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Cartographer Chronicles: Thorfinn Tait

Cartographer Chronicles Thorfinn Tait

A teacher by day and a cartographer by night, Thorfinn Tait (a native of Scotland) has been teaching high school in Japan for almost 20 years while making maps of fantasy lands in his spare time.

Mapping is a hobby for Tait, and his deep love of atlases, along with fantasy role-playing games (known as RPGs), helped drive him towards creating his own maps of fantasy worlds. He started in 2005, making maps in Adobe Illustrator. His goal was to create an atlas of a fantasy world, that included the same variety of maps that you’d find in any traditional world atlas — topographical, political, thematic — along with all the tables of data typically found in an atlas. He chose to map the world of Mystara, a popular Dungeons & Dragons (D&D) campaign setting from the 80s and 90s.

Tait set out to compile all of the original maps of Mystara (more than 250 of them) into a cohesive whole. “One of my biggest struggles was trying to work out what projection Mystara’s maps used. But there was a fundamental disconnect for me in that Illustrator alone did not have the functions I needed,” says Tait. “For example, to change the projection of a map, I tried to use it in tandem with other GIS software, but it was very troublesome having to constantly import and export elements between programs.”

Map of Caldwen

While working on the Atlas of Mystara project, an original Mystara author made a return to the industry, and Tait volunteered to remake his maps in Illustrator. The year after, that same author commissioned Tait to map a new RPG world, the World of Calidar. Determined to avoid the same problems he’d encountered with Mystara, he began establishing dimensions of the new world and creating custom projections based on them. But, working between Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Photoshop and GIS software was still very complicated.

World of Calidar

I managed to complete the first assignment with just those tools, but as soon as I got my first commission, I invested it right back into my maps by purchasing MAPublisher and Geographic Imager.” With MAPublisher, a plug-in for Adobe Illustrator and Geographic Imager, a plug-in for Adobe Photoshop, Tait could work natively in both Illustrator and Photoshop.

“My favourite aspect of MAPublisher is without a doubt the custom coordinate system. It allows me to create resources for fantasy worlds just like they already exist for the real world, and then repurpose them across all of my maps,” says Tait. He also uses MAP Attributes and adds data to the world’s geography. “For example, it’s easy for me to track things like road and river lengths, land areas, dimensions of coastlines and political borders, and so on — MAPublisher calculates all of these things for me automatically.”

MAPublisher has allowed Tait to take his previous work and convert it to the newly established custom coordinate systems, without losing any of the GIS attributes he’d created over previous years. Tait also uses Geographic Imager to create Digital Elevation Models (DEMs) for the World of Calidar. DEMs can help bring maps to life, adding an intricate level of detail and depth.

The Great Caldera

Tait’s tagline for his freelance business is “Mapping fantastic worlds with real-world accuracy”. “I couldn’t do this without MAPublisher and Geographic Imager,” he says. “The software allows me to create and work with data for a fantasy world just like other people map the real world, the only difference is that I am creating all the data myself!”

“MAPublisher has truly expanded my horizons as a cartographer and has also changed the course of my projects. Without it, my current work would simply not be practical — in fact, probably not possible at all.”

Tait is currently working on georeferencing existing Mystara maps and tagging elements with their original sources. Check out more of his mapping projects on his website!

MAP Chart Themes: Doing More with Your Data

We all love a good choropleth map, but sometimes we need our map to display more than just different shades of colour to communicate more detailed information. MAP Chart Themes are the perfect way to distribute that extra bit of information that you want your readers to know. You can display the data in a bar chart format, or pie chart format. There’s even the option to have the charts change scale according to the data.

Say you have a map showing the population density of Toronto, like this map below.

MAP Theme Density Map

But, while this shows just the density of the population, you want to go more in-depth. For example, you want to look at all the ethnic origins of the residents of each neighbourhood. This is the perfect opportunity to use MAP Chart Themes.

To create a MAP Chart Theme, open the MAP Themes panel (Window > MAPublisher > MAP Themes) and click the + button to create a new Theme. Then choose Chart as the Theme type.

