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Map Gallery Spotlight: Evan Applegate

Map Gallery Spotlight San Francisco Bay Area Map by Evan Applegate

In this month’s Map Gallery Spotlight, we are showcasing an honourable mention of the 2021 Avenza Map Competition. This relief and land cover map of the San Francisco Bay Area was created by Evan Applegate of The Map Consultancy. The map shows the lakes, rivers, forests, grasslands, croplands, wetlands, and urban areas of the Bay Area. Applegate created the map as a dedication for two of his friends who were married on a beautiful cliffside north of the city. The North Bay Area is known for being the least urbanized part of the Bay Area, and housing the Napa and Sonoma wine regions. 

The map highlights various natural features throughout the San Francisco Bay Area, such as elevation peaks, water features, and some landmarks. It also includes 50-meter bathymetry contours. The shaded relief details the varying elevation of the region, colour-coded to display the borders between forests, grassland, farmland, and urban land. The location of Applegate’s friends’ wedding, Slide Ranch, is identified on the map.

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

Map Gallery Spotlight San Francisco Bay Area Map snippet by Evan Applegate
Map Gallery Spotlight San Francisco Bay Area Map snippet by Evan Applegate
Map Gallery Spotlight San Francisco Bay Area Map snippet by Evan Applegate

Making the Map

Applegate pre-processed his data in QGIS, GDAL, and Adobe Photoshop, and then used the Avenza MAPublisher plugin for Adobe Illustrator to composite it all together. This is made easy by the way MAPublisher retains the georeferencing of the data imported from other GIS software. Data that does not have any georeferencing when it is imported, can also easily be georeferenced using MAPublisher’s Georeferencer tool.

The finishing touches were also added to the map using MAPublisher. The Label Features tool was heavily used in the placement of labels, saving Applegate several hours of manual labeling. Using this tool, label settings can be applied and multiple layers of data can be labeled at once if desired. Finally, labels are added to the map under one Text layer, to ensure organization. 

Stylistic elements of the map were touched up using native Adobe Illustrator tools, MAP Layout tools, and a graticule was added.

Check out our other Map Gallery Spotlight blogs here!

World Bee Day 2022

Beekeeping in New Zealand

Today is May 20th, which means that it is World Bee Day! This year we will be celebrating with an infographic map detailing the prevalence of beekeeping in the nation of New Zealand. The map has been compiled and designed using the Avenza MAPublisher extension for Adobe Illustrator.

World Bee Day 2022 Beekeeping in New Zealand Header Image

What is Beekeeping?

Beekeeping, also known as apiculture, is the maintenance of bee colonies by humans, commonly in man-made hives. Beekeeping results in the creation of many products in our lives such as beeswax, royal jelly, and many different types of honey.

Why do we celebrate World Bee Day?

World Bee Day was first celebrated in 2018, after being proposed by Slovenia to the United Nations in prior years. May 20th is the birthdate of the pioneer of beekeeping Anton Janša, who was born in Carniola in 1734, which was a region that falls within present-day Slovenia. 

The purpose of World Bee Day is to celebrate the importance of bees and other pollinators to many aspects of the world’s ecosystems and economies. They are responsible for the pollination of many crops, with nearly ⅓ of every spoonful of food we eat depending upon pollinators. This makes bees a very important part of the agricultural industries, and therefore the economies of many countries.

With many pesticides and other chemicals negatively contributing to the health of the world bee populations, it is crucial to raise awareness and promote care when creating agricultural and other environmental policies and processes.

Beekeeping in New Zealand

New Zealand is one of the top 20 countries ranked by total number of beehives, with over 835,000 registered beehives. The organization Apiculture New Zealand, or ApiNZ, was created in 2016 to support, advocate for and benefit the apiculture industry of the country. Membership is voluntary and consists of about 2500 beekeepers. 

New Zealand produces many different types of honey, including population variations such as mānuka honey. The story map we have created using MAPublisher locates the 23 known beekeeping clubs across New Zealand, as well as highlights some interesting facts about beekeeping in the island nation. All in all, beekeeping is an important part of the New Zealand economy and agriculture industry.

