The MAPublisher FME Auto add-on connects the analysis and processing capabilities of Safe Software’s FME Desktop with the cartographic design and publishing environment of MAPublisherand Adobe Illustrator. Since MAPublisher 9.5, it has been possible to import georeferenced raster layers as well as vector data. This adds an extra layer of power and convenience to the FME and MAPublisher integration. The ETL (Extract, Transform, Load) power of FME can be used to pre-process raster images and load them into MAPublisher where they can be overlaid with cartographically styled vector layers.
Several components are needed to load a raster from FME into Adobe Illustrator. This example uses a generic reader for the input features. It then gets the bounding box coordinates and sends them to a second workspace that connects to a Web Map Service (WMS) and downloads Toronto imagery. The information necessary to run the second workspace is stored as attributes that are passed to published parameters in the second workspace. This imagery is stored in an intermediate GeoTIFF, which is then read by the first workspace and sent to the MAPublisher writer along with the original data. The WMS source and working coordinate system are already set, but can be modified if the study area is in a different location.
Several of the key parameters for executing the workspace are exposed as published parameters to make running the workspace easier. The user can set the desired pixel size and the pixel dimensions for the WMS request are automatically calculated. The bounding box can be buffered if required to provide extra imagery around the input data.
MAPublisher MAP Themes are stored in an Adobe Illustrator file that the MAPublisher writer uses as a template. In this case, these MAP Themes are linked to the names of the layers stored in the input data. More flexible themes could be created that bases its symbology on geometry or attribute values.
The example FME workspaces, input data and template illustrator document are attached below in the useful resources section.
Drawing inspiration from this Safe software blog post we have developed an FME workflow that allows the user to update multiple MAPublisher templates with additional layers using two workspaces and a workspacerunner transformer.
The folder structure for the project follows one possible standard arrangement. A data folder contains the shapefile that is being added to the existing .ai files. An output folder gathers the intermediate .ffs files generated by FME that pass the data to MAPublisher. The templates folder contains the .ai files that will have the layer added to them. Finally the workspaces folder contains the two workspaces required for the transformation.
The runner workspace uses a path reader to get the filenames and paths of the .ai files. A filter is applied to make sure only files with the extension “.ai” are read. After the path reader an attribute creator adds the path for the output .ffs files as an attribute. This is dynamically calculated based on the filenames of the input .ai files.
The full paths to the template files and the paths to the output ffs files are passed as published parameters to the worker workspace. Two published parameters have been created in the worker workspace and linked to parameters in the MAPublisher writer. This allows the writer to take the values passed from the runner workspace. The worker workspace is run once for every file that is in the folder of ai files, and these published parameters update dynamically for each one.
The worker workspace has a shapefile reader that reads in the layer that is going to be added to each template. At this point multiple readers or other transformers could be added to increase the complexity of the transformation.
When the runner workspace is launched each template is opened up, the shapefile is read and added to a new MAPView in the MAPublisher document. Equally it could be added to an existing MAPView with a matching coordinate system. These documents can be left open as shown here, or with the addition of another published parameter new output .ai files could also be specified.
Creating multiple maps that share cartographic styling is a common requirement for MAPublisher users. The most effective way to accomplish this is the use of MAP Themes. MAP Themes are a collection of thematic cartography tools designed to increase productivity by automating how styles and symbols are applied. Creating a number of MAP Themes based on regularly used layers with standard attribute schemas can greatly reduce the amount of time spent styling maps.
This guide will walk through creating and setting up MAP Themes to automatically apply to the appropriate layers upon import. If done correctly, rather than seeing this:
You will see this when importing data to MAPublisher:
1. Data Source
The data used in this guide comes from the publically available CanVec+ topographic database. CanVec+ contains a comprehensive set of layers optimized for display at 1:50,000 that are perfect for topographic mapping. In fact, many of these layers are used in the construction of the CanTopo Topographic mapping series available here.
The layers you receive from the CanVec+ download service will vary depending on what features are present in the extent chosen. The Geogratis Geospatial Data Extraction tool is the most convenient method to retrieve CanVec+ data. This guide uses a selection of CanVec+ layers styled similarly to the CanTopo maps.
