Skip navigation
All Places > ArcGIS Maps for Adobe® Creative Cloud® > Blog > Author: SBell-esristaff

My colleagues Nick Brueggemann and Gregory Brunner made a map of the NCAA Tournament rosters showing where the bracket athletes' hometowns are. The data comes from this sports website's NCAA Roster information, where they list the athletes' positions, class, hometown, and other statistics. I asked Nick and Greg if they'd share the geodatabase they created. From that database, I made some handy shapefiles, and was able to add those shapefiles from my local drive to the ArcGIS Maps for Adobe® Creative Cloud® app (M4CC) inside of adobe illustrator


To make these maps, I drew my mapboard at the full global extent, and then added the Women's roster shapefile and Men's roster shapefile using the Compilation window. For information on how to add data to the m4cc Compilation window, check out this useful page


The M4CC app allows you to access ArcGIS Online' s smartmapping tools directly while inside of Adobe Illustrator. I was able to use the graduated symbology to size the athletes' hometown points by the amount of players that come from there. Here's a previous post I wrote showing how to access the Smart Mapping tools using M4CC.


To calculate the distance between each player's hometown and their team's city, I used a handy map math formula in Microsoft Excel. From there, I was able to create bar charts inside of Adobe Illustrator. 


It's interesting to see how far some athletes have relocated!


For more posts and updates on Maps for Creative Cloud, you can follow them here.


NCAA Recruit Map by Sarah Bell

Cartography and data visualization are fed by the confluence of art and science. For this reason, it should be no surprise that many of us cartographers also spend a lot of time drawing, painting, and illustrating. Personally, I find partaking in fine arts to be an important exercise in becoming a better map maker. Oftentimes, when I blog or tweet about a map that I'm working on that takes on a more whimsical or artistic expression, people will ask me "Have you ever made a gaming or fantasy map?" In fact, I've been asked whether or not I've made a fantasy map so many times, that I decided to make one. 


A preview of the Kystfjell fantasy map

Kystfjell Map preview


The land in my fantasy map is called "Kystfjell" (pronounced kist-fyell, but feel free to say kist-fell), which translates from Norwegian to "coastal mountains." Kystfjell exists in a story that I began writing about two years ago. In this post, you'll learn about the tools I used to make the Kystfjell map. I'll share some initial considerations that I took, and how you can use the ArcGIS Maps for Adobe® Creative Cloud® (Maps for CC, or m4cc for short) to make your own map, fantasy or real, in Adobe Illustrator.  I also wrote this Part II post about my design of the Kystfjell map, along with some free Adobe Illustrator assets based upon this map that you can use to design your own map!


Becoming a location scout and set decorator for your fantasy map

Location scouting is an important part of film making. A film's location needs to stay true to the story's ambience, weather, topography, and other environmental characteristics. Once a location scouting team finds the right spot for filming, set decorators can use props, costumes, lighting and other design elements to transform the location into the story's appropriate time period, or even into a fantasy world. While creating the Kystfjell map, I felt like a location scout for the fantasy world that I began writing two years ago. To find the right place on realistic Earth, I imagined the local features and activities like mountain climbing, universities, houses, rivers, and battles that made sense in the fantasy world of Kystfjell.  I then took on the role of set decorator when designing the map to transform this real geographic data into the land of Kystfjell. For more about Kystfjell's design process, stay tuned for part two of this blog series.


Kystfjell's setting is inspired by the combination of the Pacific Northwest - which is where I call home - and Norway. The ecology and landscape considerations are heavily influenced by Washington state's coastline, western rainforests, glaciated peaks, and dry eastern plateaus and valleys. However, Kystfjell needed to be constructed out of islands. Since many people compare the glacially carved, deep-lake gorges of British Columbia and Washington - like that of Lake Chelan - to the fjords of Norway, I made Kystfjell from coastal Norwegian islands. I then took the liberty of rearranging and manipulating the shapes of some of these islands, and even removing others. In the next section, I'll show you how I was able to take map data from those coastal Norwegian islands using the Maps for CC extension, and download them into Adobe Illustrator so that I could turn them into the fantasy setting for Kystfjell. 