Create MAP Chart Theme
Once you’ve created your theme, now you can get to making your charts! You can use either bar charts or pie charts, choose whichever will show your data best. To show the variety of ethnic origins for the neighbourhoods in Toronto, I chose a pie chart.

MAP Chart Themes Settings

Select a layer, then click the Add Attribute button (the green plus icon) to add your attributes. Select the attribute you want to include in the chart, and style it as you see fit. The preview at the bottom will update as you make changes to the components of your chart. There are options to change the size of the chart, and even turn it into a donut chart!

MAP Chart Themes Donut Chart

If you want to include a title for your charts you can, but because my map contains so many charts in a relatively small area, I chose not too. Labels for the sections of the charts can also be added as well. Edit the test if necessary, and even label your pie charts with percentages if that helps to better communicate your data.

MAP Chart Themes Labels

My favourite feature is the Scaling option (button is on the right). This allows you to automatically scale the size of your charts based on attributes. You can set the scale by defining the value that represents 100%, then select an attribute, click Load and watch the magic happen. This feature is super handy especially if you’re creating a map with tight boundaries or not a lot of extra space because you can easily adjust the size of all charts at the same time.

MAP Chart Themes Scaling

Back to my example map, I set the scaling and applied the MAP Chart Theme. Since there are 140 neighbourhoods in Toronto, I chose an inset of the larger map to show how the scaling appears. You’ll see neighbourhoods with a higher population have a larger pie chart, while neighbourhoods with a lower population have a smaller chart.

MAP Chart Themes

The scaling feature works for bar charts as well. I created another map with data showing the total number of inter-province visits for each Canadian province in 2016 vs 2017. In this case, I chose not to change the scale of the charts (by total number of visits per province) so it’s easier to see the comparison.

MAP Chart Themes Bar Charts

If you’ve made it this far in the post, and have eagle-eyes you’ll notice that there are no charts for the Territories or the Maritime provinces. Since I only wanted to visualize the data for some of the provinces, I used the Ignore option in the MAP Chart Themes box. It’s handy when you want to exclude certain data, for any reason.

MAP Chart Themes Settings

There you have it! An easy way to visualize that extra data that your readers want to know, and you want to share without making your map overly complicated. Looking for more details on Chart Themes? Find it in the MAPublisher Documentation available on our website. 

Mapping Other Worlds: Coming Soon to MAPublisher

Every year new projections are created and we endeavour to add all of them to MAPublisher with new releases. While we’re very excited about Equal Earth coming in MAPublisher 10.4, there are a few other new projections that will also be added. Looking outside of our regular sphere of planet earth, we’re excited to announce we’ll be including Narnia Conic, Pandora Copernican, Camelot Equal Area and Atlantis Azimuthal.

We’re very comfortable mapping planet Earth. There are hundreds of projections to choose from, whether you’re mapping a town, a state or a continent there are lots of options. While the world of planetary cartography is growing, there are relatively few projections for planets outside our realm. Pandora Copernican is the first of its kind and can be used for the entire planet of Pandora. While the Na’vi may not be big map users, the humans on Pandora need them in their quest for unobtanium.

Pandora Avatar

Narnia Conic and Camelot Equal Area will help create a more solidified general map for both lands. While both exist in different realms, these projections will help cartographers create maps to assist readers in identifying key plot locations and add to their enjoyment of the story. By creating projections for these two areas, the maps created for these mythical areas will now allow for a more accurate representation of the fantasy.

The most anticipated projection, Atlantis Azimuthal, will allow any cartographer to display Atlantis in its full glory. With Atlantis Azimuthal, the islands around Atlantis will be shown in proper relation to the capital, along with the canals. Bringing Plato’s land to life, Atlantis Azimuthal will be a staple for all cartographers mapping mystical lands.

These undoubtedly useful, otherworldy projections will be available with the upcoming release of Avenza’s MAPublisher cartographic plug-in for Adobe Illustrator.

