View Full Version : [WIP] Zanannia and environs

01-08-2011, 01:01 AM
Here's what I would propose as Zanannia, per the Request for a political map of Zanannia (http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?12953-Request-for-a-political-map). I'll show what I'm doing as I go - not terribly sophisticated, but hey, I like my results :-). I'll refer to the original poster as Zann, and the nation as Zanannia, to keep things straight in my small brain. A request - what's the full name of the nation, or the nation type, by which it could be formally labeled? Such as The Democratic Despotism of Zanannia - that sort of thing. This is a Fractal Terrains basemap, but I just used FT to gen the shape. Regenerate random world, regen, regen, regen - whoa, there's an island I can start with. Push, prod, poke, raise, smooth... ehhh, Okay. If the islands don't seem far enough away, just say so.


Yes, the OP asks for a political map. This is topo... it's how I think. This won't be a bunch of western-USA arbitrary straight lines - I'll use the topography to come up with something more organic for district borders. The rivers as shown are just the rough ones FT generated with no effort ... I count them as suggestions :-). They're on their own layer, so I'll mod, trace, and supplement them. The end result will be plainer political , with a matching topo if you want it, Zann. I'll probably snug the islands up next to the mainland, with a small inset showing their true relationship.

I greatly simplified the continental shelf that FT gave me. Since I'm not maintaining the Full Grand Fractalness of it all, I'm also modding the topography as I see fit.

01-09-2011, 12:57 AM
When I use this style, I like a crisp coastline. There's an easy 'find all edges' in PhotoPlus, BUT recent versions do a "nice" aliased boundary. I don't think I want that, here -- so I usually drop back to an old version I keep just for the binary on-or-off edge detection. If I have all major lakes decided early, it's good to use this step to draw their coasts too. Then I did a little manual mountain tweaking, suggesting the incising of valleys from water flow. Then I connected the dots and wiggled some plausible rivers into place.


This is probably as much or more topo info than Zann wanted, so I'll quit fiddling with it and move on to politics and people.

01-09-2011, 04:23 PM
This looks great so far! The islands are about as far out as I wanted them!

For more information on Zanannia, here's my factbook!


Also, I see the idea, you want to make a topographical map so that the political map looks better. Sure, you can go ahead and take the topo and finish it. That would be a lovely addition to my factbook!

01-09-2011, 04:35 PM
Good. This is how I placed the district boundaries - ridgelines, rivers, common-terrain or presumably common climate.


01-09-2011, 04:45 PM
And here's what I'll use for the political basemap. I tried it with fully-shaded districts, but this wound up looking better to me, with the 'inner glow' coloring.


That's fifteen districts -- the three southwest yellow-border bits are all one district, just discontinuous -- the nearby yellow islands too, for that matter.

Now I have a couple of decisions to make. A benefit of the .gif / pixel-crisp style is ai can use really tiny fonts and nevertheless have them legible. But having read the label placement treatise Ravells posted, I want to try following some of those rules. Think, think, think. Pixel fonts go all blurry when tilted or curved.... anti-aliased if you want it, blurred if you don't ;-). If I'm going to permit any antialiasing at all I might as well go .jpg or .png, because the in-between colors will eat .gif's 256 palette Really Quickly.

Maybe I'll try both ways, and others as well ;-). There's no decision like No Decision.

01-09-2011, 04:50 PM
Oh, and thanks for the Factbook pointer. I don't mind conforming to preset worldbuilding ... that doesn't so much cramp my creativity, as spur it on. After all, rationalization can take more thinking than simply letting "reality" happen :-).

01-10-2011, 01:30 AM
Well, there's one way to label districts. Do the curves look OK? Is there any commentary or criticism in general?


Next for some cities...

Don't know how much of this I'll add to on Monday -- it's snowing in North Alabama, which it almost NEVER does. It was actually thundersnow earlier! Fun stuff :-). Four to six inches is a mere snow shower in some places, but my kids will be nuts, come daylight.

01-10-2011, 01:37 AM
I would suggest trying to avoid having any letters that are turned more than 180 degrees. Vaca Ligeria for example - I feel like I have to turn my head to read it, because the Vaca is closer to upside down than right side up. Other than the few labels like that, I think you're looking pretty sweet!

01-10-2011, 03:15 PM
Yeah, I agree, I had to turn my head to read some of them! :D

Also, to avoid confusion, could you merge the two smaller Tripecian regions into Niropa?

Other than this, it looks fantastic! I absolutely love it!

01-10-2011, 03:17 PM
I also love all the names! They are awesome!

01-10-2011, 06:06 PM
OK, MaYbE less optimum according to Imhof (http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?12373-Positioning-names-on-maps&p=133175#post133175), but one could rationalize that rules for paper may differ for the computer screen - you can more easily tilt a paper map to read at an angle ;-).


