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








Times Square Map - Schmitt

Knowing Where You’re Going: New York City

Made With Ortelius

By James C. Schmitt

Published by Tinfoil Rose Design LLC.
Available on

Author’s Website:

Ultimate New York City Map Guide

In this newly published New York City guidebook, the author’s intimate knowledge of Manhattan is apparent as soon as you look at the beautifully rendered maps. At a glance the maps provide a snapshot of where the action is. Streets where dining and nightlife can be found are colorfully highlighted in yellow; shopping districts highlighted in purple; and, streets worth exploring are outlined with heavy black lines.

“Restaurants in New York come and go, but where they are located tends to stay the same for decades,” remarks author/cartographer Jim Schmitt. “I believe the key to exploring with confidence and enjoying yourself in new places is simply knowing where you’re going.  With this book I hope to inspire people to experience all that the Big Apple has to offer.”

Indeed, this New York City map guide makes it easy to plan either a shopping or dining excursion in whichever part of the city you’re exploring. Neighborhood attractions, points of interest, parking, and mass transportation options – even public restrooms – are all clearly designated.

“This project took quite a few years to produce, and I’ll never forget the day early on when my husband Jim discovered Ortelius by doing a search for cartography software online,” said Donna Schmitt about using Ortelius. “He was so thrilled to find it, and it made the process so much easier and the end-result so much more professional than anything he could have done by hand.”

Simple and easy to read, visitors will understand the layout of each neighborhood at a glance and see exactly where the action is. This book even goes a step further in taking the stress out of finding your way around Manhattan by offering detailed diagrams of some of New York’s most confusing underground places – Penn Station, Grand Central Terminal, Times Square Subway Station, Fulton Street Subway Station, Rockefeller Center Lower Level Concourse, and many more. Corridors, stairways, train platforms, mezzanines, and entrances/exits are all laid out in relation to the streets and buildings above.

If you’re headed to the Big Apple, don’t leave this one behind!

More User Showcase Entries

How Artboard Is Influencing Our 2nd Generation Products

In 2008, Mapdiva delivered Ortelius – the creative app for custom map design. Our drawing engine proved so rich and powerful that many of our customers encouraged us to build a general purpose graphic design app. When Artboard was born in 2011, we didn’t anticipate its impact our company.

“Simple. Powerful. Fun.” was our mantra for Artboard from day one. Since Ortelius is a more serious niche product, we didn’t anticipate how much Ortelius would be informed by this thinking. But “Simple. Powerful. Fun.” keeps us focused on the customer. It forces us to carefully consider each and every feature; to balance functionality with usability. It is simplicity and power that make Artboard a joy to use. Since Ortelius and Artboard are built on the same drawing engine, this naturally spills over across products.

That is why this year we will release Artboard 2 before Ortelius 2. Development of our next generation products is well underway, and it is interesting to see how Ortelius 2 is being informed by our development decisions with Artboard. As a sophisticated app, Ortelius is by its nature more complex. Yet Ortelius 2 will simplify the UI while increasing functionality. With both apps, we are paying attention to workflow, putting everything in reach, and giving you rich new features for even more to love.

P.S. We can’t yet announce exact release dates. We know it always takes more time and more coding than expected to make a project work. To quote an adage about software development, “the first 90 percent of the work is easy, the second 90 percent wears you down, and the last 90 percent – the attention to detail – makes a good product.”  Well, we’re in the last 90%. We’ll start posting sneak peeks soon!


The Walker Party, The Revised Story Mapped with Ortelius

For over 150 years the accepted story about the Walker party’s 1861-1863 expedition through the Southwest was based on a handwritten manuscript by D. E. Conner, a member and assumed historian of the party. The manuscript was published posthumously in 1956 as Joseph Reddeford Walker and the Arizona Adventure. Long thought to be based on notes taken while underway, detailed research reveals that much of what Conner wrote was based on embellished writing and a generous dose of hindsight bias using observations written by others who were in the Southwest before the Walker party.

