View Full Version : *** May 2011 Challenge Voting - Map a Nation ***

05-29-2011, 11:20 PM
This month's main challenge was to map a nation in any style that you wanted to do.

Here is the link (http://www.cartographersguild.com/utilities/Thumbs/Html/Challengers_May11.htm) to view all of the maps.

Make sure to throw some rep to those that you vote for.


05-30-2011, 12:13 AM
Rats, I was going to squeeze an entry in before the last day of the month but this is a done deal I guess. I thought we always had till the end of the month?

Oh well I'll just post in the wip threads.

05-30-2011, 03:34 AM
I was going to enter this challenge as well, but doing ones back in doesn't really help with sitting at a computer. Besides, now that I see what I was up against I realize I didn't really have much of a chance.

Anyways, there's so many great entries I'm glad I can vote for three. In no particular order, my votes are;

RjBeals - Molta --> Love the crisp clear lines and the colour choices.
Diamond - Western American Empire --> Nice clean layout, and I love the border.
Djekspek - No Title --> One of the best 'artsy' maps I have seen.

All the rest of the entries were great as well, and I hope one day I actually finish something half as good for one of these challenges.

As for the map I was going to enter into the challenge, well hopefully it'll be posted as a WIP soon enough.

05-30-2011, 04:19 AM
So glad I withdrew, I would have never stood a chance this month. On thatn note, my vote are...

Sapiento's Empire of Tyddarheym - Love the sense of scale
Ascension's Hassassine - Love the indianna jones feel, ah nostalgia...
Ravell's Silmencia - Same as Sapiento


05-30-2011, 04:42 AM
@jax - the challenge runs to the 25th - but is often prolonged to end on a weekend for those last minute edits :)

05-30-2011, 04:43 AM
Why not come in from the cold by voting and making broad commentary!

Ascension: Generally I love your stuff, but the quasi-Indiana Jones map just didn't grab me. Something about it didn't feel right.

Clercon: Its very neat, but feels drab... Army-Fatigue drab. It would have been good to have a bit more zing in the colour scheme. But it looks well done.

Diamond: Man I like that Art-Deco kind of thing going on... but the "slanted banners" for the land features bug me.

Djekspek: Felt magical, called magical, looked sort of magical. Only complaint is the text for the neighbouring regions feeling out-of-whack... Overall I like it!

Greel: Its a nice almost computerised sort of map and I like it. Thumbs up here.

Lalaithon: The mountainous areas seem not to fit, but I do like the font and in general it feels pretty darned good.

MasterTMO: If there was a bit more of a feeling of Star Trek about it (probably through eliminating the white background), this would be excellent.

Plumcrazy: As a teacher, I love the pull-down chart of this thing. Felt a little too 'clean' and "jpg on website"... if you get what I mean. Maybe some more guts in the colours would work.

Reckless: Felt good, but empty. I know the "less-is-more" theory but this was more of the "less is not much" feeling.

RJBeals: Man, I remember how much of a pasting you gave everyone for the Manhattan Island competition... Again a big-hitter in these and a vote from me.

Rythal: The fonts didn't grab me. They felt too dark and a strain to read. But the rest looked pretty good.

Sapiento: Man another great one. So hard to keep up with that kind of skill.

ZarPeter: Font says "screen", image says "schoolbook". Didn't quite gel for me.

JBGibson: Wow, nice classic semi-modern map look. *ding* Vote for you!

jtougas: Another one with lots of great stuff but the font leaves things to be desired.

Morikahn: Great background... shame about the no-map.

Ravells: As much as it pains me to say this... didn't love it Ravs. You do great work and there is heaps that is great... but I didn't love it.

Torstan: Great start... touch incomplete. Shame.

05-30-2011, 04:56 AM
Great work all ... my votes went to Ascension - beautiful map with a cool indy feel ;) ... Diamond for his great looking map of the "The American Empire" my favorite this month ... and to Sapiento for his cool map of the Empire of Tyddarheym - very nicely done guys :)

05-30-2011, 05:55 AM
Ascension: I like the idea but the execution didn't work. The obviously computer generated effects like the white text, fractal/noise generated looking mountains, and the poor contrast and readability kind of killed it.

Clercon: Similar to Ascension in that it has poor contrast and obviously CG text effects. Otherwise I like it.

Diamond: I like it, although the coastline looks a bit weird, like you applied an erode filter to it.

Djekspek: Again, CG looking text in an otherwise fantasy/historical map disrupts the feel for me.

Greel: Not bad but it's rather noisy which makes it hard to read.

Lalaithon: Obvious CG text effects in a fantasy/historical map again. Sorry, I know I sound like a broken record and I know it doesn't bother other people, but it bothers me. The font doesn't help readability.

