How to Create Stylish, Streetless Custom Maps in 1 Minute - Green Ecologist

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Create simple custom maps

We do not always need large applications and complex mapping software to cover a need, which sometimes, although the result may seem simple, we have used a few hours of work.

There's a lot digital mapping tools that reveal the urban complexities of cities with hundreds of data, but we do not always need a map with so much "visual noise", and this is where the City Roads tool comes in.

The objective of City roads it's simple; that we can create custom maps, 100% minimalist with just 3 clicks and with a very elegant visual. It's that simple!

The project is made by the programmer Andrei Kashcha with data obtained from the collaborative map OpenStreetMap using the API (Rendering with WebGL). Remember the article on how to learn urban surveying OpenStreetMap and Osmbuildings.

Although that API is free (as long as the ODbL licenses are followed), it can be limited in terms of speed, and sometimes it is slow if we are dealing with a city or an area with thousands of roads.

When we enter the tool, a box will appear where we enter the name of a city or region and the software, will automatically create a map in which we can exclusively identify the roads. The result, a clean map, without topographic elements, without street names, and, ultimately, a map that will come in handy for many projects.

The fruit of the application is a simple three color map that we can customize in a panel located on the upper left hand side of the screen; the first color is representative of the lines - streets of the framework of the map, the second refers to the background, and the third refers to the identification of the map (the name of the city or area that we are mapping).

Also, we have three ways to export the map created; the first sends us the map to print it on a mug, the second, we can download the map in PNG and the third, save map to SVG vector image which will certainly come in handy in some projects.

The programmer has posted all the application code on Github for all those interested in digging deeper or wanting to use it in more complex projects (The source code is under the MIT license)

Although at first glance it may seem that this mapping tool is not very useful, we can assure you that it is one of those Internet gems that must be kept on the desktop. We can access the tool to create simple maps from City Roads from HERE.

Other program to make street maps online is the Maposaic portal. Completely free and online you can customize any city in the world by providing the color you want. An example:

Although the definition may not be perfect, if you play with colors you can get very attractive results and download the map in image format with a single click.

Two articles of interest about maps from this same portal:

  • Interactive 3D maps
  • 7 Maps to better understand the urbanism of our city

And not only the programmer has this application to create clean maps. On the net, there are many works by this passionate of cartography with special attention to this map generator with lines highlighted on any part of the planet, is the Peak Map

In both tools, the representation of a city is limited by the memory capacity of the browser and the video card. Selecting an area that has millions of roads (for example, Washington state) can cause the page to crash even on a powerful device - we'll comment on that for you!

This programmer teaches us again, that, sometimes, simplify a map over a region of the planet or a cityIt has its beauty and charm, apart from being useful of course! And by the way, of interest the article on parametric urbanism and architecture with examples of tools that will change the way we work.

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