Now you might be wondering to yourself, "Why not just draw the islands from scratch in Illustrator?" That's a great question! That is a totally valid approach to making a fantasy map, and one that I will explore someday. Here are a few reasons you might want to leverage the power of real and free geographic data in a fantasy map:

  1. Real geography provides the shapes of land that were formed by real geologic processes. Using it as a starting point  for my very first fantasy map felt like a good way to prevent my map from looking contrived. I wanted it to be fake, but look real.
  2. Getting loads of free map data into Illustrator potentially meant that I didn't need to spend time drawing a bunch of roads and other features. I could get all of these things in one single download.
  3. This is my favorite reason! You may actually want to transform an actual place into a fantasy world. For example, let's say you wanted to illustrate your city as a dystopian futuristic world. It would be much easier to do this using real data that makes up the streets, buildings, and neighborhoods of your city that you are hoping to dystopify. In fact, as I type out this reason, it sounds so appealing to me that perhaps this is my next mapping pursuit! 


Using Maps for Creative Cloud to build your map

To build your map using the M4CC app, you'll first have to download it from the new-and-improved Adobe Add-on page. You can also find a lot of detailed documentation on Esri's M4CC help page for getting started.


The M4CC app makes mapping really easy, even for graphic designers who have never before made a map. Like a lot of mapping software, how you use it depends on the map you are trying to make. With the M4CC app, the first step in actually building the map is to draw a mapboard. A mapboard is the area that you are mapping, which will download into your Artboard in Illustrator. So, if you're building your mapboard as an 11x17-inch tabloid over Peru, your downloaded map will have an 11x17-inch Artboard in Illustrator. But, you could also use what Esri calls a webmap to build your map, in which case you can allow that webmap to inform your mapboard's size. For more info about using a webmap in M4CC, watch this video on the new features in the 1.2 version.


Mapboard Window

For my mapboard, I used the Mapboards tab to zoom into the coastal area of Kristiansund, Norway. One of the new features in the 1.2 version of M4CC is the ability to choose preset mapboard sizes. This is really useful when you're making a map to fit a specific area. I did not use the presets for my Kystfjell map, but instead used a custom 16x24-inch size and also selected to increase the level of map detail.

Note: Increasing map scale will also increase your map download time.

Kystfjell Mapboard in ArcGIS Maps for Adobe CC

Defining the map area for Kystfjell


Compilation Window

After defining my map area, I needed to add data to my map in the Compilation window. By "data" I mean vector and raster map layers that will be converted into editable artwork in Illustrator. My approach for finding the right map data for Kystfjell was pretty exploratory, but I also wanted to use the VectorStreetMap available for free to M4CC users. This is a rich collection of roads, cities, parks, waterbodies, and many other things that can be used to make a map. You can find it in the Compilation Window's Search and Add Layers when browsing from Maps for Creative Cloud.

Maps for Creative Cloud Vector Street Map dataset

Loads of Vector DataKystfjell map with Vector Street Map data added in Compilation window

VectorStreetMap data added to the Kystfjell mapboard in the Compilation window


Now that I added the VectorStreetMap data, I used the Search and Add Layers to explore more layers that were available in this region of the world. When adding data to the Compilation window as you're building your maps, in addition to the Maps for Creative Cloud layers, you can also browse available map data on ArcGIS Online and Esri's Living Atlas of the World. The coolest part about searching for map layers with the M4CC app is that you can find these map layers while never leaving Illustrator. If you are part of an ArcGIS Online organization, you can also host and add data from there as well. Check out this page to learn more about adding data to the Compilation window.


After I added what I felt was sufficient data for designing a my map, I downloaded it into Illustrator, by clicking the Sync  button at the top of the Compilation window.