Siigh .... simplicity is overrated. But OK, Niropa is bigger and Tripecia is in one piece. I needed to finalize those district-labeling issues before I started to place cities. In the real world people inconveniently plant cities right where it complicates neat labeling of large features. Here, I confess, I can sneak in the places people live where they won't be under a district name :-). So much easier.

Zann, what do you call the principal city of a district - its capital? I'll need that for the key.

01-11-2011, 02:04 PM
Hmmm. If I'm going to avoid placing major population density in deserts, for instance, guess I'd better figure rough climate now. Zann says in his factbook page:

Mountainous/evergreen forest in the north, plains/deciduous forest in the middle of the continent, desert in the south. Lilac Island is mostly tropical, with a volcanic mountain in the middle.
Many terrains come with many climates
Elevation Extremes:
17,488 feet - 0 feet

Usually I work with a given generated world, and take what it gives me. Here, nothing even says where in latitude we are, nor the extent of the landmass in latitude and longitude. Sooooo, I start with the given size,

10,239,701 km square (6,632,655 miles square)

Hmm - that's troublesome. That conversion factor is for distance, not area. 6.6 million miles is about 10.6 million km. 6.6 million square miles, which Zann agreed was his intent, is more like 17,178,498 sq km. I'll go with that.

I used to do all kinds of gyrations and approximations to figure land area. This is easier: I reduced all the land mass of Zannannia to black on white water, and deleted the separate nation up north. Filled in the lakes, since they usually count in a nation's area. I squared the file to an even 1500x1500 pixels, to help me think in round numbers.


The PhotoPlus histogram for distribution of colors across this B&W picture looks like so:


Apparently the Gimp and PhotoShop have something similar.

Left being the cursor over the left end of the spectrum, black, and right being the white end. PhotoPlus reports that as 143766 black and 605844 white, for a total of 749,610. I quote this in all its halting process, because I have to rediscover how this works every time... THat's with the histogram set for RGB. If I make the land pure blue, and the sea black, the histogram seems to read (referencing the blue channel) 201,948 for black, and 48052 for blue, for a total of 250,000. Yeah, that's how -- stick with one channel. Not sure why the histogram refers to 250,000 pixels total, when the canvas is 1500x1500=2,250,000 . <shrug> What I need is the proportion, and that I now have: Zanannia is 48052/250000 of the whole. 19.22% ? Squint at the picture... yeah, I'll buy that.

Now, I'm going to do some rounding here, so 20% is plenty good enough. So if 20% is 6.6 million square miles, then my 2,250,000 pixels is 33.2 million sq miles. Square root of that is 5759, so that's how many miles to the 1500 pixel side of my square canvas (see why I squared it?) So a scale bar is going to be based on .2605 pixels to the mile. If I'm measuring in PhotoPlus, I'll need it the other way around -- 3.839.miles to the pixel. The nation is about 1030 pixels north-south - call that 3955 miles.

For the sake of the argument, we'll say the planet is earth-sized -- 24,860 miles in circumference through the poles. 12,430 miles is 180 degrees of latitude, so the nation stretches about 1030 pixels or 57 degrees N-S. Also we'll assume the same axial tilt as earth, so the equivalent of tropics of Cancer and Capricorn are at 23.5 degrees N and S. Those are the drier latitudes, all else equal. If Zann wants deserts somewhere in the south, we could straddle the equator.

Those mountains on the Niropa-Dectarium border are tall enough to give a bit of rain-shadow dryness, if prevailing winds are NW-SE, or SE-NW. Let's say most winds are out of the NW at that point, and that the C of Dectarium is at 23.5 S. So the southern tip of the mainland would be at 270 pixels ( ~15 degrees) further south, or 38.5 South. That'd put the northern end of the nation at about 18.5 N. Call that Cape Town to Timbuctu.

An alternative would be to stretch it from 23.5-15 = 8.5 degrees N to 65.5 N. Call it from mid-Nigeria up to mid-Norway. That might stick the Malkakhian S.S.R farther north than they might want, or it might be just the ticket. Zann - is that country the property of a human player, who might care about his latitude?

01-11-2011, 02:07 PM
Looking at South America and Africa, I see that Tropic of Capricorn effect creating some pretty serious west-coast deserts. Hmmm. That makes more sense -- rain-shadow plus descending dry-ish air, and most of Niropa can be desert and savannah. The flatlands and river bottoms of Tripecia, Haleria, and Mavia would be pretty well watered - crops and forests. The equator passes through the centerpoint of the Y of Elroyas Cho District.