Atlantis Drawing

Atlantis image source: https://rocioespin.artstation.com/projects/8ong6

Using Automation in MAPublisher

We are always looking for shortcuts to make work easier for our MAPublisher users. One way to simplify your workflow is by automating some of the routine tasks that are required to make maps using MAPublisher in Adobe Illustrator. Not everyone is familiar with software automation, or even knows that it’s available in MAPublisher but if you are curious to learn more, then keep reading!

Automation tools in MAPublisher help to make simple or repetitive tasks easier and faster. Automation can be run independently or in conjunction with the FME Auto MAPublisher Plug-in which allows more advanced automation. The Automation tool can be accessed from the automation button (lightning bolt) on the MAPublisher toolbar, or by clicking in the menu Object > MAPublisher > Automation.

MAPublisher Toolbar Automation

There are several automation options available in MAPublisher. You can use automation to create MAP Grids, apply labels, apply applicable MAP Stylesheets, and even export to geospatial PDFs. An important point to note, to use automation on a MAPublisher document, the document must be active in Illustrator.

Automating Map Views

If you’re planning to use automation, you’ll have to enable the specific options you would like to automate. For example, to import data to a matching MAP View, simply enable the MAP Views option, and select from the dropdown list the tasks that you want MAPublisher to complete. Make sure that the coordinate system of data being imported matches a coordinate system of the existing MAP View, then select one of the four actions for your data.

MAPublisher Automation MAP Views

Automating MAP Themes

If you’re a fan of MAP Stylesheets (we all know they make our lives easier) then you can have MAPublisher apply them using automation. Enable the option and MAPublisher will apply any  MAP Themes that meet the criteria to the imported data. Don’t forget to set the ‘Auto-assign’ in the specific MAP Stylesheets themselves as well since you can’t link layers that haven’t been imported yet. If the ‘Auto-assign’ properties aren’t set correctly, your data will import but the stylesheet will not be applied.

MAPublisher Automation MAP Themes
Automating Grids & Graticules

For Grids & Graticules, you can set the extents for the grid bounds with either the MAP View or a layer that you’re going to import. If you’ve already created configuration files for your grid, then select either ‘All configuration files in this folder’ or ‘Only these configuration files’ if there is a need to use only certain configuration files.

Automating Labeling

When you enable labeling, choose either MAPublisher labeling or LabelPro. You’ll also have to choose a specific setting in the MAPublisher Preferences (Edit > MAPublisher Preferences > Import MAP Data). Uncheck ‘Append feature type as the suffix on imported layer names’ to be sure that your labels import properly.

To use the regular Label Features option, set the details such as the source layer, target layer, attribute, and the style. You can add as many layers as you need with the Add Layers button on the left, and remove as necessary. If you’re using LabelPro, simply load the .lps file.

MAPublisher Automation Labeling

Automating Export to Geospatial PDF

Last but not least, if need your document to be exported to a geospatial PDF as the last step of the automation process, enable the option and specify the location you’d like it saved in. Once you’ve selected all of your automation settings, import your data to watch your automation work!

Enabling automation in MAPublisher can speed up your map making process, and make your workflow easier. Save yourself extra steps when working with stylesheets and grids you’ve already created, and let automation do the work for you. Simple MAPublisher magic!

More MAPublisher Features We Love

Last year we wrote a blog post about some of our team’s favourite MAPublisher features. Not surprisingly for software that has been around for over 20 years, everyone had a different favourite and we had to be selective for the blog post. This year, with new team members coming on board and new MAPublisher releases it’s a good time for a new list of favourites. Check out some of these features that you might not know about, and find out how they can make your workflow easier!

Create Elevation Plot

Jeff C. – Quality Assurance

Prior to MAPublisher 10.3, “Create Elevation Plot” was a feature of Path Utilities I seldom used because, to be honest, it had a few limitations. MAPublisher 10.3 introduced a completely new way of creating elevation profiles, and the difference is astounding. The available customization options are endless – not only can you select whether your axes will use metric or imperial units, but you can also set the Line Colour, Line Width, Fill Colour, Background Colour, Axis Intervals, Axis Labels, Graph Size and much more. Another aspect of this updated tool that I love is the ability to save and re-use ‘styles’. These styles remember specific elements of an elevation profile (e.g. appearance, units, size, etc.) and can be applied to other profiles made in the future, saving the user a lot of time.

