I'm new to illustrator and have been watching YouTube videos, but it seems like image tracing is more for larger images. I'm trying to recreate a map and scanned the old map, turned it into a JPEG and tested out image tracing to see if I could work off of that versus starting from scratch. However, there's a lot of lines to represent parking spaces, buildings, etc. so maybe image trace would only make this more difficult? I guess I'm looking for some advice in regard to map building, I have about 5-6 layout maps to recreate and if I can get the largest one done first I'm sure the rest will be a breeze. I'd appreciate any advice.

  • 1
    Hello @ Monica, could you provide an example, or small section of the map you are trying to recreate? This might help to suggest a better solution to your question.
    – dom
    Commented May 4, 2020 at 5:22
  • 2
    You should probably use a GIS application.
    – joojaa
    Commented May 4, 2020 at 13:14

1 Answer 1


I've discovered a great tutorial for creating images from maps. It's called "How to turn a map into an artistic line drawing" but I think that pigeonholes the concept. Someone might have another purpose for a map image, not simply art.

I don't usually like to provide only links, but it's a bit too involved to paste here and would be merely duplicating someone else's work.

It could be easier if the image created was a direct vector image, but a clean bitmap is almost as good.

map image capture

With the additional information regarding the target to be an apartment complex (valuable datum) one could consider contacting the county or city in which the complex is located. You can then identify the contractor responsible for the overall project, and from there, locate the firm responsible for the plan set. The entire property may be available in electronic form (and most certainly in paper form) from which you may be able to cull out the unwanted portions.

My house plans were originally paper, but the architectural firm responsible for the plans long ago converted to AutoCAD. I was able to get a copy and from there, removed various layers to clean up the final document. In my case it was suited for applying for a fence permit. I had to convince the company owner that I would not use the information for nefarious purposes. He provided the document without any business identification or company stamps or the like, which was fine with me. I hope you can be as lucky.

  • While this link might be generally useful for graphic designers wanting to style the standard google maps appearance, I believe this will only somewhat help with the original question. @Monica is asking about vector output from scanned original material.
    – dom
    Commented May 4, 2020 at 5:20
  • She says, "there's a lot of lines to represent parking spaces, buildings, etc." The linked site provides a method to reduce/remove undesirable features, simplifying the post-processing.
    – fred_dot_u
    Commented May 4, 2020 at 9:26
  • Thank you for the link, I did test it out but since it's a map of an apartment community I don't really have streets to represent. It's an aerial view with each building and parking space to place on the back of the brochure for potential tenants.
    – Monica
    Commented May 9, 2020 at 18:18
  • Your task is indeed a challenging one. Note the edit to my original post.
    – fred_dot_u
    Commented May 9, 2020 at 18:25
  • I have a paper copy that I tried to image trace with but it made it more unrecognizable. If I'm able to get the version from the city would I be asking them for a map in a certain format? JPEG/PDF/etc.
    – Monica
    Commented May 9, 2020 at 22:26

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