Hmm. So the plateau of Aeocypta District might be high enough to get those evergreen forests you mention in the north - certainly the mountains at the Malkakhian border are. Altitude... so now's the time to figure the altitude key. Your highest point is 17,488 ft, says the factbook entry. Ten altitude bands; I'll call them 1800 ft each. That makes the plateau 7000-8000 feet up... I'd say that's as good as tens of degrees of latitude poleward, therefore YES, we can grow alpine/ boreal forests there instead of the rainforest / jungle that might be at the coast, at the same latitude. OK, that covers the desired climate zones, and many more. Unless you see an absolute showstopper in my logic, Zann, we'll say your nation straddles the equator, from about 38.5 degrees S to 18.5 degrees N.

Okay, now for the tectonic action. If Lilac Island needs to be tropical, there's no reason I can't shift it to be more equatorial. >S.H.O.V.E.< Serious earthquake - we just moved the whole archipelago hundreds of miles north :-). While I'm at it >tweak<, >tweak<, and there's several extinct or dormant calderas for old volcanoes. And finally here's what I'll use as a base for city placement and labeling. To ease the mechanics of layer manipulation while I place a hundred dots & names, I'm working with a file where I smashed all you see here to one layer. Now if I can remember to not go editing any topography while I'm placing cities, I'm golden.


01-12-2011, 05:06 PM
I am in awe! I know I keep saying they're amazing, but it really is! Seeing your vision become reality always makes you appreciate the finished product more...:)

The Malkakhian SSR is not a human controlled nation, do whatever you want with it.

As for the altitude and climate changes, I like them. It makes the map and the nation that much more realistic...

The capital of any given district is called a capital.

Keep up the excellent work, jb!! :D

01-12-2011, 05:27 PM
One request: in order to better follow what I was thinking when I named Lilac Island, can you name the other islands after plants/flowers? Like hyacinth, narcissus, wysteria, etc.?

01-13-2011, 12:49 AM
The other islands in the Lilac archipelago, that is....

01-13-2011, 01:54 AM
Yeah, I figured you meant the Lilac Archipelago islands :-). Here's another step in the political view. Capital cities, other large and medium cities placed, and capital cities named. Any commentary / criticism on how I placed labels? I worked over a topo layer, so I could see how they'd look there too -- I figure about this many cities and labels would be appropriate even on the topographic map.

Still to place - small cities, and labels for medium cities.

I'm undecided whether showing the lilac islands closer, at least on the political map, would be worthwhile. I'll see how much of that 'empty ocean' is filled by labels that I need to place offshore... I could always do the topo at "true separation" and "save paper" on the political map by excising 500 or a thousand miles of ocean. We'll see. Any opinions?


Notice this is still under 100 kb. The labels and cities will add some, but it'll still be suitable for viewing even without broadband. I run websites and servers for a living -- I get paranoid about accessability.

01-14-2011, 12:54 AM
I like it. No really important opinion on the island/map ocean space thing, I like the names. :)

Could you give the Malkakhian capital and islands Russian-type names?

Other than that, it still looks fabulous!

01-16-2011, 03:55 PM
Work in progress still? It's been a couple of days... Sorry for sounding whiny, but this has been the longest you've gone without posting... It' probably just me. I'm paranoid...

01-16-2011, 04:54 PM
Oh, I'm still working on it :-)...

01-17-2011, 12:07 AM
Cool, just checking... :)

01-17-2011, 05:11 PM
Need some advice - not just Zann, but cartographers in general. I've placed capital cities and labeled them whether large or medium sized. I placed the few large (over 1.5 million) cities that aren't district capitals, and labeled them. Then I placed the medium cities. I figure that's enough labeled city data for the topo version of the map. Then for the political map I put names on all the medium cities - those in Zanannia anyway. I tried to deprecate the importance of the neighboring nation by not labeling the mediums. <shrug> - I could go either way on that, it's only four more names.

Here's the question - I was planning on placing the myriad small cities, and just not labeling them. After all, that's 60+ named places already - probably plenty at this scale. I figured adding dots for smaller places would let me show population distribution better. But I'm now thinking adding another 3x the existing cities will clutter things too much. Opinions? I put "about the right number" on the two southeastern districts as examples, on the second of these two versions. Smaller dots maybe? Skip the small ones altogether?

32635 32636

Here's how the topo looks with this many big and medium cities. I wouldn't put the small ones on this in any case.


Also, when I've speckled unlabeled small cities on a map before, sometimes I've implied that's all there are, by putting a lower bound on size in the legend. And sometimes I've left it open, with a caveat in the legend something like "only principal small cities shown". I know the whole Zanannian nation is invented, so whatever I say (or Zann says), goes, in general. Somehow the latter choice, explicitly saying "these are by no means all" just seems more realistic. For example most million-population cities will have a halo of smaller municipalities around them. In those cases folks speaking to someone from far away will say they're from, say, Dallas, TX, rather than Plano or Irving, which are decent-sized cities in their own right. Or maybe that's a poor example, since Texans are pretty proud of place :-). Okay, *I* (just 700 miles away) would describe a relative living there as being from Dallas rather than Plano, how about that?

