Mapping software, in color book form
March 2, 2005 1:20 PM   Subscribe

At work we're looking for something that will allow us to color in a basic county-by-county map of the state. Is there any free/inexpensive software that would allow us to fill in different parts of a map with different colors?

We found that with Adobe Acrobat we could use the pencil tool to fill in different areas, but as much fun as it is ro relive kindergarden, its not very practical. We don't need some precise GIS type map, but we do want to be able to make professional looking maps with counties colored in various ways.
posted by gus to Computers & Internet (12 answers total)
I would also love something like this for a project I've been working on. I've been using Photoshop and the little paintcan, but it's slow sucky going.
posted by jessamyn at 1:30 PM on March 2, 2005

And depending on the state you're looking at, this page might have some good maps for you to use.
posted by jessamyn at 1:31 PM on March 2, 2005

In a similar vein. The boundary maps jessamyn found remind me that I'm looking for something similar: I'd like a boundary map of North America. The 48-state map here is useful, but I'd need Canada and Mexico as well. I'd also like to be able to combine several states -- I'm looking to whip up some species range maps, and could use, for example, a map with Michigan, Ontario and Wisconsin. That's a pretty specialized request, and I lack any and all GIS skills despite my online map cred, so I'm not sure if what I want exists in ready-to-roll form.
posted by mcwetboy at 1:39 PM on March 2, 2005

I posted a similar question a little while ago, only I wanted to color in zip codes. I stalled out on it and lost interest...
posted by patgas at 2:28 PM on March 2, 2005

I did a similar project for work recently. I output the map as a giant GIF (3000px wide) from MapPoint, and then dummied it up in Photoshop, removing some city names. Using the magic wand tool and the paint bucket, it took about two hours from start to finish.

If you're interested in the finished product, you can see it here.
posted by kables at 3:25 PM on March 2, 2005

Best answer: You can color in your own county map online here. You have to email the webmaster to get an account. The results are fantastic - here's mine.

(Fantastic idea, jessamyn - I recently realized that I have been to all 169 towns in Connecticut, and only need one more to complete Rhode Island.)
posted by Saucy Intruder at 4:02 PM on March 2, 2005

It's not mapping software, but if you have images you'd like to color for free, then I recommend the GIMP.

The Gimp for Windows.

It's like a free, scaled-down version of Photoshop.

Like I said, it's not map specific, but it's excellent for image editing, if that's what you need.
posted by shmegegge at 6:31 PM on March 2, 2005

Saucy, great link. I'm trying to figure out your map. Are those counties you've visited? I recognise I-75, I-85, I-95, plus a jaunt to Memphis from Atlanta and some larger cities that you obviously flew to. Am I right?
posted by Frank Grimes at 7:11 PM on March 2, 2005

Sorry for the derail, but yeah, my total count is 567 of 3,143. We drove from Atlanta to Memphis in '97 via Birmingham, and back along US 64 in southern Tennessee through Chattanooga. I have almost always lived in the Northeast except for a brief stay in Chicago, and I drove there and back from the east coast in every way imaginable (including via Kentucky - I needed the state.)
posted by Saucy Intruder at 7:56 PM on March 2, 2005

Best answer: A few more possibilities (including some for mcwetboy's range mapping?) plus how to get free maps for GIS.
posted by nakedcodemonkey at 9:29 PM on March 2, 2005

Best answer: This one let's you put color-coded info at the county level:
"Do It Yourself" Color-Coded State Maps (Texas A&M)
posted by MightyNez at 11:40 PM on March 2, 2005

Response by poster: Thanks for the great responses. So in my searching I came across a map that is an SVG image that would have the added benefit if scaling to different sizes to be printed.

In this case the photoshop/gimp option could work great, just click on the county with a fill tool and the right color.

So add-on question, is there a good SVG editor? I found some free/open source ones, but either they just don't work, or don't have a fill tool.
posted by gus at 7:55 AM on March 3, 2005

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