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What’s New in MAPublisher 11.0 for Adobe Illustrator?

What's New in MAPublisher 11

We are very excited to announce the release of MAPublisher 11, the latest version of our MAPublisher extension for Adobe Illustrator. 

With MAPublisher 11, we are bringing forward full compatibility with the Apple Silicon processor, enhancements to the MAP Attributes panel, a revamped welcome screen, the ability to import OpenStreetMap file formats, a brand new set of MAP Erase tools, and several performance and bug fixes.

Here’s what you can expect with the latest MAPublisher 11 release:

Compatibility with the Apple Silicon Processor

We want to ensure our users enjoy a truly seamless experience whether they are using a PC or Mac computer. Our team has worked to ensure that MAPublisher 11 is fully compatible with the Apple Silicon chip, and as such we can declare that MAPublisher is officially supporting this processor.

MAP Attributes Panel Enhancements

An exciting feature for MAPublisher 11 is a number of enhancements made to the MAP Attributes panel. Users are no longer required to select all objects on a layer for them to appear in the MAP Attribute panel. Instead, all features appear by default, and users can toggle between showing all features or just their selected features at the bottom left corner of the panel. When all features are shown, selected features will appear highlighted in the attribute table.

Welcome Screen Revamp

MAPublisher 11 comes with a brand new welcome screen that appears upon opening the program. This window is equipped with visually appealing refreshed graphics, while maintaining access to the License Management window. It also features several new sections that increase discoverability for you, such as new features, help and tutorials, and other Avenza news or events. There is also a Get Inspired section to help inspire you as a mapmaker, which features articles from our website which highlight the excellent maps and stories of some of our most proficient users.

Importing OpenStreetMap File Formats

We are thrilled to announce that importing OpenStreetMap (OSM) file formats is now a possibility with MAPublisher 11! Whether you are importing a single file, or using the Multiple Data Import tool you can now select OSM and PBF file formats from the list of supported formats. The rest of the import process remains unchanged from the other file formats users are familiar working with in MAPublisher.

MAP Erase Tools

Many of our users have requested the ability to quickly erase unwanted or sensitive data from their maps. Thus, we are happy to introduce the new MAP Vector Erase and MAP Erase by Shape tools that come along with MAPublisher 11!

MAP Vector Erase Tool

With the new release of MAPublisher 11 comes a new tool known as the MAP Vector Erase tool. Functioning as an inverse version of the MAP Vector Crop tool, the Erase tool removes all data within a specified rectangle or ellipse shape.

MAP Erase by Shape Tool

The new MAP Erase by Shape tool functions similarly to the MAP Vector Erase tool, but it allows users to easily erase portions of MAP Layers using shapes other than rectangles and ellipses. Users can simply select the shape object they wish to use as the erase boundaries, and then select the MAP Erase by Shape tool from the MAP Toolbar. 

Both tools share the same customizable settings and advanced options. Like the MAP Crop tools, the MAP Erase tools can be applied to all layers within the document, all layers within a single MAP View, or just a single layer.

If you would like to learn more about the new MAPublisher 11 features or have any questions, please check out our Support Centre.

MAPublisher 11 is immediately available today, free of charge to all current MAPublisher users with active maintenance subscriptions and as an upgrade for non-maintenance users. 

Avenza Releases MAPublisher 11.0 for Adobe Illustrator

Toronto, ON, August 31, 2022 – 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® 11.0 for Adobe Illustrator®. This version offers full compatibility with the Apple Silicon processor, enhancements to the MAP Attributes panel, a revamped welcome screen, the ability to import OpenStreetMap file formats, a brand new set of MAP Erase tools, 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 11.0 extension for Adobe Illustrator include:

  • Apple Silicon Processor compatibility
  • MAP Attributes Panel enhancements: Users no longer need to select all attributes for them to appear by default in the features list, with show all/show only selected features toggle buttons
  • Welcome Screen revamp: Improved discoverability for users with more content to aid in getting started or inspired with MAPublisher 
  • OpenStreetMap file format support: Import OpenStreetMap OSM and PBF file formats
  • MAP Erase tools: Quickly remove sensitive or unwanted data from maps with the MAP Vector Erase or MAP Erase by Shape tools

Users require a valid Adobe Creative Cloud subscription and a compatible operating system to utilize the improvements and enhancements offered in MAPublisher 11.0. For questions and information on how compatibility requirements may affect your organization, please contact our Support Centre.