Does one not even bother noting that the biggest cities shown are one flavor or another of "metropolitan area" without regard to city limits and how many incorporated municipalities there are?

Any commentary or criticism in general?

Zann, I used mostly Roman, Italian, French and Esperanto as bases for the city names. You'll see a few English bits too, and I guess Roman whatever-opolis really are Greek origin. Some have actual meanings (Sekurahaveno, Saltuscedro, Fajra-cieux), some are synthetic (put whatever meaning you wish on the repeated Sie/Sipa prefixes), and some are just glued-together pieces of real city names.

You'll notice (hopefully only if you stare) uneven spacing in the names... when using pixel fonts, one may be too tight & two too spread <shrug> ... I erred on the side of legibility.

01-17-2011, 08:42 PM
I guess I've always had the innate assumption that fantasy lands held all sorts of stuff that wasn't on the map; the stuff on the map is what's needed in the book / developed in the setting / etc. So I see no particular need for a note saying "there's more than what you see" -- but that's just my two cents. I'd vote for leaving off the unlabeled dots, but they may be of use to Zann in further developing the world.

01-21-2011, 06:44 PM
I personally think that you shouldn't put the little cities on there. In CS Lewis' Narnia series, he didn't bother putting every single little town on the map, only the ones relative to the story... I think that leaving the small cities off the map will make it easier for me, that way I can place them where I wish....

Also I see your point in the suburb type thing. I actually live in Dallas, so I loved your example... xD

I can't notice anything wrong with the font size, and I love the names! It looks amazing!!

01-23-2011, 05:11 PM
I'm going to call these two finished, unless somebody spots an outright goof.

32819 32820

I have to agree - adding a zillion smaller cities wouldn't do anything but clutter the view. I left the small dot on the key - Zann, if you ever want to add individual smaller places yourself small round dots would do.

I confess I built the district names up out of individually rotated letters... PhotoPlus doesn't have alignment of text along a curve, at least my older version doesn't. But when I looked at the topo map I got to thinking what topo map doesn't at least label mountain ranges. So I dug out my old copy of Serif's DrawPlus. It was a freebie, and curve-text was clunky, but I'd see what it would do. Bzzzzzt : Fail. Freebie it may have been, I had lost the registration key. Grrrr. Well, in the years since I'd downloaded it, maybe Serif had a later version for free (that's their marketing schtick - free older versions, cheap intermediate versions, to entice you to get the full-price later versions. Still way more reasonable than Photoshop, btw, even at full retail. And the older versions aren't crippled - they're still quite useful.) Voila (after a 100 Mb crawling download) something called a DrawPlus Starter Edition. Hmmm.... bells, whistles.... aha. Curves, and alignment of text. And in short order, mountain range names. Some have meanings, Zann, if you care:
Montes Claustra - barrier mountains
Montes Verdisa - green mountains
Montes Sussurro - whispering mountains
Catenamonti Argenti - silver range (or wealthy mtns)
Catenamonti Mediavi - central range
The Lyros are just named after whater Lyrocia District was named for.

None of these show the desert areas, etc, so I'm thinking I'll take a stab at a simple climate map.

01-23-2011, 05:32 PM
Looks superb, jbj.

01-23-2011, 06:58 PM
Thanks for the tip on DrawPlus, jbg! I spent some extra cash on the wacom that came with PSE over the holidays thinking I'd be able to use it for text ---- but there's no kerning, and they made it abnormally space everything!! I'll give DrawPlus a try, since full-blown PS isn't in my budget and I hate using the borrowed computer (that has PS on it) for mapping if I don't absolutely have to.

01-24-2011, 11:10 PM
http://t2.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcSbc1Oxhsxoxk91BZKmLwXdfTe7KkXSw qzV7PrYMCtu99s0mgL2&t=1

I am at a loss for words, other than.....





That should do it.

Thank you SOOOO much!!! :)

01-26-2011, 01:00 AM
You're welcome :-).

02-06-2011, 03:35 PM
Hey, just wondering, is it okay if you make a climate map? It'd look great on my factbook...

02-07-2011, 01:32 AM
sure, it's in my queue.... not having one bugged me, like an incomplete nag in the back of the brain. unfortunately my boss' and family's nags get front-of-brain space :-)

03-22-2011, 07:38 PM
Sure, just whenever is most convenient for you.

Here's my Factbook, if you're interested in seeing how I applied your map....