View Full Version : Arcmap

Grant Taylor
12-06-2011, 12:59 PM
I am a Geography major specializing in GIS. Everyday I work with using Arcmap for creating digital maps and was wondering if anyone has attempted to use any of the Esri software packages to create a campaign map. I am thinking about playing with it but since I do not need all of the extra options for manipulating data it might just be a hindrance and not have the creativity of Photoshop. Just wanted to see if anyone else had tried it.

12-06-2011, 01:21 PM
I have worked with the ESRI programs during my time at the university. They are great tools for working with - especially analyzing - real world geographic or geocoded data.
Yet they are really not meant for creating art and realizing a good looking modern style map in any vector program is probably faster then doing it in ArcMap or ArcGIS...

12-06-2011, 01:50 PM
Well, they aren't made by ESRI, but I used QuantumGIS and GDAL in the preliminary stages of this map (http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?15034-A-Planisphere-of-Her-Majesty-s-Martian-Colony)

12-11-2011, 08:59 AM
I work in the GIS field, but have not spent much time in cartographic refinement. I have seen some beautiful maps created using ESRI products however. The company publishes an annual map book of high quality map products from around the world. Their site (http://esripress.esri.com/display/index.cfm?fuseaction=display&websiteID=60&moduleID=0)has a number of samples.

12-11-2011, 07:45 PM
Obviously I was a bit mistaken concerning the 'niceness' of Arc-software-exports, yet I still think that for fantasy mapping other tools are more suitable...

01-09-2012, 09:53 AM
I also use ArcMap a work. However, the license for it is prohibitive. IIRC, the minimum license for their software is $5000/yr, not including upgrades. But I have not looked at their license in over five years. It may be quite different now.

However, I have been working on a project using QGIS and GRASS to geocode my fantasy world of Onaviu. The amount of work is phenomenal. Just for a small island about the size of Bald Head Island in North Carolina, took me several months just to geocode all the data which included; coastline (0.5 meter resolution), vegetation types, biomes, hydrology including coastal marshes, wadis, etc., 0.5 meter resolution DEM, and more.

Of course, to geocode an entire world at that resolution would take 1000s of lifetimes. However, geocoding the world on a resolution of 5000 meters with coastline, biomes, vegetation, climates, and landform assemblages took me about two years.

The major problem is having to geocode everything. Else, it will never align correctly when opened. Especially once you have defined a projection system for the project. I find Photoshop, Paint Shop Pro, GIMP, and Inkscape easier to use since you do not have to worry about geocoding everything.


03-20-2012, 02:47 PM
nope... the benefit of being the most widely used GIS software in the world allows them to set their price quite hight.. $5000 will give you the base license of arcmap.. which removes a lot of the more advanced analysis and features... 3d analysis, spatial anaysis, network analysis are all extra's too.. in my opinion, unless you somehow have a legit license for arcgis, trying to create maps or campaign data using it is kind of a waste...

There are other gis options out there at a much more affordable price... some with a lot of the same options.. Manifold comes to mind, many people were speaking highly of it, but to me it seemed like it was just excitement about the price.. I full license for it costs about $250 or something.. which is great, but its notoriously hard to learn... Their business model is to make their money on support, so getting support from them is quite expensive... you can pay a couple hundred dollars for 7 instances of online support (thats basically 7 replies via email) or pay much much more for ongoing, corporate like support)...

Just reading their website makes me cringe as far as how full of themselves (there are only 2 of them..) they are... but from what i've seen of the results.. I haven't heard much about them as of late, but its not surprizing since at work we have our ESRI ELA, which basically means we get as much ESRI Software as we need...

IILWIS is an open sourced product that can do a lot of raster analysis.. i haven't used it in forever but i know it's hydrological modelling has been compared to (and some say exceeds) the hydrological modelling of arcmap...

I know of GRASS, but I know that most people that try it end up giving up quite quickly due to it's difficulty...

I have attempted a number of fantasy ideas on ESRI software and they seem to work well.. You have to assume your world is the same size as earth for the projections to work, but thats not to hard to do... the biggest problem i find is that all the really cool things GIS allows you to do is very hard to get done for a fantasy map, since the more detail an area has the better the results... the problem is trying to get enough data together to preform some analysis... randomizing data using fractals etc is notorious for breaking automatic analysis.. so it's very hard to get results that you can use for the more advanced aspects of GIS.. and to me.. that's really the only reason to use ESRI... since it's tools for displaying are hardly superior to any number of the free art frameworks out there like gimp or inkscape...