MasterTMO: Dark, noisy and hard to read. It seems like every label is in a different font and a different colour with no clear idea what the differences mean. The call out boxes cover up a lot (even if they are partially transparent)

Plumcrazy: I like this one. It really is functional and easy to read, though it would be better if the blacks were a bit darker. Using some of the excess space to provide descriptions of the physiographic/political regions would have been nice. Also a proper map like this would have a date, description of source date, name of the cartographer, projection and datum, and copyright information in a little block somewhere. Although a lot of maps that have scales shouldn't, this one doesn't have one, but probably should.

Reckless: The gradient effects on the scrolls kind of stand out and the lack of geographic detail looks off in comparison to the impressive graphical detail. Also the text is hard to read. I like the art though.

RJBeals: I'm not sure but something bothers me about this one. Maybe it's the intense saturation.

Rythal: Really dark with poor contrast and unreadable text. Hard to interpret as the intensely coloured geophysical base layer makes it seem the red for the country is just another physiographic region; it took me a while to figure out what you were up to.

Sapiento: Beautiful and functional. I enjoy looking at it, and I can read it and interpret it easily. Definitely my favourite.

ZarPeter: The rivers and lakes have a rather pixelated look and are perhaps to thick. The text just looks bland; it's simple but not elegantly so. It looks like a screen font rather than a print one which just doesn't work in this context. The underlines just look ugly.

JBGibson: Text is a bit crowded, but otherwise a very nice map, obviously carefully optimised for on screen display.

jtougas: Dark and poor contrast with unreadable font. Once again those CG effects that look out of place to me in a fantasy map. The geography looks weird too.

Morikahn: Well, it's a pretty background.

Ravells: It's more subtle than the others, but there are still those CG elements disrupting the historical/fantasy vibe for me. It also seems rather blurry in places, particularly along the coast. Other than the blur, I do like the coast effect.

Torstan: This looks like a great start and would have had a good chance to be my favourite if it were finished.

I know I probably came across as overly critical but I'm just trying to be honest and I suppose my tastes are a bit different from the majority.

05-30-2011, 07:41 AM
Djekspek got off to an early lead but Diamond and Ravells and are coming around on the outside! I love close comps :)


05-30-2011, 09:55 AM
A lot of great maps! Diamond wins my main vote this month.

05-30-2011, 10:08 AM
This was the toughest decision I've had to make in one of these challenges yet. The caliber of work from everyone was just great. In the end I went like this:
(In no particular order)

Ravells: I thought this was just great. It had a wonderful "feel"
Diamond: Awesome as usual and this one had a great story (which is always the "kicker" for me)
RE: Even without the little girls suggestion I would have voted for this. It's got a great look and it's fun what more can you ask for? :)

I'll be spreading the rep around as everyone's entry is great. Thanks for all the kind words and feedback on my entry as well :)

05-30-2011, 11:43 AM
Lots of good stuff this month...makes for tough choices. I went with Diamond and Ravells for they way they make me feel, makes me want to adventure. PlumCrazy looks the most professionally mappy to me so that got my third vote. Sapiento, RjBeals, and Clercon got my honourable mentions.

05-30-2011, 11:51 AM
If only we could have voted for 6 instead of three! Ended throwing my votes to Diamond, Plumcrazy and JBGibson, but I really wanted to give votes to Ravells, Lalaithon and Master TMO as well. All of them very nice and interesting maps.

05-30-2011, 01:15 PM
This was a tough one! Lots of really good entries this time.

05-30-2011, 01:57 PM
RJ, Sap, and Ascension got my votes. There were five more I wanted to vote for though. Gah, too many good choices this month...

I'll add rep when I get home from my mini-vacation on Tuesday.

05-30-2011, 02:37 PM
As rdanhenry said, it was a tough one this month:

Votes to Diamond (great composition and lovely mountains), Sapiento (fantastic scale, quirky trees, lovely colours and a cool volcano), DJspeck (tells a wonderful story). So many 'nearly there's' for me, and I would have probably voted for them on a different day, including Ascension's 'Indiana Jones' Map, RJ Beal's beautiful colours, Clercon's muted colours and others.

Great competition this month, it's really nice when there's a lot of interest and entries.

05-30-2011, 05:44 PM
many great entries this month. I voted for Ravells, Sapiento and Diamond. But it was very hard to decide. Maybe we should have had 5 votes this month with so many competitors.

05-30-2011, 05:57 PM
Lots of really good maps to choose from - 3 votes is not enough. So for those that don't win its a tough month. For the cartographer who does it will be a well deserved one.

Master TMO
05-30-2011, 08:06 PM
Lol. This is my first one of these, and I keep checking it and rechecking. I am such a newb sometimes. :D I appreciate the feedback both positive and negative, and I'll make full use of the advice in later creations.

But I think there's a bug in the polling software - the votes for my map aren't getting tallied. :P I'm just sure there should be at least a dozen or so by now. ;)

I'm looking forward to the next challenge that fits my skillset. This was fun, if occasionally vexing and frustrating.

