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Discuss When to switch from GIS to GFX


gO Member
Founding Member
May 30, 2018
Something that's come up in my day job several times is the question of when to switch from GIS software to graphics software. I try to achieve everything I can in GIS, using expressions and analyses to display the data I need and style it accordingly. I've been asked several times, "can't you just draw a line here" or "can you move this point over there" and the answer is always, "I can, but…"

But what?

It's perfectly possible to add new lines and polygons in GIS software, but I like my GIS to represent real data. If the line should be here or the point over there, then give me the data that will allow GIS to render it that way. If there's no data, that's when I start to consider exporting my map into graphics software. In general if you want your data to represent something, I want it in a data format (something like CSV, SHP, geoJSON) so that it can be represented as data. Anything else tends to be stylistic and if my GIS software can't render it, then that's when Illustrator (or, preferably, Affinity Designer) comes into play.


I'm generalising of course; obviously, it's down to personal preference, workflows, and very much case-by-case. But as I sit here currently exporting to SVG to play around with some graphics, I began wondering what others thought, or how others combined GIS and GFX. I'd be very interested in your thoughts.

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