World Bee Day 2022 Beekeeping in New Zealand Infographic Map Avenza Systems

Fun Facts About Bees

Here are a couple fun facts you might not know about bees and how important it is to continue protecting them:

  • Did you know that nearly 90% of wild plants and 75% of leading global crops depend on pollination from bees and other pollinators? It’s true! Crops that are dependent on pollination are five times more valuable than those that are not.
  • If you find a bee that appears to be struggling, you can gently place it on a bee-friendly flower. If there are none around, you can provide it with energy by giving it a couple drops of a 1:1 solution of white sugar and water.
  • India is the country with the most registered beehives, with over 12.2 million beehives as of 2020!

Feeling Buzzed About Bee Day? Learn More!

In the spirit of World Bee Day we encourage you to learn more about beekeeping! Check out these great bee resources; World Bee Day website, Apiculture New Zealand website.

Cartographer Chronicles: Gene Thorp

In this edition of Cartographer Chronicles, we welcome Gene Thorp. Gene is a renowned, award-winning cartographer who has become a staple of the map-making community. Gene displays an expertise in map design honed through nearly 30 years of experience. Gene skillfully applies his craft by using maps to tell fascinating stories and communicate important information about history, geopolitics, and the world around us. In this issue of Cartographer Chronicles, Gene is telling his own story, sharing with us how he came into map-making as a career and his interesting journey through the world of cartography.


The cartography bug bit me when I was very young, before I could even read. I know this because I was captivated by artist David Greenspan’s illustrated maps, dozens of which I found in my grandfather’s American Heritage Pictorial History of the Civil War. Each map contained hundreds of little hand-drawn soldiers fighting across all types of terrain. I spent hours studying every little detail and harassing my poor older brothers to read what the cryptic numbered captions said. When I got older, I realized many of those battlefields were only a day’s drive from where I lived, so I persuaded my parents to visit one on a family trip. Greenspan’s illustrations were so effective that I was able to easily visualize what had happened there. It was almost like I had already visited the battlefield before. I was hooked on maps, but at that young age, I never dreamed I would have a career-making them. 

Fast forward fifteen years, and I was early into college pursuing a history degree at the University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC). I had to pay for my school so I worked part-time at a Hechinger hardware store. One of my coworkers there knew I had an interest in maps and told me UMBC had one of the best cartography programs in the country and suggested that I check it out. I took Cartography 101 the next semester and realized this was the career path for me. Under the mentorship of Professors Joe School and Tom Rabenhorst I was part of the last class that was taught photometric techniques using scribe coat and linotype, and the first class to design and produce maps solely using computers. In a school internship program, I was lucky to be chosen as the project editor on what was likely the first-ever digitally produced U.S. atlas for a company called Military Living. 

Three years later with a degree in geography, a degree in history, and a much-valued certificate in cartography, I teamed up with a friend from school and we ventured out into the real world to try our hands at commercial mapping. Sadly, our timing was off. Our business was launched immediately after the breakup of the Soviet Union. The once robust defense industry suddenly downsized and the country entered a recession. Our cartography business was essentially shuttered after only one year. Good cartography positions were hard to come by, so I expanded my horizons and jumped into graphic design which at that time had many more job openings.

Starting from the bottom, over the next eight years I worked at prominent graphic design firms in the Washington, D.C. area designing and producing magazines, logos, brochures, websites, and illustrations. It turned out to be a great experience where I learned page layout, cover design, image manipulation, illustration, and other publication techniques from some extremely capable artists and designers. They taught me the importance of typography and that good design did more than make a layout look attractive, more importantly, it effectively communicated information. These were lessons I took with me for the rest of my career. 

During that time, I never abandoned cartography. I picked up small mapping freelance projects wherever I could find them hoping maybe one day I could get back into the field full-time. My big break came in 2000 when I was brought onto The Washington Post staff as a cartographer by the talented Art Director Michael Keegan and the extremely gifted Chief Cartographer Richard Furno, a former National Geographic cartographer who was a principal designer of the iconic 1969 moon map. He also developed a custom CAD-based mapping application called Azimuth, which, in conjunction with Macromedia Freehand, Adobe Photoshop, and ArcInfo, were the primary programs we initially used to create maps for the newspaper. Geographic points, lines, polygons, and raster data were brought into Azimuth or ArcInfo to be projected then exported. Raster data was further manipulated in Photoshop. Everything was then imported into Freehand where the map was designed, styled, and labeled. Each type of feature like roads, rivers, and urban areas had been color-coded in Azimuth or ArcInfo so they could be easily selected, stylized, and labeled in Freehand. 

