Having successfully created small scale maps for brochures in AI in the past, I have now been offered a commission for to create an entire city map focussing on footpaths and cycle routes, which will be reproduced by offset litho printing. Brief creation? Licencing issues? Ways to source map files for development? Reading /communication issues? Technical tips? Problems / disasters! Any good books on the subject....Absolutely everything... Would be great to hear from ya. Try to get public domain source material. Where you have to use published material, get permission. Map publishers often insert 'bunnies' - phony streets or points of interest that do not really exist. If they find one on your map, you're in trouble. Illustrator is a great aplication for creating maps. Use the Layers palette. Use the Layers palette. And if you're starting from scratch, use Illustrator CS's Character Styles feature. Some databases might include the USGS, local and state planning agencies, county governments, EPA, and other governmental agencies. Any database collected using government money should be available for free or a small fee. You may need extra software to use the files. My client is a local authority with licenced mapping on 'MapInfo'. They have offered to supply me with source files in the following formats: Does anyone know if any of these are formats which would retain vector data to export to Illustrator for manipulation - rather than having to start from scratch and trace info? Illustrator will open .dxf files and retain the vectors but you will have to check stroke weights and adjust colours to suit your final output process. Also prepare for a lot of use of the Pathfinder Merge tool as dxf tend to make large solid areas into a lot (and I do mean a lot) of adjacent smaller areas. If you are getting data from MapInfo (or other Geographic Information Systems) you can look at the Illustrator plugin called MapPublisher from Avenza. This allows the exchange of data both ways MapInfo to AI backto MapInfo if you configure it correctly. I work in the GI industry and my wife is a freelance cartographer (map maker) using Illustrator v6 v8 & v9. We're in the UK so I can't offer any advice from data source point of view. Pay for your data as someone said earlier some companies 'finger print' maps to catch people out. (A very famous case between the UK National Maping agency and other large cartographic publisher was here a few years ago where they settled out of court for 30M USD!). Another option is to buy aerial photography and create your vector map over this. The down side here is that you have to walk the streets to get names etc. Taking them from some other publication is a no no as 'finger prints' can be names too! Please ask her to right a good introductory book about cartography and associated AI techniques? Because I would love to read it. I can't find a single user friendly paractical guide on the subject. This really surpises me because maps are such a key element in so much of the design work clients ask for. Nice to hear you are in the UK. MK? Are you doing the map of the area - previously GeoProjects? I used to live in Aylesbury so know MK well and have seen a large wall map around there. I'd be interested to hear about your project and other cartographic work you undertake. Most cartographic companies in the UK use AI or they use a high end cartographic solution such as Mercator from Star Informatic. If you want to mail me directly I maybe able to help with other questions. Contact me at ***@hotmail.com and I'll send you a 'proper' address. Oh isn't that funny! Aylesbury! We used to go to concerts at Friars Hall there when we were teenagers (punk rock era! Crikey that was a long time ago!) I'm honoured and delighted to have the commission and care with a passion about doing the best possible job. We're still putting together a brief at the moment. I would really value corresponding on this. Will e-mail you, thank you for your interest. Source.