I am using ArcGIS for Desktop 10.2.
I am making a topo map that was "drawn" in 1958. I know you can purchase topo maps from USGS but I thought it would be more personal if I made it and printed it and framed it.
I downloaded the DRG quad for Esperance NY (42074g3) from NYS GIS Clearinghouse. After importing the Tif files into ArcMap I realized it didn't look like the topo map you can buy. The differences were that there was no color, and there wasn't the colored in roads or green areas on the map.
I changed the colors, and also checked "display background value" because the tifs were superimposed on each other so you cold only see the topmost layer unless that is checked. I also clipped a roads data set and set the color to how the roads look on a topo map.
After manipulating the colors and transparency I stumbled across another DRG on NRCS GeoSpatial gateway and loaded that in just to see if it was different. Sure enough, THAT looked exactly like a topo map you'd order. Feeling like I had just discovered the easy way out - I decided to compare the two. The "Pre-Made" DRG seemed like it was a lot harder to read with all of the green in the background, also it didn't have any of the reforestation areas that were on my version.
I decided that I would continue to use my version but I want to add something subtle to the map that you don't get from a typical Topo. I added a State Forest shapefile so I could subtly highlight the forest land. I also tried to color in the wetlands so I drew my own little wetland symbol in paint and used that which worked very well.
I've been racking my brain for something to add to the map that wont take away from its "Vintage" feel but also add a cool element to my Topo that will set it apart from any old topo you can buy!