GIS for Mac

A summary posted to the Mac EvangeList:

Date: Mon, 2 Jun 97 14:39:10 -0700
From: EvangeList <>
To: "Macway" <>
Subject: Followup - Mac Mapping Software Digest
Message-ID: <>
This follow-up message is from:
David E. Wheeler, <>
First, I'd like to thank all the people who took the time to respond to 
my query. The response has been overwhelming, and I'm only now beginning 
to parse through it with any thoroughness. More people responded than 
I've been able to thank individually, so please accept my thanks here; 
each message was a great help (and a great boost for my faith in the 
There were a number of different categories of responses, but I shall try 
to cover the gist of the messages in what follows. At the end, I list the 
different products that people suggested, along with the number of 
recommendations for each, and a URL (where applicable).
There were essentially four types of response: 1) Those that recommended 
map image resources (Such as MapArt); 2) Those that recommend 
Illustration packages (e.g., FreeHand); 3) Those that recommend high-end 
GIS software (like ARCView); and 4) Those that offer some combination of 
these resources. The most helpful (and most numerous) replies fall into 
the latter category.
But to sum up, the principle vote seems to be for Macromedia FreeHand. 
While an equal number of people suggested Adobe Illustrator, these were 
usually graphic artists who needed to do maps for particular projects. 
FreeHand, OTOH, appears to be used more often by cartographers (although 
Illustrator is used by Rand McNally, Delorme, and National Geo., 
according to Sam Moore <>>. There's even a 
FreeHand for Cartographers web page <>!> 
However, and since my wife is a graphic designer and has Illustrator, I 
think I'll start learning it. I'll also take a look at FreeHand when I 
get a chance, although I'd appreciate a point-by-point comparison from 
the perspective of a cartographer). Several people also recommended the 
MAPublisher plugin for FreeHand and Illustrator by Avenza Software. This 
package can import data straight out of high-end GIS packages (including 
unix files) right into your favorite illustration program. Since there is 
a large GIS lab here at UVa, it seems like a good idea, to me, to start 
with ARCInfo or ARCView files, bring them into Illustrator or FreeHand, 
and make them look like a million bucks there. However, I could find no 
information about the FreeHand version of the Plugin on the Avenza web 
site (except for Windoze).
Also common were those respondents who suggested purchasing Map Images 
and then bringing them into Illustrator or FreeHand for editing. The 
images at the Digital Wisdom and Cartesia sites were very impressive, 
indeed, and the CDs are well worth a look ("get the Designer Series and 
Cartographic maps," says Greg Wurz <>>. Others 
suggested simply scanning in a map and using Illustrator's or FreeHand's 
autotrace features (or Adobe Streamline) to generate an editable image. 
This could also work well, I think, especially for creating a template on 
which to base the creation of your map (algthough Streamline may be 
overkill for my purposes). Another, very cool resource - Online Map 
Creation: <> - was pointed out to me by 
Matthew Stevens <>>, who writes, "This is 
absolutely brilliant. You enter the coordinates, the map projection and 
any special features you want such as rivers, and it returns an EPS file 
(you have to specifically request that) in about a minute." This is a 
very good source for base maps that you can use as a template in your 
Illustration package (the eps files are in *.zip format, though).
The straigt-ahead map-making programs include Azimuth, MapInfo (which one 
reader reports has "all but stopped supporting" Mac), Atlas Pro 
(abandoned field), Geocart, ARCView, BaseMap, Micrographics, Tactician, 
and Geocad (shareware). I'm particularly interested in BaseMap, since it 
retails for less than $60 - anyone have any experience with this app? 
ARCView is obviously the industry standard, and most users here in our 
GIS lab go from ARCInfo to ARCView/PC. But I think I'd rather go from 
ARCInfo to Illustrator/FreeHand. Or better yet, get a good mapping 
program on the Mac that allows me to specify longitud/lattitude locations 
(for accurate placement archaeological sites) that I can then load into 
an Illustration program for editing. This is my ideal at this point. Do 
any of the above programs offer this plotting feature? Further 
suggestions/ recommendations are of course welcome.
Thanks again for all your help, everyone!
Mountain High Maps (4) 	Digital Wisdom 	  <>
MapArt (6)		Cartesia	  <>
Online Map Creation (1)			  <>
Magellan Geographix (1)			  <>
Azimuth (3) 		Diehl Graphisoft  <>
MapInfo	(3)				  <>
Atlas Pro (abandoned field)
Geocart	(3)		Terra Data, Inc.  <>
ARCInfo (unix) (2)	Esri 		  <>
ARCView (5)		Esri 		  <>
BaseMap (2)		Cyberian Software <>
Comgrafix (various GIS products) (1)
MS Press' Automap (US Only) (1)
Whiz Atlas (1)
MiniCad (1)
Microstation (1)
Mapgrafix (1)
Tactician (1)
Geocad	(shareware) (1)
FreeHand (12)		Macromedia 	  <>
Illustrator (12)	Adobe 		  <>
Photoshop  (3)		Adboe 		  <>
Vector Tools (1)	Extensis
MAPublisher (3)		Avenza		  <>
Streamline (2)		Adobe		  <>
CARTO-SOC Cartography/Mapping <>
This list is designed to be an interactive clearinghouse for questions 
and other information related to mapping or the production of map art on 
Macintosh Operating System computers. Topic areas for the list include 
but are not limited to GIS and graphic software (i.e., ArcView, MapInfo, 
Freehand, Illustrator, etc.), utility software, map data compatibility 
and acquisition, web and prepress design strategies, specific software 
techniques, software and map data sources and other areas relevant to 
mapping on the MAC.
FREEHAND-L <> (many people on 
the list are cartographers)
Claris Impact & Claris Draw come with some map outlines, but nothing fancy
MS Encarta & MS Bookshelf have maps, but they may not be editable
Engineering Solutions Direct <> has a lot of 
mapping and related software
RockWare <>, a geological and cartographic 
specialty retailer.
The USGS sites, <>, have pointers to mapping software 
(and maps!).
FreeHand for Cartographers <>
Anton's FreeHand page <>
Howard Partner <> reports that Redgate 
Communications's Macintosh Product Registry lists many mapping programs, 
(under Vertical Applications), in many price ranges.
Do you believe in Macintosh? Please check out:
Join the EvangeList mailing list by sending an email to:
Please send messages that you'd like us to consider for posting to:
End of MACWAY Digest 776

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Created June 4, 1997

Last updated: June 4, 1997

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