Elevation Plot Created in MAPublisher

Text Utilities

Keith  S.- Quality Assurance

In my opinion, the Text Utilities tool is one that is underutilized in MAPublisher. The tool allows you to perform actions on text within a document, including Curve Text to Latitude, Draw Shape Around Text, Merge Text, Create Line From Text on a Path, and many more. The actions can be performed on selected text only, text on specific layers, or all text in the document. The tool even allows the user to preview most actions before committing the changes.

If you have ever seen text along a path with a red plus symbol at the end of it after performing a transformation or manual adjustment it is an indication that the text path is not long enough to contain all of the text. No problem for my favourite action in the Text Utilities tool—Extend Overflowing Text. This utility solves the issue by extending the text path to a length which will accommodate the full length of the text.

Join Lines

Oliver N. – Customer Support

One of my favourite tools to use in MAPublisher is the Join Lines tool. If you are working with a road or rail network and sections of the same track or street connect to each other but are broken into different line features, you can easily join them into single features with a common attribute like Street Name or Track Number. You can target a line layer and then in the Destination options, choose either to perform the join on the original target layer or specify a name for a new line layer that will contain the joined lines. You can also use a proximity value to determine how close the lines must be in order to be joined. I find that this tool allows subsequent styling to be done easily and saves a lot of time in arranging the data to your needs. It also reduces the size of your file by compiling data into fewer features.

Copy MAP Objects From

Keith S. – Quality Assurance

This feature allows users to copy MAP objects (including MAP Views, MAP Layers, MAP Themes, MAP Selections, and MAP Locations) from one open document to another. MAP Views can be copied by themselves or with their associated MAP Layers. The best part is, that any artwork which is copied to the destination document will retain its styling provided that the custom colour swatches used in copied artwork are set as “Global” in the Adobe Swatch Options dialog. It works like this: With the destination document open, launch the Copy MAP Object From tool. Select the object(s) you want to copy to the destination document by checking the checkbox beside each object, then click “OK” to perform the copy. Copy MAP Objects From is one of my favourite features because it saves so much time when styling maps!

Copy MAP Objects From in MAPublisher

MAP Themes Scaling Charts

Bob P. – Business Development Associate

My favourite way of making infographic maps is using our MAP Chart themes. Within Chart Themes, you can add a bar or pie chart to any point layer, based on any set of attributes from the point layer. For an added level of information, each of the charts can be scaled based on the value from another attribute. This helps when you want to show the proportion of values, but also give an indication of the total population size for each point too. The best part is MAPublisher allows you to pick between Area and Radial scaling for pie charts. If the population of one point is twice the size of the smallest point, it can either have twice the area, or twice the radius length. This is my favourite tool in MAPublisher, because it shows that our team thinks of everything to make sure cartographers can make the exact map they want, right down to the smallest details.

Creating Chart Themes using MAP Themes in MAPublisher


About the Authors

Jeff, Keith, Bob and Oliver are all members of the Avenza Systems Team and their passion for maps shows through in the work that they do with our clients and in developing MAPublisher.

Mapping Love: Celebrating Valentine’s Day by Creating Infographics

Happy Valentine’s Day! What better way to celebrate than with new maps (and creating infographics) about love? This year we’ve hunted for romantic data for Canada and the United States and visualized it all for you using MAPublisher 10.3 and Adobe Illustrator.

The first map shows all the most romantic locations (at least as their names suggest) in Canada. This information was provided by Stats Canada. Using the MAPublisher Point Plotter, it was easy to plot all of the locations!

The best part about using the Point Plotter is you can choose any symbol available in your symbol library to mark the points. I chose the symbol that I wanted (a Valentine’s map marker–how adorable!) and then plotted each location simply by using the town’s name and province.

