FME and the Art of Cartography
“If geography is prose, maps are iconography.” So said Lennart Meri – writer, film director, and second President of Estonia. And so if the cartographer is a hybrid of geographer and artist, why not pick the best tools of both worlds?
Hans van der Maarel of Red Geographics in the Netherlands does – and FME plays a key role. Hans has been using Avenza MAPublisher® and Adobe® Illustrator® for fifteen years to produce stunning cartographic products. From digital map products to wall maps, atlases, and even the coolest globe-patterned beanbag chairs we’ve ever seen, creativity is stamped all over his work.
Until recently, he was using FME standalone, pre-processing his data and writing to a short list of MAPublisher supported formats. With Avenza’s recent release of their FME connector for MAPublisher, his workflow has been streamlined – and flexibility gained. The new ability to directly read in any vector format supported by FME, even enterprise Oracle databases, eliminates both the extra steps and the limitations imposed by interim file formats.
Adobe Illustrator isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when you’re talking about mapping. But as Hans tells us, “Our GIS system creates maps based on data visualization rules. Using AI as a production tool gives us freedom to extend those rules, adding that extra punch and refinement that produces a great cartographic product. And it’s much better at going to print, whether via PDF or EPS.”
Cartography – part art and part science. Any way you look at it, it’s a beautiful thing.
Watch Hans’ demo at: