Tuesday February 18th, 2020  

San Luis Obispo, Explore California website, map by Eureka Cartography

Alameda California tiled street map by Eureka Cartography

Digital Maps

Digital map files are the basic building blocks for custom applications - websites, print publications, legal evidence, exhibits, games and more. Digital world map files, state map files, city map files, metro map files, terrain data, zip code data, demographic data, among others, are acquired and manipulated to produce the final digital map file, display map or printed map for our clients.

Digital maps can be delivered as high resolution color plots on to all sorts of materials including: paper, sintra and dry erase boards. As digital files, maps can be delivered as image files (JPEG, GIF or similar formats), static vector files (the most common format) or active vector files for maximum flexibility. The file may be as small as a neighborhood or as large as a world map.

Many cities, counties, state and federal agencies produce GIS (geographic information systems) files we can use as a starting point for a mapping project. Contact us to find out how it is done.

Some important reminders about digital files:

Most files can be compressed and delivered by email. Large files can be sent on a DVD or via an FTP site or online service such as sendthisfile.com

If you want to update and maintain your own map files, you should consider what software you plan to use as map files and mapping software are two separate things. A little planning can make the process smoother.

Digital maps are usually owned by a person or a company who holds a copyright. Creating a digital file by scanning a paper map is not legal unless you have permission in writing from the map publisher.

Digital maps on the web are usually owned by a person or a company so you should obtain permission before using any maps you find on the web. We provide information on map copyrights.

Selected Common Vector Formats for Map Data

AI/CS2 Adobe Ilustrator format
ARC ESRI Generate Line Simple ASCII format
GN MicroStation Design Files - a common import/export format.
DLG Digital Line Graphs - US Geological Survey format
DWG Autodesk Drawing Files DWG - an internal format for AutoCAD 
DXF Autodesk Drawing eXchange - AutoCAD'stransfer format
MX FreeHand format
E00 ARC/INFO interchange file ESRI's transfer format
SDTS Spatial Data Transfer System - transfer format developed by US government to handle both raster and vector data
SHP shapefile ESRI's ArcView internal format for vector data
SVG Scalable Vector Graphics XML-standard for presentation of vector on the Internet.
TIGER Topologically Integrated Geographic Encoding and Referencing Files US Census Bureau ASCII transfer format

Selected Raster Formats 
DEM Digital Elevation Model - USGS format.
GTOPO30 Global 30 Arc Second Elevation Data Set - a global, digital elevation model
JPEG Joint Photographic Experts Group
PSP PhotoShop format
TIFF Tagged Image File Format

Questions about Custom Maps? Call (510) 845-6277 or email us at

San Diego Visitor map for Explore California web site by Eureka Cartography


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