Canadian Point Plotter - MAPublisher

After adding some text and symbols in keeping with the theme, the map was ready to go! You can check out the PDF below, or, you can download the georeferenced version from the Avenza Map Store, for use in the Avenza Maps app

Romantic Places Map made with MAPublisher

 

Moving on to my infographic – which is a popular and engaging way to illustrate statistics and small amounts of data that might otherwise be overlooked. I found data from the United States covering a variety of Valentine’s Day topics. The plan is for my infographic to include two maps and two additional charts. The first map illustrates the average wedding cost by state, and the second map shows popular proposal locations.

For the average wedding cost per state map, I used a MAP Theme to colour all the states appropriately (and quickly!). The benefit of using a MAP Theme is that you can apply a theme to multiple layers at once. Since Hawaii and Alaska were projected separately from the mainland of the United States, they exist in different layers on the artboard. Using a MAP Theme made it easy to include them in the colour scheme of the map.

MAP Themes - MAPublisher

On the second map, I want to map the most popular proposal locations in the country. I used the MAP Point Plotter tool again, but, this time, I used the latitude and longitude to plot the points because some of the locations could not be plotted by name alone. It’s very beneficial to be able to swap between the two options!

USA Point Plotter - MAPublisher

My maps are complete, and after adding two graphs (made using the graphing tools in Illustrator) containing even more fun Valentine’s day data, and some love-ly symbols, the entire infographic was finished. You can check out the completed infographic below!

Valentine's Day Infographic made with MAPublisher


About the Author

Rebecca Bennett is a member of the Marketing Team at Avenza Systems and loves making creative and visually appealing maps.

Creating Elevation Profiles in MAPublisher

In the latest release of MAPublisher, version 10.3, we added some great new features including the ability to create elevation profiles. The new Elevation Profile tool allows you to create an elevation plot using elevation information from anchors (vertices) of a line as long as there is a single path in a MAP View, with a coordinate system. You can also use the Elevation Profile tool to easily make changes to an existing MAPublisher elevation profile.

Example 1 – Trail Elevation

For the first example – take a satellite image of Tunnel Mountain in Banff, Alberta. I gave the image a coordinate system and georeferenced it in Geographic Imager then imported into MAPublisher as a GeoTIFF. Using the pen tool, I replicated the trail system for Tunnel Mountain while adding anchor points (vertices) throughout the line feature. These anchor points are the source of the elevation information in the resulting profile. Alternatively, you can import the trail data from another source and add your own additional anchor points using the Add Anchor tool.  The screenshot below shows the anchor points indicating each line vertex.

MAPublisher - Trail showing Anchor Points 

These anchor points correspond with the points on the elevation profile below. Once finished, select the line feature to access the Elevation Profiles tool.

MAPublisher - Edit Elevation Profile

Editing Profile Options

The Edit Elevation Profile window lets you customize your profile manually with advanced customization tools or using a simplified built-in MAPublisher style. The advanced tools allow you to alter the size of the profile, intervals, axes, colour scheme, units of measurement and plenty more to ensure that you can make your profile unique and convey the desired information. For example, select “Edit series appearance” as shown in the screenshot, to choose whether you want your series to be a smooth line, or to display your individual anchor points. Additionally, select “Edit axis appearance” to customize the colour of your grid or change the appearance of your labels. Customize the look of your profile with the built-in stylized templates.

MAPublisher Elevation Chart Styles

I chose the “Temperate” style, for the example profile below, to stay true to the land cover as you can see above.

Elevation Profile - Tunnel Mountain

Now, in addition to making great trail maps in MAPublisher, the Elevation Profile tool allows you to create a valuable extra feature which could be exceptionally beneficial for hikers!

Try experimenting with the additional built-in styles that reflect the appearance of other land types available as well, such as Sierra, Arid, Boreal, and Fluvial which is featured in our next example.

Example 2 – Fluvial Depth Profile

The nautical map below takes aerial imagery from the National Agriculture Imagery Program (NAIP). Depth data is extracted from the line feature that extends from the marina into the Strait of Georgia in Washington, USA. Port Roberts map

Port Roberts Elevation Profile - MAPublisherThe fluvial depth profile shows the increase in depth the deeper into the Strait.