Sync map into artwork layers arcgis maps for adobe

Processes Window

For my Kystfjell map, I did not take advantage of the useful processes in the Processes window, which is the third and final tab of the M4CC app. Briefly, the Processes window is a place to set up the M4CC app to automatically apply your own custom swatch, brush, and symbol libraries to your map as it downloads! You can also use the Processes window to customize your symbology automatically, after you've downloaded the map as well.Processes window, Maps for Creative Cloud


The downloaded map prior to designing it

Downloaded Map in Illustrator

The image above shows basically what the Kystfjell map looked like in Illustrator before I started styling it. Notice that it has a convenient organized layer structure. All the city points are in one layer, and all the city labels are in their own layer as well. In fact, every data type has its own layer. This makes it really easy to get started on styling any map that you're making. Maps downloaded with the Maps for Creative Cloud extension also come with a layer of data source credits, so you don't have to spend time tracking down that information. Check out Part II, where I show which land I kept, which I moved, and which I removed to make this fantasy map.



In the next post, I also share the details about how I designed the Kystfjell map, including font choices, language and place name choices, texture, and character illustrations! For now, here is a preview of the land of Kystfjell. Enjoy!



Kystfjell Map preview

Helga the Pink, a wise gossipy snail that lives in a well traveled road intersection near Rolig Bay.


Kystfjell Map preview

Kveld Pass, the waterway between Støvler and Østravn.

In this blog post, you'll read about how to create a choropleth map of Minnesota population density using the ArcGIS Maps for Adobe Creative Cloud extension that we are building at Esri.


Last month I had a wonderful time presenting cartography to graphic designers as a guest for three sessions of Adobe Live at Adobe's headquarters in San Francisco. During these live-streams, artists design bits of - or complete - projects, and discuss their process while they design. An audience of creatives viewing the livestream can live chat with the artists as they design. Although I already knew that a lot of today's designers are making maps for their clients, it is always a totally elucidative experience talking about mapping with designers, most of whom have not been formally trained in cartography or GIS. In fact, it's quite humbling. Designers come to mapping with totally fresh eyes that are not weighted down by staying within a box of cartographic rules. The results are stunning. I am always so grateful for these reminders to bend the rules and continue to discover.


Here's the process to make one of the maps I built during an Adobe Live session. It's a choropleth map made with ArcGIS Maps for Adobe Creative Cloud via Illustrator. This is a great exercise for graphic designers who are looking to explore cartography and dataviz a bit more.


TIP - If you don't have it already, you'll need to install ArcGIS Maps for Adobe CC (M4CC) from Adobe Exchange.


Draw Mapboard and Name it

Once you have opened Illustrator and logged into the M4CC extension, zoom to your desired extent, and draw your Mapboard. To do this, click on the Mapboard tool in the upper-left of the Mapboards tab, and draw a box around the area you want to map.

Click on the Mapboard tool in the upper-left of the Mapboards tab

Draw Mapboard Tool M4CC

For this map, I'm making a choropleth map of population density in Minnesota. Really quick, a choropleth map uses color saturation and/or hue to indicate a statistic's value or intensity within usually-adjacent polygons - or as some non-mappers might call them - color-coded maps.


Once you've drawn your mapboard over the extent that you want to map, you'll be prompted to give your mapboard a name in the Mapboard Options dialog. You'll also be able to specify your map's size here. I've named mine "MinnesotaPopulationDensity" and I left the scale and size as they were.  


TIP - Whatever you name your mapboard will also be the name of your downloaded Illustrator file. If your mapboard name is identical to an AI file in the same file location where you will download your map, then you will be prompted to give your mapboard a new name.


Name your mapboard.

Naming and Sizing of ArcGIS Maps for CC mapboard


Full mapboard extent over Minnesota

Mapboard extent, ArcGIS Maps for Adobe CC


Add Map Data in the Compilation Window

Go to the M4CC Compilation window. This might be hiding underneath your Mapboards window. In the image above, I've docked the Compilation and Processes windows together with my Mapboards window. 