Over the next 15 years, I created thousands of maps, from simple locators to full double-truck spreads on every topic imaginable. One of the map projects I was most proud of was the Presidential election result maps published the day after the election which displayed each candidate’s margin of victory by county.

 The maps were designed in perspective to clearly emphasize how much weight small and densely populated counties contributed to the overall election result. Another favorite was the Obama Inauguration map showing attendees the parade route, jumbotrons, vendors, first aid stations, and the all-important locations of portable restrooms! It was fun to walk through the crowd and see so many people using it. 

Environmental disasters such as hurricanes, earthquakes, and oil spills were all too common topics to be mapped. When one occurred, all other projects were immediately sidelined to provide weeks-long detailed cartographic coverage. This included hurricanes Katrina, Rita, and Irene, earthquakes like those in Indonesia, Japan, or Haiti, and man-made disasters like the Deepwater Horizon oil spill whose massive oil slick spread for weeks across the Gulf of Mexico.

 With September 11th happening less than one year after I was hired, covering terrorism and military actions across the globe was another major part of my duties at the newspaper. I made what seems like countless static and interactive maps of the hunt for Osama Bin Laden, the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, the rise of ISIS, the civil war in Syria, and the Russia-Ukraine conflict.

But mapping at the Post wasn’t always serious. I was able to fit in extra time to support travel stories, illustrate a few Kid’s Post graphics, and contribute research and cartography to a 10 part illustrated series on the history of Washington, D.C. (which won gold at the international Malofiej awards).

Among my favorite responsibilities was a five-year project of timelines, articles, and interactive maps to commemorate the sesquicentennial of the American Civil War. 

All the while, I created custom maps on the side for numerous bestselling books like those in Rick Atkinson’s World War Two Liberation Trilogy series (which won a Pulitzer Prize) and oversize maps for exhibitions at museums like the Smithsonian Institution, the Museum of the Bible, and The Seminary Museum in Gettysburg and many others. 

After working 15 years in the news industry, I accepted a job in the federal government as a senior cartographer at the U.S. Department of State, where for the last six years have I operated under the direction of Lee Schwartz in the Office of the Geographer and Global Issues (GGI), within the Bureau of Intelligence and Research (INR). 

In this capacity, I work with an extremely knowledgeable group of geographers, scientists, and other subject-matter experts to support the full spectrum of the Department’s foreign policy missions. Working closely with my fellow cartographers in the Geographic Information Unit (GIU) and Humanitarian Information Unit (HIU), we produce hundreds of maps each year that help visualize and explain a wide range of topics and issues; such as the Department’s efforts to defeat international terrorist groups; illustrate the maritime claims of countries in places like the South China Sea, the eastern Mediterranean, and the Arctic; map the government’s policy on disputed international boundaries along the China-India border, and highlight the buildup of Russian forces near Ukraine.

I also work on the international boundary and sovereignty team that regularly advises policymakers on the geography and history of territorial disputes and produces the publicly available Large-Scale International Boundaries (LSIB) dataset, a set of digital lines used by cartographers and other geospatial professionals as the source for the world’s international boundaries reflecting the foreign policy of the United States.   

I have been very lucky to rub elbows with some of the most amazing cartographers, designers, illustrators, writers, analysts, policymakers, editors, developers, photographers, and programmers of our time. The work has been fast-paced and challenging, but also extremely rewarding. It’s incredible to see how much technology has altered the landscape over the last 30 years. In the old days, I traced government base maps with a scribe tool and used peel coat, or digitized data on the “high-speed” 8MB RAM and 100MB hard drive computers. When I started at The Washington Post the mapping process was all digital, but the data we used was mostly what we created ourselves. When shapefiles or spreadsheets were available, we used Azimuth or other products to select and organize what we needed, before projecting and exporting the data. But when the files were imported into Adobe Illustrator for design and labeling (Illustrator replaced Freehand in 2005), the data lost all its attributes. Mapping expanded rapidly into 3D and I utilized programs such as Bryce 3D and Google Earth to create a vast assortment of perspective maps on tight deadlines. 