All vector data was downloaded in an unprojected geodetic coordinate system and projected into a UTM projection MAP View.
The map shown above contains 12 vector layers and one raster layer, but we will only discuss the styling and configuration of three layers as the process is similar for the rest. You can download the Adobe Illustrator file at the bottom of the page if you want to examine the different layers, their graphic styles and MAP Themes.
MAP Themes are the primary method for applying attribute based cartographic symbology. A powerful feature is the ability to automatically do this on layer import based on geometry type or file name. By defining one or many graphic styles and a MAP Theme for each layer the layers can be automatically styled on import.
CanVec+ themes have a consistent naming scheme that makes them especially suitable for this sort of automated styling. Because each style is always named the same, it is simple to set up the MAP Themes to automatically apply when the layers are imported. The theme names are consistent but somewhat obscure, as are some of the attribute names and values. Luckily there is a specifications document that provides a guide to the various themes, datasets and attributes that are available. A link is provided in the useful resources section below. While the style guide is helpful, it can be difficult to navigate, so it has also been translated into a more easily readable Excel spreadsheet, which also available in the useful resources.
A CanTopo symbology guide is available for download and was used to help define the styles for the different layers used in this map. A link is available in the useful resources section at the bottom. The University of Toronto also hosts an old specifications guide, but as it is almost 14 years old it should not be assumed to be accurate. If you are looking for inspiration though, it is useful.
2. Example A: Building point locations
2a. Building Point Symbol
The Graphic style for the building symbols is a black square rotated to match the value in an orientation attribute. Using the CanTopo symbology guide a correctly sized square was created and then added to the symbol library.
2b. MAP Theme
A new Point Stylesheet MAP Theme was created called Buildings. The appropriate layer “bs_2010009_0” was added to the Theme and a rule was created named “All” as it will apply to all the building point locations. The Rule Expression is set to apply the Theme to all artwork as we want all the building points to look the same.
The Visual Properties tab was used to determine how the buildings would appear. The Symbol property was set to use the Building black square symbol created and added to the Symbol library earlier. The Rotation property was set to use the “orientatio” attribute. This ensures the buildings are oriented correctly.
Finally, and most importantly for the MAP Theme automation, the Auto-assign option was set so that any layer that matches the filename of the imported shapefile would automatically be styled using this theme.
3. Example B: Contours
3a. Contours Graphic Style
Two Graphic styles were created for the contours: one for the regular contours and one for the index contours at intervals of 100m. Both are grey, with the index contours slightly thicker (although it is hard to tell in the Graphic Styles panel.)
3b. MAP Theme
A Line Stylesheet MAP Theme was created called Contours. The layer “fo_1030009_1” was assigned to the MAP Theme. Two rules were created, one for index contours and one for regular contours. For the index contours, the Advanced Rule Expression builder is used to select any contour where the elevation is a multiple of 100, and the converse for the regular contours.
The Modulo (MOD) function makes this simple. For the index contours, the expression built as: “MOD(elevation,100)=0”. For the regular contours, the expression is “MOD(elevation,100)!=0”. The != operator means not equal to.
The Modulo function will be available with a future release of MAPublisher. If you are using an earlier version of MAPublisher, the same result for index contours can be had with this expression:
If you do try and apply this MAP Theme with an earlier version of MAPublisher without changing the equations, it will not work and you will get errors.
Each rule is assigned the appropriate graphic style applied in the Visual Properties. Creating Graphic Styles in advance is much easier than trying to remember specific stroke/colour combinations and makes them re-usable.
It is worthwhile organizing them in the Graphic Styles panel and naming the Graphic Styles appropriately so you can easily remember which is which later.
The layer is then set as auto-assigned so that when it is imported in the future this MAP Theme will automatically be applied.
4. Example C: Roads
4a. Graphic Style
The Roads layer is the most complex as there are multiple different classes of roads, that are then broken down into sealed and unsealed surfaces, and can be at grade, tunnels or bridges. Several of the road classes are assigned the same Graphic Style, so each style was named after a representative road class and assigned to several MAP Theme Rules.
