How to Vectorize Any Map Part I: Using Google

Turn your favorite places into artistic line drawings tuned to your tastes.

Listen, don’t waste your precious design time tracing lines with the Pen Tool in Adobe Illustrator or removing unwanted labels in Photoshop. You can recreate anything, even intricate maps of the most populous cityscapes, with the right tools. Let’s get to it.

See Part II here if you know how to navigate this part already.

PREPARATION WORK…

STEP ONE: Go to the Google Maps Styling Wizard and click on ‘Create a Style’ button on the welcome screen.

STEP TWO: On the left panel, set the ‘Landmarks’ and ‘Labels’ options all the way to the left and be sure to have the ‘Standard’ theme selected. Then, click on the ‘More Options’ link on the bottom of the left panel.

STEP THREE: On the left panel, scroll down to the ‘Road’ feature and click on ‘Highway’. Under ‘Geometry’ click on ‘Fill’.
Now, click on the yellow colored box, and set the color to Black (or #000000).

STEP FOUR: Under ‘Element type’, click on ‘Stroke’ and set the Visibility to ‘hidden’.

STEP FIVE: On the left panel, under the ‘Road’ feature click on ‘Arterial’ and the under ‘Geometry’ click on ‘Fill’. Click over the black colored box, and set the color to a medium gray such as #787878.

Are you getting used to the interface yet? Great! Keep up.

STEP SIX: Going back two columns to where ‘Arterial’ was, click on ‘Local’ and under ‘Geometry’ click on ‘Fill’. Set the color to a light gray like #C4C4C4. (No explosions, though.)

STEP SEVEN: Back on the far left column again, click on the first item ‘All’ and then under the Element type ‘Geometry’ click on ‘Fill’. Set it to white or #FFFFFF. Simple enough? Comment F to pay respects.

Now collapse to view your progress by clicking ‘More Options’.

STEP EIGHT: Search for an address or location and put your map in your desired position. Zoom out or adjust your browser’s window if needed. Aaand take a screenshot however you do, and save!

TRACING WORK…

Open up Illustrator! Please click here to proceed to Part II.