View Full Version : Ideas for making an early 20th century map

01-22-2013, 10:49 AM
Hi everyone!

I am new here.

I want to make a map of Europe appears "antique" (like a 1900-1930 period)
I did a search and see few maps of that period.

I'd like to hear your opinion about software I should use, colors, symbols etc.

It would be a combination of historical map and modern topographical features overlaid.

Any ideas???

01-25-2013, 07:32 PM
The major decision for software you need to make is whether you want to use a raster editor like Photoshop or the Gimp (a free open source competitor to Photoshop), a vector editor like Illustrator or Inkscape, or a CAD-like program such as Fractal Mapper or Campaign Cartographer. Or you could elect to use a hybrid, like Xara, which has both raster and vector capabilities. Or you could get really complex and use a GIS (geographic information system), but that's more about the data and less about the presentation, so I'd recommend starting with an image editor to start with.

These industrial era maps can be created with any of these software types, although each has its stong points. If you want the map to look aged, then you may be best off with a raster editor, as things like creases and tattered edges are easier to accomplish there. The shaded relief look is also easiest to get from a raster editor. A vector program will give you nice, clean lines that are easy to manipulate, and if you want to make a lot of borders, roads, and the like with the ability to modify line styles and colors at any time, then that's definitely the way to go. The disadvantage is that there are fewer users of vector software, so it can take a little longer to get quality help.

For colors, I'd suggest finding a map you really like the look of and just mimicking that to start with. You can always change them as you go along. For symbols, see if you can find the Adobe Carta font. It has a lot of modern-style map symbols in it, and many of them are also appropriate for an early 20th century map.

01-29-2013, 06:08 AM
Thank you very much for the information. I appreciate it. It is really helpful.

I have worked in the past with ArcGIS, so I was thinking to prepare the data with the gis and do the presentation with Photoshop which I am more familiar with, although I wouldn't say I am an expert...
I 'll check the the software you suggested as well.

The bigger challenge is that I have to combine old features(old roads, water, woods) of that period, so I have to digitize an old map (I don't know if there is any possibility to find these data in electronic form) and combine them with new features(roads, historical monuments, woods ets). The presentation of old and new features in one map would be quite difficult but I'll take one step at a time...

01-29-2013, 12:32 PM
In that case, you may want to look hard at Illustrator, as that is the tool of choice of professional cartographers, or it seemed to be last time I looked, and there may be some tools available to interface with ArcGIS. Hopefully some of them are less expensive than the MAPublisher plug-in pack for AI, as that's something like $4500. It may well be, though, that there aren't any affordable pathways there, in which case you might as well stick with Photoshop since you have some experience with it already. I don't really know anything about GIS workflows, so that's as much guidance as I have to offer on that topic. I may pop back in with design advice later on in your development, though.

I know there are one or two GIS users around here, so if you post a question with GIS in the subject line, they'll probably pop in to help out.

02-03-2013, 05:52 PM
Great, I'll look into all the things you've mentioned.
I'll do my research and tests and post back the results.
Thanks again for all your help and guidance.