When you get to the Compliation Window, you'll see a preview of your map. The current version of the M4CC extension uses a raster basemap for reference. You can zoom to make this preview larger, but note that the raster basemap, and any raster data that you add to this map will be a bit blurry in the preview if you do. To zoom back out, just press the Alt key while zooming.


There are a few different ways of adding data, and a few different data types you can add. For this demo, I'm going to add the "USA Counties" map layer that is available on ArcGIS Online. This is all made possible because this extension leverages the "Cloud" part of the Adobe Creative Cloud, and therefore allows you to access ArcGIS Online within Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop. Click the Search and Add Content button, and select Add Layers from the menu. This will bring up the Add Layers dialog.


Click the Search and Add Content button, and select Add Layers from the menu

Add map data to Compilation window in ArcGIS Maps for Adobe CC


Adding Counties to the Map

In the Add Layers dialog choose "ArcGIS Online" from the Browse Location dropdown, and type "USA Counties" in the search box next to it. You can also filter to "Show Vector Layers" from the data type dropdown beneath the search box. Then click on the plus ("+") icon in the "USA Counties (Generalized)" layer from the list of data layers that appear. This will add the layer to your map. Note - You may need to scroll a little to get to this layer.


Add the "USA Counties (Generalized)" layer to your map


Compilation window preview after adding the "USA Counties (Generalized)" layer


Adding States to the Map

You could sync/download this map now, and make a map with just the counties. However, let's add some reference spatial data to this map. We'll start with state boundaries. Performing the same steps as above, click the Search and Add Content button, and select "Add Layers" from the menu. This time type "USA States" in the search box, and scroll until you see "USA States (Generalized)." Click the plus ("+") icon, adding this layer to your map.

Adding the Great Lakes to the Map

The Great Lakes are a huge part of the spatial identity for much of the Upper Midwest. There is a good reason for this: the Great Lakes region is magnificently beautiful. Even though this map is not about lakes, we can add Lake Superior to this map in a sleek way so that it doesn't distract from the map's population density theme. In fact, adding Lake Superior and the states as map data with a low visual hierarchy will give a nice spatial reference for people who may not be familiar with the exact geography of Minnesota. In other words, let's not have a map where Minnesota is a floating island if we don't have to.


Performing the same steps that you did to add the counties and states, search for "Lakes_World" and add the "Lakes_World_Robinson" layer. This is a layer hosted by Esri's GeoInquiriesfor schools, which is a great GIS education resource. 

Styling the Choropleth

Since the map you are building in the Compilation Window is essentially being built in the ArcGIS Online environment, you have access to a lot of ArcGIS Online styling tools. Instead of raving about how amazing it is that you can access ArcGIS Online map data and leverage the fantastic ArcGIS Online geo-dataviz styling tools inside of Illustrator I'll move on. (Seriously, though. ArcGIS Online map styling is really great). 



Click on the Change Style painter's palette icon in the "USA Counties (Generalized)" layer. This will bring up ArcGIS styling tools.

Click on the Change Style painter's palette icon

Change Style in ArcGIS Maps for Adobe CCFrom the Choose an attribute to show dropdown menu, choose the top "Pop. per Sq. Mi." from the list as this is the most current population data for this layer. These values from which you're choosing are U.S. Census data attributes for each of the USA counties. 

From the Choose an attribute to show dropdown menu, choose the bottom "Pop. per Sq. Mi."

Choose an attribute to show, ArcGIS Maps for Adobe CC


Now, you get to choose a drawing style. Among the four choices you're provided, Counts and Amounts (Color) and Counts and Amounts (Size) make the most sense for a population density map. Since we're making a choropleth, choose Counts and Amounts (Color) by clicking the Options button. This will bring up some dataviz decision tools. If you're comfortable with dataviz, then feel free to style the data as you wish. For the purpose of this demo, here are some useful instructions on updating the dataviz for this choropleth.


