Frequent Questions About Maps

Here are some of the most common questions I get on maps.

1. Do you do printing? Answer: No, I only do custom layered map files that can be edited. There is very little money in printing and most copy services like FedEx have large drum printers and laminators that can print the files fast and cheap while you wait.

2. What map projection do you use for your maps? Answer: For city, county, and local areas I use the state plane projection for that area of the state which shows way less distortion.

3. What layers are most commonly used on your maps? Answer: Roads(either detail or arterial depending on scale/size), water features including both line and polygon, municipal polygons and borders (including, state, county, city), park polygons, airports, military, U.S. Forests, National Parks, major schools and universities, major shopping centers/malls, and other large points of interest polygons.

4. What map size? Answer: Most maps are run at 30 x 30 inches in size. Some might be narrower do to the subject width. For example, a map of California would be made narrower since the state is tall and skinny. Custom size can be requested on any order.

5. Payment? Answer: I use PayPal for most map jobs. However, on some of the larger projects the we take company check, since it has to be invoiced for their accounting department.

6. File formats? Answer: I do most files in Adobe Illustrator native or Illustrator PDF formats. I can do other formats, but these can be converted to most any other format in Illustrator or Photoshop.

7. What is the map file size in megabytes? Answer: Most detail road map files are between 10-20 megabytes. Text is the biggest memory user with Illustrator, so a very large multi city or multi county map is usually done with just arterial roads and text.

8. How can I speed up the draw time in Adobe Illustrator? Answer: There are many things you can do to speed up re-draw times in Illustrator. First, turn off your thumbnail view in the layers menu, that is the biggest zap in draw times, since each icon thumbnail image has to redraw like a mini screen. Next, unlock all text layers, select ALL text, and move them left and than right with the arrow keys. This will reset annotation to their proper sizes. Some editors forget to do this before editing and text size errors can occur when they go to resize text. Next, turn off all layers you are not working on, especially text layers. And always convert to legacy fonts with older non-CS formatted files. The pre CS non-legacy fonts don’t edit well in CS and above versions.
Finally, if you are doing the same edits on each file, set-up a macro in actions to run the edits. And if you can run the actions in batch mode you will save hours in edit time.

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