View Full Version : Urtopis

08-21-2010, 07:16 PM
I have been gone from these forums for quite a while. Work and college just took too much of my free time. Now that I have earned my Masters, I have a little more free time to work on cartography. A life long hobby.

I have been working on a new map using the color relief shaded style. I also generated a graticuled map with only the coastlines.

Click image for larger view

Click image for larger view

To make this map, I used real world DEMs (Digital Elevation Models) downloaded from the Seamless Server (http://seamless.usgs.gov/). Of course, finding the desired DEM can be time consuming. I spent over three whole days finding the DEM used for the above map. I then used ArcMap at work to generate and export three images: Hillshade, Colored Relief, and Terrain.

Since ArcMap is so expensive ($5000/yr minimum), I am looking into methods for using FOSS4G software since it is free (excepting time spent downloading, installing, and learning). Hopefully, I can figure out these methods. And perhaps make tutorials?

The three ArcMap generated images were then loaded into Photoshop. Photoshop was used to trim off the white borders generated by ArcMap. I then exported the Terrain image into a greyscale PNG which was used in Wilbur (http://www.ridgenet.net/~jslayton/software.html) to generate the rivers. I then put the hillshade image under the colored relief image, then applied a 20% transparency to get the hillshade to show through slightly and give a 3D terrain simulation.

I then used NBOS Fractal Mapper (http://www.nbos.com/products/mapper/mapper.htm) to generate several land shapes which I then merged into a single land shape. This land shape was used to create a mask in Photoshop to get the land shape as seen in the above map. Of course, you could use AutoREALM (http://sourceforge.net/projects/autorealm/files/) to generate land shapes.

Afterwards, it was all Photoshop and Paint Shop Pro to generate the above map. This is still definitely a WIP since now I need to add the cultural, societal, etc. features.

Thanks for any criticisms and/or praise. Feel free to post either or both.


08-26-2010, 01:26 PM
Those textures are very well detailed. Since I don't even know half the programs you used, and am not very experienced with the rest, take this with a grain of salt, but maybe it will help. The rivers look to widen out in the rocky/snowy terrain before flowing down to the plains. I think its an illusion, but its there non the less, so the rivers could use some trimming up. For that matter, you have a plethora of rivers flooding the continent, and for artistry's sake you could trim some back. If the point of the story/game is river exploration then obviously keep them, but otherwise the map is better served with only the major rivers. Finally the land is done with such detail, and then the ocean is left a flat blue that it's distracting, hit it with some texture or other.

Oh, and awesome compass.

08-29-2010, 05:00 AM
@ im_sparticus
I will admit the number of rivers shown is high, but look at the scale of the map. The entire map is 9,856,468 meters square (6124.525 miles). That is almost twice as wide as the United States. I don't think the number of rivers is too much. However, you were correct about the rivers in the mountains. Where they are glaciated (whitest), they should not have rivers. They'd have glaciers instead. BTW: I was already working on the rivers before I saw your post. Also hope I made the ocean better.

I have been working on the rivers, however. There were many violations which I have fixed (I hope). Also, I fixed the headwaters of the western rivers where I have intended to place The Wall.

Map showing The Wall

Map showing scale with United States

Map showing the drainage basins (watersheds)

New WIP map


EDIT: Added reply to im_sparticus...

09-07-2010, 12:43 AM
Well, it's been a while. Of course, I am no where near finishing, but I am still working on my Urtopis project.

So far, I have defined the kingdoms and The Wilds.

I also tried my hand at a thematic map showing the major biomes. I know it ain't perfect, just a first try.


09-19-2010, 04:13 AM
Almost there. Finally got all the kingdoms with their major cities on the western half. Now just have to finish out the eastern half. How about a little history for Urtopis?

This map is based on an old role playing campaign from the late 1980s (1986-1992). While digging around through some very old stuff I had collected, I found an ancient dot matrix print out of the outline of the continent. I scanned it and converted it into a Photoshop file. I even found a data sheet on the world and some old hand drawn maps. With over a hundred lines of data, I only include the most relevant data below. I have tried to scan the hand drawn maps; however, they are so old that they do not scan very well.

Equatorial Radius: 5,989,774.188 meters
Polar Radius: 5,975,822.208 meters
Volumetric Mean Radius: 5,985,119.912 meters
Oblateness: 0.00232929980722942
Inverse Flattening Ratio: 429.313563198826
Surface Gravity: 10.3162 meters/second^2
Escape Velocity: 11,112.4918 meters/second^2
Total Surface Area: 449,448,751.0671 square kilometers
Land Surface Area: 143,823,600.3415 square kilometers
Ocean Surface Area: 305,625,150.7256 square kilometers
Land/Ocean Percentage: 32/68
Topographic Range: 26,813 m
Number of Natural Satellites: 2
Mean Distance: 210,790,462,973 meters (1.409047 AUs)
Orbital Period: 49,766,400 seconds (576 Earth Days, 432 Havran Days)
Orbital Obliquity: 21.75
Rotational Period: 99,000 seconds (27.5 hours)

Most of the adventuring was around Vesem and Cromak since those two kingdoms were in dispute. There was no official war, but there were constantly skirmishes on their border. Also, my character was from Wolan which had been invaded along with Kreblin and Mandor by the Chungrun. Unbeknownst to my character (since he was orphaned as a babe), he was the last surviving member of the Wolan Family Royale. Unfortunately, the GM for the campaign died from pulmonary cystic fibrosis before my character could find out being the King of Wolan and trying to free Wolan from the Chungrun. The Wilds is a region most stay out of. However, my main character, Sarum, discovered that The Wilds are inhabited and protected by Wood Elves. Most humans stay away due to many negative legends speaking of all who enter never return. Not true, just most who enter, decide not to return and migrate to the human enclaves within The Wilds.

Eventually, I'll get this map finished. Just don't have enough free time to work on it and the new map I just started.