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I am working on creating a map for a client; the data comes from different sources, i.e. imported over an ArcGIS extension.

I have the issue that there are provinces, and within the provinces there are communes (like districts). I need to highlight certain communes to show where my clients plans to implement.

The borders for the communes are much rougher / jagged than the borders I have for provinces, they overlap each other and the province boundaries.

Any thoughts on how I can create smoother borders for the communes that don't overlap but rather fit nicely together with each other and the province borders? (Screenshot shows 2 communes highlighted in red to make it easier to see their shape, with more communes adjacent in red and light grey. Province borders are dark grey.)

Screenshot showing 2 communes highlighted in red to make it easier to see their shape, with more communes adjacent in red and light grey. Province borders are dark grey.

To speak in Illustrator terms, the communes are all paths. Regrettably I can't just turn them into shapes, which would allow me to use the Shapebuilder tool. None of the pathfinder tools work well - I tried isolating two communes, and using 'divide' to deal with overlaps. But that creates many smaller paths in addition to the separated commune paths that I then need to sort through and delete, thereby not a simplification of work at all.

In the past I've just ended up manipulating individual points on paths by hand to deal with this issue.

I'd be really grateful for any tips. I encounter this often when I import data from disparate sources. I'd love a more efficient workflow.

Thank you in advance for your help!

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  • With data like that (the "Commune" paths), I really think you would be better off to just use them as a (rough) guide and draw new paths with the pen tool. It is a bit of work, but that will clean up those rough paths and they can be shapes which you can then fill. Also, the Shapebuilder will work with separate different paths but they must cross each other and form a closed shape. You will still be left with the jagged paths. Really no quick fix for this.
    – Kyle
    May 19 at 2:47
  • Well, there is nothing in illustrator that sews areas together. So the only way you could do it is to remove all coloration, remove split all edges as separate delete duplicates, simplify then rebuild. Which is certainly not less work.
    – joojaa
    May 19 at 4:37
  • Thank you @Kyle for your thoughts! I'll give that a shot. 50+ communes, oh my. Regrettable but not entirely surprising to hear there is no quick fix.
    – Shirine
    May 19 at 15:18
  • Thanks you @joojaa for commenting! At least it's good to hear that I'm not missing anything in terms of solution. I guess this is why not everyone makes maps!
    – Shirine
    May 19 at 15:20

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