Update Class Breaks

Change the Class Breaks number to "6" by either typing the number in the box, or clicking the up arrow once. 


*IMPORTANT* The choropleth in the Compilation window is created from all USA counties, the most densely populated being nearly 70 thousand people per square mile. Minnesota's most dense county is Ramsey County, at just above 3 thousand people per square mile. For this reason, this demo will have all values above 3,000 in the highest category in the Compilation window. This will be addressed in the downloaded AI file.


Because a lot of Minnesota's counties are really sparsely populated, the first category will be 1-10 people per square mile. To do this, very carefully click on the bottom value in the Change Symbol Style dials and in the entry box type "10" just like the image below.

ArcGIS Online Class breaks in Maps for Adobe CCNow your first category will be 0-10. You can click on the Legend tab (seen in the image above next to the Classes tab) to view this new category you just updated. Now, back in the Classes tab, use the same process to create the following categories:

  • >3,000 to 70,267 (this monstrosity of a category will be addressed in the downloaded map)
  • >1,000 to 3,000
  • >500 to 1,000
  • >100 to 500
  • >10 to 100
  • 0 - 10 


Click OK. Your map should look something like this:

TIP - If you would like to update the colors of the choropleth, you can choose among several gorgeous ArcGIS Online color palettes by clicking Change Symbol Style. For this map, make sure you are choosing a sequential (a sequence of light-to-dark) color scheme and that the lighter color represents the category with the smallest values. 

Optional choropleth color schemes in ArcGIS Online

Label the Counties

Another really convenient mapping option you have with this extension - all made possible by accessing ArcGIS Online through the Cloud - is that you can add labels. Let's add county labels. The database that makes up the counties has a column of the county names. We can use this column to add the labels. To do this, click on the Manage Labels tool in the USA Counties layer that you just styled:

Manage Labels ArcGIS Maps for Adobe CCThe "Name" category should automatically be chosen for you. If not, just select "Name" from the Text dropdown menu. The default size of the labels is too big to allow all the Minnesota county names to fit. For this reason, you'll want to change the font size to "5" and un-bold the labels. Then click OK. Don't worry about the font because you can update that in Illustrator,

Download/Sync Your Map into Illustrator

Now you should have tiny labels in each of the Minnesota counties, a choropleth that indicates counties' population density, part of Lake Superior, and a USA States layer. This means that you're ready to download the map into Illustrator and start designing!

Sync map into artwork layers arcgis maps for adobe


Style Your ArcGIS-created Map in Illustrator!

Your downloaded map is ready to be styled. Here are a few tips to follow to make a Minnesota Population Density Map from the map you just downloaded (for all these tips to make sense, see the completed map that follows):

  1. Delete all the counties outside of Minnesota since this is a Minnesota-specific map.
  2. Remove the Fill color from your USA States (Generalized) layer. Also, make sure this layer is above your counties layer.
  3. Remove the basemap, and allow the area in Canada to be a space for your map's title.
  4. It's pretty cool that you get a scalebar, but it isn't necessary or advised for this type of map. Delete both of them.
  5. Build a legend based upon the categories that you built in the Compilation window. These categories are conveniently preserved in the layer structure:

IMPORTANT - When building your legend, make sure the highest category is no higher than 4,000. Remember that the densest county in Minnesota only has 3,100 people per square mile.

Layer Structure categories preserved


Completed Project 

Of course, depending on your style your map will look slightly or even drastically different. Still, here's my finished map of Minnesota Population density. Happy mapping!


Minnesota Population Density

At last month’s Adobe MAX 2017, I had the opportunity to present  how easy it is to make data-driven maps in the new Version 1.1 of the ArcGIS Maps for Creative Cloud (M4CC) extension m4cc Creative Cloud Mapping.The audience was fantastic! One of the things I really appreciated about this audience was that the majority was made up of designers who did not come from a cartography background, yet they still were eager to integrate maps in their great design work. Their keen eye for design can produce spectacular looking maps.

