I have a keen interest in Graphics Design and have always wondered how town maps are created I assume it's a mixture of GIS and Photoshop/Illustrator. Anyone here of any experience producing these kind of maps? I'd love to know the process and have a go myself.

I've included an example of something more on the GIS side of the spectrum. I do think this map could be produced with OS Mastermap and coloring the right designated classes but I'm sure this map was likely produced with layers I'm unfamiliar with any ideas?

Ledbury Town Map

To Focus my question could anyone direct me to any resources that discuss this in detail?

  • Go look at CartoTalk where there's been several discussions about this, including how and to whom to market, etc.
    – mkennedy
    Commented Dec 21, 2016 at 15:29

1 Answer 1


BLUF: It might take some time, but a GIS platform is more than capable.

This looks accomplishable in ArcMap 10.x (or better, ArcGIS Pro). Both are GIS platforms. You really only have 3 types of layers:

Points: The trees are just circles with proportional symbol (add a field for tree width) and a gradient fade fill (light green to dark green at a 45 degree angle), the icons are just PNG icon images that can be imported in symbology.

Lines: The roads are just thick, white lines with curved text labels (for more control, I would just manually type the text myself).

Polygons: There are just a series of low-saturated, pastel colored polygons for the regions.

The rest is just a well-organized layout in the layout tab.

  • 1
    We seem to be thinking exactly the same way, I've worked to this using OS Mastermap and Road Link to get the desired effect. I'm just sure this is unlikely to be the way it is done in the real world. Commented Dec 22, 2016 at 11:10
  • Mr prospective: While exporting the basic files to adobe for the final graphic design is a common practice for high-quality cartography, you'd be surprised how many organizations (likely due to staffing and budgetary concerns) are limited to a GIS-only environment for the creation of a final product.
    – Map Man
    Commented Dec 22, 2016 at 13:18

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