MAPublisher 11.0 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 11.0 in the release blog, or visit www.avenza.com/mapublisher 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 – info@avenza.comwww.avenza.com

Map Gallery Spotlight: Zain Madathil

Dubai Healthcare City Metro Station Map by Zain Madathil

In this Map Gallery Spotlight, we are highlighting another submission from the 2021 Avenza Map Competition. This bilingual map of the area around the Dubai Healthcare City Metro Station was created by Zain Madathil for Explorer Publishing. It is one of nearly 4,000 individual maps he has created for the Dubai Public Transport Map project. 

The map is easy-to-use and informative, providing information in both English and Arabic, and is accompanied by a detailed map index to categorize and highlight important points of interest and nearby attractions surrounding the station. The map utilizes careful design elements to make interpretation easy, including colour-coded icons and building footprints, platform-based direction markers, and a 500m radius walking distance indicator.

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

Dubai Healthcare City Metro Station Map by Zain Madathil
Dubai Healthcare City Metro Station Map by Zain Madathil
Dubai Healthcare City Metro Station Map by Zain Madathil

Making the Map

Madathil received data from his client in the form of points, lines, and polygons, and used the Avenza MAPublisher plugin for Adobe Illustrator to design the map. He used the Multiple Data Import tool to easily get all of his data into MAPublisher with a single import process. MAPublisher maintains the georeferencing of the data imported from almost any source, which allowed Madathil to focus on customization rather than data placement.

With nearly 4,000 maps in the series, the MAP Themes tool was important for Madathil to maintain consistent labelling across all maps in the series. After creating a custom branding MAP Theme stylization, Madathil was able to apply this to each map in the series as necessary. He also used the Map Attributes Panel to aid with customization of the attribute data associated with his map features.

Madathil simplified his labelling process by using our MAPublisher LabelPro add-on, which also allowed him to ensure consistency across the map series. LabelPro allowed Madathil to customize the style of his labels and apply rules to ensure they did not overlap important features or other labels. It also eased his application of both Arabic and English labels on the map.Finally, Adrain added an Index Grid and created an index and legend to complete the reference guide for the map using the Layout Tools.

For more information on using the MAPublisher LabelPro add-on, please visit our Support Centre section for this tool. Check out our other Map Gallery Spotlight blogs here!

Map Gallery Spotlight: Stewart Adrain

Map Gallery Spotlight Barossa Wine Regions Map by Stewart Adrain

We are showcasing another great submission from the 2021 Avenza Map Competition. This heritage-style decorative map of the Barossa Region of South Australia was created by Stewart Adrain of Custom Mapping Services. The map shows the wine regions, vineyards, cellar doors, and topography of the area. It is the final map in a series of heritage-style cellar wall maps Adrain has created of the wine-growing regions of South Australia. The Barossa Valley wine region is particularly notable for its Shiraz variety.

Adrain’s map uses 10-meter contours to display the topography of the Barossa region. Regional wineries are named and indicated on the map, with their locations shown by a point representing their cellar doors. The various localities of the Barossa region are also labelled, and the two main wine regions as well as the High Eden Subregion are displayed using colourful borders. The supplemental text of the map features the total area of vineyards in each wine region, as well as the wine varieties they produce. This map as well as the others in Adrain’s Cellar Wall map series can be purchased for print from Meridian Maps.