Cartography also increasingly became accessible on the internet. At first, I made static locator maps and created custom map tiles for interactive traffic applications, but soon advanced to writing the actual applications, one of which was a multipurpose timeline that interfaced with Google maps that could play data ranges overtime on top of zoomable custom tilesets. 

Midway through my career at the newspaper, Richard Furno retired, and by 2011 all support for Azimuth ended. I needed an affordable replacement mapping application that could custom project data and still interface with Illustrator. This is when I discovered MAPublisher. I had known about it for many years and had heard good things about it from colleagues, but up to that time Azimuth had always worked for my purposes. When I finally dug into MAPublisher’s capabilities I was instantly impressed. Not only could MAPublisher import and project a large array of data types, it maintained the data georeferencing and attributes within Illustrator, all the while allowing me to still perform analysis on it. I could now add or remove attribute fields, make calculations, join spreadsheets, create proportional circles and custom style points, lines, and polygons, all based on the data attributes. Making last-minute map scale changes was also much easier because labels maintained their size and association with their associated features whenever the map was enlarged or reduced. Creating custom data became easier too. I could register a base map or satellite image on existing data, trace the information I needed, then move it to a MAPublisher layer where it instantly became georeferenced. I could add and fill out custom attribute fields, then export the entire layer of new information to virtually any geospatial format for use in all the mainstream GIS applications. Another useful feature was that I could import only a small section of a large dataset. Had I started using MAPublisher earlier I could very easily be able to pull data from my older projects into the new ones. MAPublisher continues to be my core mapping application.

Returning to my roots in history, I’ve recently been using MAPublisher to create a detailed and accurate database of the mid-Atlantic region as it would have appeared during the American Civil War, 1861–1865. First I have stripped away modern features like roads, reservoirs, and manmade shorelines, and, using a variety of historical maps, restored historical features such as long since disappeared roads, rivers, shorelines, fords, railroads, bridges, and towns. An accurate base of geospatial data allows for the correct placement of the plethora of temporal data available from primary sources such as troop movements, refugee movements, weather events, and personal experiences that are tied to a specific historical location. All of this information is either used directly in MAPublisher to create maps, or exported and used in any application that can read geospatial information. I may never be able to mimic the historical map illustrations of David Greenspan that engrossed me as a child so long ago, but perhaps I’ll be able to recreate the world of that time in such a way that will captivate and educate generations of history buffs for years to come.

For those entering or considering the field of cartography and GIS, the future seems brighter and broader than ever before. My experience has been that most people find custom maps greatly enhance their products. The internet is increasingly awash with new data that individuals, companies, non-profits, and governments need to process and visualize to be understood. Even if cartography is not your primary role, adding attractive, accurate, and informative maps can be greatly beneficial to communicating the message of whatever organization you are working for. Good luck mapping! 

Day 30 – Reflecting on the #30DayMapChallenge

What is the #30DayMapChallenge?

Since 2019, each November has been host to the annual #30DayMapChallenge. The challenge was started by Topi Tjukanov as a way to get the cartography and GIS communities to come together and share maps, exchange ideas, and start conversations about mapping and spatial data. Since then, this friendly competition has grown, with thousands of maps being made and shared by map-makers from all over the world, and from a wide range of experience levels. 

Kate B created this map entirely out of lego pieces (1500 total!) She shared this map on Day 15 – “Map made without using a computer”. See if you can spot the different shapes, symbols, and even video game characters that are hidden in the ocean sections of the piece.

The rules are simple: A specific theme is assigned to each day of November and the goal is to create a map each day that matches that day’s specific theme. Most important of all, this is a friendly challenge! The idea is to have fun, share maps with the carto-community, and hopefully learn something in the process! Here at Avenza, the challenge meant an opportunity to get together as a team and challenge ourselves to try something new. We have map-makers from all experience levels try their hand at making some maps, and we shared our favorites on the Avenza Twitter feed.

Erik shared this beautiful map of Mountains and parks he plans to visit on an upcoming trip to the Canadian Rockies. He shared this map for Day 21 – “Elevation”

Today marks Day 30, and the end of this year’s challenge. The theme for today is “Metamapping”, with the objective being to reflect on the overall experience and discuss what we mapped, what we enjoyed, and most importantly, what we learned. We’ve collected some thoughts from a few Avenza Team members who participated by asking them a simple question: “What did the #30DayMapChallenge mean to you?”