If you import track data into MAPublisher and add your own anchor points, you can see the elevation or depth reached on your excursion by creating an elevation profile from your track.

Depending on where you drop your anchor points, you can convey everything from coastal change by creating elevation profiles for a temporal series of aerial photos of the same area, to elevation or depth change of a hiking trail on a mountain in one of Canada’s most popular destinations or a sailing trip off the west coast.

Summing Up

With the release of MAPublisher 10.3, you can now make beautiful maps that also communicate elevation information with ease. The new Elevation Profiles tool will help make your maps that much better!


About the Author

Andrea Becker is a member of the Support team at Avenza Systems. She helps clients take their cartography to new heights with MAPublisher design tools.

MAPublisher 10.3 Released

We’re excited to announce the release of MAPublisher 10.3 for Adobe Illustrator. We’ve listened to your feedback and worked closely with our users to build features to improve map design and productivity. Stay tuned for more blog posts and other resources that go deeper into some of the new features. For now, here’s an overview:

MAPublisher 10.3

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

Compatible with Adobe Illustrator CC 2019. We’re committed to providing the best GIS and cartography tools for building great quality maps in Adobe Illustrator. Improvements to our user interface to support high-resolution monitors, and this release is fully compatible with the latest Adobe Illustrator CC 2019 on both Windows (32-bit and 64-bit) and Mac.

Create Elevation Profile charts. An often-requested feature from our users, elevation data for points along a selected path can now be collected and displayed as an elevation profile in a highly customizable chart. The data is downloaded in real-time from a server (internet connection is required), which can then be customized to your liking using the available settings. Frequently used settings can even be saved for future use.

View data distribution when batch generating rules in MAP Themes and MAP LabelPro. When selecting a data classification in MAP Themes or MAP LabelPro, you now have the ability to see how it affects the data distribution in an interactive histogram and chart. Histograms are a great way to visualize continuous data in intervals and useful for large sets of data points.

Improved attribute capabilities in ‘Join’ tools. We have added many attribute management improvements to MAPublisher Join tools (Join Areas, Join Points, and Join Lines). You can now better manage how attributes are handled during a Join process, including the ability to calculate new attributes. We also added additional operations to help you better sort and calculate statistics from attributes.

MAPublisher 10.3 Release Notes

  • Compatible with Adobe Illustrator CC 2019
  • Create Elevation Profile charts
  • View data distribution when batch generating rules in MAP Themes and MAP LabelPro
  • Improved attribute capabilities in ‘Join’ tools
  • User interface and usability enhancements

 

Carto-Jargon 201: Cartography Terms Defined

In a previous blog post, we defined a few common cartography terms that you might be likely to encounter while using MAPublisher and Geographic Imager; however, that was just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to cartography and GIS jargon. Here, in no particular order, are several additional terms used by cartographers, GIS professionals and people who work with spatial imagery.

Topology

Topology is a key principle in GIS for data management and integrity, ensuring the data quality of spatial relationships is maintained. In general, a topological data model defines how spatial objects (point, line, and area features) are represented, and defines and enforces data integrity rules (for example, there should be no gaps between polygons).

Azimuth

The horizontal angle, measured in degrees, between a baseline drawn from a center point and another line drawn from the same point. Normally, the baseline points true north and the angle is measured clockwise from the baseline.

Neatline

All 2-dimensionally rendered maps have to compromise somewhat on accuracy, even if only just a little by moving or scaling features to improve readability. However, the neatline is never adjusted, making it the most accurate element on a map.

The neatline is the border defining the extent of geographic data on a map and separating the body of the map from the map margin. It demarcates map units such as meridians and parallels, and depending on the map projection and the units selected, the neatline may not have 90-degree corners.  

Geodatabase

A Geodatabase, a database or file structure used primarily to store, query, and manipulate spatial data, stores geometry, a spatial reference system, attributes, and behavioral rules for data. An advantage of geodatabases over shapefiles is that various types of geographic datasets can be collected within a geodatabase, including feature classes, attribute tables, raster datasets, network datasets, topologies, and many others.

