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What softwares can I use to make maps of:

I'm planning to make ethnic and linguistic distribution maps of South China region. I wonder if anyone of you, who is expert on map making, knows what kind of software (free softwares only) should I use to create such high quality and detailed maps for South China region. I would make them and then upload on Wikipedia.

closed as too broad by Chris W, Michael Stimson, Stephen Lead, PolyGeo Jul 14 '15 at 3:14

Please edit the question to limit it to a specific problem with enough detail to identify an adequate answer. Avoid asking multiple distinct questions at once. See the How to Ask page for help clarifying this question. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    Welcome to GIS SE. I'm afraid you're going to need to backtrack to do more research on what GIS is before asking a question which would result in only a few paragraphs of response. Any mapping package can make good maps with the right data, but obtaining that data could be a great deal of effort, and "high-quality" maps may not be possible for a novice. Please take the Tour to better understand how to ask a question here. – Vince Jun 28 '15 at 13:31
  • What do you mean by that? do you mean that I'm posting on a wrong stackexchange site? But I notice that only GIS stackexchange is related about map. What site else can I post this ? – stephenranger Jun 28 '15 at 14:07
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    We would need more information about the data you have and what format it is in to be able to offer any help. As Vince mentioned, pretty much any GIS or mapping software can be used to create maps. High-quality is somewhat subjective and might require publication software like Adobe Illustrator in addition to the mapping software. The most common recommendation for free GIS software is likely to be QGIS. – Chris W Jun 28 '15 at 17:35
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    While GIS has significant overlap with cartography, they are not nearly the same thing. While you may have the latent talent to create high quality maps from as-yet-unnamed data, asking for GIS software in this context is equivalent to asserting that word processing software is the only thing lacking in creation of a Pulitzer-winning novel. – Vince Jun 28 '15 at 18:13
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    If you cannot even describe the format of the data you have, then I'm afraid this question likely too broad for this site. As an aside, you mention creating maps and uploading them to Wikipedia. I would be highly skeptical of any such information uploaded without references or citation of sources, and might even expect it to be removed from Wikipedia. I also think you severely underestimate the effort required for cartography if you describe it as 'nothing difficult' and 'not a big deal'. – Chris W Jun 29 '15 at 17:12
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QGIS is free and open source GIS software that has all of the functionality you would need to create maps such as the one you link to. There are a wide variety of QGIS tutorials, although I would recommend the Making a Map tutorial in your case.

Additional Resources:

  • Thanks for your recommendation. I'm trying it now. When I get problem, I would come here and ask you, right? – stephenranger Jun 29 '15 at 2:10
  • You would want to open a new question. Best of luck! – Aaron Jun 29 '15 at 2:26

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