View Full Version : I came to learn!

12-12-2011, 09:33 AM
Hi guys, how are you doing?

I found this forum by chance and I think I can be really helpful for me.

I am a wannabe writer and I could use a map for my story. Like most writers that need fictional maps I write fantasy and I want a map so I can organize the movements of my characters.

I know nothing about cartography but I want to learn. I write fantasy but I like realism (There is magic in my world but that doesn't mean the laws of physics don't work). When I create the map of my world I want the mountains to be in a place where a mountain can be, the rivers too.

I hope to can help me arrange that and inform me about which software is best for drawing things like this.

Thanks in advance.

Steel General
12-12-2011, 11:02 AM
Welcome Aboard!

I suggest you look thru the Tutorial forum.

12-12-2011, 11:43 AM
A rough worldbuilding process aimed at realism would go Geodesy (Shape of the world, location of map, projections), Geology (Coastlines, mountains, etc), Climatology (Weather patterns, temperature, precipitation), Ecology (Plant cover, animal life), and finally Sociology and Economics (Population, politics, transportation). You'd need to get at least a very basic idea of how each of those fields work to pull it off. An introductory Physical Geography text book is a good place to go for a lot of that if you can find one used.

Each builds on the preceding data. In real life there are complex feedback mechanisms (Plant cover affects climate, and climate erodes the terrain) but they are sufficiently minor to be safely ignored for fantasy map making.

If you want to get really serious, the software to use is a GIS like QuantumGIS, or, if you are made of money, ArcGIS. This is almost certainly WAY overboard, but sometimes way overboard is fun.

More reasonably, any general purpose graphics package works. The GIMP and Inkscape are a good place to start. I use Inkscape myself (along with the aforementioned QuantumGIS) and I think it is particularly well suited to map making.