The aim My current aim is to create a series of (heavily) stylized diagrams and maps. I'm not very familiar with any GIS software, so my weapon of choice would be to use illustrator for creating the maps (the source would be from a GIS system, so the input would be among the lines of a shapefile and is negiotiable).

The problem So far so good, and I do not forsee any problems in this. The main question: how can the workflow from illustrator to any kind of tileserver with the goal to be displayed in google maps / Openlayers or something alike be achieved as painless as possible?

Vector vs Pixels: My idea now is to use a tileserver, because I think rasterizing the images will be easier then to import the styles from illustrator back to a GIS server. However, vectorized data might mean a lot less data to transfer and a better user experience.

Also: Would you recommend this workflow? Am I going about this the wrong way?

Your ideas and suggestions are highly appreciated.

  • can you add/link to an example map?
    – Ian Turton
    Jun 20, 2011 at 19:24
  • Don't have it right now, it should not be too relevant - but I'll try to find a good reference.
    – Arend
    Jun 20, 2011 at 20:49
  • 3
    without seeing what you are trying to do it's hard to make recommendations but I wouldn't try to go down that route
    – Ian Turton
    Jun 20, 2011 at 20:55
  • Thanks for taking the effort to reply - today I'll get back with the images.
    – Arend
    Jun 21, 2011 at 6:22

2 Answers 2


If your data is dynamic and changes frequently, don't fix your style in rasters. Have you considered using SLD (Styled Layer Descriptor)? There is a cookbook from GeoServer with nice examples here:


If you don't want to code SLD but need a WYSIWYG editor, there is Styler from OSGeo (though I have not yet worked with it seriously):


  • Thanks for these suggestions, the style will not be very dynamic (also why illustrator is an option in my mind).
    – Arend
    Jun 21, 2011 at 6:23
  • There is no problem styling a static map with SLD
    – Ian Turton
    Jun 21, 2011 at 21:02

Use MapPublisher 8.5 (for Adobe Illustrator)


You can Export to Flash (including live feeds)

An Example is this US Weather Map with Live Feeds

enter image description here


  • Thanks for adding this, I'll try it out, it seems very nice
    – Arend
    Jun 22, 2011 at 6:58

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