05-30-2011, 10:50 PM
Seems everyone was buggin for a competition this month!


jbgibson - As raw as this is, I like it a lot. Your territories are perfect and I love the color tones to break them apart. This could be a political map in a text book, and nobody would question it! nice work. Map a nation? Yep - you did it!

ravells - I love this one. The fancy map border alone is awesome. Everything is so soft, it sort of blends together - but looking closer, there's tons of details buried in this map. I even like that hatched red border. And the forests fit perfectly - tree thingy at it's best! check!

Djekspek - I don't think there's anything I've seen you create that I haven't drooled over. Why aren't you famous? I wasn't sure the iso style would work for the "nation" map, but I still have to give it to you. The map is just gorgeous. You don't have the map detail some of the others have, but I just love it anyway. I'm glad you participate in these comps and this site. You get my vote!



jtougas - cool island layout. The script labels look formal, although a bit hard to read. The borders look a bit pixilated or a bit noisy. Cool lighting, nice colors. I'm glad you brought the grunge down a bit - looks great.

Sapiento - Love the squid. This map has a good shot of winning, for good reason. It's freakin awesome. I think the only thing that bugs is how scattered the trees are. I'm pretty sure this is tree thing also. The mountain ranges are perfect however. And so many cool details just scrolling across the map. Cliffs, temples, all those villages... Nice map.

Diamond - Composition A+. As you started this map, I never imagined that big blank area on the right would end up like this. You sir, are a creative genius. I envy that. You are on a mapping roll.

Ascension - awesome texture and just general layout. looks like a google earth satellite image. I'm just not a fan of the plane - but hey, thats just me. Great colors and lighting.

06-01-2011, 11:14 PM
Why am I leading this contest? :?:

I mean, really. LOOK at some of the other entries; they blow mine out of the water.

06-02-2011, 03:55 AM
haha, because your map rocks ;) my votes went to Diamond, Sapiento and Ravs. For me this was the hardest vote up till now and I actually wanted to vote for about 5 other maps but these three had the 'extra edge' for me. cheers, DJ

06-02-2011, 04:22 AM
Don't do yourself down, Diamond, it's a great map! I'm delighted that a fantasy map is not winning for a change! I have to say though, I thought that Sapiento was going to win this contest with your map and DJ's a close second!

Lol! I've just noticed something: The alternate reality of the Yucatan being an island in the main map isn't reflected in the inset map!

06-02-2011, 01:59 PM
Lol! I've just noticed something: The alternate reality of the Yucatan being an island in the main map isn't reflected in the inset map!

Yeah, I should've made that clearer; the inset map is from about 400 years before the main map, when the geography was more or less the same as our present day.

06-03-2011, 02:11 AM
Indeed Diamond, dont be modest. Of course, there are many great map styles in the list, it is hard to choose but choose we must!

06-03-2011, 10:43 PM
I think we have a winner!

06-04-2011, 02:42 AM
congratz Diamond on your golden compass :)

06-04-2011, 03:29 AM
Well, that was totally unexpected. Thank you, guys! I still say there were at least three others that should've won out over me though.

That seems like the most people I've ever seen vote in one of these, too.

06-04-2011, 03:47 AM
Congrats, Diamond! Superb map and a really well deserved win!

06-04-2011, 04:19 AM
Gratz Diamond! cheers, DJ

06-04-2011, 04:48 AM
Congrats, Diamond! Great map and votes never lie you know.

06-04-2011, 06:49 AM
Wow, it was close for a while but Sir Diamond has come out on top. Congrats Diamond :)


06-04-2011, 06:52 AM
Well done Diamond - a most deserved win !

06-04-2011, 06:54 AM
Ah, crap. I can't believe I totally missed this voting thread. :S

Anyhoo, congrats Diamond on your gold compass. Even if my vote could have changed the outcome it wouldn't have as yours would have been one of the three I voted for. I always wonder how much of your composition you have planned beforehand as when you started your map with all the clear space you left on the right I just couldn't see how you were gonna make it work but you really did. :) Great stuff.

Steel General
06-04-2011, 07:44 AM
Congratz Diamond!

06-04-2011, 11:56 AM
Definitely, congratulations Diamond!

06-04-2011, 12:28 PM
Congratulations Diamond. You deserved that win. A great idea masterfully executed. :)

06-04-2011, 12:45 PM
Time for Dmon to start making some tuts for the rest of us. ;)

06-04-2011, 01:41 PM
Thanks again guys, I really do appreciate it.

I always wonder how much of your composition you have planned beforehand as when you started your map with all the clear space you left on the right I just couldn't see how you were gonna make it work but you really did. :) Great stuff.
For challenges I usually have a pretty clear idea beforehand how everything's going to look before I start. Kind of like my writing; I have to use outlines or nothing turns out right.