“An opportunity to get creative” – Rebecca B

I love making maps, and when the #30DayMapChallenge came around this year. I knew I had to participate in some way. I’ve spent a lot of time making maps with Avenza software, and some of my favorites were turned into tutorial articles on the Avenza Resources blog. You can see a handful of them here and here

My first challenge was to create a map that fit the “red” theme. Of the three color-based themes in this year’s challenge, red spoke to me the most. Perhaps it’s because it’s a color not prevalent in nature (blue and green make me think of water and vegetation), meaning I could create something that stands out a bit more. For me at least, red immediately makes me think of apples, so I set out to create a map showing apple production worldwide. As is so common with map-making projects, oftentimes the hardest part is finding good-quality data. Luckily for me, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization houses some fantastic datasets on global food production. Using the Join Table tool in MAPublisher, I could link this tabular data to a polygon layer of countries I had imported into Adobe Illustrator. Finally, I used MAP Themes to create an appropriate red stylesheet to visualize my data, and just like that, I was done! 

Rebecca B created this fantastic map showing global apple production for Day 6 – “Red”

Next up, I took a shot at making a historical-themed map for Day 24 of the challenge. Now as a self-proclaimed history buff, I’ll never turn down an opportunity to do some research on the ancient world. For this theme, I chose to map out the mythical route of Jason and the Argonauts. If you’re from Toronto and you think “Argos” you probably think about the football team, but these are the original Argos. I actually started this map long ago for another project, but the #30DayMapChallenge got me inspired to revisit it and see it to completion. The route was all hand-drawn in Adobe Illustrator after meticulously cataloging and plotting the different locations in the legend. I was able to easily create map labels using MAPublisher LabelPro and overlaid the map layers onto a Natural Earth shaded relief base layer. While the map is physically the biggest part of the artboard, the story is what really drove me to create the map.

Looking back on this challenge, it’s a wonderful opportunity to get back into map-making. The #30DayMapChallenge is a great outlet to reignite that spark of love for cartography.

Rebecca B manually digitized the path of Jason and the Argonauts for her Day 24 – “Historical” map


“A chance to learn a new skill” – Chelsey

Not all of us at Avenza are experienced map-makers! In fact, even though I often use maps in my everyday life, I haven’t had many opportunities to make a map myself. For me, the #30DayMapChallenge was an opportunity to learn, try new things, and (hopefully) create my first map!

I was fortunate that the Avenza team included several experienced map-makers who were willing to sit down with me and teach me the basics of cartography. After a short crash course on “projections”, “coordinate systems” and the “fundamentals of working with spatial data”, I felt confident I could take my first steps in the world of cartography. Using some of the great tutorial workflows in the Avenza support center, I was able to get my first map dataset imported with MAPublisher. With a bit of help from my Avenza teammates, I was able to get a population dataset showing population counts for Tasmania. Something I quickly learned is that population data needs to be adjusted to account for variation in the size of each area of measure. I used the attribute expressions tutorial to create an expression that calculated the population density for each region rather than the raw population value. Finally, apply a MAP Theme to give the map some color, and add a few remaining stylistic elements with the native Adobe tools, and voila! My very first map is complete!

For me, the #30dayMapChallenge offered me a chance to learn some great new tools, and take a crack at making my very first map. I learned that making maps doesn’t have to be hard, and in fact can be quite fun! Being able to go from never made a map to “I made a real map!” in a matter of hours was incredible, and I can’t wait to try out these newfound skills on some other map projects!

Chelsey got a crash course in beginner map-making with MAPublisher, allowing her to create this neat map of population density in Tasmania for Day 12 – Population


“Not all maps have to be serious” – Spencer

This year was my second time participating in the #30DayMapChallenge and once again, it was incredible to see the map-making community come together to share some really cool maps. I enjoy these types of challenges because they encourage new and experienced map-makers alike to try out new tools, learn some new techniques, and work on maps in a friendly, non-intimidating environment. For me at least, it was an opportunity to just have fun and try out some maps that were less serious in nature. Too often maps are only the result of intensive analytical processes or a product of complex data visualization. While these types of rigid workflows are still quite interesting to work on, it’s also good to step back and just have fun with the process instead of focusing on every detail in the workflow. For Day 4 – “Hexagons”, I did just that and put together a simple map documenting the “Sharknado Risk” across the US. I even wrote a tutorial blog about how I did it!