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

Barossa Wine Regions Map snippet by Stewart Adrain
Barossa Wine Regions Map snippet by Stewart Adrain
Barossa Wine Regions Map snippet by Stewart Adrain

Making the Map

Adrain completed his data processing with QGIS and then used the Avenza MAPublisher plugin for Adobe Illustrator as a finishing tool to design the final map product. He used the Multiple Data Import tool to easily get all of his data into MAPublisher with a single import process. MAPublisher maintains the georeferencing of the data imported from other GIS software, so he could quickly turn his focus to the map’s stylization rather than data placement. Adrain used MAP Themes to easily achieve his stylization, which allowed him to automate much of the design process of the map, keeping the theme of this map in line with the other maps in the series.

Adrain simplified his labelling process by using our MAPublisher LabelPro add-on. This allowed him to create label themes based on the layer they were being applied to. Since this map was the last in the series, these themes were already created so he could simply import his settings from his previous maps to save time. The LabelPro feature is convenient for both time-saving purposes and ensuring consistency across maps in a series.

Finally, Adrain added a scale bar using MAPublisher and completed the finishing touches to his map with native Adobe Illustrator tools.

For more information on using the MAPublisher LabelPro add-on, please visit our Support Centre section for this tool. Check out our other Map Gallery Spotlight blogs here!

Mapping Canadian Capitals for Canada Day

Canada Day Map MAPublisher

Avenza was founded and headquartered in Toronto, and as such, we pride ourselves on being a Canadian company with a global reach. This year we have celebrated by creating a map highlighting the names and capital cities of each province and territory of Canada using MAPublisher

Using the MAP Point Plotter Tool to Plot Canadian Capital Cities

This blog will detail how we quickly and easily plotted points to represent the capital cities of Canada and its provinces and territories using the MAP Point Plotter tool. Firstly, a MAP Point layer must be created and selected before opening the MAP Point Plotter tool. This is the only layer type that can be used with this tool, for obvious reasons. 

There are several different ways in which addresses and coordinates can be entered into the MAP Point Plotter tool. This blog will highlight a few of the common techniques.

Using a Point’s Address

The simplest way to plot a point is by entering its address, following a specific-to-general granularity format as seen in the examples below. After opening the tool, the Address tab was selected and the following cities were plotted using MapQuest to locate these addresses:

  • Victoria: 1 Centennial Square, Victoria, BC V8W 1P6
  • Edmonton: Edmonton, AB T5J 0R2
  • Regina: 2476 Victoria Ave, Regina, SK
  • Winnipeg: 510 Main Street, Winnipeg
Canada Day Victoria Plot Address

Using a Point’s Coordinates in Decimal Degrees

Another way to plot points is to use coordinates, by selecting the Coordinates tab. There are several different coordinate formats accepted by the MAP Point Plotter tool. We entered simple decimal degrees by selecting Decimal degrees as the format and using these coordinates:

  • Whitehorse: Long: -135.056839, Lat: 60.721188
  • Yellowknife: Long: -114.371788, Lat: 62.453972
  • Iqaluit: Long: -68.519722, Lat: 63.748611
Canada Day Whitehorse Plot Coordinates

Decimal degrees with a compass direction can be entered similarly to the previous step by using negative or positive numbers to indicate the hemisphere of the point or the compass direction can be indicated by using a letter. The follow cities were added to the map in this manner: 

  • Toronto: 43.6532° N, 79.3832° W → Long: -79.3832, Lat: 43.6532
  • Québec: 46.8139° N, 71.2080° W → Long: -71.2080, Lat: 46.8139
  • St. John’s: 47.5615° N, 52.7126° W → Long: 52.7126W, Lat: 47.5615N

Using a Point’s Coordinates in Degrees Minutes Seconds

Coordinates that are formatted as Degrees Minutes Seconds, can be added using various delimiters, such as spaces, dashes, underscores, colons, or d (degree), single quote (minute), double quote (second). We entered the last 3 provincial capital cities using these formats:

  • Halifax: 44° 39′ 3.8520″, -63° 34′ 57.6732″ → Long: 063 34 57.6732W, Lat: 44 39 3.8520N
  • Charlottetown: 46° 14′ 19.9968″, -63° 7′ 44.9976″ → Long: -63-07-44.9976, Lat: 46-14-19.9968
  • Fredericton: 45° 57′ 53.9748″, -66° 38′ 46.7952″ → Long: 066d38’46.7952″W Lat: 45d57’53.9748″N

Using MAP Locations to Plot a Point

Points can also be plotted from previously created MAP Locations (to learn about this tool, visit the MAP Locations page in our Support Centre). This is how we plotted a MAP Location for Ottawa on our map. In the MAP Point Plotter tool window, we selected the hamburger menu and selected Plot MAP Locations. Then we selected our MAP Location for Ottawa and set the Destination Layer to Existing… and added it to the Capitals MAP Point Layer. After clicking OK the point was added to our map!

Canada Day Ottawa MAP Location Add

Finally, we used other MAPublisher finishing tools to stylize and complete our map so it would be ready to post on this blog just in time for Canada Day!

For more information about the MAP Point Plotter tool, check out its documentation page in our Support Centre!

Map Gallery Spotlight: 4LAND

We are showcasing the 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. 

Announcing the Avenza Map Competition 2021 Winners

We’re excited to announce that the 2021 Avenza Map Competition has now concluded. This past year’s competition saw map-makers and cartographers from around the world submit their best and most impressive work. We had some truly impressive displays of cartographic design this year, with competitors demonstrating how they use Avenza mapping software to make eye-catching and impactful cartographic products. After multiple rounds of judging, discussions, and time spent reviewing our scorecards, the Avenza team would like to congratulate this year’s prize winners!

Over the next few weeks, keep an eye out for our Winner’s Spotlight articles. Each article will provide an in-depth look at the winning map entries, with insights from their creators, and an overview of tools and techniques used to develop their prize-winning maps.

The winner’s maps and a selection of honourable mentions will also be showcased in the new Map Gallery, coming soon!

Grand Prize Winner (Open Category)


The Glacier Coast and Aoraki/Mount Cook Region
Roger Smith
Geographx
Wellington, New Zealand

Learn more about Roger’s winning map entry in the Winners Spotlight Article

Runner-Up (Open Category)


A Topographic Reference Map of the Monte Rosa Area
Remo Nardini and the 4LAND Team
4LAND
Bolzano, Italy

Learn more about 4LAND’s winning map entry in their Winners Spotlight Article

Coming Soon: Avenza Map Competition Gallery

The judges would also like to offer special recognition to a number of other incredible entries. A selection of winners, honourable mentions, and notable map entries will be showcased on the upcoming Map Gallery page.

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 www.avenza.com/mapublisher 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 – info@avenza.comwww.avenza.com

Map-making for the #30DayMapChallenge: Day 4 – Hexagons

Yesterday was Day 4 of the #30DayMapChallenge, with the goal being to create a map using “Hexagons”. In the spirit of the challenge, we took a not-so-serious approach to create a fun map of “Sharknado Risk” based on the 2013 film “Sharknado” using MAPublisher tools and a really neat hexbin dataset for the United States. This map was in part created for NACIS 2021, and you can see how we created the map by watching the full video presentation included below. This blog also includes a few supplementary notes if you wish to follow along.

What exactly is a Sharknado?