Time for Dmon to start making some tuts for the rest of us. ;)
LOL. Like there's anything I could teach the likes of you. :D I did do a little heraldry tut though; it's floating around somewhere in the Tutorials section.

06-04-2011, 02:02 PM
great entries all around. nice win Diamond

Master TMO
06-04-2011, 10:12 PM
Curses! Foiled again! *twirls mustache evilly* Next time, do-gooder! Next time!

06-06-2011, 10:07 PM
Whoops - I was so uncertain which three to pick that I put voting off too late. <shrug> Diamond would've been one, so I'm not too upset with myself. I did have a few comments though --

PlumCrazy -- this is so almost perfect... the almost is just because the implied size is three to five feet across, hence there's a couple of square feet of blankness. At web browser size - no problemo. I just wish there was more schoolroom-map detail - tables of city populations, or climate graphs across the year, or locator maps, or history.... :-). I still really like it.

Greel -- made out of awesome. Know why I can forgive minor terrain "inaccuracies" in a map like this? Because it's a photo, and the camera doesn't lie! Therefore to my eye, anything there must be right :-).

RjBeals -- after going back and forth and forth and back, I would have had to vote for Molta. Which is strange; it has oddness that puzzles me. Like the dots ... I assume the delightful stacks of bricks are the main cities, but it's mostly the dots that are labeled. I get the indigo lines as rivers, and I hear what you say about the others being roads (BOTH the ruddy color and the greenish ones?), but where they're placed? They don't go from important spot to recognizable destination... the tapers don't bother me as much the fact that junctions are probably *more* important, and here they are deemphasized. And the tints -- so which make up the nation of Molta? The greenish one runs-off-page, which would normally say "NOT the focus of this sheet". Is there a significance to the north-south gradient on the NW tint area? Is Dunbar underground, that it has neither dot nor streets and buildings? Why do some bays get borders and some not? So which is the [I]other[I] St Paul island? . . . None of which changes the fact I Really Really LIKE it. The palette is great. The built-up areas are great. I get the name collections. The forest is interesting. The font is perfect. The green sea just works. The cartouche and compass are perfect.

Diamond -- such a great story, happening to be in the form of a map. Now you have to write or draw the REST of the story :-). I can see this posted just inside the front door of all the Empire's consulates abroad... while the visitor is standing waiting for the receptionist's attention, he's expected to learn a bit of the Empire's glory.

Ascension -- Hassassine is a fun map. The float-above-ocean shadow weirds me out, but there's a lot else that I like. I applaud the willingness to set out all those minor settlements without labels -- I'd feel compelled to label ever one, and the result would be cluttered past usefulness; this way is clean and neat. The understated rail lines are a nice touch. The topo texture works well. When you list the fonts it sounds like too much of a variety, but they mesh just right. And I give thumbs up on the plane and its trajectory.

Master TMO -- the missing votes :-) are more indicative of the quality of the competition than your map's goodness. There's a lot interesting going on with Saythen. I like the city glyphs - different but works fine. The shaded relief is effective, and pleasant. I get the critique of the callouts - the assortment seems random. But they're not done badly - I can picture the ensemble as some sort of computer display, with the last half dozen places clicked upon still showing info boxes. Therein lies a disconnection - that and the photorealistic topography say "modern" but your depicted period is ancient. A snippet of story could explain that away - maybe the cartographer is an explorer observing from orbit.

The others all have some real goodness going on, even the unfinished ones - this was a crazy-hard month to decide!


Oh, and thanks for the votes! I did come up with a couple of historical insets.... two hours after the contest closed :-). Maybe I'll do a Finished Map thread showing additional Basse-Georges data.

06-07-2011, 01:39 AM
COngrats to all!

Master TMO
06-07-2011, 10:52 AM
Thx, JB. Yah, I knew about the mental disconnect between a photo-unrealistic map of a Bronze Age society. ;) It's partly because the world was not designed specifically for this challenge, but rather as part of an earlier WIP I was doing, so the society and tech era was already defined, without needing to justify who was viewing the maps in this style. I sorta pictured it in my head as being done by an orbiting explorer, with the 3D map being provided by a camera hovering over the sea. I even almost put a marker out there indicating where the camera was. I think I was doing too many new things to be able to really have a polished final submission - most of my efforts were in solving techinical issues and learning the basics of 2 new software packages. If I had started from the beginning of the month knowing the final form and software I'd be using, I would have had more time to polish and refine, but I didn't swap over until the month was more than half over.

I don't actually mind the vote results. I'm quite happy with what I made, the competition was intense, and this was my first attempt at one of these. :D I do plan on returning for future challenges and taking one of those golden compasses home with me though. You haven't seen the last of me yet!! *shakes fist*

06-08-2011, 12:51 PM
Cool, that's what we like to hear!!