Export to Illustrator file? SVG has too much data.


Was wondering if someone could help me out. I am trying to create some stylized maps. Rather than reproducing work (with terrible accuracy) by overlaying a Google map, I was wondering if I could get help here by using existing vectors.

Here’s an example of what I am doing.

I just discovered OpenStreetMap.org today, so please bear with me. I used the Export tab to export a map as an SVG. At first, when I opened the file in Illustrator, it had too many objects and the map was covered in black. I could see it when it refreshed, but it remained hidden under what I assume is text. Then, I tried it as a PDF and it still didn’t work as well. After that, I exported it again as an SVG, but this time, there was nothing but two blocks of color in the file.

So, my questions are…

  1. Can I export just a few elements of the map? I only need the streets and none of the extraneous buildings, greenery, etc.
  2. What am I doing wrong with the Export because I tried clearing the cookies and restarting Firefox. It sort of worked the first time, but now it only gives me two blocks of color with no map. I tried PDF, SVG, JPG - nothing.
  3. Which format is best for Illustrator? SVG or PDF?

Thanks so much for any help you can give me. I’ve searched both here on the forums and elsewhere and haven’t come up with a way that works. Perhaps there’s just a bug either with Firefox or OpenStreetMap’s Export.



:-/ There is a commercial map plugin to illustrator that allows you to handle shape files the user AxelM knows more, but I don’t think it costs much. You can download openstretmap shapefiles from Cloudmade.

See more: http://wiki.openstreetmap.org/index.php/Shapefiles

About SVG and PDF: please report your problem on http://trac.openstreetmap.org/ that shouldn’t happen…

Thank you, emj. For some reason, today the Export feature works absolutely fine. I’ll message AxelM per your referral. Again, thank you. This truly makes things go alot faster.

By the way, how do I add copyright information per Creative Commons?


  1. No you can not export selective elements of the map. What you see is what you get more or less. I wish there was a shape file export filter where you could check what data you want to export.
  2. I also get strange objects when exporting. What I do is export to PDF and do some clean up in Illustrator For some reason there is some big black boxes that covers the map. You need to delete them to see the map. This is not always super easy to do.
  3. I always export to PDF as it is native for Illustrator.

You dont need the the plug in if you dont need shape files.

For use in Illustrator, I find it’s best to export in Illustrator format. :wink: