Illustrator to shapefile conversion?
May 26, 2006 7:01 AM   Subscribe

I'm trying to figure out a way to convert a vector map image, in Adobe Illustrator, to a .shp shapefile usable in GIS software like ArcSoft. I know very little about ArcSoft and shapefiles. Is there a plugin? Is there some intermediary format I could export from one and import to the other? Is this simply impossible? My research thus far has been fruitless, so any help would be much appreciated.
posted by ab3 to Computers & Internet (6 answers total)
Response by poster: oops. didn't use the more inside... sorry 'bout that.
posted by ab3 at 7:02 AM on May 26, 2006

Best answer: In order to convert a vector image into a usable shapefile, you will need to scale and georeference the image (i.e., associate metadata with the vector file so that the GIS knows how the file relates to meatspace). AutoCAD is pretty helpful for doing this, along with any number of other proprietary programs (like those sold by ERDAS). If you are working with some GIS guys, see if you can convert the Illustrator file into something that can be read by AutoCAD (dmz?), and they should be able to handle it from there. It's been about 5 years since I fooled with any of this stuff, so take this advice with a boulder of salt.
posted by ajr at 7:23 AM on May 26, 2006

Best answer: I know nothing of shapefiles, but I know that Illustrator can save as DWG, which is the native AutoCAD format. If ajr's suggestions holds true, that is the most direct path from AI to ACAD.
posted by misterbrandt at 8:26 AM on May 26, 2006

Also Illustrator CS2 can save as SVG, a nice XML based vector format. There might be transforms out there to convert a SVG file into something you need.
posted by schwa at 8:28 AM on May 26, 2006

Response by poster: thanks, guys!

ajr - being as you're in NOLA too, and a lawyer these days, i'm curious as to where you got your experience with this kind of thing...
posted by ab3 at 3:11 PM on May 26, 2006

i'm curious as to where you got your experience with this kind of thing. . .

My undergraduate degree is in engineering and I worked as an environmental consultant for about 4 years (both before and during law school). I knew nothing about GIS when I started the job, but I found it fascinating. I soaked up all I could and had actually built up a pretty decent skill set before I made the full-time switch to the legal world. I tried to keep up with it, but the software barrier (i.e., cost) was too high.

Shoot me an email if you would like to have lunch or a beer with a fellow mefite. I'd like to hear about your new gig.
posted by ajr at 8:34 PM on May 26, 2006

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