As GIS/cartography capable people... what do you advise when faced with "can you show me how to make a simple map?" questions from non-GIS capable people? Some answers I can think of (depending on the enquirer) are:

  • Go to Google Maps and use their tools, then print the page (but take note of copyright issues).

  • Export a raster image from Openstreetmap (using the Bigmap service or the openstreetmap.org share dialogue), display this in Powerpoint as an image and draw on top of it using Powerpoint tools.

  • Do this but put the image into your favourite powerful raster graphics application to edit.

  • Export a vector image from Openstreetmap (using the openstreetmap.org share dialogue) and import this into your favourite vector graphics app so you can draw on it.

I'm looking for answers which do NOT involve downloading new software or setting up a simple GIS system or learning a new complicated process. I can think of solutions using web-GIS tools or QGIS or specially designed systems - but in this case I'm looking for answers which would apply to any random enquirer who has basic computer skills and access to relatively standard software with which they are already familiar.

It might not be entirely obvious but I'd also like comments about simple common pieces of software which work well for drawing markers/lines/words/etc on top of either a raster or vector map image - or an equivalent process with which a map can be customised. I mention this because I recently discovered how useful Powerpoint and its equivalents can be (this is not obvious) for handling documents which are heavily based on annotated photographs (but which are never intended for use as a presentation).

Thanks for your thoughts.

  • maposmatic.org makes it easy to make maps in minutes for anyone using openstreetmap – Mapperz Dec 2 '14 at 16:44
  • An interesting start (I hadn't come across this one and I'm pleased to have found it) - limited to a small number of rendering styles but more than are available at Openstreetmap.org at least. Result feeds into the same workflow as I suggest above (producing a vector or raster image which you can then draw on using appropriate software). – Rostranimin Dec 2 '14 at 16:59
  • I think your question is too open ended and likely to attract opinions. I recommend that you convert it to Community Wiki. – PolyGeo Dec 2 '14 at 21:44
  • I didn't know such a thing existed, but your reasoning seems sound. I agree that the question is somewhat open ended - although it's not 'opinions' I'm looking for so much as a list of several firm solutions - where different solutions will apply in different circumstances. – Rostranimin Dec 3 '14 at 9:59
  • Is there anything like maposmatic which will let you add your own data - shapefiles, raster etc.? – Ian Dec 19 '16 at 7:23

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