Geoprocessing

Geoprocessing is an operation used to manipulate a GIS data resulting in a new set of data. Common geoprocessing operations include geographic feature overlay, feature selection and analysis, topology processing, raster processing, and data conversion. Geoprocessing allows for the definition, management, and analysis of information used to make decisions based on patterns within the GIS data.

Shapefile

An Esri Shapefile is a vector data storage format for storing the location, shape, and attributes of geographic features. A shapefile is stored as a set of related files and contains one feature class. An alternative to using shapefiles to store GIS data is a geodatabase, however, shapefiles have some advantages in terms of relative simplicity and wide-ranging compatibility with many applications. Related files contain additional information that is read by the shapefile when opening/importing in GIS applications, as long as these related files have the same name and reside in the same directory – the *.dbf (database) file contains attribute information, and the *.prj (projection) file contains coordinate system information. Shapefiles also have limitations such as the inability to support raster files, and large file sizes.

Buffer

A zone around a map feature measured in units of distance or time is called a buffer. Buffers are useful for proximity analysis.

Geodesy

Geodesy is the science concerned with the measurement and mathematical description of the size and shape of the earth and its gravitational fields. Geodesy includes the large-scale, extended surveys for determining positions and elevations of points, in which the size and shape of the earth must be taken into account to achieve accuracy.

Vector vs Raster

The terms vector and raster are encountered often in cartography though they are not often defined. In a nutshell,

Raster data is made up of pixels (sometimes referred to as grid cells). Each pixel can have a range of values used to represent data points. For example, in a satellite image, every pixel has a red, green and blue value.  

Vector data is not made up of a grid of pixels. Instead, vector graphics are comprised of vertices and paths where the vertices are x,y coordinates. In GIS systems, they are a latitude and longitude with a spatial reference frame.

Mosaic

A Mosaic is a single raster dataset composed of two or more merged raster datasets—for example, one image can be created by assembling multiple aerial photographs whose edges usually have been torn or cut selectively and matched to the imagery on adjoining images to form a continuous representation of a portion of the Earth’s surface.

Orthorectification

The process of correcting the geometry of an image so that it appears as though each pixel were acquired from directly overhead. Orthorectification is used to correct terrain distortion in aerial or satellite imagery.

Sources

http://wiki.gis.com/wiki/index.php/GIS_Glossary/
https://legacy.lib.utexas.edu/maps/glossary.html
https://gisgeography.com/spatial-data-types-vector-raster/

Paper Maps and Digital Maps Go Together Like…

It’s no secret that we believe digital is the future of maps because of the many advantages that digital maps and mobile map readers offer. But we also recognize that there is still and always will be demand for paper maps. They go together like peanut butter and jelly, pizza and beer or fish and chips. In today’s digital marketplace, the trick will be for map publishers find ways to serve up these tasty combinations to map consumers in a commercially viable way.

While this seems trivial, in fact, there are challenges for publishers to efficiently provide maps in both paper and digital formats. For most established map publishers, the paper distribution channel is well characterized. With the right relationships, publishers can get their maps onto the market through websites, brick-and-mortar retail stores, at events and through other business partnerships. On the other hand, selling digital maps requires an e-commerce platform capable of handling digital products and an application on which to view and use the maps effectively.

To address the challenge, we have partnered with print on demand and publisher MapSherpa.
While our vision is to have all of your maps on your phone or tablet, theirs is to have maps in your pocket, or on your wall. Together we can make both of those scenarios a reality.

Our joint pilot project will allow map consumers to easily get maps in both digital and printed formats. Now, when view selected maps in the Avenza Map Store you’ll have the option to also purchase a paper copy in a variety of sizes, and printed on a variety of different materials from MapSherpa’s map store, MapTrove. Find one of the selected maps on the MapSherpa site, in paper format, and choose to purchase the digital version for use on your mobile device from the Avenza Map Store.

We see this as a model for the future of map publishing and distribution, and a winning solution for publishers and consumers alike.

You can find NOAA Charts and National Geographic maps in the Avenza Map Store,  available to download and print.