OpenStreetMap in MAPublisher

For many areas on earth, OpenStreetMap data is a viable alternative to commercially offered data sources. It is, however, not always very easy to process. This tutorial explains the steps you need to take to load OpenStreetMap data into MAPublisher.

1. Download and install QGis, this is a free GIS application, available for Windows, Mac and Linux computers. Make sure that after the installation finishes, you activate the OpenStreetMap plugin (Plugins -> Plugin settings).

2. Go to OpenStreetMap.org in your web browser and zoom in to the area of interest. Keep in mind that downloads from the OpenStreetMap website are limited in the number of exported objects, so for larger areas you will have to combine multiple downloads yourself, or look for other options (for example Geofabrik or Cloudmade).

3. Go to the export tab and pick OpenStreetmap XML. Save this file as map.osm (it may take a while)

4. Open map.osm in QGis. Tick all options. Note: this uses theĀ  “Load OSM from file” option in the OpenStreetMap plugin.

This results in 3 layers: points, lines and polygons. Note that the OpenStreetMap export will not crop objects, but you can do this later on in MAPublisher.

5.Export these layers one by one by right-clicking and choosing “Save as shapefile” (I have a Dutch language version of QGis installed, so it says something different in the screenshot)

This will get you 3 shapefiles. These can be imported into Illustrator using MAPublisher. After reprojecting, scaling and cropping we’ve ended up with the raw OpenStreetMap vectors in Illustrator, with all attributes still attached.

6. We can now set up a MAPublisher stylesheet to connect Illustrator styles to selections on the OpenStreetMap data. These stylesheets and styles can, once defined, be reused indefinately. This will save you a lot of time in the future and will also help enforce a consistent look across multiple maps.

Stylesheets can be used for points, lines and areas.

MAPublisher can also do automatic labelling thanks to the extension LabelPro
LabelPro tries to place the texts from attributes (in this case street names) so that they don’t overlap, using a set of user-defined rules.

The end result. Not a fully finished map yet, but if the styles and stylesheet rules are predefined, a trained operator can produce this from scratch in about 10-15 minutes.

Using these steps you can quickly set up a base map that can then be further refined by a cartographer.

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