View Poll Results: What mapping software do you use? (multi select enabled)

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  • Raster (bought) [e.g. Photoshop, PaintShopPro, Painter]

    698 54.02%
  • Raster (free) [e.g. GIMP]

    514 39.78%
  • Vector (bought) [e.g. Illustrator, Corel Draw, Xara]

    289 22.37%
  • Vector (free) [e.g. Inkscape]

    251 19.43%
  • Vector (Symbol driven) [e.g. CC, Dunjinni]

    320 24.77%
  • Online Generator [e.g. City Map Generator, Fractal World Generator]

    109 8.44%
  • Fractal Generator [e.g. Fractal Terrains]

    184 14.24%
  • 3d modelling [e.g. Bryce, Vue Infinite, Blender]

    163 12.62%
  • Scanned hand drawn maps

    431 33.36%
  • Drawing Tablet and pen [e.g. Wacom]

    359 27.79%
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Thread: New to Digital Cartography? Software General Information

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  1. #1

    Question New to Digital Cartography? Software General Information

    Please take a moment to complete the poll and to say a few words about the software that you use. This will be of help to people new to digital cartography.


    There are broadly four types of software which are used to create maps;

    a. Raster paint programmes (like photoshop, Gimp and PSP)
    b. Vector programmes (like inkscape, Campaign Cartographer and Xara)
    c. Automatic map generating programmes (like Fractal Terrains and some others which can be found online - see the software discussion section in this site).
    d. 3d modelling applications like Bryce.

    All of them have their strengths and weaknesses:

    Vector: Very easy to edit shapes and colours but difficult to make complex and in depth textures.

    Raster: the opposite of vector.

    Automatic map generators: Beautiful maps, but very little control over style and difficult to edit.

    3d modelling: very photorealistic, weaknesses: can be hard to edit, texture and it's hard to get a visual which is not photorealistic.

    There are also hybrid dedicated map making programmes like Dunjinni, for making smaller scale maps.


    I suggest that if you are just starting out using software to make maps that you have a look at the tutorials for GIMP and Inscape in the tutorial section. Don't forget that many of the photoshop tutorials can be applied to GIMP.

    If you have a scanner, then you can do what many here do (and IMHO produce some of the most beautiful maps) which is to scan in your handdrawn artwork and tart it up in GIMP or a similar package.

    Personally, I mostly use a vector application in occasional conjuntion with a raster paint program.

    If it's ease of use that you're after then be warned that CC3, although it has a lot of amazing symbols dedicated to mapping, does have quite a steep initial learning curve, but once you get past that, the results you can get from it can be stunning.

    The real trick is to keep dabbling until you find software that you are comfortable with and stick with that. Have a look at the headings in the tutorial sections (which generally say what software has been used) to get an idea of what software produces what sort of results.

    Hope this was helpful, but if you have any questions, please ask away!


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