Top 10 Destinations map

Here is the demo that I shared to make a Top Ten Locations map with the M4CC extension in Illustrator:

Below is Expedia’s list of the ten busiest Labor Day destinations, which can also be found in this article by PR Newswire.

  1. New York
  2. Las Vegas
  3. Los Angeles
  4. Orlando
  5. Chicago
  6. Seattle
  7. San Francisco
  8. Denver
  9. Dallas
  10. Atlanta

While this list is informative on its own, a map of these Top 10 cities could add some useful visual context for this article’s readers. Here is how I turned this list of cities into a “Top 10 Locations” map.

Step 1 - Create a CSV file of the ten cities

The first quick step was to recreate this list of 10 cities in a program like Excel, and then save as a Comma Separated Value – or CSV – file. In the article, the list is ordered where 1 is the most visited city, and 10 is the 10th-most visited city. But since I wanted to put the cities as points on a map, and then make the city points’ sizes based upon some sort of rank column in the CSV file, I flipped this order as follows: Since New York city needs to be the biggest point, I’ve flipped the order of this Rank column, so that the most visited city has the highest rank, the second most visited city has the second highest rank, and so on. Then I saved the CSV file, and closed it.

Step 2 - Define the map area by drawing a mapboard

In Illustrator, you can open the M4CC extension (Windows –> Extension –> ArcGIS Maps for Adobe Creative Cloud), and go to the Mapboards tab to define your map area by zooming and panning in/out until you are happy with the map, and then clicking on the mapboard tool to draw your extent over the area you want to map.  Since this list of destinations is all in the lower 48 United States, that is where I defined my mapboard.

Mapboard tool

I was prompted to name my mapboard and had options to change the map dimensions and map scale. Note that changing the dimensions and scale can change your map’s extent. If this occurs, you can also manually readjust the extent again.

Step 3 – Add some layers to the map

By clicking on the Compilation tab, I added layers that fit the purpose of my map. For my demo at Adobe MAX, I chose the option Overwrite from Map from the Choose and Add Layers button. I selected a web map called “Political Map” which contains country boundaries, US state boundaries, and a few other layers. The image below shows the Choose and Add Layers button as well as the layers that come with this map added to my Compilation. I deleted “World cities,” “World Urban Areas,” and “Ocean Background” from my contents since I didn’t want those layers in the downloaded map. Here is a helpful piece on on adding data to the Compilation window.

Add Layers

Now my map and contents looked like this image below (click to enlarge). Since I also needed to add that CSV file from step 1 to this map before I download, I wanted to make the cities in this CSV file easier to see. You can do some pre-styling to your map in this extension before downloading into Illustrator.

Default style of the added map layers

  • Click on the painter’s palette symbol in the layer name of any layer in the Contents to symbolize in Illustrator. This will allow you to symbolize by an attribute (which is covered in step 5), or just choose to symbolize by location so that each feature in the layer will have the same symbol. For changing the colors of the states to a neutral gray, I chose the ”Location (Single symbol)” option (see first image below), then clicked “Options”, to chose a light gray from the color options that appear. I did the same thing for the World Countries layer. Now my map looks like the second image below:

Making the map layers neutral/gray in with M4CC style options

Step 4 – Add the CSV file that you created

To add my CSV file from step 1, I used the “Search and Add Content” button. This time I chose “Add Layer from file.” This option will allow you to browse to the location where you have saved .TXT files, .CSV files, and zipped shapefiles to add to your map. Then just select your file and click “Open.” For my list of Top 10 Cities, ArcGIS  automatically knew where these large cities are located. The second image below (click to enlarge) illustrates the automatic placement after adding the CSV file to the map.

Add CSV File via "Add Layer from File" in the "Search & Add Content" dropdown

City points automatically added to map

All the cities are the same size point. So I accessed ArcGIS Online’s Smart Mapping tools to symbolize this layer based upon the data.

