Exporting Maps to SVG

Export maps to vector format for fully customizable mapmaking.

Using the Map Export feature, you can export maps to scalable vector graphics (SVG) format for custom mapmaking in Adobe Illustrator or other vector graphics editing programs. An SVG vector map export is a single file that contains all map layers, symbolized and at the same extent as they appear in the map export view. From there, you can style features and add annotations and other map elements to produce map layouts just as you like. And finally, you can export your maps from SVG to PDF format for printing and sharing. This article guides you through the basic steps of how to export a map to SVG.

SVG files contain layer features as vector objects grouped by class.

To produce a full map layout in UrbanFootprint, including a title, legend, north arrow, scale bar, and logo, you can export directly to a PNG image file instead. For more information, see Exporting Maps to PNG.

You can also export single layers to SVG format, as described in Exporting Layer Data, to produce files that contain all features for the entirety of your project area.

Map exports use the Web Mercator projection, the same as that used by the user interface. Spatial data exports use the WGS84 projection.

How to Export a Map to SVG

To export map layers to an SVG file:

1. Style your map as desired. To support graphics handling in Illustrator and other programs, SVG exports include vector features grouped by layer and class. UrbanFootprint uses the currently mapped column (the column selected in the Style tab) as the basis for grouping features. The data classes are maintained as specified, as are fill and stroke styling.

Layer features that appear in the map are cropped to the rectangular extent shown in the map layout view. You'll have the opportunity to fine-tune the map layout view later.

2. Click theExport button that appears above the top right corner of the map. The Export button is accessible from Explore, Build, or Analyze modes.

The Map Export window appears.

Map Export window with PNG export controls

3. Select the SVG export option at the top left corner of the window. Only the map export options applicable to SVG exports will remain active. All others -- including controls for the map resolution, inclusion of the base map, legend, title, logo, north arrow, and scale bar -- will be disabled since they are applicable only for PNG exports.

Map Export window with SVG export option enabled

4. Set your map orientation and size.

5. Pan, zoom, and set a map scale to adjust your map view.

6. Save your map position. Saving your map position is recommended so you can create other maps at the same extent.

7. Click Export to export your map. Exporting your map will take time depending on its scope. When complete, you'll be prompted by a notification to download your map.

The Export button will be disabled if your map area is too large and contains more than 300,000 features. Consider mapping a smaller area, or including fewer features or layers.

If an export is taking a very long time to complete, it's possible that the map features included are too geometrically complex. This may occur even with lower feature counts. If this occurs, please contact UrbanFootprint support for help.

The file size of SVG exports increases with map size, and the number and geometric complexity of features included in the mapped layers. Large SVG files may be challenging to load and work with using Illustrator or other programs, depending on the capacity of your computer.

8. Click Download in the notification bar. The SVG file will be downloaded to your computer.

9. Open your SVG file in a vector graphics editing program. For our example, we'll look at the contents of the SVG file in Illustrator. If you use Illustrator, follow along and open the SVG map file that you exported in the previous steps.

SVG file contents, shown in Illustrator

Take note of a few elements:

  • Grouping by layer and class. Each feature from the mapped UrbanFootprint layers is represented by a vector object. The Illustrator Layers panel shows the vector objects grouped first by UrbanFootprint data layer, then by class for the currently mapped column. For the Parks and Open Space layer in the example above, you can see that objects are grouped by park type. Here, we've selected all the "Regional Park" objects.

  • Style properties. All objects are symbolized using the colors and strokes as specified in UrbanFootprint.

  • Map extent. The area included in the SVG file matches that depicted in the Map Export view. Features that extend beyond the map area are cropped by the map edges.

Also note that SVG exports include data layers only. For guidance on exporting a base map image to use as an underlay, see the further steps in the SVG export tutorial.

10. Export your map to PDF format. When you have finished styling your map, you can export it to your specifications as a PDF file using the export controls of your graphics program.

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