Spencer made this not-so-serious map of Sharknado risk by creating a custom Bivariate-risk index in MAPublisher. He shared this map for Day 4 – “Hexagons”

What I enjoy most about open-ended map challenges like #30DayMapChallenge is that they allow one to explore topics or datasets that they might not use in their normal day-to-day work. As many cartography and GIS folks know, the most challenging part of ‘making a map” often comes from deciding on a theme, and finding good data. This is especially true when you are restricted to a very specific mapping result or must adhere to strict design considerations. The #30DayMapChallenge removes some of these obstacles and provides an environment that encourages creativity and gets back to the real reason so many of us got into the industry – because we enjoy making maps.


Some of the Map created by the Avenza Team for #30DayMapChallenge

What’s New in MAPublisher 10.9 for Adobe Illustrator?

What's New in MAPublisher 10.9 Header

We are very excited to announce the release of MAPublisher 10.9, our latest version of the MAPublisher extension for Adobe Illustrator. 

With MAPublisher 10.9, we are bringing forward full compatibility with Adobe Illustrator 2022, Windows 11, macOS 12, support for Vector GeoPackages and TopoJSON data formats, improvements to the Buffer Art tool, and several bug fixes.

Here’s what you can expect with the latest MAPublisher 10.9 release:

Compatibility with Adobe Illustrator 2022, Windows 11, and macOS 12

We want to ensure our users enjoy a truly seamless experience with the Adobe Illustrator workspace. Our team has worked to ensure that MAPublisher 10.9 is fully compatible with Adobe Illustrator 2022 that was announced at Adobe Max last week. 

MAPublisher 10.9 is also fully compatible with the newly released Windows 11, as well as macOS 12 Monterey.

Import TopoJSON data

New to MAPublisher 10.9 is the ability to import TopoJSON type data formats directly into Adobe Illustrator. A TopoJSON is built off the GeoJSON data format in a way that encodes topology. Geometries in TopoJSON files are collected together from shared line segments called arcs. In this way, TopoJSON data formats can reduce redundancies and improve storage efficiency for spatial data.

What's New in MAPublisher: Import TopoJSON data

Import and Export Vector GeoPackages

Many of our users have requested the ability to import and export vector GeoPackage data. We are happy to announce the full support of vector GeoPackages is now offered with MAPublisher 10.9. Vector GeoPackages are based on SQLite databases and offer an open-source, compact, lightweight, and flexible data format for easy and efficient storage or geoprocessing of spatial data.

Geodesic Options for the Buffer Art Tool

Geodesic options are now available for the Buffer Art tool. This functionality will provide more accurate distance buffers for point data when working on features distant from lines of true scale. Find this option in the “method” section of the Buffer Art tool.

What's New in MAPublisher: MAPublisher Buffer Tool

Default Data filters and Styles on import

MAPublisher 10.9 users can create unique data filters and style settings that can be automatically applied to newly imported data in MAPublisher.

Changes to Compatibility

Avenza announces that compatibility support is changing for its desktop mapping software. Starting with MAPublisher 10.9, both Windows 7 and Adobe CS6 will no longer be supported. Users will require a valid Adobe Creative Cloud subscription and a compatible operating system to utilize the improvements and enhancements offered in MAPublisher 10.9. For questions and more information on how these changes around compatibility may affect your organization, please contact our Support Centre.

MAPublisher 10.9 is immediately available today, free of charge to all current MAPublisher users with active maintenance subscriptions and as an upgrade for non-maintenance users. 

Enter the Avenza Map Competition!

The Avenza Map Competition is live! Enter our map competition for a chance to showcase your favourite maps with the Avenza community and win prizes! The competition consists of two categories: “Open” and “Student”, with two sets of exciting prizes. Submit your Map today!

Avenza Map Competition

Avenza Releases MAPublisher 10.9 for Adobe Illustrator

Toronto, ON, November 9, 2021 – Avenza Systems Inc., producers of the Avenza Maps® app for mobile devices and geospatial extensions for Adobe Creative Cloud®, including Geographic Imager® for Adobe Photoshop®, is pleased to announce the release of MAPublisher® 10.9 for Adobe Illustrator®. This version offers compatibility with Adobe Illustrator 2022, Windows 11, and macOS 12. It also provides a variety of feature updates including the widely requested support for the vector GeoPackage and TopoJSON data formats, new Geodesic options for the Buffer Art tool, default filter on import and style on import options, and several performance improvements and bug fixes.

