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Often times in planning projects, a hand drawn, sketchy look is desirable in order to convey the preliminary nature of a project.

Is anyone aware of any utilities/plugins for desktop GIS software (ArcGIS, QGIS etc.) that enable the user to apply a hand drawn, sketchy look to feature symbology without modifying the geometry?

Here is a product called M-Color for AutoCAD that does the sort of thing that I am looking for but it is of course CAD centric:

This sort of thing can also be achieved in SketchUp using styles. The best solution would be one that would eliminate intermediate steps, allowing the user to stay in a single software environment and avoid any intermediate export/import steps.

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Sounds like a very useful plugin for Catrographic Representations. I hope there are some good suggestions! – RyanDalton May 10 '12 at 14:55
Not a plugin, but could be used as a base layer in QGIS: the rather amazing watercolour renderings of OSM maps by Stamen design. I've been wanting a way do something like it directly in QGIS. – Simbamangu May 10 '12 at 15:03
Wow! Thanks for the link to the watercolor rendering for OSM. I also like these OSM renderings - – Brent Edwards May 10 '12 at 15:09
This is a cool idea. Going to see how hard this would be to do in QGIS. – Nathan W May 11 '12 at 14:30
I submitted the idea to ESRI - – Brent Edwards May 16 '12 at 12:23

MapBox recently released a style called Pencil to emulate hand-drawn base maps. They actually mention the style is based on real hand-drawn lines. Paper textures are also added to achieve nice effects:

enter image description here

Looking at the past, in 2010 Microsoft published Destination Maps, an on-line utility to automatically generate map sketches, allowing users to indicate how to access a certain point.

enter image description here

Everything seems to go back to Agrawalas's work (2001) on generalization and distortion of route maps for improving usability.

enter image description here

It would be marvelous to have similar styles in GIS software. I think distorted maps would be more a sort of image product, not something to interact with. I remember that generating a destination map used to take a while.

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Cheers for the info! I recently checked out MapBox's impressive Pencil style. I have experimented a bit with vector drawing editors like Inkscape. Inkscape has some interesting vector path tools such as the sketch and hatch tools :… I have tweaked a couple of PDF maps using these tools to achieve some interesting "hand drawn" effects. This option requires extra export/import steps but it is definitely worth checking out. – Brent Edwards Feb 27 '15 at 20:17
Thanks @BrentEdwards for sharing information on the topic. – Germán Carrillo Feb 27 '15 at 20:57

there is vector action pack here for photoshop, maybe it works who want to convert their symbology to vector is only $5.. there is video here, about how can use it..


i hope it helps you...

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Thanks for the link. Personally, I find these styles a bit too cartoon-like. Unfortunately, I do not have access to Photoshop/Illustrator. – Brent Edwards May 16 '12 at 12:59

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