Step 5 – Graduated Symbology

I clicked the Change Style button (painter’s palette) on the new city points layer to bring up the ArcGIS Smart Mapping options for this layer. Since the cities’ sizes should be based upon the magnitude of visitation during Labor Day, the “Rank” column from the Choose an attribute to show dropdown was selected. This indicates that the points will be symbolized by that attribute. The image below (click to enlarge) shows the default graduated symbology that is automatically applied by choosing to symbolize by the “Rank” column.

Default graduated symbols based on "Rank" column

The difference in symbol size between the least visited city and most visited city is not that large. To make it absolutely clear, I chose to increase the difference in these symbols’ size by choosing the Options from Counts and Amounts (Size) in the image above.

The options that appear allow for some pretty detailed statistical symbology. Users can choose to add or subtract the amount of class breaks, which will give them more (or fewer) categories by which their data can be symbolized. I left this as the default amount, which was 5. Users can also change the minimum and maximum sizes of their graduated symbology. I kept the minimum at 8 pixels, and increased the maximum to 100 pixels.

Custom graduated symbology size

Step 6 – Adding Labels to the new graduated symbology

This extension allows you to add labels to your map. These labels will be downloaded with your map as easily editable text. To label these graduated symbols, I just clicked the Manage Lables button next to the cities’ layer “Top 10.” By default, the “City” column from the CSV file’s data is used to create labels, which is great since that column contains the city names. To make these city labels easily differentiated in my downloaded map, I changed the color of these labels in this Manage Labels window by clicking the color icon.

Optional Step – Change the projection

Mappers can choose from many different projections with the M4CC extension. Since my map is over the contiguous United States, I chose the USA Contiguous Albers Equal Area Conic from the map settings options’ Map Projection dropdown. To change the map projection, just click on the Settings button in the top toolbar of the compilation window. Give the extension a moment to reproject your data depending on the amount.

Note:If you still have a raster basemap in your contents, it will be removed from your map once you reproject your map.

map settings button

Map settings window

Step 7 – Download and apply your design skills!

Once I was done with step 6, my map was ready to download into Illustrator. I also did the optional step of reprojecting. To download my map, I just clicked the Sync (cloud icon seen in the optional step above) button. Here is the results of my download prior to adding any design in Illustrator:

downloaded map in Illustrator before custom design

Notice that the “Top_10″ layer is categorized by the categories that I defined in step 5. This organization can be really useful for design efficiency, especially if you have many symbols to manage.

Here is the final result that I shared with the Adobe MAX 2017 audience:

@Top 10 Destinations map@

Whenever you open a document in Adobe Illustrator that contains a font that is not on your computer, Illustrator will warn you The document uses fonts that are currently not available on your computer. You have the option to locate the missing font on your computer, sync the font, or close and move forward to the .ai file. The .ai file will use Adobe's default font, Myriad Pro, and highlight the text in pink to show you the text where fonts and glyphs are substituted with Myriad Pro. This blog post shows you how to hide the pink warning highlight from your text in your .ai document.

Pink highlighted text in Illustrator due to missing font

When downloading a map into Illustrator using the ArcGIS Maps for Adobe Creative Cloud extension, the font is oftentimes already on your operating system. In the event that you are downloading a map that contains a font your system doesn't have, your map's text will be highlighted like the labels in the map above.


Remove Pink Highlights from your text


With the .AI file open, go to the Edit menu, and select Preferences ->Type like the first image below. In the Preferences window, deselect Highlight Substituted Fonts, shown in the second image below. This will remove the highlights from your text.


In your 

Fix pink highlighted text due to missing font in Illustrator


To turn back on the highlights, check the box next to the Highlight Substituted Fonts again.

At last month's Esri User Conference, we got to show our first release of ArcGIS Maps for Adobe Creative Cloud to a lot of people. Two of the most frequent questions we got were: 1) What type of data can this application access?, and 2) Can I see some samples made with this application? So, I am writing this post which provides map samples made entirely from data that was downloaded from  - or uploaded into - Maps for Creative Cloud into Illustrator and Photoshop, listing the source for each dataset. Enjoy!


