Custom maps can be fun to make and help to communicate the right message to your audience. Custom maps are used to show project areas, directions, events and locations in books and publications, exhibit maps, and much, much more. In today’s world of advanced digital cartography and geographic information systems (GIS), hand drawn maps still represent a well-accepted cartographic technique and provide the greatest flexibility for creativity.
Choose File > New From Template in the main menu and open Wedding Invitation Map from the Exercises & Demos folder.
In this exercise, you will follow the steps involved in making the demo map.
Ortelius is perfect for making creative, high-quality maps that are all your own. A hand-drawn (or traced) map can be moderately challenging and may take anywhere from a few to several hours, depending on the complexity of your map. Though not “pen and ink,” we call this a “hand drawn” map because it is a digital drawing made by hand.
These step-by-step instructions take you through the process of building a map by tracing a source reference map, including a zoomed-in “inset” map. The steps involved in this lesson can be used for any hand-drawn map.
1 Your Purpose and Audience
The first step in any map creation is to consider your audience and purpose. This will guide the content and style of your map.
In this exercise, you are making a wedding invitation map. The audience are guests to the wedding and reception, including out-of-town guests who are unfamiliar with the city. Your purpose is to create an attractive map that helps get guests get comfortably to and from the wedding and reception with the least amount of stress. The map will be included as a printed insert with the invitation, and match the overall look and feel of the invitations.
2 Set Up Your Drawing
Consider the size of your finished map. In this example, you will export your finished map as a PNG graphics file for easy printing. Depending on your needs when setting up a new map, you can use an appropriately sized blank map template in Ortelius by choosing File > New From Template. Blank templates are formatted for common paper sizes and special purposes.
For this exercise, you need a different sized layout and will change settings by choosing File > Drawing Setup from the main menu.
Open File > Drawing Setup from the main menu to view the drawing setup. The canvas size has been set to 7-inches wide by 5-inches high. The drawing units are set to inches and can be changed to metric from the drop-down list. Map margins have been set to zero to take advantage of the maximum drawing canvas. Note that we will set the map scale later in the exercise.
3 Make Use of Layers
You learned all about layers in the Working With Layers exercise. Here is a quick review. All Ortelius drawing files use layers to keep your drawing organized. When a new blank drawing file is opened, the following default layers are pre-loaded: Index Grid, Guides, Drawing Layer, and Graph Paper.
Layers are shown and hidden by clicking the “eye” icon in the layers list. You will show and hide the Guides at various times to assist with your map layout. In this example, Graph Paper and Index Grid will remain hidden. The Drawing Layer has been renamed “Main Map” by double-clicking the name in the layer list and typing. Additional layers (Source Map, Your Inset Map, and Title and Information) have been added by clicking (+) at the bottom of the Layers drawer. Note, for other kinds of maps your layers will be different depending on your content and purpose.
Finally, a Border Layer is added by choosing Layer > New Border Layer from the main menu.
4 Start With a Source Reference Map
You need a starting point. It may be a scanned map or aerial photograph.
a. Show the Source Map layer by clicking the empty space for the “eye” icon in the layer list and click onto the Source Map in the layer to make it the active layer.
To get the source map for this example, we zoomed to our area of interest in an online mapping service (IndianaMap.org) and took a screenshot of the map. The screenshot was pasted from the computer clipboard onto the Source Map layer. Then the source map graphic was adjusted by resizing it and moving it into position.
