Recently, I’d been contacted by Avenza Systems to review their Adobe Creative Cloud add ons. For the purpose of this review, I’ve was given free access to Avenza’s MAPublisher and Geographic Imager products.
MAPublisher’s 9.9.1 update – for Adobe Illustrator CC 2017 – has complete integration with the Adobe software’s features, much like ArcGIS for Illustrator. However, MAPublisher offers some interesting geocoding features, and the MAP Trim and Extend tools offer quick line addition and modification. An in-depth look into this program can be found here, for those interested in reviewing the fine details available to its users.
Geographic Imager, version 5.2 is Avenza’s answer to Photoshop extensions. Similar to the ArcMap add on, Imager is compatible with all features in Adobe Photoshop CC 2017. The ability to import map image and tile layers is intuitive and fairly convenient, and the integration of web services from ArcGIS Online optimize possible map sources for customization.
The primary drawback for Avenza’s extensions would center around cost. For individuals looking for ways to create unique maps, it may be outside the realm of possibility in terms of purchasing a license for either of these extensions (Geographic Imager sitting at an approximate $699 and MAPublisher at $1399 one-time cost for a fixed license). For organizations that are already members of Avenza’s Geographic Imager Maintenance Program, the add ons are free. In the latter case, I would recommend utilizing them simply for their value Although, academic pricing is also available to look into for GIS teachers looking to maximize their students’ GIS program familiarity. The opportunity to reach out beyond geospatial software behemoths like Esri could bring on better competition to provide the best extension features possible.
While Esri builds its extensions to work in relative contingency with its maps, it’s clear that Avenza’s products have been available longer. More in-depth features and greater control over mapping projects make it worth a look.
For those looking for a further look at Esri’s extensions, read my previous review here.