Illustrated Innovation: Making Illustrated Maps With Google Maps

 Jul, 14 - 2017   Web Tech


With innovations in technology, a lot of things once thought impossible are now not only possible, but doable on a regular basis.

In the olden days of mapmaking, a cartographer had to travel to the place they were making a map of. Artists had to visit whatever they were making an image of. And don’t get us started on how hard it is to make a portrait back then, for both artist and subject.

Now we have things like Google Earth, helping people see places they’ve never been to. Useful for virtual sightseeing, and for people making an Illustrated Map. Now, people can ‘walk’ streets, ‘visit’ landmarks and the like, all without spending a dime. Convenient, isn’t it?

Now, if you plan on using Google Earth for making an Illustrated Map, here are some tips.

  • Landmark marked.
    • A good place to start when it comes to knowing where you are is a landmark. Illustrating a map is no different. With Google Earth, you can use the ‘My Places’ function, to highlight key landmarks. Worth noting is that, sometimes, there might be a change in scenery that’s not updated in Google Earth, so it’s well worth looking to the landmark’s website, or for any recent publications showing that place.
  • Pics or didn’t happen.
    • Now that Google Earth has shown you the aerial overview, take the time to go to Street View to take screenshots. Part of the issue of making an Illustrated Map is that, as a creative piece, it has to reflect the place it’s depicting. So use Street View to get a feel for the place, which you’ll be using when you work with your map.
  • Lay it out.
    • Using Google Earth, get the layout of the streets of the place you’ll be illustrating. This part of the process will also give you an idea of how much space you’ll have for the ‘illustrating’ bit, as it gives you the composition of the area, which is key for making illustrated maps.
  • Take the tour, and add a splash of color.
    • Now that you have your layout, head for the landmarks again. Take a look at them, and see if there’s a common theme. This common theme is a great place to start with a color scheme. Lots of pizzerias? Brown with red. Lots of vineyards? Green and purple (grapes).

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