So yesterday I found myself in need of creating a Visio diagram for the first time in a very long time, what I wanted to create was a diagram that would use the data connection features in Visio to show the status over the different states in Australia. This however is where I ran into issues , as there is no geography based stencils shipped with Visio out of the box, so of to Bing I went and found that there was a set of geographic stencils that included a map of Australia. Great now all I needed was a breakdown of this map based on state boundaries and I would be ready to rock. Alas this set of stencils did not contain the content I desired so I headed back to the inter webs to search a little more with no luck and finally resigned myself to creating my own stencils, and here is how I did it using a combination of images from the web, SsnagIt, Word 2010 and Visio I now have a great set of State based stencils for Australia which you can find at the end of this post, but first the process
Step 1: I found a decent resolution map of Australia with all the state boundaries marked out
Step 2: Use SnagIt or your image editing application of choice to crop out each state into a separate image
Step 3: Use the new Word 2010 to remove the background from each of the images
Step 4: With the background removed save the image out for import into Visio
Step 5: Repeat for each state image until you have a collection of images that look like this
Step 6: With your new back groundless images created it’s time to import them into Visio and start creating your sub shapes
Here is my Visio diagram with the imported and assembled images
Next I overlay the Australian Map Shape that is available on Office.com (this is not exactly to scale however it’s enough for my purposes
Step 7: Now it’s time to start cropping the shape image from Office.com to do this select first of all the state you want to crop out and bring it to the front of the image
Next Select the full map of Australia Hold Control and Select the State Level Image
Step 8: On the developer toolbar select the “Operations” down and select to keep the intersecting pieces of the image
This will keep only the pieces where the 2 images overlap and because we selected the Visio Shape first the resulting object is a Visio shape that ca be data bound
repeat the above for the remaining states. However when you get to NSW, and Victoria or states with non straight boundary lines you need to use the free form drawing tool to help cut the shape effectively.
Once all the shapes have been created you can drag them into a custom stencil, or download the stencil I’ve already finished, now as I said this is not a scaled drawing and is probably not perfect but does serve for the intention of illustrating Australia at a sate level enjoy download the stencils here
These are awesome! Thanks Ben. Just one note; you have got some slight spelling mistakes for the ACT and Australia shapes.