How Artboard Is Influencing Our 2nd Generation Products

I wrote the following  article for Mapdiva.com. It gives some insight into our thinking about app development with our next generation products.

In 2008, Mapdiva delivered Ortelius – the creative app for custom map design. Our drawing engine proved so rich and powerful that many of our customers encouraged us to build a general purpose graphic design app. When Artboard was born in 2011, we didn’t anticipate its impact our company.

“Simple. Powerful. Fun.” was our mantra for Artboard from day one. Since Ortelius is a more serious niche product, we didn’t anticipate how much Ortelius would be informed by this thinking. But “Simple. Powerful. Fun.” keeps us focused on the customer. It forces us to carefully consider each and every feature; to balance functionality with usability. It is simplicity and power that make Artboard a joy to use. Since Ortelius and Artboard are built on the same drawing engine, this naturally spills over across products.

That is why this year we will release Artboard 2 before Ortelius 2. Development of our next generation products is well underway, and it is interesting to see how Ortelius 2 is being informed by our development decisions with Artboard. As a sophisticated app, Ortelius is by its nature more complex. Yet Ortelius 2 will simplify the UI while increasing functionality. With both apps, we are paying attention to workflow, putting everything in reach, and giving you rich new features for even more to love.

P.S. We can’t yet announce exact release dates. We know it always takes more time and more coding than expected to make a project work. To quote an adage about software development, “the first 90 percent of the work is easy, the second 90 percent wears you down, and the last 90 percent – the attention to detail – makes a good product.”  Well, we’re in the last 90%. We’ll start posting sneak peeks soon!

 

Written History Needs Maps

Guest post by Pieter S. Burggraaf, 2015

Put it before them briefly so they will read it, clearly so they will appreciate it, picturesquely so they will remember it, and, above all, accurately so they will be guided by its light.

– From the pen of Joseph Pulitzer (1847-1911)

The telling of history needs illustrative maps. In a rather simple view, history is the movement of people across geography in the past. Henry Walker and Don Bufkin captured this idea in their wonderful reference book Historical Atlas of Arizona. According to these authors, “History is the story of man—his actions, his comings and goings, and his settlements. As most of mankind’s actions and travels and the places” where men and women settled are “controlled by natural settings—terrain, climate, geography, and even geology—an understanding of the land is essential to an understanding of history.”(1)

Unfortunately, in so many books today about historic events, and even many of the classic books of yesterday, the text usually screams for a map to illustrate where events happened and what the people of the times thought they knew about the lay of the land. In many written histories, the maps used seem to have been an afterthought with authors or publishers plugging-in whatever they could find. Many times, the maps used do not provide the details that are necessary to support the text where the maps are called out. Often the maps used are disconnected from the period of history being discussed. Or, large maps are crammed into a small book format rendering them illegible.

When I began writing The Walker Party, The Revised Story my goal was to put equal effort into the many maps that I felt the work needed. It took some time for me to get map-making right—almost six months—but I eventually taught myself some basic cartography and developed techniques that suited my limited skills.

So, I have created each map in this book to fit legibly on a book-size page. Where possible, I have based the background geography and the positions of rivers, towns, and other geographic locations upon a period map. Each of my maps includes notation about its source. In addition, some of the maps in this book include reproductions of the original hachures—the classic symbols for representing geologic relief in cartography—from the source map.

Readers who are familiar with the areas depicted on the maps in this book will undoubtedly find misrepresentations compared to today’s maps. These should not be considered errors as such, but rather indicative of the incomplete knowledge of the territories of New Mexico and Arizona at the time. This will help the reader understand why the people in this story were often off by many miles when describing where they were or where they were going, or in many cases simply had no clue as to their whereabouts.

Finally, I have written extended captions that enable each map to stand alone with its intended information. I believe that you will find the maps that accompany this revised, more expansive story about the Walker party very informative, and I trust that the text will be equally rewarding.

by Pieter S. Burggraaf, 2015

Notes for Written History Needs Maps:
(1) Henry P. Walker, Don Bufkin, Historical Atlas of Arizona, Second Edition (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press,1986), iii.

Excerpt from The Walker Party, The Revised Story: Across New Mexico and Arizona Territories and up the Hassayampa River, 1861-1863, by Pieter S. Burggraaf, available from Amazon.com. Used with permission. Read more about the book and view more of the maps in the Ortelius Showcase.

[Footnote to my readers: This article originally posted on the Mapdiva.com website, I thought it surely worth reposting. Forgive the shameless reference to my own commercial ventures.]

Mapdiva: Design Software for OS X

Mapdiva LLC is a partnership among Graham Cox and Jill Saligoe-Simmel to develop Ortelius™ – powerful map design software for the Mac OS X.

Mapdiva is about is enabling your creativity without breaking the bank. It is about keeping drawing as simple and direct as possible so you can focus your creative energy on content and design. It’s about always asking “how could we do that better/simpler/more direct?“ It’s about doing the expected so the app works like you expect it to — and the unexpected to surprise and delight.

We’re dedicated to making powerful, intuitive software so you can focus your creative energy on content & design.

Ortelius

Ortelius is software for cartography and map design, made exclusively for Mac OS X.

It features specialized drawing tools that ease the tedious tasks of manual map making, with attention to high quality graphics presentation. Unique features include the ability to create automatic junctions at road intersections, a rich selection of built-in cartographic styles and symbols, and style creation tools that enable intricate design.

Artboard

Artboard is graphics design software made exclusively for Mac OS X.

It features smart drawing tools and over 1700 built-in styles and editable vector clipart. Unique features include high-powered style creation tools, advanced object editing, and simple image editing tools. Vector drawings are composed of editable stacked objects and are infinitely scalable.

