The Best Software Programs for Drawing Maps

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If you do your tracing in a vector-based program, the maps will be scalable. Compared to a bitmap-based program like Photoshop, a vector-based program is much better-suited to drawing and editing maps. For example, you can use different line styles for different things, change line widths and colors on the fly, and make adjustments to line placement more precisely. All of this is much more difficult using a bitmap-based program.

Also, a vector program will let you output either vector or bitmap files, so you could still output a JPEG if you need one but keep your working file in the superior vector-based format. If you create your file in a bitmap-based program, you can't convert it to a vector format without re-drawing or use trace software (which generally doesn't work so well). With a bitmap-based file, you'd also be stuck with a fixed-resolution image that won't scale gracefully.

If you decide to go with a vector-based program, there are some inexpensive shareware programs that should be fine for what you need to do. For example, Inkscape is free, and ZonerDraw 4, is around $40, after the free trial period.

Visit the following links to find vector-based drawing software:

Some business drawing programs can also be used for drawing maps:

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Chastain, Sue. "The Best Software Programs for Drawing Maps." ThoughtCo, Apr. 4, 2017, Chastain, Sue. (2017, April 4). The Best Software Programs for Drawing Maps. Retrieved from Chastain, Sue. "The Best Software Programs for Drawing Maps." ThoughtCo. (accessed September 23, 2017).