I am doing a mapping project based on a 19th century map and updating it to an accurate to scale map. I am not familiar with the software in the cartography category, but I wonder if any of the packages listed on the forum can import esri shape files or geo-referenceable tiff files to use as a base map that can then be enhanced to give it the look of an 'artistic map', like the maps I have seen on this forum. Since the map will need to be scalable, I believe the software must also be vector based, and the shape files I have are vector files. My objective is to create a map with some 3D relief in the style of the hand created maps of the 18th and 19th centuries. Would appreciate any advice from the experienced. The map work I have seen here is absolutely stunning, and while I don't think I can quite do the level of work I have seen here, I do want to produce a map that is visually appealing and usable in education programs.
Illustrator and Inkscape are the first two vector apps that come to mind. Inkscape is free, Illustrator is not. Most raster apps can handle the tiff files as well. Terragen does a really nice job of taking a tiff file and making it into a 3d terrain but it's not the easiest app to learn how to use properly. A newbie can turn out something halfway decent but "stunning" requires much more experience. Personally, I'd recommend looking at Inkscape first and see if it suits you.