The Walker Party, The Revised Story is a fresh look at the party’s formation in California and route into New Mexico Territory, and an analysis of the adventures of these rugged men, including their:

• Flight from advancing Confederate troops in New Mexico Territory;
• Return to Santa Fe once the territorial capital was back under Union control;
• Obtaining passports to travel in the territory;
• Encounters with Apaches along the Rio Grande;
• Stops at forts Craig, McLane, and West;
• Questionable involvement in the capture and death of Apache chief Mangas Coloradas;
• Prospecting for reported “sands freighted with gold” near the headwaters of the Gila River;
• Passage by San Xavier del Bac and through Tucson;
• Approach to and encampment at Maricopa Wells among the Pimas and Maricopas; and
• Route to and up the Hassayampa River and discovery of gold in central Arizona Territory.

Why is “The Revised Story” an important book? Joseph Reddeford Walker and the Arizona Adventure by D. E. Conner is long out of print and largely unavailable, even at the finest libraries. However, assumed facts from Conner’s book have been widely quoted in many histories about the 1860s Southwest. These quotes have not always been consistent with what Conner wrote, aside from questioning whether Conner was right in the first place. Certain key episodes that Conner wrote about, particularly the capture of Apache chief Mangas Coloradas and the details of the Walker party’s ascent of what would become the Hassayampa River, both of which Conner seemingly made up to a large extent, have been perpetuated in the works of some highly acclaimed historians.

The Walker Party, The Revised Story is an important book because it is transformative. It sets the records straight and corrects widely used incorrect details.

“The book represents seven years of research and writing,” Pieter kindly remarks about our software, “Ortelius, the interpretation that it provides to my story, is part of the reason that I persisted.”

Book format: A quality paperback, 274 pages with a comfortable font size, 14 custom maps made with Ortelius software with detailed captions, an extensive bibliography, and an image of a mid-1800s painting spread across the front and back covers illustrating the period view north from the Pima-Maricopa villages, the view that the men of the Walker party would have seen in 1863.

Pieter Burggraaf retired as a writer in the semiconductor manufacturing industry. Pete has lived in Arizona most of his life and is a graduate of the University of Arizona. An avocational historian, he researches, writes and occasionally teaches about people whose lives and adventures touched historic Maricopa Wells and the Pima and Maricopa villages, at the confluence of the Salt and Gila rivers, a location he calls “The Junction of American Southwestern History.”

See more examples of this project in the Ortelius Users’ Showcase.

The Walker Party, Map 3, Across New Mexico and Arizona Territories and up the Hassayampa River, 1861-1863, Burggraaf, Written History Needs Maps

Written History Needs Maps

By Pieter S. Burggraaf, 2015

Put it before them briefly so they will read it, clearly so they will appreciate it, picturesquely so they will remember it, and, above all, accurately so they will be guided by its light.

– From the pen of Joseph Pulitzer (1847-1911)

The telling of history needs illustrative maps. In a rather simple view, history is the movement of people across geography in the past. Henry Walker and Don Bufkin captured this idea in their wonderful reference book Historical Atlas of Arizona. According to these authors, “History is the story of man—his actions, his comings and goings, and his settlements. As most of mankind’s actions and travels and the places” where men and women settled are “controlled by natural settings—terrain, climate, geography, and even geology—an understanding of the land is essential to an understanding of history.”(1)

Unfortunately, in so many books today about historic events, and even many of the classic books of yesterday, the text usually screams for a map to illustrate where events happened and what the people of the times thought they knew about the lay of the land. In many written histories, the maps used seem to have been an afterthought with authors or publishers plugging-in whatever they could find. Many times, the maps used do not provide the details that are necessary to support the text where the maps are called out. Often the maps used are disconnected from the period of history being discussed. Or, large maps are crammed into a small book format rendering them illegible.

