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After seeing the $600 price tag for Adobe Illustrator, I am especially interested in learning open source solutions for finishing maps created in a GIS. What open source, or commonly available, software do you use to add the finishing touches (e.g. arrows, textures, colors, graphics, text, etc) to maps created in Arc, QGIS, or your choice of GIS software? Examples welcome.

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up vote 11 down vote accepted

I use Inkscape:

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so do I use inkscape - has come a longway in a short space of time. – Mapperz Jul 4 '12 at 13:46
I agree, it is a great program. There is a plugin for QGIS that will export GIS layers to a SVG file that can be read by Inkscape. The SVG is organized by the layers in the Table of Contents in QGIS, its a nice plugin. SimpleSVG. – Ryan Garnett Jul 4 '12 at 14:12
+1 Great, thanks johanvdw. I had no idea such a sophisticated open source solution existed. – Aaron Jul 4 '12 at 14:33
+1 for Inkscape - the nicest looking open source software!! – vinayan Jul 4 '12 at 15:17

See this popular thread: GIS Pros - What free programs should every GIS user have installed?

From there I would suggest Gimp and Inkscape. Scribus may be interesting too, if you have more complex publishing needs.

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