For the past year or so, I’ve been part of a team at Esri that is developing the ArcGIS Maps for Adobe Creative Cloud application. Our goal is that this extension will provide Adobe Creative Cloud users with web maps so that they can download these maps directly into their Adobe design environment from ArcGIS Online. For example, with ArcGIS Maps for Adobe Creative Cloud, a user can sign into their ArcGIS Online account directly from Illustrator, find geographic content that fits their map requirements, and download this content into their Adobe Illustrator file. It is a seamless workflow since cartographers and designers can create a map with spatial data without having to leave Adobe Illustrator. The result is a vector map containing specifications that are set by the user. Designers and cartographers can then leverage Illustrator’s graphic editing power to design their map as they desire.
There are a lot of mapping and GIS organizations and companies who have a GIS analyst or team and a designer or team of designers. These two groups, GIS analysts and graphic designers, often have different priorities during their map-making process, and this application we’ve been developing provides a collaborative tool for analysts and designers to work together in their organization’s map-production workflow. GIS analysts can add their well-prepared and precisely analyzed map data to their organization’s ArcGIS Online account, and designers can easily access this data from Adobe Creative Cloud applications. Allowing designers the opportunity to create their maps in a graphic design tool that they are familiar with greatly improves the map editing workflow efficiency and results. Of course there is the third type of user – the person who is skilled at both GIS and graphic design. The ArcGIS for Adobe Creative Cloud application is a great tool for these users as well.
A lot of static mapping is completed in Adobe Illustrator. In fact, as a cartographer myself, this is how I create most of my static maps, and even some design for interactive mapping. The GIS-export-to-Adobe Illustrator workflow for static mapping is the one I was trained to follow at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. After I was hired as a cartographer at Kulshan Cartographic Services in Bellingham I discovered that this workflow is also common practice in the professional cartography world. Now that I am at Esri, it is very exciting to be part of a team that is making this process a lot easier and reproducible.
We have been conducting usability testing, and our plan is to have the beta version of ArcGIS for Adobe Creative Cloud released around the same time as our Esri User Conference this June. Visit esri.com/adobecc for more information and to sign up to be notified when the beta version is available.