How to create a simple street map?
August 28, 2010 8:18 PM   Subscribe

How can I print a simple line street map without the level of detail in Google Maps or Mapquest?

This previous question sounds like what I want to do, but the one answer there was Greek to me. Has anything simpler been developed in the year since that post?

I want to include a map of my house in an invitation, but I only want to show the two nearby highways and the streets leading to my house. Is there a higher-tech option than printing out the Google Maps result and tracing over the roads I want?
posted by erloteiel to Technology (7 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
If you're just trying to get it to look nicer than hand tracing a just-barely-more-hi-tech would be to use an image editing program with "layers" functionality to do the tracing in, something like Paint.NET (free, Windows) or GIMP (free) or Photoshop. You would take a screenshot of the Google Map, paste it into the program, add another layer on top of it, do your tracing, and then delete the layer with the screenshot in it.
posted by XMLicious at 8:28 PM on August 28, 2010 - MSN Maps. When you click on Directions, look on the right for Map style and pick LineDrive. I think that's what you want?
posted by gchucky at 8:30 PM on August 28, 2010

Along that line, I would pop it in GIMP or Photoshop, and just paint white over whatever you don't want.
posted by sanka at 8:31 PM on August 28, 2010

Best answer: Also from Microsoft, Bing Maps' "destination maps" app does that. You don't have complete control over exactly what appears on the map, but you can adjust the scope of the map and some algorithm decides which streets are important enough to render on the map at your chosen scale. I tried it and I think the result was pretty good. It took a curiously long time. I wonder what's going on down there. "Curiously long" was still less than a minute. It's definitely worth trying if you're alternatives are various paint programs.

Maybe include the bing "destination map" at two different zoom levels?
posted by stuart_s at 10:20 PM on August 28, 2010

OpenStreetMap creates relatively low-clutter maps and has options to export only the area you select; you can then open the PNG produced and edit in your software of choice.
posted by alby at 1:03 AM on August 29, 2010

Another option is to use something like google maps, and then set the zoom level to the detail level you want. Then take a screengrab and resize it to the size of your final product, and then clean it up in Gimp or Paint or whatever. Clean it up meaning going over it with fatter lines, or antialiasing, or redoing the text.

(One way (that used to work anyway) to get a bigger map with the detail you want is to use the print map option, and then* take the screengrab off of that.)

Stuart_s's suggestion is also a good one- a very broad map that shows the highways, and then a second map or a callout that shows the neighborhood level.

All you probably really need to do is make sure your address works in the mapping apps. Most people will do that, and the others will no doubt be calling you for directions regardless of what maps you include.
posted by gjc at 7:04 AM on August 29, 2010

Response by poster: Thanks for the responses.

The Bing Maps' app is perfect. It allowed me to zoom in to just the area I needed and there are several drawing options for the final result. Thanks, stuart_s.

The LineDrive feature would have worked if I were giving driving directions, but I wanted just a map of my home with surrounding roads.

(gjc, I know most people will just put the address in their favorite map engine and ignore my beautiful creation, but I'm not in charge of the invitation. The person in charge insists there be a map included. :-))
posted by erloteiel at 8:48 AM on August 30, 2010

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