Symbolizing Cities and Towns on Small- to Medium-Scale Maps

There is a difference in the use of symbols, depending on the scale and style of the map. On small-scale maps, cities are usually shown by circles and dots; on large-scale maps by their streets. Medium-scale maps can fall somewhere in between and offer an opportunity to express the map’s unique style.

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Mapdiva releases Ortelius 2 – Pro Map Design Software for the Mac

Indianapolis, Indiana – US-Australia-based developer Mapdiva today releases Ortelius 2 creative map design software for the Mac. This unique professional creativity app is a hybrid that lies somewhere between a vector drawing program, such as Illustrator™ and a geographic information system (though it’s decidedly not GIS). Ortelius adds tailored functionality for cartography, such as connectable track tools, powerful style engine, library of expert styles and map symbols, and robust templates.

If you’ve ever tried making a map in a standard vector drawing program, you know how tedious it can be. Or, perhaps you’ve lamented how difficult it is to make publication-quality map graphics in a GIS. Ortelius automates many of the tedious tasks in manual cartography with a clear eye towards high-quality graphics, so you can focus your creative energy on content and design.

Ortelius offers three workflows for map-making:

  1. Design hand-crafted maps using expert styles, symbols, and special cartography drawing tools.
  2. Create maps from beautifully designed world, regional and country templates to customize and make your own.
  3. For advanced users, build maps from shapefiles as a starting point for your next creation.

“We’ve modernized Ortelius top to bottom,” say geographer and co-founder, Dr. Jill Saligoe-Simmel, “from under-the-hood performance to forward-facing features like connectable tracks and automatic junctions.” For Mapdiva’s more advanced users, Ortelius 2 includes the highly-requested ability to align layers when importing georeferenced shapefile map data.

Ortelius uses layers to organize your map’s content. Draw roads on a roads layer, rivers on another layer, points of interest on another, and view them all stacked together. Layers are expandable and can be easily reorganized.

From cased (think double-line) roads to patterned fills, Ortelius’ powerful style engine lets you build expert stacked styles which can be as simple or complex as you desire. It comes with a library of over 1800 pre-built styles and map symbols, and these can be copied or cloned to use as a starting point for your own creations. Since it’s a full-fledged vector drawing program, you can even create your own graphics and map symbols, and save them to your user library to use again with future projects. Ortelius’ workflows are thoughtful and efficient, and features like ‘Global Styles’ let you quickly make changes across multiple objects at once.

Importantly, Ortelius lets you draw to scale. For example, 1-inch on your drawing canvas can equal 1-ft or 1-mile/km on the ground. That’s perfect for maps, landscape plans, floorplans and even technical drawings. Beyond crisp maps and graphics, it also has the ability to import and edit raster images. You can export vector PDF and a variety of image formats at a multiple scales and resolutions. Export your entire map, portions of the map in “slices”, individual layers, or selected objects.

Ortelius 2 is available today from for $149.99 (USD)/yr annual license or $399 (USD) perpetual license. It is made exclusively for MacOS. A free trial, get started videos, tutorials and multi-lingual user guide are available on their website.

A Note on Ortelius’ New License Options

Over the past few years, the software industry has changed around us. In particular, two trends have significantly impacted independent developers: 1) Updates to the Mac operating system (MacOS) have become annual events that require significant investment to maintain compatibility and customer support, and 2) Perpetual licenses have become increasingly unsustainable and difficult for developers to support. For example, Apple’s own Mac App Store policy, which doesn’t allow developers to directly charge for upgrades, further complicates the situation. To adjust to these new realities, more and more applications are moving to subscription license models.

We recognize that some find software subscriptions controversial, and we understand you may have concerns. To you, we want to clearly articulate our goals and objectives:

  • To develop software that helps you do more, in less time, saving you money and giving you more creative control.
  • To operate a stable company, so that we may continue building the products you love.
  • To give back to the community that supports us.
  • To keep our products affordable and within reach, providing the best value and products in our class.

Here’s how we are making this a reality:

  • We’re proud to bring you a professional creative Mac app with tons of useful, time-saving features for map design, in-app resources, efficient workflows, and online learning resources.
  • We’ve integrated secure and reliable industry leading e-commerce and rights management solutions to give you piece of mind, and that enables us to offer flexible licensing options. We’re offering Ortelius 2 as an always up-to-date subscription license. We’ve established a value-oriented annual license, backed up by quarterly and monthly options, to balance our revenue and support our product development team. We continue to support a perpetual license option for those who are unable or unwilling to choose subscription plans.
  • We’ve established the Ortelius Academic Program, where we contribute about 20% of our licenses to education. We are also active participants in, and contributors to, open software and open geo-data communities.
  • We’ve stuck with price points that make sense. Ortelius is a unique stand-alone creative map design solution that remains hands-down more affordable than any other combination of professional products (such as Illustrator + cartography plugins, or pro GIS software).

We’ve already heard from many of you that Ortelius adds significant value to your tool chest. You’ve told your friends about Ortelius, and you’ve helped us grow. For this we sincerely thank you.

If you’ve had questions about our new license options, we hope this clarifies our new offerings. We hope you’ll understand the ability for software companies, especially those limited to a relatively small market, to remain viable is increasingly difficult. Well-done productivity apps require significant up-front investment and require regular maintenance and upgrades. Mapdiva’s culture is very value-oriented, and we are proud to continue to offer one of the most affordable and unique vector graphic design programs available.

We hope that in some small way our products help you to grow, achieve more, bring you creative satisfaction, and impact your success.

All our best,

Graham & Jill
The Mapdiva Team