View Full Version : Orion Spur - Science Fiction Universe Map

01-26-2012, 02:38 PM
Hi All,

it's been a while since I posted a map as "complete", but I just finished something that I worked on - on and off - for about three years or so. Longer, if you consider that this is really based on material I created back in the 1990s.

Anyway, the important part first - The map, which I had to scale down:


Some cropped sections at original resolution:

41571 41572 41573 41574 41575

This map is a depiction of my science-fiction universe, which will be used for RPGs, fiction, and the like. It takes inspiration from many different science fiction sources (observant reviewers will note a big influence of H. Beam Piper on my naming scheme). The setting itself unfortunately does not yet exist in presentable form, but let's take one step at a time.

The map's creation was fairly complex, at least for my standards. Originally, I used a NASA illustration of the Milky Way Galaxy, but modified it beyond recognition. The resolution was also not nearly high enough to use it as a backdrop for a local map, so I enlarged it to insane proportions and then manually created a more detailed section for the Orion Spur. In theory I can do the same for other areas, until the Milky Way is all mapped out, but I doubt I will live long enough...

The bitmap background was created in GIMP, all labeling and the composition was done in Inkscape. The map is DIN A1 at 200 dpi, which works out to 6622x4677 pixels. It's 72MB in size, mostly because of the noisy background - I wanted it to look like those slightly grainy images we all know from NASA's various projects. As a side note, there are about 430 named star systems on this map.

I picked up a smaller test print today, (bad) photos of that can be found here: http://goo.gl/YHyV0

I ordered my A1 poster, and I can't wait to see how that turns out.

Finally, I've put up a post on my blog showing the various stages of the starmap: http://goo.gl/LjOOs

As you can imagine, I feel like I just got a major project done, even if it's just one small step in the universe creation process... :-)

Best wishes,
- Nils

WIP Threads:
- Milky Way Galaxy: http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?4375-Milky-Way-Galaxy
- Near Solar Space: http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?14372-Near-Solar-Space
- Milky Way Galaxy Revisited: http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?15553-Milky-Way-Galaxy-Revisited
- And, last but not least, for this map: Orion Spur Map: http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?16518-Orion-Spur-Map

01-26-2012, 03:53 PM
This is simply an incredible map. The level of detail is astonishing! Congratulations on a job well done!

Klaus van der Kroft
01-26-2012, 05:35 PM
Truly professional-looking. Well excecuted, interesting, and very detailed.

My hat is off to you, good sir!

01-26-2012, 05:46 PM
Thank you guys :-)

01-26-2012, 07:29 PM
I see you added Golter on the edge of the void! I'd rep you but I have to go and spread the rep love. Hope you find some time to read "Against a Dark Background", which is not one of his (Ian Banks) more popular "Culture" books, but is a really good sci-fi book on its own. Congrats on a great map.

01-27-2012, 03:33 AM
Thank you! And, yes, Culture is on my long, long, to-read list... I'll get around to it. Some day. :)

01-27-2012, 03:14 PM
Don't know anything about those star map things, but your map looks amazing. The level of detail, wow!

01-28-2012, 01:44 AM
Thanks Katto. :)

01-31-2012, 01:49 PM
Got my A1 poster! Sorry about the absolutely terrible photos: http://goo.gl/dJxmd

If you never printed out any of your maps professionally, I can only recommend that you do (make sure the resolution is high enough for the paper size) - it's an awesome feeling to hold it in your hand.

Lord Kev
02-02-2012, 09:08 PM
It's good to see a nice work.
Like Klaus says the hats are off to you man. A hard work must to be recompensed.

02-03-2012, 01:41 AM
Thank you, Lord Kev.

02-07-2012, 04:10 AM
Finally took a decent photo of the printed poster. Left is the test print, right is the A1 print, with a die for scale. Sorry about the glare from the sunlight. :)


02-07-2012, 11:13 AM
That is certainly an amazing accomplishment! I've started, stopped and restarted a project like this; dealing with all the data available + trying to be fairly faithful (to the Gliese catalog) + paring it down to a reasonable size just makes my head spin and eyes cross.

Congratulations! The A1 print is beautiful.

02-08-2012, 01:52 PM
Thanks Thom. The final A1 map isn't using real star data, I gave that up as simply not manageable. If we ever do discover FTL technology, astrogators are going to be in a world of pain.

03-05-2012, 06:22 PM
Great job!

03-05-2012, 06:59 PM
Thank you, Lemon.