Custom maps for reports
January 12, 2007 2:19 PM   Subscribe

What's the best way to make maps like this and this for use in a report. The images generated by Google, etc are all a bit rubbish looking. Bonus points for free/cheapware or webapps.
posted by TrashyRambo to Computers & Internet (4 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite Google etc. are all basic Geographic Information Systems. The professional tools cost upwards of $10,000. I don't know much about the free ones, but GIS is how professionals make maps. Shapefiles of countries and whatnot are generally publicly available. You can also buy an extension for Illustrator that allows you to import GIS shapefiles.

There's also a lot of on-line apps that have GIS software as their back-end. The Geospatial One Stop would be one place to start. It really depends what kind of map you're wanting to make... some things (conservation) lend themselves to being publicly available than others (oil companies' geology studies...sorry, no link).
posted by one_bean at 6:07 PM on January 12, 2007

Sorry, that should've been extension for Illustrator.
posted by one_bean at 6:09 PM on January 12, 2007

If you don't mind getting your hands dirty:

Use Google Earth, take a screenshot, and add the markers yourself in Photoshop.

I just verified that GE doesn't disable screenshots... use the print screen key to copy what's on your monitor to the clipboard, then paste that into Photoshop.
posted by Operation Afterglow at 8:19 PM on January 12, 2007

I suspect that the pros use something like this which costs about $7,500 but there might be a trial version available (haven't looked.) Or you could *cough* acquire a copy in less than legal ways, but that would not be ethical.
posted by Rhomboid at 3:50 AM on January 13, 2007

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