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Avenza Map Gallery Spotlight: 4LAND

In this article, we are showcasing the 2nd Place Runner-Up of the 2021 Avenza Map Competition. This impressive topographic reference map of the Monte Rosa area was a collaborative effort between Remo Nardini,  Founder and Chief Technical Officer, and the whole 4LAND team. The map is centered on two of the most renowned mountains of the Alps:  Monte Rosa and Monte Cervino (commonly referred to as the Matterhorn).  The map encompasses a massive and diverse area. From the glaciers and valleys crossed by the Alta Via n.1 highway in the Aosta valley to the panoramic snow-capped peaks that the Alps are known for. The high valleys of the Monte Rosa area emanate a particular charm, with its woods and pastures making it stand out among other areas in the Aosta Valley. 

Remo and his team manually collected trail information and point-of-interest data directly in the field with the Avenza Maps App and combined this with carefully crafted shaded relief techniques to bring the mountainous terrain of this rugged area to life. The map itself is designed for print at 1:25000 scale and is meant to offer a high-quality, waterproof, and tearproof map for use on the trails. The map provides an abundance of useful information for hiking, camping, mountain biking, and a host of other summer and winter outdoor activities. Smart label placement means this map is not only impressive to look at but highly functional when out on the trails. 

Select the images below to see a detailed look at 4LAND’s map

Making the Map

The 4LAND team is known for ground-truthing and manually collecting the data that goes into their map products. Trails, placemarks, and other important data were collected directly on the ground using the Avenza Maps App. Supplementing this with pre-existing and custom-developed cartographic datasets meant the map could provide a substantial amount of valuable information to its users. 

Using the Geographic Imager Plugin for Adobe Photoshop, the team could elaborate on a custom elevation product to create the enhanced shaded relief basemap that gives the map its gorgeous look. They then crafted the details of the map in Illustrator using MAPublisher. After importing all map datasets, the team used MAP views to align, scale, and project map data layers onto an Illustrator artboard. The team made use of the Vector Crop and MAP Selection tools to filter and process the data down to their specific area of interest. 

The 4LAND team applied a custom stylesheet using MAP Themes to create the beautiful textures and colours that make each part of the map stand out. MAP Themes applies rule-based styles that are based on MAP Attribute data contained in each map data layer. This careful work ensures each region is distinct and eye-catching. Every glacier crevasse and serac is carefully shaded to create depth, and woodlands are textured to reflect the irregular patterns of foliage. 

One of the most impressive features of this map is the wonderfully detailed labels. This was achieved using the LabelPro add-on, and enabled Remo and his team to perform rules-based, collision-free label placement using a  comprehensive suite of user-defined labelling parameters. With LabelPro,  they could specify how each label should be stylized (to give each label type a unique look and feel) and also define how the labeling engine would handle label placement to avoid overlap, crowding, or mislabelling. 

Lastly, stylistic elements of the map were touched up using native Illustrator tools, MAP Layout tools, and grids and graticules. The map itself is available in digital form for use with the Avenza Maps app. Visit the Avenza Map Store to see other fantastic maps by 4LAND or check out their website to learn more about their other high-quality mapping products. 

Avenza Map Gallery Spotlight: Roger Smith

In this article, we are showcasing the recently announced Open-category winner of the 2021 Avenza Map Competition. This fantastic entry was created by Roger Smith, expert cartographer and owner of Geographx in Wellington, New Zealand. Roger’s grand-prize winning entry is a truly remarkable display of map craftsmanship. The map provides a detailed look at the topography and trail coverage surrounding one of New Zealand’s most beautiful wilderness areas. His expert usage of natural colour basemaps and shaded relief creates a truly stunning result.

This topographic map focuses on the area covered by Westland Tai Poutini National Park, Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park, and the adjacent conservation parks and designated wilderness areas. It presents park boundaries, back-country walking trails, and the many camping shelters that are scattered throughout the area. The map itself is designed for print as a wall map and utilizes a natural colour basemap to create an eye-catching visual guide for the region.

The map can be used to familiarize park visitors with the area and assist recreational visitors with trip-planning in the rugged back-country trails of the area. The natural colour basemap is designed to maximize viewer understanding and appreciation of the physical environment while providing a pleasing backdrop that highlights important points, trails and places on the map.

Select the images below to see a detailed look at Roger’s map

Making the Map

The cartographic design elements and vector art creation utilized a wide range of tools in MAPublisher. Some of the vector data that went into the map were obtained through the New Zealand Department of Conservation, and the Land Information Department, while others were custom-crafted by Roger and his team at Geographx. Notably, the Geographx team custom-built the natural colour basemap and DEM-derived hillshade that gives the map its unique look and feel.

MAPublisher allowed Roger to import his data layers into an Adobe Illustrator environment that was conducive to flexible cartographic design work. Using the MAP Views panel, he could easily adjust and modify the projection and scaling of his map. Where necessary, Roger leveraged the many MAPublisher Geoprocessing and Data Editing tools to manipulate or simplify vector art layers for better representation on the final map.

As MAPublisher maintains spatial referencing for each data layer, he could place and register his custom natural colour, and raster hillshade layers to create his basemap. Fine-tuning would ensure his vector layers (including roads, campsites, trails, and place markers) would all be accurately placed and aligned with their real-world locations.

Roger created unique labels for the hundreds of different placemarks and trail lines on the maps. Using MAP Attribute data that are retained for each data layer, Roger used the Label Features tool to efficiently create and place labels for each layer. With Label Features, Roger could define custom rules that ensure each label stands apart from the other. For important place markers and points of interest, Roger used the Create Halos tool to make certain labels stand out more prominently.

Needless to say, this spectacular piece of work represents the culmination of countless hours of design effort and dedication. Roger has added this map to the impressive collection of cartographic works produced by Geographx. To learn more about other fantastic map products available from Geographx, visit their website.