MAPublisher cartography software seamlessly integrates more than seventy GIS mapping tools into Adobe Illustrator to help you create beautiful maps from geospatial data. Import industry-standard GIS data formats and make crisp, clean maps with all attributes and georeferencing intact using the Adobe Illustrator design environment.

New major features of the MAPublisher 10.9 extension for Adobe Illustrator include:

  • Adobe Illustrator 2022 compatibility
  • Windows 11 and macOS 12 Monterey compatibility
  • TopoJSON support: Import TopoJSON data
  • GeoPackage support: Import and export vector GeoPackage data 
  • Geodesic Buffer settings: Provides more accurate distance buffers on point data when working on features distant from lines of true scale
  • Default import filters and styles: Specify default options for filtering and displaying data that is imported into MAPublisher

Avenza announces that compatibility support is changing for its desktop mapping software. Starting with MAPublisher 10.9, both Windows 7 and Adobe CS6 will no longer be supported. Users will require a valid Adobe Creative Cloud subscription and a compatible operating system to utilize the improvements and enhancements offered in MAPublisher 10.9. For questions and more information on how these changes around compatibility may affect your organization, please contact our Support Centre.

MAPublisher 10.9 is immediately available free of charge to all current MAPublisher users with active maintenance and as an upgrade for non-maintenance users starting at US$649. New licenses are available from US$1499. MAPublisher FME-Auto and MAPublisher LabelPro are also available as add-ons starting at US$499. Academic, floating, and volume licenses are also available. Prices include one year of full maintenance. Read more about MAPublisher 10.9 in the release blog, or visit for more details.

More about Avenza Systems Inc.

Avenza Systems Inc. is an award-winning, privately held corporation that provides cartographers and GIS professionals with powerful software tools to make better maps. Avenza also offers the mobile Avenza Maps app to sell, purchase, distribute, and use maps on iOS and Android devices.

For further information contact:  416-487-5116 –

Cartographer Chronicles: Dan Cole

When it comes to map-making, Dan Cole is a true master. A passionate academic, Dan has designed maps for research and academia for over 40 years. As the GIS Coordinator and Chief Cartographer of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC., Dan has created maps and cartographic pieces for museum exhibits enjoyed by hundreds of thousands of visitors every year. As a researcher, Dan has authored scholarly publications in several renowned academic journals, and co-edited the book “Mapping Native America: Cartographic Interactions between Indigenous Peoples, Government, and Academia.”  

For Dan, his interest in maps began when he was a child. He often enjoyed being the “navigator” on family vacations and building off a natural fondness for exploration he developed hiking trails as a Boy Scout. In his freshman year at the University at Albany – State University of New York, Dan first became interested in a career in cartography while studying under esteemed cartographer Dr. Michael Dobson. The opportunity to turn a genuine interest into a full-fledged career was too good to pass up, and Dan soon found himself enrolling in every cartography, geography, and remote sensing course he could. In the final year of his Bachelor of Geography degree, Dan became a cartography teaching assistant, providing him his first opportunity to act in a teaching role. 

Immediately after graduating, Dan was recruited to an assistantship position at Michigan State University (MSU). Here he published his first research paper, which was co-authored alongside Richard Groop, now a professor emeritus in Geography at MSU. Completing a Masters degree in Geography in 1979, Dan moved to Oregon State University (OSU) and began collaborating with cartography professor Jon Kimerling, first as a TA, and later to run the Cartographic Lab there.

“Were there Dinosaurs in your backyard?” – One of Dan’s maps on display in the Deep Time Hall at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History

Leaving OSU in 1981, Dan took on a variety of roles at several recognizable institutions across the country. Some of these roles included; leading the Cartographic Lab at the University of Maryland, working as a cartographic technician for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), contract cartography work for the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, and taking on a course instructor position at Montgomery College. In 1986, Dan began working at the Smithsonian Institution (SI) and was able to pursue his passion for research full-time. Some of his earliest mapping pieces with SI became an integral part of the “Handbook of North American Indians”, a series of scholarly reference volumes documenting the culture, language, and history of all indigenous peoples in North America. Through a cooperative arrangement, he was also responsible for researching the changes to the Bureau of Indian Affair’s “Indian Land Areas” map in 1987 and 1989.

