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Can You Create a Map in 5 Minutes?

The Day 13 theme of the #30DayMapChallenge was more of a question: can you create a map in 5 minutes? Well, we were up for the challenge! Here at Avenza, we used this as an opportunity to teach our marketing team (with limited GIS experience) the basics of cartography. In the weeks leading up to this day, we taught them how to perform a few simple tasks in MAPublisher to create a basic map of South America.

Simplified Steps for Creating a Map

We broke down the process of making this map into five general steps for the purpose of simplicity.

Import Data

The first step was to import country area data using the Import button on the MAP Toolbar. After import, the Artboard tool was used to adjust map boundaries to the desired position. The MAP View Editor could also be used to fine-tune the movement of the data. 

Stylize Data

The second step was to add a stylesheet to the countries using the MAP Themes button. From here a stylesheet was created by clicking the Add button and creating an area stylesheet. The stylesheet editor was then opened, and the style was assigned to the country layer. The Batch Generate Rules… button was very helpful in quickly creating categories for the data based on the desired attribute. For example, one map was created using the Population Density attribute. The categories were assigned a style based on a pre-selected colour ramp. Finally, a rule was created to create a grey style for the part of North America that attaches to South America.

Add a Legend

Using the hamburger menu button in the MAP Themes panel, step three included creating a legend for the map. Removing Rule 1 from the list and adding a title (if desired) were the only extra steps necessary here.

Add Labels

In step four, the goal was to add a label for the country names. We used LabelPro for this to make it quick and simple. We enabled leader lines to ensure all countries were labeled even if the label was too large.

Add Finishing Touches

Finally, we added a title and supplemental text and objects to the map. All of these elements were added to the document using native Adobe Illustrator tools.

Our process of creating a map in 5 minutes was recorded and condensed into a 30-second video. See it, and the other resulting maps, below!

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. 

Adobe MAX 2022: Exciting Improvements for Avenza Mapping Plugins

Toronto, CA (October 18, 2022) – Avenza Systems Inc., producer of the Avenza Maps® app for mobile devices is pleased to announce the upcoming releases of MAPublisher® 11.1 for Adobe Illustrator® 2023 and Geographic Imager® 6.6 for Adobe Photoshop® 2023. These updates will provide a range of user interface improvements, feature enhancements, bug fixes, and performance upgrades, along with compatibility with the latest Adobe Creative Cloud applications.

Data-driven Map Design in Illustrator with MAPublisher

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

Expected improvements for the MAPublisher 11.1 extension for Adobe Illustrator include maintenance fixes and Adobe Illustrator 2023 compatibility. Additional feature upgrades to be announced soon.

Powerful Imagery Editing in Photoshop with Geographic Imager

Geographic Imager for Adobe Photoshop delivers an all-encompassing solution to import, edit, and export geospatial images such as aerial and satellite imagery. Work with digital elevation models, GeoTIFFs, and other popular GIS image formats while using Adobe Photoshop features such as transparencies, filters, cropping, and image adjustments; all while maintaining georeferencing and support for hundreds of coordinate systems and projections

Expected improvements of the Geographic Imager 6.6 extension for Adobe Photoshop include official Apple Silicon support, a revamped discoverability screen, maintenance fixes, and Adobe Photoshop 2023 compatibility. 

Upgrade or Purchase 

MAPublisher 11.1 will be 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.

Geographic Imager 6.6 will be available and free of charge to all current Geographic Imager Maintenance Program members and starts at US$349 for non-maintenance upgrades. New fixed licenses start at US$749. Geographic Imager Basic Edition licenses start at US$99. 

Academic, floating, and volume license pricing is also available for both extension suites.

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 more information, visit www.avenza.com.

For further information contact: 416-487-5116 – info@avenza.com – www.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!

MAPublisher Virtual Training: March 6-8, 2023

Whether you’re new to MAPublisher®, an experienced user, or simply thinking about a purchase, Avenza software training is a worthwhile experience. Get hands-on training from Avenza product specialists at one of our training courses around North America or virtually from anywhere.

MAPublisher Virtual Training: April 24-26, 2023

Whether you’re new to MAPublisher®, an experienced user, or simply thinking about a purchase, Avenza software training is a worthwhile experience. Get hands-on training from Avenza product specialists at one of our training courses around North America or virtually from anywhere.

MAPublisher Virtual Training: June 12-14, 2023

Whether you’re new to MAPublisher®, an experienced user, or simply thinking about a purchase, Avenza software training is a worthwhile experience. Get hands-on training from Avenza product specialists at one of our training courses around North America or virtually from anywhere.

MAPublisher Virtual Training: July 24-26, 2023

Whether you’re new to MAPublisher®, an experienced user, or simply thinking about a purchase, Avenza software training is a worthwhile experience. Get hands-on training from Avenza product specialists at one of our training courses around North America or virtually from anywhere.