Open Source GIS and Mapping
The GIS data from vendors like Navtech is prohibitively expensive. They have their reasons for the pricing and justifications. Navtech data is the best GIS data on earth and can be used in most of GIS analysis. But such high quality data is a waste for making freelance map products like web maps, city guide maps etc. The team of thousands of voluteer brought to the world OpenStreetMaps (OSM) and various open source GIS software. We use both open source GIS data and software in generating maps.
Open source software and data is the most effective way to reduce costs and recurring maintenance charges; a boon for freelance map and GIS related tasks. Yes, even GIS data from reputed vendors has a maintenance charge. Generally the data policy of most of the vendors has various clauses, like the time period, number of users, type of users and so on. So for freelancer map makers who have to make do with minimal funding requirements, open source is probably the best solution .
We have been using OSM GIS exports for our freelance maps for many years now. We hereby acknowledge and thank the volunteers for making the GIS data available for the benefit of freelancing commuity. We also use other open domain data, like TIGER data for US, open Ordnance data for UK and various other open national GIS data initiatives. You can see some of the maps made from open domain GIS data below:-
Arroyo Grande, California
Paso Rubles, California
All these maps of small cities in California, USA were made primarily with TIGERLINE data and some features from Open Street Maps (OSM) data. The software used was Illustrator with Avenza Mapublisher plugin for GIS imports. If you would like maps of any cities of USA, Canada, Australia, UK then good quality local country open source GIS data is available for such freelance map jobs. For other European cities Open Street Maps (OSM) data is quite good and can be used for preparing web maps, guide maps and detailed city maps.