When I began writing The Walker Party, The Revised Story my goal was to put equal effort into the many maps that I felt the work needed. It took some time for me to get map-making right—almost six months—but I eventually taught myself some basic cartography and developed techniques that suited my limited skills.

So, I have created each map in this book to fit legibly on a book-size page. Where possible, I have based the background geography and the positions of rivers, towns, and other geographic locations upon a period map. Each of my maps includes notation about its source. In addition, some of the maps in this book include reproductions of the original hachures—the classic symbols for representing geologic relief in cartography—from the source map.

Readers who are familiar with the areas depicted on the maps in this book will undoubtedly find misrepresentations compared to today’s maps. These should not be considered errors as such, but rather indicative of the incomplete knowledge of the territories of New Mexico and Arizona at the time. This will help the reader understand why the people in this story were often off by many miles when describing where they were or where they were going, or in many cases simply had no clue as to their whereabouts.

Finally, I have written extended captions that enable each map to stand alone with its intended information. I believe that you will find the maps that accompany this revised, more expansive story about the Walker party very informative, and I trust that the text will be equally rewarding.

Notes for Written History Needs Maps:
(1) Henry P. Walker, Don Bufkin, Historical Atlas of Arizona, Second Edition (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press,1986), iii.

Pieter Burggraaf retired as a writer in the semiconductor manufacturing industry and is an avocational historian. He researches, writes and occasionally teaches about people whose lives and adventures touched historic Maricopa Wells and the Pima and Maricopa villages. This essay is excerpted from his new book, The Walker Party, The Revised Story: Across New Mexico and Arizona Territories and up the Hassayampa River, 1861-1863, available from, used with permission. Read about the book and view some of the maps in the Ortelius Showcase.

New Balance X Sneaker Design Zac Lynn

Zac Lynn’s Sneaker Design with Artboard

Zac Lynn is from Perth, Western Australia, is 16 years old, and absolutely loves sneakers (as you can tell).

Zac got his start designing for a clothing line when he was looking for software to design on. “I stumbled across Artboard, it caught my eye straight away so decided to give it a shot, ” recalls Zac. “The clothing designs went really good, but then I one day was just searching the web and realised some guy wanted a sneaker design done for the Asics Team with over 10000 followers on Instagram, I messaged the man running it, we started talking and I did a design up, he absolutely loved it. This pushed me to do more.


Sneaker Layout Design Zac Lynn


“I started doing my own designs as well as designs that have already been made by Nike, Puma, Reebok, etc etc.. I posted my drawings onto a page called Perth Sneaker Society where each one got amazing feedback and hundreds of likes. This pushed me to do more and eventually opened a website to sell my designs,” he says. This young designer is now gaining the attention of sneaker design manufacturers. “And its all thanks to ARTBOARD!”

View Zac’s ongoing portfolio at<

Ronnie Fieg x Puma Disc Blaze OG COA Coral Toe Sneaker Design Zac Lynn

If you aren’t familiar with sneaker subculture, here’s a well produced 2014 documentary about the Perth Sneaker scene:

Artboard 1.9.7 Released

Today we release Artboard 1.9.7, a qualified version for use with OS 10.10 “Yosemite.” This version contains further tweaks to appearance for OS X Yosemite, SVG import enhancement, and a few important bug fixes. The update is paired with the roll-out of a completely new companion website. It is a free update for all existing users.

Get the update through the Mac App Store. For non-Mac App Store version, if you do not have automatic updates activated, choose Artboard > Check For Updates from the main menu.

Read the complete Release Notes.

Happy Holidays! Enjoy These Free Seasonal Clip Arts

To close out the year, we are giving away a few of our favorite seasonal clip arts.
To Install
Download and unzip, then do one of the following:
  • Double-click the unzipped ‘December_2014.symlibrary‘ file to automatically launch the app and install, or
  • Within the app, choose Window > Library Manager (CMND-5) and use the Action Menu (looks like a gear) in the lower left of the Library Manager window to choose ‘Import Collection…“.

