Airphotos have been the source materials for a lot of maps for a long time. To result in a nice exact machine made look they would use dials to help draw the lines on transparent mylar sheets. The reason those maps had roads that were nice and parallel was the machines and skilled operators. Parallel Pens and parallel ruler are useful for other map making ...
Styled Maps Wizard ( link ) does the job.
It does have a pretty good instructions that show up when you open up the website.
Those instructions can be accessed at any point with the help button at the bottom of Map style panel ( shown in the image below ).
Below are the styles I used to create the static map on the right ( and in this link ).
You also ...
Assuming there isn't a reason why it has to be the Google-copyrighted maps you use, I'd use OpenStreetMap for this (the open source wikipedia-style Google Maps alternative).
They're virtually identical but their license (Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike) explicitly allows this sort of thing including for commercial work, so long as they're credited ...
Start with a very loose idea:
Marquee tool to quickly go over the High:
Add your high color:
If I press Cmd/Ctrl+Plataeu thumbnail on Layer Panel it will select it for me. Then do Select → Modify → Expand. I used 15 pixels. Notice the bottom of the Plateau and the Selection now have an offset to it:
Create a layer beneath, color it, repeat. Use ...
I would do the following:
Open the bitmap with a raster graphics editor like GIMP.
Use a paint bucket tool to fill in the areas so you have solid black shapes, instead of outlines. Clean up any rough edges or gaps in your fill.
Use Inkscape to trace the filled in version you just produced, and then delete the bitmap.
Style the resulting path with a ...
Two other methods:
Engineering drawings (e.g. highway plans) usually use curves with defined radii, so drawing those is mostly a matter of using a compass and creating the geometry from the same instructions for both sides.
(Edit: I say "same instructions" because roads are first defined by their centerline path, then parallel stuff is based off of that. So ...
Get vector data
You can download vector data from http://www.openstreetmap.org for free.
Choose the region you need and choose 'share' (right side). Then select PDF and download.
Open the PDF in Illustrator.
Use Edit > Edit Color > Recolor Artwork.
Trace the course
To create a course (two continuing lines along the course):
Create a ...
Mapmakers use embossing to create the effect from a height map. You can use the emboss filter on a image that represent your height field. If you must use photoshop for this then i would use the:
Filter → render → Lighting Effect, rather than emboss.
Start with a small white brush, with a very low flow on a black canvas then start drawing out the ...
If you'd rather start from scratch, you're talking about cartography with the difficult fact-finding and accuracy stuff cut out. It's not half as daunting a task as it initially looks - the key is in the preparation.
Broadly speaking, a typical cartography workflow (minus the research and geolocation) is:
Decide what details ('traits') you are including. ...
The software to use is Adobe Illustrator.
A what I would do is:
First of all create a list of cities and give each the desired size (before you start placing them on the map)
Find a map with all the cities, paste it on your artboard and lock it there.
Start to move your cities and order them around them map, always playing with kerning and the font size ...
At its heart, this is simply called "line art," and as DA01 states, halftone dots are really just a method to get a continuous tone (photograph etc) into line-art form for printing with a single ink.
Map makers are usually free to choose the tones they use, but in some case, such as geological survey, the texture choices are formalized so as to represent ...
You can download the OpenStreetMap (OSM) data as svg files. Alternatively you can also download the raw data and generate a vector image if you need more control.
There are many ways to do this, of different complexities and some of them are quite convoluted. However the simplest is to just click on the share icon in OSM web interface and download a ...
While seconding Scott's "There's no magic button," what I did when I had to create city and country maps was to find an actual paper map, scan it, and trace it in Illustrator. That gave me a good realistic grid. From there I could simplify the map, pretty it up, tweak streets, add icons, etc.
If you want the hand-drawn look, buy the paper map and use ...
These are all hand drawn/painted. You won't really find many tutorials on how to draw something as specific as a map. Just look for general drawing tutorials.
It's honestly just a matter of picking up a pencil and start drawing it.
There are no magic buttons or tutorials to draw something for you.
There are actually online tools that can do this. However, personally, I would start out with a google map screenshot and work from that - in Illustrator.
You could take a round on the net and search for brushes and plugins for Illustrator that have ready-made map-elements. Here is but one example of what you can find: symbols ready made. Such as:
Open Vector Maps
In addition to the great suggestions already mentioned take a look at http://openvectormaps.com. I created a library/directory of free, high quality city maps that are editable and layered. Choose from either .SVG or .AI file formats for use in Adobe Illustrator or Inkscape.
It's all about the contrast my friend. It basically comes down to being able to contrast colors using hue, saturation and tint/shade, or hsl.
Here is a nice way to experiment with colors: http://colorschemedesigner.com/
and here is a decent explanation of different ways to produce contrast in colors: http://www.colorsontheweb.com/colorcontrasts.asp
on the ...
I may be misunderstanding your question, but I don't imagine there is a simple way for GIMP (or any other graphics program) to discern and color arbitrary regions on an image with a unique color. How would it know things like Great Britain or United States having multiple geographically-separated regions but color them the same?
You'd better buckle down ...
I have discovered another method which achieves the effect I was looking for far better than any other answer I've seen here. It has the added bonus of being 'non-destructive', meaning it can be changed or edited at any time, and does not effect the image beneath. It also very closely resembles satellite imagery of mountains.
The drawbacks are that the ...
Use a Pattern Brush.
Type your label and Convert to Outlines (brushes can't contain type). Drag your outlined type to the Brushes panel and choose Pattern Brush from the New Brush dialog.
The text itself isn't editable (creating a new brush is quick enough though) but you can easily change the size, spacing etc. at any time by double clicking the brush in ...
Here's an example that uses an opacity mask to create the opening and the inner outline. I'm using a red background just to clearly set apart the other objects that will appear above the background.
Create a white fill (no stroke) object. This will be the stand in for a region.
Select the white object and copy/paste in front (Cmd-C, Cmd-F), two times.
It's not particularly a technology nor something exclusive to maps. It's essentially doing the same as your 'dots' method--which is screening back a solid color via a pattern. The only difference here is that instead of a dot pattern, they're using lines...what you could consider a modern form of hand-drawn line work referred to as hatching (or the more ...
If you'd prefer a fuzzy border inside the land's borders, rather than outside, try this...
Create your vector land shape and give it a fill colour and no stroke
Duplicate this land shape twice (press Ctrl + D twice) so that you have three copies. One copy will stay as the original land shape, one will create the border, and one will be used for clipping.
If you want a good product, work with a designer.
You could spend hundreds of hours learning how to work with a program and how to optimize the workflow.
Just imagine a designer asking how to start doing the backend of the game. Sure It can be done, but I am pretty sure you would think the same recommendation. Look for someone that already knows what needs ...
You could copy and paste a rectangular piece of the land from a larger piece of the land mass, create a path over it, and apply that as a vector mask, then add a stroke effect.
Yes it is also possible to create a custom pattern in Photoshop, but I don't think that's how it was added to the map. Patterns repeat, but the example doesn't show that....