There are many sources of reference maps that can be used for tracing. For example, you can use a screenshot from an online mapping service, an aerial photograph or satellite image, or trace a scanned map or plat. For an online source, zoom to your area of interest, take a screen-capture of the map and paste it into your Ortelius drawing canvas. In Mac OS X, use Control-Command-Shift-3 and drag your cursor to the capture the map area into your Clipboard memory. In Ortelius, make sure you are on the Source Map layer, and paste it directly onto the drawing canvas.
b. Click onto the main (large) source map graphic and move it around. Click onto the object handles of the map graphic and move to resize it. What happens when you hold the SHIFT key on the keyboard while resizing it? What happens when you don’t?
c. With the source map graphic still selected, open the Object Inspector. In the geometry pane you can see the width and height of the source map graphic. Note the width and height are expressed in map units (in this case, miles). Change the display units by choosing View > Display Units > Drawing Units from the main menu. In this example, the source map is 6-inches wide by 4.207-inches high. The lock next to these dimensions can be toggled to lock or unlock the object’s aspect ratio.
d. Next, with the source map graphic still selected, open the Object Inspector > Features pane. Change the opacity of the map to 40%. Changing the image opacity creates a “tracing paper” effect that makes your source map easier to trace over.
e. Move and resize the map graphic to adjust it back into position (look at major roads to help align the image).
HINT: When creating a map from a source reference map, zoom into your area of interest. Think about how much area you want to show on your map. Think about what features to show on your map. Don’t worry about all the detail – you’ll trace only those features most important to your map.
5 Show Detail With an Inset Map
If you need to show some detail, repeat the previous step when zoomed in closer to your source map. Size this map smaller and position it. In the exercise, a source map graphic for an inset map is placed on the Source Map layer. Alternatively, use this method to add a zoomed-out locator map.
HINT: Don’t apply the tracing paper effect to your inset map and it will stand out from your main map for tracing.
6 Consider Your Layout
Click the empty “eye” icon to show the Guides layer, or choose View > Show Guides from the main menu. Note that guides have been added to aid alignment of map elements. Add a guide by placing the cursor inside the top ruler and drag out a horizontal guide onto the drawing canvas. If needed, turn on the rulers by choosing View > Show Rulers from the main menu. Place the cursor inside the side ruler and drag out a vertical guide. Grab and move guide lines. Holding the SHIFT key while moving guides will place the guides in even intervals. Drag guide lines off the top or left of the canvas to remove them.
HINT: Revisit your purpose. Your goal is to fill the open area but not clutter it with too much information. Keep a balance of open space. Try squinting at your map and see if it looks balanced (really – this is how the pros do it!). Of course you can get creative and change the layout.
Guides provide a non-printing reference that you can use to help position elements on the page. Guides should be used with any layout, particularly to align titles, legends, margins and map elements. From the main menu, choose View > Snap To Guides.
7 Add Your Details
Click onto the the “Title and Information” layer in the layers list to make it the active layer. Double-click onto the text box “Abe and Mary” and type to change the title and details.
Get ready for tracing. Check the position of your tracing map and inset map to make sure they fit neatly into the open map area.
8 Time For the Fun Part – Start Tracing Your Map
Use the Ortelius cartography tools and symbols to trace major roads and add landmarks. Use connector Tracks for neatly joined intersections. In earlier exercises you learned to use Ortelius’ tools, styles and symbols, work with layers, and add bridges and labels. For this exercise, you will put those pieces together to trace the map. As needed, click onto the Main Map and Inset Map layers and click onto features to investigate how they are drawn.
a. Add a new layer. Click the “+” to add a new drawing layer and rename it “Working Map.” On this layer, repeat the following steps for tracing your main map.
b. Trace your main map. Be sure to draw on the Working Map layer. Again, don’t get carried away with trying to get all the details. Your goal is to draw that information which is most important to your map. Do this with only as much information as necessary. Use different styles for major and minor roads, rivers, and other important features. Use the Symbol Stamp tool and marker symbols to show where your event is located.
Label features by right-clicking shapes and symbols and choosing Add Label, or selecting objects and choosing Edit > Labels & Text > New Label from the main menu. Use the Linear Select tool to highlight tracks to add bridges and labels to road features. Add route number (Route_Num) attribute to the highways and add highway shields.
