I am making a map where I need to create inner outlines, based off of an older map my work did: enter image description here

That was done in ArcGIS, and while I know how to do it there, I don't think it looks good enough, I would like to do that inner outline as more of a soft gradient. I use Illustrator CS6 fairly often with my maps for the finishing touches but I don't have any formal training. I mostly try stuff until it looks right. After doing some playing around, I was able to come kind of close like the picture below: enter image description here

I did that by making the region's fill brown, and selecting the Inner Glow tool (mode: normal, opacity 80%, blur 0.3 in, edge). However, problem with that is that the white part of the region is a white fill, so if I layer it on top of my map I won't be able to see all the stuff on the map underneath it. If I make the white fill "no fill" I lose the inner glow effect.

Any suggestions on how to create that effect on the inside of the border in Illustrator or even ArcGIS desktop? I exported my map from ArcGIS as a pdf, and opened it up in Illustrator to work on this.

  • If you don't get an answer here, check on CartoTalk. – mkennedy Jul 25 '16 at 20:16
  • I think you should focus your question on one of the two options that you are currently considering to prevent your question being too broad. If it does not bear fruit then you can always ask about the other separately. – PolyGeo Jul 25 '16 at 20:42
  • I have to respectfully disagree--overall I want to achieve the effect shown above. I am able to work in Adobe Illustrator, ArcGIS 10.4, or QGIS 2.4 to achieve it. Since a lot of GIS folks dabble in any of those, I am looking for suggestions that use any of them. – rachel.passer Jul 25 '16 at 21:00
  • It's always fine for answerers to offer alternative approaches. It is the questions that I think need to be kept focussed. For this not to be a duplicate you could focus it on QGIS (since it already has an answer for that), and if you need further suggestions on Illustrator then a new question focussed on that would fit the site protocols. As askers I think we need to trust that the GIS Professionals who answer will alert us to alternatives if they think we have better options or are on the wrong track. – PolyGeo Jul 25 '16 at 21:09

I posted this question on another forum with a potential approach, and got a useful suggestion that can be done in QGIS 2.4. It is based off of this article about the Shapeburst Fill.

If I do that, I can achieve this result: http://imgur.com/a/Qpk7k

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