4b. MAP Theme
There are defined styles of roads in the CanTopo specifications, but these do not map directly to the attributes that are present in the CanVec roads dataset. There are several attributes that hold information about the composition of the road, but the ones that were used to define the MAP Theme Rules were:
roadclass: a heirachy of road types
structype: defines if the road is a road, a bridge or a tunnels
pavstatus: contains information on the road surface, if it is paved or unpaved.
A Line Stylesheet Theme was created called Roads. The layer tr_1760009_1 was assigned to this Theme. Each road class has its own rule. The rule expression determine what class of road it is, if it is a bridge or a tunnel, and if it is paved or unpaved. An example of this is “Arterial: Paved: Bridge” with the expression:
roadclass=3 AND pavstatus=1 AND (structype =1 OR structype =2 OR structype =3 OR structype =4)
which simply says select art that is an Arterial Road (roadclass=3) is paved (pavstatus=1) and one of four different types of bridge (structype 1 through 4).
As in previous examples, each rule is assigned a Graphic Style in the Visual Properties tab.
The layer is set to auto apply on import.
Once rules are created and applied to all the imported layers the end result looks like this:
In addition to vector data, the GeoGratis portal has raster terrain data available for download. There are digital elevation models, digital surface models, and a variety of derived products such as slope and aspect. For this map we downloaded a hillshade and adjusted the opacity so it would blend with the map style. The forest cover layer and the built up areas layer also had their blending modes adjusted so the hillshade would show through.
The hillshade was downloaded in an unprojected geodetic coordinate system and Geographic Imager was used to transform it into the UTM projection used for this map.
6. Final words
In order for the defined MAP Themes to be automatically applied to any imported data, the imported layer filenames must match those defined in the MAP Theme Rules as discussed above. If you would like to try it out with your own CanVec data extract, do the following:
Download the “Canvec_Data_Themes.ai” file linked below for the version of Illustrator you are using. Have a look at the data structure, layer names and MAP View properties of this document.
Also download the appropriate “Canvec_Data_Themes_Empty.ai” file to use as a template.
Download an extract of CanVec data as shapefiles.
Use the Advanced Import functionality to import the shapefiles into the empty document. Reproject the map if desired.
The imported data have the styles applied automatically. However, you will probably have a few layers that have no style. Use the methods detailed above to create new styles for those layers.
Ever have the problem that you want to make a map and you are waiting on the final extent or scale, but you want to get started adding data and working on the layout? Here are a couple of tips to make your life easier.
1. Move artboards around without moving your data
Geographic features in Adobe Illustrator are generally referenced to a known coordinate system. This coordinate system is mapped to Adobe Illustrator’s “Global Coordinate System” which has its origin at the top-left corner of the first artboard in a document. What this implies is that artboards can be moved around within this reference system in order to show different geographic data on the page. However, by default, moving an artboard moves any art that overlaps it as well. Obviously moving any referenced data around is going to ruin its spatial accuracy so this is something we want to avoid. Luckily there are two ways of doing this.
The first is to select the Artboard tool and click the Move/Copy artwork with artboard button to the right of the artboard name in the control panel above the document window.
With this option turned off, you are free to move the artboard around without disturbing any of the geographic data.
There is one downside to this though: you may have map elements such as titles, legends, grids, masks etc. that you want to stay locked in place on the artboard while you move it around the geographic data. The easiest way to do this is to simply lock any layers that contain geographic features, unlock the map elements, and activate the Move/Copy art with artboard option.
When the artboard is repositioned, your data will stay in the correct geographic location and your map elements will move with the artboard, keeping the same relative position.
2. Set up a clipping mask in conjunction with a grid
The previous example used a white polygon with a hole in the middle as a mask to provide whitespace around the edge of the map. Another way to achieve this is to use a clipping mask to hide geographic features outside the extent of the mask. This works well by itself, or when combined with a grid or graticule layer.
We have taken the previous example, deleted the mask and adjusted the colour of the background polygons slightly. We have also added an AOI polygon that will serve as the clipping mask extent.
To create a clipping mask, the first thing we’ll make a new layer called Clipped. Make sure that it is a non-MAP layer (verify this in the MAP View panel).
Next, drag both the AOI layer and layers that contain geographic data into the Clipped layer making sure that the AOI rectangle is above the layer holding the geographic features.
