Hi, gang! I'm wondering if any carto-philes out there have experience with real-world urban cartography software and, if so, what those programs might be. I'm assuming USGS folks and the like use a combination of Autocad/Illustrator/Photoshop, but I'd love to hear definitively from someone *in the know.*

My reason for asking: I'm not crazy about any of the gaming-oriented mapping software. I'd much rather use the real deal (though I understand Autocad is about the price of a used car--yikes!). My goal is to create city maps that are a combination of USGS-style work and historical maps (think: Chronicles of Nuremberg or the like in combination with any of a number of historical atlases).

On a secondary note, I've seen *a few* published gaming maps that I also really enjoy (Wizards of the Coast's Cityscape maps by Mike Schley) and would love to be able to achieve that sort of look. To that end, I've contacted a few graphic designers in my area to ask them if they can reverse-engineer the look and turn it into a tutorial so that I can go through the process myself. You know the aphorism: "Give a man a fish...Teach a man to fish..."

...So, for bonus points (and hoping I'm not violating board T.o.S., here), I'll post that question, too: Can any G.D.'s out there take a look at a few map samples (which I can either post or PM) and be able to tell me which software was used and in what fashion? I'm really speaking to the hardcore professionals now, as I'm desperate for publishable-quality design.

Okay, I hope I didn't run at the keys too much. I know there are some great folks around these parts and I'm really looking forward to your responses.

And to Robbie: Thanks again for this great site!

-Leonid (a.k.a. Greg)