A sharknado is a fictional meteorological phenomenon that occurs when a large tornado scoops up some sharks, transports them some distance, and finally disperses across a populated area. Generally speaking, if a given area is close to potential shark habitats (be it an aquarium, a zoo, or even the ocean) and has a high frequency of tornadoes, the area is more “at-risk” of experiencing a sharknado. To that end, we gathered some great open datasets to help us map this risk. We collected a shapefile documenting point locations for every single tornado in the country dating back to 1950. With this dataset, we can determine the relative frequency of tornadoes for a given area. From OpenStreetMap, we estimated potential locations for sharks by collecting point coordinates for every aquarium, marine park, aquatic zoo, and ocean-facing beach. We used Overpass Turbo to query and extract these points to a spatial dataset and imported them into Illustrator using MAPublisher. Check out this great tutorial (produced by Steve Spindler!) that covers techniques for importing Overpass Turbo data into MAPublisher. The tutorial was part of our ongoing Mapping Class series, a video-focused series that provides helpful tips, techniques, and workflows from real-world cartographers.

Aggregate data with Spatial Join

Since the challenge of the day is hexagons, we needed a way to get our messy point data into our clean “hexbin” format. The Spatial Join tool allows us to aggregate our point data (Tornado and Shark Locations) into a single hex-grid polygon dataset.

Credits to Daniel Huffman’s projectlinework.org for making this dataset available!

The Spatial Join tool includes several different options for “spatial relationships” that will determine how our point data is joined to the new hex-grid. We can also specify how the tool will aggregate the attribute information for our joined data. In this case, we join our Tornado point data based on a “contains”  spatial relationship. This will aggregate all tornado points that are “contained” within a given hexbin. We also specify that the tool should aggregate the attribute information for all “contained” tornados by tallying up the number of tornado points within each hex. Since we know the dataset spans a 69-yr period, we can easily calculate the average annual tornado frequency for each hexagon.

We apply a similar technique to our shark location data, this time specifying a “near” spatial relationship. We used some back-of-the-envelope math to estimate that a Sharknado (as it appears in the film) lasts substantially longer and travels farther than a normal tornado, meaning sharks as far away as 150 miles still present a potential risk. We can specify a search range of 150 miles and this will be applied to our spatial relationship as a cut-off distance. 

 

Edit attributes with expressions

We assumed that Sharknado risk is highest when a given area is prone to tornadoes and also has a high concentration of potential shark locations. Given this, we came up with a basic equally-weighted, bi-variate risk index to assign a “Sharknado Risk” score based on these two variables. To calculate this score for each hexagon in our hexbin grid, we applied some custom expressions using MAP Attributes. First, we assigned a Tornado risk score from 1 to 6 based on the low to high frequency of tornadoes. We assigned a similar score for “Shark proximity” based on the concentration of potential shark locations. Finally, we combined these values into 36 unique scores to evaluate sharknado risk.

Stylize maps easily with MAP Themes

The final step is to stylize our map and create a layout. With MAP Themes, we can create rules-based stylesheets to easily stylize our map data in no time. MAPublisher comes with a great selection of built-in MAP Swatches, including several color brewer-based swatches that work great for choropleth-style maps like this. We used these swatches to create a custom, bi-variate swatch group to visualize each score of our “Sharknado Risk Index”. The MAP Themes tool also provided a neat data distribution viewer, which also allows us to inspect a histogram of our dataset. Although we used discrete categories for each of our risk scores, the data distribution viewer is very useful when working with continuous datasets since it allows you to see how your bin-widths will affect the display of colour on your choropleth.

The final touches

With stylization complete, Day 4 of the #30DayMapChallenge is almost in the bag. We can create a north arrow, and a scale bar and create a custom legend to facilitate easy interpretation. Since we are still within an Illustrator environment, we can use all the powerful native illustrator tools to add graphical design elements, text, and artwork to create a fun, infographic-style map. Although we were happy to call the map finished at this point, the great thing about making maps is there is also room to add more. For example, we might try using LabelPro to create custom labels that mark high and low-risk areas, or we could create insets to highlight specific regions of interest. The possibilities are endless!

We had a great time putting together this fun map for the #30DayMapChallenge, and we are excited to see what we can do for the remaining themes on the calendar! For those of you who are also making maps for the challenge, a reminder that the Avenza Map Competition is still accepting submissions. Share your map, compete with other map-makers in the community, and win some great prizes!

See a PDF version of the map here.