Inflight maps and MAPublisher Label Pro

Last Sunday I flew from Vancouver to Amsterdam, on my way home after the FME User Conference. KLM offers a direct flight on this route, so they are the most obvious choice for me, especially since they tend to use modern Airbus 330’s for their long-haul North America routes. So imagine my shock when I saw an old MD-11 at the gate. Fortunately, this turned out to be a recently modernized one, so it did have personal in-flight entertainment screens (since I can’t sleep on planes, I dread the idea of a long flight without some sort of entertainment).

One thing I noticed is that the maps in the in-flight entertainment system had been updated. This particular system showed major roads (with names/numbers), time zones and the day/night division. Quite nice to see! Combined with the fact that the seat next to me was empty and we left 15 minutes early (I wonder if those two things are somehow connected to eachother…), it wasn’t such a bad flight after all.

After arriving in Amsterdam I switched on my iPhone and was bombarded by a number of emails coming in from Avenza. They concerned the release of MAPublisher 8.1 with the LabelPro labelling extension. This has been in development for a while, during which I got to play with a beta version, and I’m very pleased to see it’s now finally released.

LabelPro offers Maplex-like (I’ve never really looked at Maplex, so it’s hard for me to compare them) text placement within Adobe Illustrator. Obviously this is not always 100% correct, but it’s fairly obvious that this can save a cartographer many hours of manual text placement. Since this all happens within Illustrator, the end result is of course fully editable. It is an extra-cost add-on to MAPublisher, but using it on just one big map can already recoup those costs. A demo version, which will randomly replace every letter, is of course available and I would certainly recommend that all MAPublisher users try this out.

Personally, I think this is a major step forward for MAPublisher and yet another span added to the bridge they’re building between GIS and high-end cartography.

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One Response to “Inflight maps and MAPublisher Label Pro”

  1. I’d look at that MD-11 flight as an honor. Not too many still around. We’ll miss them some day.

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