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Please suggest a good software that lets you create top view maps like this:


I know photoshop and illustrator. But It would make my life easier if there are software that already does this. If I would do it in photoshop, I would have to worry more about textures and object. I would so worry about the size, It should be scalable and would look good in print and screen. I more likely to recreate those object in photoshop. Please suggest a good software or approach to do this.

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up vote 1 down vote accepted

I'd probably look at architectural/landscape software, create you model and then print or export a plan view.

SketchUp is free software i would recommend. You could refine the output from there using photoshop or illustrator

Below is a quick (5min) output from sketchup, you can imagine with more time you can create something more like your image above

alt text

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Good point. I think id be going for this approach. first Illustrator, then sketchup (depth and 3d) then back to illustrator (refinement and vector output). – Pennf0lio Feb 1 '11 at 10:09

You probably don't want Photoshop, but a software for vector graphics (scalable) or for diagramming. I could recommend Inkscape (vector graphics) and Dia (diagrams), both OSS, but there are many others.

As for supporting top view maps, I'm not aware of any special software. It would depend very much on the kind of map, and the input data you use. What input data do you have for the map?

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I've been working on a map for the past week using Inkscape. The software has been driving me nuts, although it does "work" (as in, if you put enough effort in, it'll do what you want....eventually). I'd go with Illustrator, if you have the budget. – Babu Aug 27 '10 at 3:43
@Babu: What irritated you about the software? I've used it, and while it took some time to learn, I found it quite usable. – sleske Aug 27 '10 at 8:32
In a word, the UI. Just drawing a line is more complicated than it needs to be. The "fill" tool doesn't fill properly (leaves a 3-px border of unfilled space), forcing me to use colored rectangles to fill in the map. The software does work (for a given value of "work"), and you can use it effectively, but it's almost not worth it. Things that work in most visual editor don't behave quite the same, and these small changes drive me nuts. It's like switching from QWERTY to AZERTY; it almost works, but it's still irritating. And please pardon the rant, I've been using it for 4 hours straight... – Babu Aug 27 '10 at 17:26
Interesting, thanks. I fear, however, that this is partly because it's a rather complex app, and a bit different from a bitmap editor like Gimp/Photoshop. The fill tool is indeed problematic, but it's not meant for filling simple shapes; use "Fill and stroke" from context menu instead. The fill tool is a bit non-deterministic (because it works perceptually), so you may need to fiddle with the "Threshhold control". The underlying reason is that "flood fill" is a problematic concept in vector images. – sleske Aug 27 '10 at 18:33
And drawing lines was very simple for me: Choose "Bezier Curves and straight lines", click beginning, double click end. It's true that there should be an indication that you must double-click, otherwise I can't see a problem :-). – sleske Aug 27 '10 at 18:35

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