[texhax] dealing with maps

Schwartz, Steven J s.schwartz at imperial.ac.uk
Tue Feb 7 23:20:07 CET 2006

I would look at two things. Firstly, as someone else mentioned, the overpic package. This allows you to overlay different graphics, latex pictures, place text, etc. It's quite good for annotating graphics and such. I use it for presentations; blanking out tiny text in an image, for example, with a white box and then overlaying my own text. Turn on the "grid" option and you can see exactly where to place things (well, nearly exactly).
Secondly, have a look at scribus, an open source dtp package that runs really well under linux and has as its target high quality pdf's. It has plenty of drawing/illustration capabilities. It can also import eps files and edit them, retaining the vector graphics; not good for complicated drawings, but fine for simple ones. And of course it can export to a pdf (or eps). Not as fancy as illustrator in terms of gradients, fills, etc., etc., but I find it does everything I need. It also has a very active irc channel; there's usually someone on line who can answer a question or give some advice. Pick up a recent version that is compatible with your distribution, as it is evolving (= improving) rapidly.
I use it with pdfcrop, a script that cuts down a pdf from, say, a full A4 page (which is what dtp stuff tends to do) to a real pdf image just big enough to hold all the image. This saves trying to tell graphicx where you'd like the bounding box. [I use pdflatex exclusively, with images as either pdfs or pngs; this saves an intermediary dvi file, with xpdf as a previewer; eps2eps will do a pretty good job at cropping an eps if you prefer to go the latex/eps route.]
These, plus gimp, mean I haven't booted up in Windows for a long time; indeed, I don't own a copy of illustrator any more.
Hope this helps.

debian wrote:

>I am trying to write a small guide to a local canal using Latex.
>What is the recommended way to incorporate maps ?  From the Ordinance
>Survey I can trace the map I want by hand and then scan it into a
>file.  But, I then want to add text and graphics to it, before
>incorporating it into my latex production.
I have been doing a lot of that lately, and I regret to say that there
does not seem to be anything yet to replace Adobe Illustrator, which
(for me) means that I have to control my nausea and run a Windows
session every once in a while. A well-layered Illustrator file, saved as
EPS will certainly do the trick.
I wish I could make Wine work for Illustrator, but not so far. The EPS
utilities in DVIPS work very
well indeed.

If anyone has any answers that can release us from these remaining
dependencies on Windows, please let us hear it. Vector graphics is still
one of the weak points in a Linux environment.

I tend to save in the Illustrator 8 format rather than in the
Illustrator-CS format, because the latter has been carefully designed to
be an unreadable mystery.

Pierre MacKay

Professor Steven J Schwartz    Phone: +44-(0)20-7594-7660 
Space and Atmospheric Physics  Fax: +44-(0)20-7594-7772 
The Blackett Laboratory        E-mail: s.schwartz at imperial.ac.uk <mailto:s.schwartz at imperial.ac.uk>  
Imperial College London        Office: Huxley 6M70 
London SW7 2BW, U.K.           Web: http://www.sp.ph.ic.ac.uk/~sjs <http://www.sp.ph.ic.ac.uk/~sjs>  
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