If you are using Free Hand or Illustrator the principal aspect of using Maps In Minutes (MIM) is the use of the Layers palette. Each MIM map is constructed through a series of many different layers, each one can be set to visible or not visible. By controlling how you view layers you have extensive control over how you use the map. In this work through, we’ll take a brief view of the powerful capabilities of the MIM and unlock some of the secrets of how to get the best out of them. In the work-though that follows we’ll be using the Deluxe version of the British Isles 1M scale map using Adobe Illustrator 8 as the main application. Don’t worry if you are a FreeHand fan, the layering principles are essentially the same.
Step One – Opening the Map
When you first open a MIM map. The first thing you’ll notice is that all the layers will be turned on for you including a MIM start-up page. To quickly turn off all the layers simply Option-click on any of the layers. You will now have a blank looking document.
Step Two – Setting Coasts And Borders
The layers palette has the two layers needed to produce map outlines. MIM maps are designed to allow you to create either simple maps using only a minimum number of layers or highly complex maps while retaining full control over the information presented in the map. Scroll down the Layer’s palette until you see the Layer for Coastline and England, Scotland, and Wales’s country boundaries and the fills for these counties. Activate these layers by clicking on the Layer name in the palette.
Step Three – How to Use a Map, Setting Custom Views
Using Illustrator’s views feature it’s not a bad idea to save specialized views that you can jump too quickly. From the View, Menu selects New View. Inside the dialog box enter a name for the view.
Step Four – Use Map Viewing Roads
All the roads are supplied in Road Case layers. You can choose to view road names and all the major routes across the UK. In this example, we have just selected all the UK motorways along with their junction numbers and service station points. Notice how the map contains very accurate and detailed information.
Step Five – How to Use Maps Viewing Settlements
Adding settlements is easy with MIM. Cities and Towns have their own layers and are divided by population levels. For example, you could view towns that populations of less than 3000 or over 1 million.
It’s your choice. In this example, we set the Layers to view populations of 200K or greater and to include 10K to 50K. If you want a more graphic example of larger population densities tries turning on the ‘Urban Sprawl’ layer.