How To: Create Exploded Axonometric Maps

Skill Level:

Rhino 5 or 6

In this tutorial you will learn how to create a multi-layered exploded axonometric map. This visual style is useful for representing built form, on top of maps that contain a lot of information. For this example, we will show various layers of information around the Monash Caulfield Campus.

Step 1: Collecting your information

  • Go to the website and log in.
  • Navigate to your site location using the map tool. (Note: you can download 1 square kilometre for free).
  • Select AutoCAD as the file type and download the data.

Step 2: Combining data

  • Open the AutoCAD file in Rhino 5 or 6.
  • Once opened, you can add additional data such as models of buildings. In this example we will add the campus buildings so they stand out from the rest of the map.

Step 3: Trimming the map

  • In top view, draw a circle within the bounds of your data using the circle command.
  • Select the circle and prompt the trim command.
  • Select all lines outside of the circle to delete them using the delete key on your keyboard.

Step 4: Adding circles

  • Turn off all layers except for the circle layer by pressing the bulb icon in the layers panel.
  • One by one, turn on each 2D map layer, copying the circle to each (use control/command + C). It’s also helpful to group the circle with the rest of the line-work using the group command.
  • The original circle layer can be deleted after this step.

Step 5: Offsetting the circles

  • Select one group of circles and off-set them vertically using the move command. Lock each layer in the layer panel once you have moved it. Repeat until all of the circles are separated.
  • Switch to parallel projection (Set View>Isometric).
  • If any circles overlap repeat step ‘A’ so there is space between them.

Step 6: Taking it to illustrator

  • Unlock all layers and in isometric view, run the command Make2D.
  • Export you Rhino file by navigating to the save as menu. Change the file type to .’dwg’, select save.
  • Open the ‘.dwg’ file in illustrator.

Step 7: Setting up the layout

  • Remove any layers that are not named ‘Make2D’ by deleting the in the layers panel.
  • Move the exploded axonometric into the centre of the page.

Step 8: Add labels

  • Create a new layer called ‘labels’.
  • Using the pen tool, draw lines at any desired distance from the circles
  • Add text to each circle layer by adding a text-box. Write a description explaining in one or two words what each circle is showing.

Step 9: Dashed lines

  • Create a new layer named ‘dash’.
  • On this layer, using the pen tool, draw lines that connect the circles vertically.
  • In the stroke menu, change the stroke type to be dashed.

Step 10: Adding colour

  • Select all the line-work (control/command + A) and change the stroke colour to white.
  • Select objects on each layer and change the fill or stoke colour to something unique.

Step 11: Export

  • Save your illustrator file (control/command + S).
  • Navigate to the export menu and select ‘Export As’. Export the drawing as ‘.png’ or ‘.jpeg’ and the drawing is now complete!

In Summary:
In this tutorial you learned how to create multi-layered exploded axonometric map. It can be a lengthy process, but the result are worth it. This style of drawing is best suited to mid-semester and final critiques, where complex information needs to be synthesized into a simple diagram.

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