Climbing legend Fred Beckey's first ascents, first routes, and first winter ascents in the path of the 2017 Solar Eclipse

First ascents and first climbing routes by Fred Beckey in the path of the 2017 Solar Eclipse

This map is inspired by the upcoming 2017 North American Solar Eclipse. Fred Beckey is a living legend. At 94 years old, the Seattle-based climber has more first ascents than any other climber in North America. Not surprisingly, some of those FAs fall within the solar eclipse's path. The map above was made with shapefiles that were added to the Maps for Creative Cloud extension. This new feature is convenient for mappers who want to compile data from ArcGIS Online as well as data that they may have locally. Shapefiles need to be in a zipped folder, and then they can be added to the map in the Compilation Window along with data from ArcGIS Online. Another new feature of the Maps for Creative Cloud extension allows you to reproject your maps, like I have with this Fred Beckey map. For more information on how to add content to your map with this extension, including shapefiles, check out this useful page.


North American Pacific Northwest's Salish Sea

North America's Salish Sea and surrounding areas, Pacific Northwest

The Salish Sea map was made with the following layers, all downloaded from ArcGIS Maps for Adobe Creative Cloud:

  • Natural Earth (vector data downloaded into Illustrator)
  • World Hillshade (raster data downloaded into Illustrator)
  • World Ocean Basemap (raster downloaded into Illustrator)


Boston's Beacon Hill neighborhood map, in a Norwegian mid-century folk art theme

Boston's Beacon Hill neighborhood map, mid-century folk theme

The theme for this map was inspired by all the Nordic folk art that surrounded me as a kid. The data comes from the City of Boston, and was all added to the Maps for Creative Cloud extension by searching in the ArcGIS Online option, and downloaded into Illustrator. The ponds, trees, ducks, and hospitals were added manually in Illustrator after download. The traffic signal symbol is a custom symbol in one of my personal Illustrator symbol libraries. This point dataset's symbols were all automatically replaced in one step during download, which saved a lot of time! To find out out to automatically replace point symbology in one fast step with this extension, watch this video.



Follow me @cerebellumaps

Many designers prefer to do their layouts in Adobe© InDesign©. When a map is part of your final layout, ArcGIS Maps for Adobe Creative Cloud is a seamless solution for integrating your custom designed maps into your final product. This post describes the easy steps for placing your Illustrator- and Photoshop-designed maps into your InDesign layout.


Determine the size of the final map

If you are designing a map that will be used in an InDesign layout, the best starting point is to determine the exact size in the layout where the map will be placed. You can place a rectangle frame where the map will be positioned, and use that as the guidelines for your map's final size. In the example layout below, I have placed a 4.77 in. x 4.77 in. rectangle frame, which is exactly the size I want my map to be in my final product.

ArcGIS Maps for Adobe Creative Cloud© in InDesign©


Create your map using ArcGIS Maps for Adobe Creative Cloud

Once you have determined the size of your map, open the Maps for Creative Cloud extension in Photoshop or Illustrator, and make a mapboard of the same size in Illustrator© or Photoshop© by drawing a mapboard over the area. Then adjust the values for width and height to match your determined map size. Add map data and design your map as usual. For more useful tips on using the Maps for Creative Cloud extension, visit the comprehensive help page, and YouTube channel.


ArcGIS Maps for Adobe Creative Cloud in InDesign

ArcGIS Maps for Adobe Creative Cloud in InDesign


Place your map file into InDesign

After you have created your map, and saved it you can now place it into your InDesign layout. Select the rectangle frame where you will be placing your map, and from the File drop-down menu, select Place. Then browse to the map that you created in Photoshop or Illustrator, and select it. NOTE: The map might appear pixelated in your InDesign layout, however it should resolve in the final PDF. 

ArcGIS Maps for Adobe Creative Cloud in InDesign

ArcGIS Maps for Adobe Creative Cloud in InDesign