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map draw rivers with tapered strokes

Designing Tapered Rivers with Flowing Styles

Ortelius has always had great tools to create smooth meandering rivers & streams. Now they can look even better with naturally tapering ends. We’ve added an expert Tapered Stroke component to the Style Inspector – you can use it to design your own creative map styles. Here’s how…

Tutorial Details

Program: Ortelius 1.7+ for Mac OS X
Difficulty: Beginner, Intermediate, or Advanced
Topics Covered: Style Inspector
Estimated Completion Time: 15 minutes

Draw a Line To Preview Your New Style As It Is Built

Draw a line on the Ortelius drawing canvas so you can preview your changes as you build a new style. Open the Style Inspector. Keep your line selected for the next step.

Prefer doing things hands-on? Give it a try…

 

Create New Style and Add a Tapered Stroke

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Choose ‘Reset’ to create a new ad-hoc style ready for your use.

Add a Tapered Stroke Style Component from the drop-down list by clicking the “+” button. You won’t be using the Fill and Stroke Style Components so they can be removed from the list by clicking the “–” button. Next, we’ll adjust the settings on your new style.

Make Adjustments

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Adjust the line width of your river style. From upstream to downstream your river widths will become wider (or thicker). Plan on creating a set of 2 or 3+ stroke styles of varying widths that can be “nested” in your river hierarchy, the upper-most being your tapered stroke.

For example, this tapered style will represent the upper-most river segments that will flow into other down-stream river segments. We’ll create a 3-pt width tapered stroke to flow into a 3-pt width (non-tapered) segment, and then a 4-pt width (non-tapered) segment.

Click the color well to open the Colors panel and choose a new color. You can also adjust the percent and type of taper – we’ll keep the default settings as they work really nicely for rivers. Then uncheck the “Right” setting so your stroke is only tapered on one end.

HINT: When you draw your rivers in the direction from upstream to downstream the taper will be the upstream end. You can always choose Edit > Paths & Tracks > Reverse if you need to flip the direction of the taper.

Add Style To Library

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As desired, click at the top of the Style Components list to return to the main Style Inspector window. Type in a name for your new style and click the “Add Style To Library” button. You’ll be prompted to assign the style to an appropriate category and the style will be saved to the Library.

Your new styles are ready for use. Choose a tool, such as the Freehand Track, pick your style from the Styles & Symbols palette, and draw.

Joining Tracks for Smooth Transitions

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HINT: To make a smooth transition between two tracks of varying line widths or styles, select the tracks and choose Edit > Paths & Tracks > Join or use the CMND-J keyboard shortcut. A smooth transition will be automatically created between line styles. Smooth transitions apply to connectable tracks, not regular paths.

Family History Map

Mapping Family History with Ortelius

Maps are tremendous genealogical tools to help build a more comprehensive understanding of what life was like for your ancestors, looking at locations, migration routes, political boundaries, and more. Custom maps let you personalize the historical geography and highlight features relevant to family reports, documents, and photographs.

Here is an example of a family history map made with Ortelius showing the northeast Italian region of Udine (c. 1910). Click here to view a PDF export of the finished map in all its glory.

Tracing Source Maps

Two common techniques for creating custom maps from a source map are 1) to draw over an existing map or aerial photograph highlighting features and adding new information, while leaving the original source map as the background image, and 2) tracing relevant features and then “turning off” the source map, thus resulting in a completely new map.

Remember to consider copyright issues if you intend to publish your finished map and it includes a copyrighted source map.

Finding Source Maps

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Finding source maps for tracing can sometimes be a challenge. Fortunately there are many sources of current and historical maps available online. Our example of Drenchia and Stregna, Italy is made by tracing parts of a 1909 source map from the Third Military Mapping Survey of Austria-Hungary. When looking for source map material, try a Google search of the location and date. Here are a few of our favorite historical map sites, many available for download or online viewing:

 

For more local scale mapping, try your local government agency plat maps and local library collections. In U.S. urban areas, search for Sanborn Fire Insurance maps available at many public and university libraries. Historic railroad and survey maps can also be valuable source material.

Getting Started

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After finding the right source map, decide on your page layout and map size. If you aren’t familiar with using Ortelius’ drawing tools, the Ortelius’ Getting Started With Ortelius guide (PDF version 6.77MB) and Getting Started are a great place to start.

Genealogy maps are a fun and interesting way to incorporate the spirit of place into your family history. Ortelius comes prepackaged with hundreds of styles and symbols, and it is easy to create your own custom maps. If you are making a series of maps, consider using a consistent style of colors and map symbols throughout to give your maps a unified look and feel.

fun-text-style

Making Fun Map Title Text in Ortelius

Whether formal or informal, your choice of fonts will set the mood and help to weave the story being told by your map. Map text doesn’t need to be dry and stodgy. Introduce a creative element in you next map graphic through the use of text shapes with custom fill styles.
The key to success with this approach is moderation – for example, get creative with the title and choose a complimentary font throughout the rest of your map that is simple and unassuming. Your goal is to express a bit of whimsy while maintaining legibility and overall balance.

Tutorial Details

Program : Ortelius 1.0+ for Mac OSX
Difficulty: Beginner
Topics Covered: Converting Text to Shape; Styles
Estimated Completion Time: 10-15 minutes

Step 1. Add Text To Your Map Canvas

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Use the Text Box or Text On Path tool to add a title to your map.

Step 2. Choose a Font

Choose_a_FontWith your text selected, open the Font palette. Choose a wide or heavy font that matches the style you’re after and will look good as an outline. The font you choose will be the basis for the text shapes. In this example we use Geodesic. Adjust the point size as necessary.

HINT: After switching fonts and sizes, you may need to grab the handles of the text box to enlarge it to expose the larger text. Alternatively, right-click the text box and choose Fit To Text from the context menu.

Step3. Convert to Shape and Break Apart

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Select the text and choose Graphic > Convert To > Shape from the main menu. Alternatively, right-click the text and choose Convert To > Shape from the context menu.

Next, choose Graphic > Combine > Break Apart from the main menu. This step will convert each letter into an individual shape object.

Note, text can also be converted to individual objects with paths to further modify the shape of individual letters. Choose Graphic > Convert To > Path from the main menu. Convert back to shape after modification as this will keep your drawing more efficient.

Step 4. Add Style to Letter Shapes

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Open the Symbols palette. To change the style of a letter, select a letter shape and then choose a style from the Symbols palette. In this example, we’ve chosen various styles from the Patterns & Textures category.

Note that after converting your text to individual shapes, the negative space inside letters such as “o” and “d” (the “counters”) have also been converted to separate shapes. These can be colored or styled individually. If you prefer an empty space, select the counters and letter shape and choose Graphic > Combine > Difference to subtract the inside piece from the main letter shape. In this example we’ve chosen to leave the counters black.

Step 5. Re-Group

When you’re all done making your text fancy, select all the letter shapes and choose Graphic > Group (or use the Command-G keyboard shortcut) to group and keep letter shapes together. Have fun making interesting and unique title text for your maps!