How to make a custom map?
August 8, 2011 8:14 PM   Subscribe

I need a custom map. I do not want to pay for it. It is going to be of the majority of the African continent. How do I do this without wasting several hours of my life, buying Illustrator, or generally not sucking up the place?
posted by satyricaldude to Grab Bag (12 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
 
http://explorer.arcgis.com/
posted by cromagnon at 8:19 PM on August 8, 2011


What kind of map do you need? I'm a cartographer. Memail me with details, I can probably help you out.
posted by troika at 8:20 PM on August 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


@cromagnon, very close to what I'm looking for but hella complex to use. Is there a point-and-click interface where I can just be like, sure, Mauritania, South Africa, and Mongolia and there's my map?

@troika, thanks for the offer, but it's going to be part of a series of things I'll be selling and I would be hella taking advantage of you.
posted by satyricaldude at 8:31 PM on August 8, 2011


Mongolia?

troika, may I memail you, do you do custom maps if given all the relevant data?
posted by infini at 8:41 PM on August 8, 2011


Idk what you need to use it for exactly, but my sister took a giant poster of the USA and bought a big sheet of paper and traced it out. It turned out REALLY good. Maybe it can work for your case. :D
posted by NotSoSiniSter at 8:41 PM on August 8, 2011


Check out the CIA World Factbook maps. The last time I looked closely, the PDF maps had everything in layers, so it was easy to keep the stuff you want and discard the stuff you don't.
posted by b1tr0t at 9:25 PM on August 8, 2011


Infini: absolutely! Memail/email away.
posted by troika at 9:46 PM on August 8, 2011


What's the Open Street Map coverage look like for the area you're interested in?

In terms of tools, mapping involves a lot of background knowledge (You'll probably end up learning things about the shape of the earth you wish you didn't know), but Quantum GIS and Mapnik are both free tools that have been used to make beautiful maps.
posted by straw at 10:03 PM on August 8, 2011


What kind of map do you need?

Key question.

If it's just a map of country shapes, you could take Wikipedia's SVG map of Africa (free, Creative Commons), import it into Inkscape (free, open source), remove the countries you don't need, change colors, etc. If you need to map something else, it would help to know more specifically what kind of information you want to show on the map.
posted by scottreynen at 6:36 AM on August 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


Note that the OP will be selling these maps, so some of the CC-licensed things will need careful noting of the terms.
posted by scruss at 6:52 AM on August 9, 2011


This is unanswerable without knowing what you want on the map. Cities? Terrain? Rivers? Demographic data? Pictures?
posted by desjardins at 2:26 PM on August 9, 2011


Same request for more detail, but if you want a gratuitous self-link, I have one: TileMill is a nice way to style your geo-data and export it as PDF or SVG for big-output.
posted by tmcw at 5:43 AM on November 9, 2011


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