This clip art set works with both Artboard and Ortelius.

Artboard 1.9.6 Released

Today we release Artboard 1.9.6, a qualified version for use with OS 10.10 “Yosemite.” This version fixes a serious bug that affected outlined/masked text that was introduced with Yosemite, along with a few other minor bug fixes. It is a free update for all existing users.

Get the update through the Mac App Store. For non-Mac App Store version, if you do not have automatic updates activated, choose Artboard > Check For Updates from the main menu.

Please be aware there is a known issue with this release. Apple’s Yosemite has introduced an issue with poor response using pinch zoom gestures on the trackpad. Several other software are reporting this issue as well. We have submitted a report to Apple and hope they will address it soon. In the mean time, we have fine-tuned it as much as possible, but understand pinching to zoom does not give the same satisfactory experience we have had in the past and expect. We are keeping a close eye on this.

Read the complete Release Notes.

Ortelius Users' Showcase

Somewhere an alarm blares and firefighters quickly put on their gear and jump onto a fire engine to rush to the scene of a blaze. In the front cab, a captain uses the radio and fumbles through a more than 100-page binder of addresses to find the exact location of the call.

In a job where one or two minutes can mean the difference between someone living or dying, Cathedral City, CA, Fire Engineer Terry Martin has found a way to shave a few more precious seconds off response times in his city, using maps made in Ortelius and viewed on iPads.

“Before, when we would get a call, we would have to pull out a map (using old-fashioned binders) and navigate to a grid number and then look for a specific address,” he said. “The addresses are so small in the book that bouncing down the road at 2 a.m. and trying to pick out a number or street name when you are half asleep was kind of difficult. Plus, turning on the lights in the cab would make it very difficult to see.”

So Martin customized some iPads they had for his department. He used fire-resistant material that firefighters use for their coats and made a cover for the iPads so that they can resist the desert heat, dust and/or any other danger they may encounter in the front seat of the fire engine. He took all the information from the three-ring binders and combined them into easy to use digital maps. Using Ortelius, Martin built the maps then exported them to PDF so they would be zoomable without loss of resolution. He uses ”PDF Pro” for iPad as the viewing app. The maps, which can be scrolled through with a touch of a few fingers, include hydrant locations, housing-complex layouts and other critical information firefighters need. “We can add whatever we want to these maps, from trash shoots to exit points,” he noted.

Now, the devices are being used in every paramedic truck, fire engine and chief’s vehicle that the Cathedral City Fire Department has in service. Cathedral City Fire Chief Robert Van Nortrick said the digital mapping lets his firefighters find addresses faster and the devices are much easier to use than the bulky binders of the past.

Martin, a 24-year veteran on the job, was twice honored as the Cathedral City Fire Department “Firefighter of the Year” at the 17th and 18th annual Peace Officer and Public Safety Awards in Palm Desert.

See more examples of this project in the Ortelius Users’ Showcase.

2015 Map Competition Announced

The Cartography and Geographic Information Society (CaGIS) Annual Map Competition is under way. Cartographers and mapmakers in the United States and Canada are invited to submit their maps to one of the following categories:

  • Reference – A map whose objective is to show the location of a variety of different features.
  • Thematic – A map whose objective is to illustrate a theme or the relationship among several themes.
  • Book & Atlas – Atlases and books use original maps as the primary or significant communication device.
  • Recreation & Travel – A map designed to assist readers in recreation or travel.
  • Interactive & Digital – A map designed for digital media; it should include some sort of interactivity or animation.
  • Other – A map that does not fit into any other category (e.g., globes, art pieces).

Last year, Ortelius cartographer Rhonda Lerner was awarded Honorable Mention for her map, “Rhonda’s Centro Histórico Guide & Street Map of San Miguel de Allende” in this prestigious competition.
Submissions are due February 1st, 2015. The online submission form and further directions are available at
(Note, Mapdiva is not affiliated with this competition.)