Now if we select the Clipped layer and click on the Make/Release Clipping Mask button (Second from the left at the bottom of the panel) we should see the AOI rectangle become invisible and the MAP layer is visible within the extent of this path.
We can now add a grid over the top of the clipped area using the Grids & Graticules tool. You will find that the default extent of the grid is the same as the spatial data. You will need to resize the grid to match the clipping mask.
If you want to change the spatial extent of the map you have to adjust both the clipping polygon and the grid. It would be nice to group them and resize it together, but Adobe Illustrator doesn’t allow groups to span multiple layers. One way around this is to use a saved selection. To do this, select the clipping mask and the MAPublisher Grids, then choose Select | Save Selection. Give the selection a name like Grids and Clipping Mask.
Now if you need to adjust the spatial extent of the map you can quickly choose the saved selection and resize the clipping mask and grid or move them both around the artboard simultaneously.
The Mosaic function in Geographic Imager merges multiple georeferenced images together to create a single composite georeferenced image. Though the goal of the mosaic is to create a single and seamless composite image, combining images with the Mosaic tool will often result in a slight shift of the imagery due to differences in the original pixel registration grid. This means that even when images are in the same coordinate system with the same spatial resolution, error can still be introduced because of a difference in the pixel alignment. Due to this, mosaicking processes in general tend to produce results that may be very close, but not exact. With this in mind, the results of your mosaic may be improved by resampling your images beforehand to the smallest unit of the resolution.
As an example, let’s say we have an image where the pixel size is 2.00 metres. When plotting the X coordinates of every pixel in this image (using the top left corner of the pixel), the X coordinate value will be incremented by the number/distance of the pixel size. For example, if the X coordinate values were to start at 111.00, then the next pixel would be 113.00, 115.00, 117.00, and so on. It’s important to note that these coordinate values are discrete, which means that the values could not be 113.22 or 115.77 because the origin of the coordinate in this case starts at 111.00 metres.
Now, we have another image that we want to mosaic with the first image. In this instance, the first image will be “Image A” and the second image will be “Image B”. Image B has the same coordinate system as well as the same pixel size as Image A.
Take a look at the X coordinates in Image A and Image B below:
We can see that the X coordinate in the top-left corner is different between these two images, and as previously mentioned, we know that the X coordinate values are discrete. When mosaicking Image B to Image A, the X coordinate cannot be 111.75 or 113.75. The coordinates must be 111.00, 113.00, 115.00, and so on, following the pattern of the pixel grid values in Image A.
This means that Image B will need to be “shifted” or “snapped” to the closest coordinates when the mosaic is performed, see below:
As a result, the X coordinate of Image B will be shifted by 0.75 metres (less than half a pixel). The pixel with X coordinate 111.75 is now placed at 111.00 and the next pixel with X coordinate of 113.75 will now be placed at 113.00, and so on.
With this in mind, the results of your mosaic may be improved by resampling your images to the “smallest unit of the resolution”. The smallest unit of the resolution can be determined from the difference in the coordinates (spatial alignment difference) between the two images.
Looking back at our example, we can see that the smallest unit of the resolution (represented by the blue arrow) in this case is 0.75 metres – this is the value we will use to resample our images.
Once the images have been resampled to 0.75 metres, we may go ahead with our mosaic.
The above example demonstrates the possibility of a pixel shift after a mosaic for two images with a different pixel alignment. It should be noted that this example explains the problem in one-dimension (looking at only the X coordinate) when the image in reality is in two-dimension (looking at both X and Y coordinates). The basic principal of the pixel shift in 2D is the same, but it would include the direction of the shift when mosaicking images. In addition, it’s important to keep in mind that although resampling your images to the smallest unit of the resolution will improve the final mosaic, this is not always an efficient process when mosaicking with more than two images. Another thing to remember is that resampling your images will make your file size much larger. However, in cases where high precision is desired, resampling the images beforehand is a process that should be considered.
Have you ever imported data that doesn’t quite line up how you’d expect? It may be that you’ve fallen victim to a common workflow error when importing GIS data. Some file types such as CSV can be used for GIS data but don’t contain coordinate system information. When you are importing data from this format, you first have to define the correct coordinate system.
