Customising vector art base maps
The advice below relates to our downloadable vector artwork maps. (It does not apply to our dynamic online maps.)
Maproom maps are easy to customise using standard vector graphics editing software such as Adobe Illustrator. Experienced professional graphic designers will fully appreciate the careful layering of many thousands of vector paths and anchor points, which allow for easy selections and rapid changes to stroke and fill styles, plus custom plottings and labels, or hiding of unwanted elements.
Even complete beginners can quickly grasp how to make simple colour changes with a few clicks of the mouse.
When you have edited your map in the vector program, you save it to PDF, JPEG, PNG or GIF if it is destined for the web, or TIF, EPS, JPEG or high-resolution PDF if it is destined for print.
We do not supply graphics editing software, but you can download free or trial versions of these programs:
Adobe Illustrator® (RECOMMENDED)
Illustrator is the graphics industry standard for vector artwork. Maproom base maps are created in Illustrator, and you have the greatest range of options when editing in Illustrator, including easy layer selections. You can usually download a fully functioning copy of Illustrator on a FREE 30-day trial at Adobe.com, or subscribe to Illustrator from about £20 per month on an annual plan, or about £30 for a single month on Adobe’s monthly plan. Every Maproom map is supplied with an Illustrator (ai) format, and we recommend this software above all others for both easy and advanced editing.
On the right are links to Illustrator tutorials for beginners.
All our vector art map bundles include PDF files which can be annotated using PDF editing software. Our current favourite for people using Macs is PDF Expert, which has a free version. Adobe Acrobat is for PCs and Macs. You can do things like add labels, but don’t expect map layer editing with PDF editors.
Inkscape is a free open-source vector graphics editing program, which you can use to make simple edits to our SVG file format, although the layers will not be ordered in the way shown in the Illustrator panel previews. Follow the download link at Inkscape.org.
Some of our maps contain a raster art layer (pixel-based rather than vector artwork) for hillshading. Adobe Photoshop is the most popular software used for raster images and is suitable for editing raster layers in our relief / physical maps. It is also possible to use Photoshop to make simple alterations to the JPEGs and PDFs included in the downloads. However, if you want to access all of the individual vector artwork layers – such as if you want to turn off all roads on the map with a single click – we strongly recommend you use Illustrator instead (see above).
Strictly for techies: SVG files can be opened in any basic code editing program, e.g. Notepad++. Use this if you want to link the map to a database or XML code. You can preview the map in a browser window at the same time as working in code, refreshing the browser to see your code changes on the fly.