In this exercise you are creating a very simple map and all the map features for the main map are drawn on a single layer. Keep in mind the arrangement of graphics in your Main Map layer can be adjusted by right-clicking a graphic and choosing Arrange > from the context menu, or choosing Graphic > Bring to Front/Bring Forward/Send to Back/Send Backward from the main menu. In other exercises, such as Working With Layers, you see the more common practice of placing different map features, such as roads and rivers, on separate layers.
c. Add a new layer. Repeat step #1 to add a layer called “Working Inset Map.”
d. Trace your inset map. If you have one (which in this example your do), trace your inset map. Be sure to draw your inset map on the Working Inset Map layer. Draw a box around the inset map area with an outline stroke style (so you can see the underlying map… you can change this to a fill style later if desired). Within the box, use the cartography tools and Ortelius’ collection of styles to draw major roads and landmarks. Use the Symbol Stamp tool and marker symbols to show where your event is located. Label features by right-clicking shapes and symbols and choosing Add Label, or selecting objects and choosing Edit > Labels & Text > New Label from the main menu.
9 Choosing a North Arrow
A selection of north arrows is available from the Styles & Symbols palette and are placed using the Symbol Stamp tool.
a. Click onto the Title and Information layer to make it the active layer, then open the Styles & Symbols palette.
b. Change the style of the north arrow by clicking onto the existing compass rose and choosing a new symbol from the “Arrows/North Arrows/Compass Rose” category in the Symbols palette.
HINT: With online mapping services, north is typically at the top of the page. But if you rotated your tracing map before you began tracing, make sure to rotate the north arrow as well. Right-click on the north arrow symbol and choose Detach From Master. Rotate it directly with the purple rotate handle.
10 Calibrate Your Drawing Scale
To add a scale bar to your map, you must first set the scale of your drawing. Note that in the source map graphic a scale bar is already available. You will use that to calibrate the scale of the drawing file.
a. Choose the Ruler from the Tools palette.
b. Click and hold at 0-mile mark (the left side of the source map scale bar) and drag to the 1-mile mark.
c. Double-click the Ruler to open the calibrate menu. Make sure the drop-down map units is set to miles and enter “1″ in the map units text box and click “OK.”
A companion video Calibrating Scale is available on setting map scale (01:21).
11 Add a Scale Bar
The scale bar is calibrated based on the drawing scale settings and placed on the active layer.
a. Click onto the Title and Information layer to make it active.
b. Add a scale bar by choosing Edit > Insert Special > Scale Bar from the main menu. Move your scale bar neatly below the north arrow or in a corner of your map. Your scale bar is a dynamic object. Grab and drag the handle on either side of the scale bar object to shrink or expand it.
c. With the scale bar selected (click to select), open the Object Inspector > Features pane. From this window, you may turn the scale bar title on or off, edit the text of the scale bar title, enable a secondary scale, change scale bar line width, and more. Play with the settings and view the scale bar as you make changes.
d. To edit the scale bar font, with the scale bar selected (click to select) open the Font palette. Change font properties used in the scale bar, such as font family and color.
HINT: Remember the scale bar is not the main feature of your map – keep it subtle.
12 Hide Layers
Next, turn off the layers you’ve been using as a reference.
Click the “eye” icons in the layer list to hide the Source Map and Guides layers.
13 Finishing Touches – Edit Styles As Necessary
Once your tracing is complete, step back and look at your map. Do you want to change any of the styles used for the map features? Maybe you want to change the highways from black to grey or change the roads to a white cased road style. You can easily select any feature on your map and switch styles.
14 Save and Print (Optional)
Of course, you should save often during the making any map or drawing. Saving at least every 5-minutes is recommended. So now that you’re done, save it again!
As needed, export your map to PDF, PNG, TIF, or JPEG. Exported PDF files offer maximum flexibility for sharing electronically and printing to different sized paper. When choosing an export option, only PDF preserves the scale and vector quality of the original map with no loss of quality.