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Articles & FAQs

Digital Vector Maps' produces functional and beautiful graphical maps in Adobe Illustrator and editable PDF formats. The following collection of articles and frequently asked questions can aide you with how best to use our digital maps as well as guide you on which format will best be suited to your needs.


Frequently Asked Questions

  • What are the system requirements for making edits to your maps?
    All of our maps are Mac & Windows compatible, and can be opened and edited with the following vector graphics editors:
    • Adobe Illustrator (version 8 or higher)
    • CorelDraw (version 11 or higher)
    • Canvas (version 8 or higher)
    • Macromedia Freehand (version 10 or higher) will import Illustrator files, but some data loss can occur.
    • Adobe Photoshop can open Illustrator files, but will convert the map to a raster (bitmap) format. Converting to raster format removes the ability to make edits to the original vector artwork.
    • PDF versions of our maps can be opened using the free Adobe Reader software. However, the PDF versions of our maps are only editable in a true vector graphics application such as Adobe Illustrator.

  • After downloading the digital map I purchased, I'm unable to edit any of the layers. What's up?
    By default all map layers are locked to prevent accidental edits. To make edits to a particular layer within your map, simply unlock that layer by going to Window > Show Layers from the main menu to bring up the Layers Palette. Once you have your Layers Palette visible, uncheck the lock icon on the layer that you wish to make edits to.

  • Several of your world maps look the same. What's the difference?
    This is due to the fact that Digital Vector Maps offers maps in several varying styles, referred to in cartography as map projections. The term "map projection" refers to an attempt by cartographers to illustrate, or project our three dimensional earth onto a flat, two-dimensional surface. Depending upon the type of projection used, the resulting map can have subtle or dramatic differences. For an explanation of the different projections we offer, please refer to the article Robinson, Eckert, & Gall, Oh My! Map Projections Explained.

  • Text Scaling: The road shields and text are to small, how can I enlarge them?
    It is fairly easy to enlarge text.  First, it is very important that only the text layer you want to work on is unlocked when you are scaling.  Next, select the text by “color fill”, than go to the transform menu and go to the “Transform Each” submenu.  Turn the preview on in this menu and adjust the horizontal and vertical scaling equally.   Do not use the standard “scale” under the “Object menu.”  The features will shift if you do.  

    For scaling the road shields you do the same thing,  however you must use the white “direct select” arrow to select a box around the shields.  Do NOT select the map border or the shields will shift.  Also, the interstate shields are in three pieces.  After scaling, you will need to do a “select color” on the blue and than red, and move them up or down a little to there proper placement after scaling.  Moving them should not take more than a minute.

  • Clipping: I want only one area of the map to show and I don’t have a page layout program to crop it.
    There is no clipping or cropping function in Illustrator yet.  Basically, you have to mask out the area you don’t want to show. There are a couple of ways to do this:
    1. All the map layers currently have matching masks around them.  You can scale these masks down by first unlocking all layers.   Next, select the “direct selection tool” (white arrow) and select just each of the four corners of the map border masks holding down the shift key. This well select all the masking frames in all layers. Now use the scale function. This process is very, very tricky to do!
    2. The easiest and fastest way to mask your map is select the rectangle tool and draw a box over your map that covers everything.  You can make it any color, but 99% of the people choose white. Next, do the exact same thing but make a smaller box inside the first.  Make sure your rulers are on so you know you covered the correct area. Now select both boxes and in the pathfinder menu click on “Exclude overlapping area.”  This should create a donut showing the map area you want exposed.  It might be a good idea to do this in a new layer so you can turn it off or move it around.