Jill Saligoe-Simmel is co-founder of Mapdiva. She is responsible for content, education, and business development. Jill works alongside Graham Cox, Mapdiva co-founder and lead developer, on product design.

Artboard Design & Illustration Software

Artboard is graphics design software made exclusively for Mac OS X.

It features smart drawing tools and a rich selection of built-in styles and editable vector clipart. Unique features include high-powered style creation tools that enable intricate design.

Jill Saligoe-Simmel is co-founder of Mapdiva. She is responsible for business management and content. Jill works alongside Graham Cox, Mapdiva co-founder and lead developer, on product design.

Natural Earth Data: Worldwide GIS Maps

If you’ve ever tried to find good, authoritative sources of free, public domain small-scale world map data you know it can be a daunting task. But not for long.

Natural Earth is a public domain map dataset available at 1:10m, 1:50m, and 1:110 million scales. Featuring tightly integrated vector and raster data, with Natural Earth you can make a variety of visually pleasing, well-crafted maps with cartography or GIS software. It is a boon for geographers, cartographers, and GIS folks working from regional to world scales (small scale). I’ll predict it will also have tremendous impact in the geography education arena, where it is much needed.

This dataset allows you to make beautiful and authoritative political and physical world maps quickly – from the large wall map variety down to postcard size. Instead of spending time looking for data, you will be able to focus on using the map to tell your geographic story. You are able to map at the continent and country levels (including showing provinces and some local cities, regional, and “world” cities).

Tom Patterson and Nathaniel Kelso collaborated on the precursor to his first Natural Earth Raster project several years ago and they now preview Natural Earth Raster + Vector, a new free product that complements and expands on the previous work by providing detailed GIS linework at the 1:15,000,000 (1:15 million) scale and new versions of the raster product (including cross-blended hyspometric tints). The project was unveiled at the 2009 North American Cartographic Information Society (NACIS) annual meeting on October 7th.

From “First Look at Natural Earth Vector.” This is a NACIS and mapgiving co-branded product with assistance from the University of Wisconsin-Madison cartography lab, Florida State University, and others. You can read more updates on the project at Kelso’s Corner.

Making Natural Earth is a collaboration involving many volunteer NACIS members and cartographers around the globe. Jill Saligoe-Simmel, Mapdiva LLC, volunteered her time as a Research + Production Cartographer collaborating with the team managing the first release of worldwide country administrative units.

Mapping Historical Route 66 a Lifelong Passion

Mapdiva congratulates Tom Snyder, author of “Route 66: Traveler’s Guide and Roadside Companion,” on his recently published book edition. This fully revised and updated book includes dozens of elegant and easy-to-read new maps produced with the Ortelius software.

It was a labor of love as Tom spent months meticulously creating over 92 maps, as well as completely updating and expanding the bestselling guide itself, for the fourth edition.


More than twenty years after the original publication of Route 66, this completely updated and expanded guide will make the trip along the Mother Road easier and even more exciting. Responding to requests from readers and travelers, Tom offers up-to-date routings, elegant and easy-to-read new maps, and revised information on roadside attractions. Filled with love, high jinks, and mystery, the stories Snyder narrates truly capture the flavor of the Main Street of America. Cattle rustlers, gangsters, hitchhikers, and ghosts all make appearances in these nostalgic glimpses of history-in-the-making along America’s most famous highway.

Prizewinning author Tom Snyder was an early advocate of a Route 66 revival and his 1990 Route 66 Traveler’s Guide & Roadside Companion for St. Martin’s Press was the first guidebook to the old road written in more than forty years, as well as the first to map the route since its decertification in 1985. He lives on the West Coast, dividing his time among British Columbia, Washington, and California.

Route 66: Traveler’s Guide and Roadside Companion

Congratulations Tom, on your continued success!

Ortelius Map Design Software for Mac: We’ve Launched!

A big thank-you to all of our testers and reviewers – we’ve made it! Check out our new web site for all the details on Ortelius, including a downloadable trial version. We’ll continue to add tips & tricks and screencasts to our web site to maintain it not only as our product site, but also as a rich educational resource for map making. To celebrate, we are offering an introductory special of $79 until September 30th. Development continues and we’d love to hear from you.

Ortelius Will Be at AAG: You’re Invited to Learn More

Does your mapping software inspire creativity? Ortelius is a new breed of mapping software designed to make your mapping easy, fun and beautiful.

Come find out how Ortelius can help you create publication-quality maps without the high learning curve or costs associated with other software.

In this workshop we’ll introduce Ortelius and demonstrate its capabilities. Attendees will learn how to create custom maps from scratch and with templates. Learn about Ortelius’ robust tools and palettes, and how to create unique and inspiring symbols in a flash.

Attendees will receive a FREE Public Beta copy of the Ortelius software for evaluation. Come learn how Ortelius can work for you.
Location of the 2009 AAG Conference
Association of American Geographers
Workshop Details

10:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Wednesday
March 25, 2009
Capri Meeting Room 108
Riviera Hotel, Las Vegas

Ortelius is Powerful Map Illustration Software for Mac OS X
Learn more at www.mapdiva.com

Mapdiva to Make New Mapping Software for the Mac

I’m pleased to announce the launch of Mapdiva, LLC, a partnership among Graham Cox and Jill Saligoe-Simmel, to develop Ortelius™ – powerful map illustration software for Mac OS X. Ortelius is characterized by its ease of use and beautiful graphics capabilities for which Macs are known. Our new company anticipates the release Ortelius in the first quarter of 2009.