Maryland DOT Moves Forward with Design-Driven Maps
Anyone traveling around the state of Maryland—whether by car, boat, bus, train, bike, plane, or even foot — relies on the Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT). With that in mind, MDOT works to deliver safe, sustainable, smart transportation solutions for its more than 6 million residents and 40 million visitors each year. MDOT’s statewide headquarters coordinates five business units including highway, transit, port, aviation, and motor vehicles, along with an authority for tolls and bridges.
MDOT’s statewide headquarters needed a way to include visually engaging, detailed maps into its various transportation plans, presentations, press releases, and capital programming. The planning team needed its maps to be clean and appealing to help stakeholders such as public officials, government agencies, businesses, and citizens better understand proposed or implemented plans. While urban and transportation planners are often well-versed in GIS, they tend to be less experienced in design.
“As a planner, I create many static maps,” said Andrew Bernish, a transportation planner with the KFH Group contracting with MDOT. “These maps carry more gravitas if they are well-designed. My maps have been referenced more often when I have emphasized design in their execution.”
Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT)
Andrew Bernish: Transportation Planner/GIS Analyst
Create more engaging, beautifully designed maps using GIS data and design software.
ArcGIS Maps for Adobe Creative Cloud
MDOT achieved its goal of producing maps with a design aesthetic to better engage with the public.
Andrew and fellow MDOT planners were already using ArcGIS Desktop to manage and gather data. They also use ArcGIS Online for its selection of basemaps and other content such as Maryland public data through the State’s MD iMAP Portal. So, Andrew decided to try ArcGIS Maps for Adobe Creative Cloud, which empowers creative professionals to access and design data-driven maps inside Adobe Illustrator CC and Photoshop CC. Anyone using Adobe Creative Cloud tools and ArcGIS can add ArcGIS content and local data to a map, then edit the map with their own design and branding.
By using ArcGIS and Adobe Creative Cloud together, Andrew helped MDOT achieve its goal of producing maps with a design aesthetic intended to better engage with the public. For example, Andrew created a map of the Metropolitan Planning Organizations and Urbanized Areas in Maryland. The map, used across several state agencies as a featured printed map, details geographic information for local, state, and federal agencies, depicting the information quickly and with rich detail.
“There is often a difference between design quality provided by public agencies and private firms, but there does not need to be,” Bernish said. “Public agencies are taking design into account more often. The public should have direct access to maps with higher design considerations.”
The integration between ArcGIS and Adobe Creative Cloud apps offers MDOT the added benefit of greater creative control and the ability to use familiar tools. Andrew found that using ArcGIS Maps for Adobe Creative Cloud eliminated the sometimes-tedious work of transforming detailed GIS data into Adobe. He can now save time by directly importing shapefiles and pulling content from ArcGIS Online into Photoshop CC and Illustrator CC. While there was a bit of acclimation, Andrew found Esri’s instructional videos to be helpful. He reported an added comfort at being able to work in the familiar environments of Adobe Creative Cloud and ArcGIS.
Our agency is quite pleased with the design aesthetics in the maps and we have received positive feedback. The process of transferring substantial amounts of data into geospatial visual depictions has also become more efficient and enjoyable.