be added by selecting the geographic extents.

Import Image Map Layer

In addition to using your own organization’s data, you can connect to publicly available data from a wide variety of organizations by connecting to an ArcGIS Web Service. To connect to a web service, use MAPublisher Import and select ArcGIS Web Service from the Format drop-down menu. Click to select the dataset and enter the URL for the service. This is a great option when searching for data from open data portals created by government agencies.

Import ArcGIS Web Service
Valid ArcGIS Web Service

Accessing Esri’s online services through MAPublisher provides a great opportunity to use shared data within your organization and access a wide variety of publicly available data. We’re sure you’ll find it very useful for finding data to make great maps.

Isolating and Displaying Specific Grid and Graticule Lines

MAPublisher Grids and Graticules is a powerful tool. There are dozens of settings to create an indexed grid, measured grid, or graticule exactly the way you want. We often receive questions about how to create certain grid and graticule styles and this was interesting. We were asked how to create a graticule to display a very specific latitude and longitude, perhaps even by itself (only a single line of latitude or longitude).

Creating a single graticule line

In this example, we’re going to create a graticule that will only display the Tropic of Capricorn at -23.4371 degrees (or 23.4371 degrees south of the equator).

On the MAPublisher toolbar, click the Grids and Graticules button to open the dialog box. Click the Graticules button to create one. On the Graticules Grid main settings, the important setting to note here is the Pass through section — it specifies lines of latitude and longitude that must be included in the graticule. Enter 30 deg Long and -23.4371 deg Lat. This means that a graticule line must pass through -23.4371 degrees latitude (the Tropic of Capricorn). The reason why a line at 30 deg longitude is specified is to hide it from the map view (it is placed at 30 deg longitude outside of the map extent).

Pass through setting

In the Intervals section, set 90 deg Latitude interval and 180 deg Longitude interval. Because the intervals are at the extreme, this means that the the only lines left to display are the ones specified in the Pass through section (30 deg long and -23.4371 deg lat). In this case, it will only display a single line of latitude (the Tropic of Capricorn) for the graticule.

Intervals setting

If you want to label the graticule, go to the Line Labels setting. Click the Lat and Lng on the grid label control to enable them. To control how many decimals are displayed, click the Format setting, then change the number of decimals to something greater than 0.

Label settings

To intersect single lines of longitude and latitude, adjust the Pass through setting so that the line is within the map’s extent. In this case, it was set to -50 deg (50 deg west).

Intersect single lines of longitude and latitude

Remember that you can share Grids and Graticules settings with anybody by clicking the Save Settings button, selecting a destination folder and sharing the configuration files.

The Difference Between Constraints and Bounds in a Graticule

A graticule is the network of lines of latitude and longitude drawn at regular intervals on a map. Graticules are created in MAPublisher using the Grids and Graticules tool. In some maps, you may want to limit the area on the map that a graticule covers. For example, you may want it to cover only the map’s area of interest. The image below is a map of North America with a graticule drawn at 5-degree intervals. US State boundaries are drawn in white. In this post, we’ll modify the graticule three times so it conforms to the edges of the image, so it covers only the Continental United States, and lastly a combination of the previous two modifications.

North America with a graticule of 5 degree intervals.

MAPublisher can limit the geographic extents of a graticule in two ways: using Grid Bounds and using Grid Constraints. In both cases, you’ll specify the lower left and upper right corners of the graticule. Specifying Grid Bounds will limit the extent of the graticule to a rectangular area while specifying Grid Constraints will limit the graticule along lines of latitude and longitude. If both Grid Bounds and Grid Constraints are specified, the graticule will cover an intersection of the two areas. The image below shows bounds and the constraints and the intersecting area which forms the graticule.

Bounds and the constraints and the intersecting area which forms the graticule.

To modify a graticule so that it conforms to the edges of the image, you’ll need to specify grid constraints. In the Grids and Graticules dialog box, click the Specify Grid Constraints check box and set the Lower Left and Upper Right corners to the corners of the image which are -127°, 7° and -50°, 65° respectively.

Specifying Grid Constraints.

To create a rectangular graticule covering only the lower 48 states, click the Specify Grid Bounds check box and set the Lower Left and Upper Right corners to the corners of that area. Tip: click the MAP World Locations drop-down arrow to choose the values for the lower left and upper right corners.

Specifying Grid Bounds.

When both Specify Grid Bounds and Specify Grid Constraints check boxes are both checked, the graticule will cover an intersection of each of the extents. For instance, in the map below, the northern extent follows the 49th parallel at the Canadian border, the western extent is at the edge of the image (127° west) and the south and east extents are the same as in the previous map.

Both Specify Grid Bounds and Specify Grid Constraints selected.