Drawing Package for contour lines etc.

Discussion in 'Gaming and Software' started by toadinthehole, Jun 1, 2007.

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  1. Can anyone advise ? I am looking for a software package that will enable me to draw map features - contour lines, forestry blocks, winding roads/rivers and grid lines - and insert the finished map into an MS Word document. I am looking for something that will allow the production of a more professional appearance than can be achieved with the Word drawing tools - Expense is less of an issue than relative ease of use. Someone has mentioned Adobe, but there seems to be a multitude of options and I am a bit confused about the options


  2. Alternativey, you could try something like AutoCAD, however, this tends to be prohibitively expensive. If this is to create maps for educational use, I'm sure there is information and examples available from OS. Take a look here for more information. I'm sure that there's something in there suggesting that they won't sue youre arrse off if its for the kiddies.
  3. When you say expense is less of an issue how much did you have in mind? Computer Aided Design packages for Geographical Information Systems can easily come out at 5k plus VAT.

    What sort of mapping did you want to create? If it's sample maps for training to show contours etc. you might be better buying something that already has mapping in it.
    Some packages include the ability to drape the map over an exaggerated relief model like this:


    (I've not heard of that package before but it might suit you.)

    If you just want something along the lines of the old "Contours really do show shape" you might be as well drawing it by hand and scanning it.
  4. Thanks for the response, Monster. Unfortunately, I need this is for the educational use of the coy (? I hope) so don't think I can use the Education ploy. I am looking to put together some of line maps/diagrams with arrows etc of my own to bring out nav training points rather than obtain a map of a particular piece of ground.

    Autocad might be a bit too heavy weight for me. I imagine I might spend 2 weeks learning how to use it!
  5. Thanks Ex_Stab,

    I think I spoke waaay too hastily when I said expense is less of an issue!! 5k is way out of my budget. I am looking for something that will allow me to put together some good looking line drawings/maps and insert them into a Word document. I am not sure my hand drawings would deliver the quality I am looking for.
  6. If you want Ordnance Survey data in any form it is available under a Service Level Agreement (Basically on contract) to many national bodies and big companies so I would be surprised if you couldn't get what you want essentially FOC with the cost being picked up from a central budget.

    The Pan-Government agreement covers MOD according to this:

    If you telephone Ordnance Survey they are very helpful and will probably be able to advise how to get any digital data you require.

    Hope this helps.
  7. If you PM me with a hand drawn sample or some other example of what you are trying to achieve I'll see what I can think of.

    It's worth remembering that all mapping has its own style so if you want to create something in the style of Ordnance Survey for example you will need to create examples of all their symbols and learn all their conventions - things you might not pick up on as a user rather than a cartographer.

    Compare the styles in these two different series from OS:
    Landranger above
    Explorer above

    Mastermap digital mapping.
  8. Thanks Stab,

    I really want to do something very simple, nothing at all approaching the complexity of the OS type stuff you have kindly posted above. However, my needs are a little too complicated for the Word draw functionality i.e. the need to draw parallel lines to represent a winding road etc.
  9. [​IMG]

    Like this?

    or this:

    or this:

    this even:


    Found it now! I bet you want something like this:
  10. I would suggest looking at

    GIMP (free) http://www.gimp.org/

    Photoshop or Photoshop elements

    and or

    Adobe illustator

    Tthe ability to manipulate vectors and then either stoke or use outline would give you the contours you want.

    However i would say that is does take some time to learn these packages and to manipulate vectors, 'swearing factor of 1:5'.

    I would say though from experiance it would be better to just use conventional map reading training aids, and handouts if you need them retouched or cleaned up then perhaps you could find a unit with a repro section to approach or a graphic artist who will do it as a favour!
  11. Ex_Stab,

    Many thanks for the selection above. This is very helpful and spot on. I would like to do something like 2nd, 4th, 5th and 6th of your samples. i.e. roads, rivers, arrows, trees and squiggly contour lines like on the 2nd. Once drawn, I then need to be able to embed map in a MS Word document. Any suggestions over and above what others have suggested?


  12. Practically any package that you might create the map in will have a facility to export a jpg. You can then just embed the jpg. Is this a one off job or a continuing requirement? Is it a fictitious map or a real place?
  13. Ex_Stab, this will be a one off job (hopefully!) of about a dozen maps of fictitious places.