In this example, we’re going to look at the common mistakes people make and how to avoid them. We’ll start with a world map in the Robinson projection.
We have a CSV file containing points for large cities that we’d like to add to the map. We know from our data source that the CSV uses the WGS84 coordinate system. After selecting the file for import, the MAPublisher Import dialog box helpfully notifies us that some required settings are missing. We’ll click the blue ‘Required settings are missing’ link to continue.
Setting up the import, the coordinate column settings are easy since we have an X_COLUMN and a Y_COLUMN, but we can’t forget to check that the format is correct. The default is Projected units, but we know the file uses WGS84, and can tell by the numbers in the column that the coordinates are in decimal degrees, so we’ll change the format to reflect this information and click OK.
Back at the import window, we see the message ‘Data loaded successfully’. Great! Let’s click OK and add the large cities to the map.
The data has been imported but the result isn’t what we expected. The new layer has been added to a new MAP View, so let’s try dragging it into the Robinson MAP View with the world map.
We get a prompt saying that there isn’t any coordinate system information. We want it to be in Robinson like the rest of the map so we’re going to leave the default setting of Same as: Robinson.
The data has moved, but it still doesn’t look like we were expecting. Where did we go wrong here?
There are actually two places in the workflow where we could have avoided this common mistake. When we dragged the point layer into the Robinson MAP View, the pop-up dialog box prompted that a coordinate system wasn’t specified. We specified Same as: Robinson, thinking this was the correct choice, but we had already determined during import that the CSV was in WGS84. What we should have done here was to specify the coordinate system as WGS84.
The other place where we could have avoided this error was right after setting up the CSV file for import. In MAPublisher 9.4, there’s a new button on the Import dialog box that allows you to see more detailed information about files being imported. By clicking the Advanced button in the Import dialog box, we would have noticed that there was no coordinate system specified.
Even here, it might have been tempting to choose Same as: Robinson to add it to the Robinson MAP View, but this would import the points exactly the same as before – all in one location in the middle of the map. Instead, what we want to do is click the blue ‘No Coordinate System Specified’ link and choose WGS84. After this is set up, we’ll click OK to add the data to the map.
The data still isn’t quite right – it looks the same as when we first imported it. But again we notice that it has been imported into a new MAP View, so we’re going to drag the layer into the Robinson MAP View and see what happens.
Perfect! By assigning the correct coordinate system to the data during import, the points have been imported correctly!
Mistakes during data import are common amongst GIS users, especially those who are just starting out. In the first scenario, when we imported the CSV and added the data directly to the Robinson MAP View, we thought we were telling MAPublisher that we’d like it to match up with the map. What we really did was tell MAPublisher that the data was already in the Robinson projection, even though we knew it was in WGS84. What we should have done first was to define the projection by telling MAPublisher what coordinate system the data is already using. Once MAPublisher knows what system the data is starting in, we can then ask it to project or transform the data into the coordinate system that we’d like to use.
When working with data that doesn’t have coordinate systems already defined, it is very important to follow the workflow in the correct order to avoid frustration when the data doesn’t line up as expected. Always check your sources when using data that isn’t defined, and make sure you’re assigning the correct coordinate system before performing any transformations or projections.
Do you have pictures and images you want to insert as an attribute in MAPublisher?
MAPublisher 9.4 introduces a new data type called Image. To work with the Image data type, you’ll have to take a look in the MAP Attributes panel. The Image data type can be used in the same way as the other data types in the MAP Attributes panel. Use the Edit Schema dialog box to edit or create the Image data type as an attribute.
For this example, we have a point layer called “Point of Interests”. Let’s create a new attribute column with Image data type called “Picture”.
We added a fourth attribute to this point layer (existing attributes were PlaceName, Note, and PhoneNumber).
Let’s insert an image into the attribute cell. Click the “No image…” hyperlink in the attribute cell. It will open the Edit Picture dialog box. Click to browse for an image to add to the attribute cell. Once the image is added, a preview of the image will be visible in the Edit Picture dialog box.
There are other controls in this dialog box.
Select and insert an image to the attribute cell. Use this button to replace the existing image to something else. You can insert jpg or png file.
