This week I've been playing around with TileMill, and so far I'm quite impressed. Working in the GIS Center I see people struggle with the basics of map production frequently. Most often they are taking the Introduction to GIS course at Skidmore, and their needs are quite simple. They want to make a map with a shape file or two, and that's where TileMill comes in. Provided you have projected data, I'm not sure there exists a simpler way to turn that data into a map. TileMill will auto detect projections so that it just works, and puts your raster and vector data in the same place so you can style it. And styling is very easy, with a few CSS-like selectors and a color picker. Within a few minutes it's very easy to generate a map that has decent aesthetics. While the interface is clunky and nonstandard, it's worlds better than anything that ESRI or QGIS have to offer. In a few minutes I was able to import the data for Vermont roads, trails, and driveways; tweak the thickness and colors of the lines, and export the result as a PDF, a PNG, and a SVG. TileMill was happy to render me a massive 66MB SVG, but here's a much smaller image of the map.