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Map Making Programs

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Map Making Programs

Postby MadMind75 » Sat Mar 27, 2010 1:18 am

I often find myself wanting to create and/or customize geographical maps on the computer. Are there any dedicated programs for [geographic] map making/customization? Could anyone suggest any good ones, and free ones?
Last edited by MadMind75 on Sat Mar 27, 2010 2:15 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Map Making Programs

Postby Bad Gradger » Sat Mar 27, 2010 1:30 am

Your best bet is a vector graphics program like Inkscape. Beyond that you're getting into GIS software, which is either free and very difficult to use, or expensive and merely difficult to use.
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Re: Map Making Programs

Postby MadMind75 » Sat Mar 27, 2010 2:16 am

I realize now I should've been much more specific. I didn't mean maps in the sense of gaming or blueprints, but simple geographic type maps.
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Re: Map Making Programs

Postby Bad Gradger » Sat Mar 27, 2010 2:37 am

MadMind75 wrote:I realize now I should've been much more specific. I didn't mean maps in the sense of gaming or blueprints, but simple geographic type maps.

That's the question I answered - the two most common ways people create custom maps on the computer are vector graphics programs and GIS. If you're looking to generate custom maps of particular areas you can use a Web-based tool like Google Maps or USGS' National Map. Or you could just use something like MS Paint to draw a simple map.
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Re: Map Making Programs

Postby Dust Mite Rodeo » Sat Mar 27, 2010 8:23 am

There's a drawing program in the openoffice.org suite, probably better than mspaint for maps and whatnot, and it's free, free, free!
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Re: Map Making Programs

Postby snoqueen » Sat Mar 27, 2010 3:17 pm

AutoCAD can be set up for civil engineering purposes (including making maps) but it's not quick to learn.
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Re: Map Making Programs

Postby Uncle_Leaver » Sat Mar 27, 2010 8:23 pm

Wait a minute ... are we talking about something that will run on Windows 98? If so, your better bet is a box of crayons.
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Re: Map Making Programs

Postby LLUrbanUnderachiever » Sun Mar 28, 2010 1:22 am

ESRI ArcGIS and Pitney Bowes MapInfo are two of the most widely used GIS (geographic information systems) software packages. You used to be able to download a trial version of MapInfo, might be worth looking into to see if it suits your needs.
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Re: Map Making Programs

Postby MadMind75 » Sun Mar 28, 2010 4:30 am

I guess I'm looking for something similar in looks to Google Maps, but with more customization. Like being able to adjust the level of detail without zooming in or out, or highlighting certain areas/names/roads/highways.
I'm also looking for more options for map markers. Like being able to insert your own and have it in a bubble with a transparent shadow etc.
I also thought it'd be a cool idea to incorporate aerial photos of downtown areas into an otherwise flat map. Supposedly you can do something of the sort with Pictometry, though I'm sure that and anything like it are not free.
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Re: Map Making Programs

Postby Bad Gradger » Sun Mar 28, 2010 8:50 pm

MadMind75 wrote:I guess I'm looking for something similar in looks to Google Maps, but with more customization. Like being able to adjust the level of detail without zooming in or out, or highlighting certain areas/names/roads/highways.
I'm also looking for more options for map markers. Like being able to insert your own and have it in a bubble with a transparent shadow etc.
I also thought it'd be a cool idea to incorporate aerial photos of downtown areas into an otherwise flat map. Supposedly you can do something of the sort with Pictometry, though I'm sure that and anything like it are not free.

There's nothing available with the features you want, at the (zero) price you want, that's as easy to use as you seem to want. Pretty much every program that does some or all of these things has been mentioned in our replies.
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Re: Map Making Programs

Postby MadMind75 » Thu Apr 01, 2010 10:14 pm

There really should be a website comparing all the different map making programs. Anyone wanna put together a collage of finished maps (of the same area) from different programs and post it here?
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Re: Map Making Programs

Postby LLUrbanUnderachiever » Fri Apr 02, 2010 12:19 am

MadMind75 wrote:There really should be a website comparing all the different map making programs. Anyone wanna put together a collage of finished maps (of the same area) from different programs and post it here?


How much are you paying? And how much free time do you think we have? (wait, don't answer that)

Ahh, screw it

http://tinyurl.com/yklv7sr
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