Export image as jpg or png
Remove image from the attribute cell
Navigation control – zoom to fit
Navigation control – zoom to actual size
Navigation control – zoom in
Navigation control – zoom out
Change the name of the image
After clicking OK, the image will be listed in the attribute cell. The cell shows the file name of the image (it will be the file name of the image by default but you can change the name of the image to anything else). Also, hovering the mouse pointer over the image name in the attribute cell will show a quick preview of it.
The Image attribute type also supports images exported from PDF Maps (in KML format) and images exported to Google (in KML format).
In MAPublisher, the grid bound is the visual extent of the grid or graticule. The grid constraint is the geographic extent of the grid or graticule. It may be a little confusing since both grid bound and grid constraint are defined by coordinate values. In terms of hierarchy, think of the grid bound as the overall container of the grid and the constraint as being contained within the bound.
These examples may help you better understand it.
1. In this example, the grid bounds are specified as the lower-left and upper-right of the artboard corners. Notice that the graticule extends all the way to the edge of the artboard (as specified). This is a very typical way to use a grid or graticule.
2. Here, the grid bounds are still the lower-left and upper-right of the artboard. The grid constraint is based on the minimum and maximum longitude and latitude values of the specified MAP Locations. Notice that the rectangular black border of the grid bound is at the edge of the artboard. This is also a common way to use a grid or graticule, especially for larger scale maps.
3. In this example, the grid constraints were disabled and, instead, the two MAP Locations are used to define the grid bounds. Notice that the rectangular black border of the grid bound is defined by two MAP Locations.
4. When both grid bound and grid constraint are set to the same coordinates (in this case, MAP Locations) you can see the result here. The grid bounds are clipping the grid constraints. This would not be an ideal situation to use grid constraints, but it is definitely possible to use it in this fashion.
MAPublisher Grids & Graticules are highly customizable and we’ll be blogging more about its features.
Have you ever had a point dataset where you wanted to obtain the elevation information for every point?
Instead of looking up another dataset to join elevation values or worse, looking them up by hand, MAPublisher 9.3 introduced a new feature to determine the elevation value for every point in a MAP Point layer using the “Add Calculate Data” tool. . This is based on using a GeoName account (more on this below).
To use it, simply have a MAP Point layer imported to the artboard and open the Add Calculate Data dialog box. In this example, we’re trying to gather elevation points for mountains in Japan. In the Calculation drop-down list, choose Elevation. You can choose the units for the elevation value from the drop-down list. For this example, we are choosing “meter”. If you do not have the GeoName account yet, click the hyperlink and obtain one (for free). After you’ve registered for a GeoName account, enter your username and click “OK”.
A new column “Elev_metre” is populated as specified in the Add Calculated Data dialog window and every point has the elevation information in meters.
This is a handy tool that may help when you have point data along hiking trails, ski courses, waypoints collected with PDF Maps (etc.) or when you need to find elevation data for any type of points.
If you use this feature, please send us your feedback and tell us how you like it!
Do you have some data you would like to divide into multiple layers using unique values in an attribute? If so, you might want to try using the Split Layer feature in MAPublisher.
For example, we have a MAP Layer of the world (world_area layer). The world_area layer has many attributes and one of the attributes is about “Continent” information. With the “Continent” attribute, there are eight unique values: 1) Africa, 2) Antarctica, 3) Asia, 4) Australia, 5) Europe, 6) North America, 7) Oceania, and 8) South America.
To split this world_area layer into eight different layers based on unique values in the “Continent” attribute, we simply specify the Continent layer in the Split Layer dialog box.
Open the Split Layer dialog box. Choose the world_area source layer, then select the option “Split art to new layer(s) by unique attribute value:”. If you have a specific word you would like to include with the eight layers, enter the value for the “New layer prefix” option. Here, we entered the word “continent” as the prefix.
Now you have eight new MAP layers created based on the unique values of the “Continent” attribute. The attribute scheme, structure, and attribute values are inherited from the source layer to the split layers.
MAPublisher and Geographic Imager are not compatible with macOS 11 Big Sur yet. In addition, MAPublisher is not compatible with Adobe Illustrator 2021 yet. Upcoming updates of both products will be compatible.