View Full Version : Theory tutorial

08-01-2012, 03:14 AM

Is anyone interested in collaborating a lot of the information we have here into a tutorial on how to create maps full stop - You know a one stop shop document that people can read, especially budding new cartographers, that covers everything people need to know in theory before they start putting pen to paper, or hand to mouse.

I'm not talking how to draw by hand or paint on the computer... I'm talking all the theory involved... Such as tectonic plate movement, geology, geography, weather patterns, erosion, climate, topography, river paths, coastlines, diplomacy, national and regional borders etc.

I am sure there is a mine of information lost amongst all these forum posts and every single one of us could benefit from taking into account something in our own maps that we have forgotten about, but someone else has remembered.

If anyone thinks this is a good idea then post your comments below and we'll see if we can get a team together to write it up, or at least start a thread that covers all the stuff someone should bear in mind before they start drawing their new map.

I've thought about this because every time I finish my map I find something I've forgotten about and have to redo it... sometimes completely overhaul it.

08-01-2012, 04:27 AM
I've been meaning to do one on geodesy, projections, datums (yes, datums, not data) and general geography theory like that. I have a whole bunch of projects on the go already though.

08-01-2012, 09:51 AM
I think a glossary of terms for geography (tectonics etc) cartography (Rhumb lines, projections etc), software (histogram, resample, layers etc) and artistic (woodblock, textures, blends etc) with links to relevant tutorials would cover that quite well.

I'm not sure writing the "One tutorial to rule them all" approach is really the best way to deal with that tho. I think the issue is finding the existing tutorials rather than having a new one presented in a single doc format. A single glossary tho would be a good idea to branch from as the starting point. Maybe the one tutorial to rule them all could in very loose and broad terms talk about items in a very surface scratching way and then leave it to people to follow the index / glossary to more detailed tutorials.

Really, a wiki is ideal for this but we have had issues with spamming on the wiki we ran before on this site. I did the keyword index scraper for the site a long while back and the link is still in my sig but its way out of date. In any case we want something like that only with many many more keywords and also where the links from them are on their own page for each. We need a wiki with non public editing and a set of editors for it possibly elected by vote or by nomination with seconding from more than X number of people with a post count of greater than some number say 50 so that its resistant to spamming.

08-13-2012, 07:03 PM
I'm mostly a lurker here, but I'd love to participate in such a project. A 'one tutorial to rule them all' might be a bit massive, but a sub-forum devoted to the science and art behind maps would be of great interest to me. I flatter myself I might even be able to contribute somewhat, and pay back a little of all the great information I have gleaned from this site.

08-24-2012, 12:26 PM
I'm not talking how to draw by hand or paint on the computer... I'm talking all the theory involved... Such as tectonic plate movement, geology, geography, weather patterns, erosion, climate, topography, river paths, coastlines, diplomacy, national and regional borders etc.

I've lurked at the Cartographers' Guild for quite awhile now but only just recently joined; this is, in fact, my first post. I've only just begun to take RPG mapping seriously, attempting the move from 'adequate' regional maps and dungeons created in autoRealm. Speaking for myself (and assuming I am more or less typical of a newbie), such a project as you describe would be invaluable - seconded only by tutorials on advanced use of GIMP/Photoshop - as I have a lot of general knowledge about how the world works but no idea how to apply it to cartography. For instance, I may know what a particular symbol means but little idea of either it's practical use or implication to navigators, surveyors, etc. And while I can generalize from real-world atlases and mimic the incredible efforts of guild contributors somehow my efforts always lack any authenticity, a case that without a doubt results from my ignorance all the elements you mentioned. I especially like the idea of a wiki, although that's easy for me to say since I'm wholly unqualified to contribute anything but the most rudimentary of maintenance tasks.

koda dot public at gmail

08-24-2012, 01:02 PM

I find that whenever a map seems to lack just a little something to make it feel right, posting it up here and getting some critique is by far the most effective way to improve it.

As regards the tutorial, I think it's a fine idea, although I have a feeling that such an undertaking will run to more of a book than a tut! In fact, you might take a look at Expeditious Retreat Press' A Magical Society: Ecology and Culture, which attempts to do exactly what you're describing. There's a free sample chapter entitled A Magical Society: Guide to Mapping. (http://rpg.drivethrustuff.com/product/55266/A-Magical-Society%3A-Guide-to-Mapping)

Although I must warn you: if your pet peeve is people who say "artic" instead of "arctic," it will drive you nuts.

Perhaps a tutorial series on some of these topics, with an index document/thread to link to each one would help to break it down into something more manageable.

08-24-2012, 07:14 PM
Although I must warn you: if your pet peeve is people who say "artic" instead of "arctic," it will drive you nuts.

That people drop the 'c' when saying it is infuriating. When I first saw it printed in a published book that I had payed for that was something else. I do wish that they had maybe spent a bit less on annoying backgrounds and fonts, and maybe had someone proof read the thing instead.

10-05-2012, 09:52 AM
I think this would be a good idea, but as has already been pointed out, it has it's problems. A wiki would be the best way, but if it was publicly editable the spam control would be a nightmare elthough we could get a lot of good information. On the other hand, if it was editable only by a select group, then the work load could become quite large for that few, and less would be contributed from new sources due to the attitude of "Well if they dont want my input **** them!".

I would suggest a wiki be created as part of the existing site, and the permissions group for allowing editing there be set based on forum post count (as suggested above), with forum users gaining page creation/edit rights automaticly as the become eligable. But monitor the post count over time, say posts in the last ninety days (including wiki posts) to maintain the permissions. THis prevents account hijaking of old defunct accounts. A person once eligable would have to make say 5 posts per ninety days to remain eligable. That code would be easy enough to impliment. Simply do the calculation when the person logs in, and set a flag bit in the session data (either cookie or session temp files). During the loged in period, this variable would simply be checked as needed.

A point of note here though, wiki page creation and editing can be time consuming, especially for longer articles. Thye current time out limit might need to be changed, or a different timer used for wiki timeouts. That code could be problematical.

So in essence, before a project of this nature gets started, the venue should be decided. The site admins will want to weigh in heavily on this topic I believe.