“My first five years there mostly involved cartographic research, doing both manual and computer-based mapping for the Handbook of North American Indians—at the time we used Adobe Illustrator 88!”

Later, Dan moved to a role as the GIS Coordinator with the Smithsonian’s IT Department. There, he was exposed to the entire breadth of cartographic projects spanning the Smithsonian’s impressive list of research disciplines. He worked on projects related to biodiversity and species ranges, created maps documenting climate change, and contributed to interactive map exhibits showing the impacts humans have on the environment. From volcanology and mineralogy to prehistoric studies and even the study of dinosaurs, Dan became involved in most of the Smithsonian’s major subject areas. Several of Dan’s map creations even feature in the permanent exhibits at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History.

Pathways and origins of invasive marine species, one of 40 maps created for the Ocean Hall exhibit at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History

Although each unique exhibit and area of study came with its own specific objectives, from a cartographic standpoint, he found that most still shared a few key concerns. He noted that one of the biggest challenges for almost all museum researchers is to geo-reference the vast number of artifacts and biological specimens that are contained in the museum’s collections. Such a process is crucial to analyze where specimens were found in the past and to provide insights on where they could be found in the future based on changes to the environment.

“Collections for nearly all museums around the world, including the Smithsonian, have environmental characteristics documented with the collection site. But most, by far, do not have coordinate locations for artifacts and specimens collected before the GPS era; rather, the majority of their collections have descriptive locations. So we must use Natural Language Processing—a computer science-based technique—to process coordinates from the written descriptions.”

By the mid-1990s, digital mapping processes had become an integral component of map creation. Dan became one of the first adopters of MAPublisher, using the first version of the software to work with maps and geographic data in the Adobe Illustrator environment. Today, MAPublisher continues to play a crucial role in map production at SI, and Dan still uses MAPublisher to produce maps for some of the museum’s most popular exhibits.

Since obtaining MAPublisher in the 1990s, I have been involved with over 20 different exhibits and multiple publications. All of these required importing shapefiles to Adobe Illustrator, PDF, or EPS formats so that publishers or exhibit staff could work with them. While other digital mapping software has improved over the years, I find the placement of typography is still handled more elegantly with MAPublisher.”

One of five maps that form part of the “Narwhals: Revealing an Arctic Legend” exhibit at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History (now a travelling exhibit!)

The museum environment presents some unique challenges for a cartographer. In a museum setting, maps need to be designed to communicate with the general public, synthesizing and presenting complex information for an audience that may be unfamiliar with the subject matter. This differs from research-focused work, which typically requires static printed maps that adhere to the strict guidelines of academic journal and book publications, and is typically viewed by experts in that particular field of study. For museum exhibits, cartographers need to employ careful design techniques to make maps informative and engaging to diverse audiences of all ages. These techniques result in maps that vary widely in format, from traditional static poster maps to animated and interactive maps that tell dramatic stories or serve as learning tools. Commenting on some of the unique challenges in today’s “pandemic era”, Dan notes that virtual online exhibits have made the use of web-mapping and interactive maps more commonplace.

“For the immediate and long-range future, I see greater use of static, animated and interactive maps online for public education on a variety of topics, with less interactivity in-person.”

Dan continues to oversee GIS support and teaching for staff at SI. He greatly enjoys the opportunity to work on diverse projects from a variety of interesting areas of study. As the GIS Coordinator at SI, he now covers over 400 GIS and satellite image processing users, plus over 500 story map writers and developers, including staff with very little knowledge of geography, cartography, or GIS. His passion for map-making remains to this day, and his maps continue to be enjoyed by visitors from around the world. An educator at heart, Dan has some parting advice for any students or young professionals seeking to break into the wonderful world of cartography;

“The advice that I give to nearly everyone interested in a cartography or GIS career is: while you’re still in school, plan to get a minor or double major in the field that interests you. Get a broad-based education that enables you to serve your clients in any field and join professional and academic organizations to expose yourself to others’ work. Most importantly, even once you are employed, never stop learning!”

“The Great Inka Roads” – One of 15 maps created for the exhibit at the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian