[OSGeo-Discuss] Is there an Open Source software applicationthatwill draw a graticule on a map?

Landon Blake lblake at ksninc.com
Fri Sep 7 10:46:43 PDT 2007

I've given this issue a lot of thought. It seems to me that
"cartographic" map production really involves two (2) separate

[1] The ability to draw graphics and annotations.
[2] The ability to layout graphical elements on a page or sheet.

I think it is easy to underestimate the complexity of these two (2)
functions. A GIS program will be a lot simpler and easier to maintain if
it doesn't tackle these two (2) functions at all, but instead focuses on
the management of spatial data. Really the display of this spatial data
on a computer screen is just part of the user interface that helps the
user manage the data.

I think it is a lot smarter to leave the drawing to the drawing programs
and the page layout to the page layout programs.

For example, there is some limited support for printing and page layout
in OpenJUMP via plug-ins, but it isn't anything terribly sophisticated.

I think the best solution for the open source geospatial community is to
export spatial data from our programs in an open format for graphics
like SVG, and then enhance those graphics in an open source drawing
program like Inkscape and layout map sheets in an open source desktop
publishing application like Scribus.

Imagine what we could accomplish as a community if we all used Inkscape
and Scribus for cartographic map production instead of designing our own
map production functionality. Imagine what could be accomplished if we
took that time we would invest in implementing the drawing and page
layout functionality that already existed in some high-quality
applications and invested it instead in the other functions of our
applications, or even better, in the drawing and page layout
applications that we would use as replacements.

I've contacted the Inkscape development team to ask about contributing.
I have plans on helping out with the lib2geom library that will be
integrated into Inkscape, although it means I need to learn C++, which
gives me a serious headache. I haven't had time to get involved like I
would want, but it is still an eventual goal of mine.

I really encourage the open source geospatial community to take close
look at Scribus and Inkscape as options for cartographic map production.
OpenJUMP can export SVG, and some of our users have made beautiful maps
with the two programs. I really don't think there is much you couldn't
do in the realm of 2D maps with the two programs. There is even the
potential here to share standard map sheet templates for Scribus and SVG
graphics for things like north arrows and scale bars for Inkscape. 

Landon Blake (The Sunburned Surveyor)

-----Original Message-----
From: discuss-bounces at lists.osgeo.org
[mailto:discuss-bounces at lists.osgeo.org] On Behalf Of Brent Fraser
Sent: Friday, September 07, 2007 10:18 AM
To: punkish at eidesis.org; OSGeo Discussions
Subject: Re: [OSGeo-Discuss] Is there an Open Source software
applicationthatwill draw a graticule on a map?


  I'm hoping that (someday?) high quality cartography WILL
be point-and-click.  The three apps I looked at come pretty
    uDig    - sophisticated, complicated GUI; focus on GIS
not cartography
    QGIS    - simple GUI, a print composer, but features
(e.g. a real graticule) missing
    gvSIG   - look and feel of ArcView 3.x (the good and the
bad), but no graticule

  I think Paul Ramsey said it best in the Directions Mag

"The first project to produce a stable and complete ArcView
3 replacement will gobble up a huge user share, and become
the default application for building the "high end" analysis
and cartography functionality."

Brent Fraser
GeoAnalytic Inc.
Calgary, Alberta

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "P Kishor" <punk.kish at gmail.com>
To: "OSGeo Discussions" <discuss at lists.osgeo.org>
Sent: Friday, September 07, 2007 6:24 AM
Subject: Re: [OSGeo-Discuss] Is there an Open Source
software application thatwill draw a graticule on a map?

> On 9/6/07, Brent Fraser <bfraser at geoanalytic.com> wrote:
> ,,
> > Yikes!  Is National-Topographic-Series quality
> > dead?  Am I destined to print only pastel polygon
> > on letter size paper if I adopt Open Source?  ;)
> Write an emai to Markus Neteler and ask him for samples of
stuff he
> has produced with Grass, a real GIS. The quality will blow
you away.
> Granted, I have not seen that stuff on a large piece of
paper, but
> even on the screen, it looks gorgeous. It is probably not
easy to
> produce that kind of stuff, but good quality stuff never
is point and
> click.
> (MapServer is not a GIS... it says so on the box it comes
> >

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