Thursday, July 30, 2009

making a map instructions

As you might already know, I make maps for a living. So, of course, I had to make our wedding directions map for our invitations! While this map wouldn’t serve as impressive to my colleagues in GIS (Geographic Information Systems), I think this was a pretty good map for our guests, considering I couldn’t use my work’s GIS software!

My Photoshop skills are limited to none, so I used Microsoft PowerPoint to make the maps. I will admit, while it is time consuming, the steps are rather easy. It took me about 3 hours to perfect this map to my liking, but if you aren’t as picky as I am, it shouldn’t take that long! Also, it’s pretty hard to tell you how to make these maps by typing it out, so if there is any confusion, please comment and I’ll try my best to help!

By the way, my apologies in advance for the fuzzy picture examples. I don’t have Photoshop to make them perfectly clear, so please accept my meager Paint/PowerPoint skills here in showing you how to make this wedding map.

Here’s the finished product first:


First, you want to open PowerPoint with a blank slide to work with. For making the map, you will be using the drawing tools, which is by default, in the bottom part of the screen.

Next, using Google Maps or whatever internet map website you prefer, get a view of the area where the ceremony and reception will be. I did this on Google maps using the “Get Directions” feature. I plugged in my ceremony address to my reception address, and *poof*, there was a well zoomed-in area of the map.


Now, just press “Print Screen” on your keyboard to copy the image from Google and “Paste” it into your PowerPoint slide. You may have to resize it (drag the corners in) for it to fit in the slide.

Using the curve tool, start tracing the lines of major roads/interstates. To get there, click “Autoshapes”, go to “Lines”, and the curve tool is the squiggly line. The thing with this is you click along the line you are tracing, and rather than it showing a jagged line, it curves. It’s less confusing than it sounds… just remember that the more you click along the line of the map you pasted in, the more accurate the curve along the roadway will be. Don’t worry if it isn’t exact, however, because your guests won’t hold your map up to a Google map image! This map is to give them an idea of the lay of the land, you could say!


You can play with the thickness (weight)/color/style of the line to differentiate between interstates, rivers, small roads, etc. To do that, right click on a line you just drew and go to “Format Object”.


So, all you have to do is repeat this step to draw all of your lines for your roadways, rivers, or whatever else is key to get to your wedding location(s).

Once you are done tracing your lines, add labels to identify your roadways with the “Text Box” tool, which is on the bottom of your screen near the Autoshape box. You can rotate your text to match the street angles, like I did.

I made the interstate labels with a white-filled circle in the background (a graphic also in the AutoShape feature) with a text box in front of it. I also grouped the text and circle graphic together to make it easier to resize and copy/paste, if you need multiple labels of the same type.

After you’ve finished labeling, go ahead and delete the Google image in the background. Here is the line work that I was left with.


To make the callout bubbles that I made for a close-up of the roads near the ceremony and reception location, I made a zoom-in of the vicinity on Google map and made a Print Screen copy/paste into PowerPoint again. This time, I resized it to be tinier (the size of a the callout bubble).

The shapes I used are called “Callouts” in the “Autoshape” feature on PowerPoint. You can resize these to the shape you need, just as any AutoShape on the tool. So, add one of those on your map and trace your roadways the same way you did for the bigger map. After you are done, group all of your lines together with the callout so that you can format it easier to make it eventually appear in front of the original roadways you drew.


To rid of the background roadwork and rivers, all I had to do was fill in the Callout with white. You may have to also right click on the callout, go to “Order”, and bring it to the front if the white fill doesn’t completely work.



Repeat the same thing for the other location so you can have two callouts: one for the ceremony, and one for the reception.


For the reception and ceremony graphics to mark the locations, I simply Googled “Free Chapel Clipart” and “Free Wedding Bells Clipart” and found the cute graphics that I used in the wedding map.

After that, just add your graphics in the map (using the Insert tool at the top of PowerPoint, then Picture, then “From File”), and VOILA! There is your wedding map!


To export it into a printer-friendly image, you can do one of two things. One way is to copy/paste this into Photoshop and to export it as a high-resolution jpeg. (I don’t have Photoshop, so a friend did this for me. Thanks again!) Another way to do this (thanks to Mrs. Corn for the idea) is to download CutePDF (a free program) and to print the map to PDF. If you try to “Save As” in PowerPoint as a JPEG, the resolution it saves your image at will look pixelated, so you have to do one of these two things.

Did you make wedding map inserts? What programs did you use?