View Full Version : Creating a relief map in bigger scale from an outline map in small scale

Pontus Bergman
11-28-2013, 05:26 AM

I am participating in a german online simulation phenomenon, called virtual nations. In short: A lot of people create a virtual, fictional world with several countries and nations online, for the most part in forums and their "populations" (i.e. the forum's members) interact with each other (in a political, cultural or economic way). The countries (if they want to) are organized by a supranational body which provides a more or less rough, small scaled map (http://vgeo.de/karten/carta_15102013.svg). To provide more detailed, larger scaled maps lies in the responsibility of each country. At that point, I need your help.

The rough world map is drawn in a "scale" of 1px : 144kmē. That sounded weird to me when I first heard of it, because how would you switch a scale of area into a more common scale of lengths (for example, 1 : 25,000)?

I want to draw a new, more detailed, larger scaled map of "my country". First, to scale up that part of map to a common scale of 1 : 25,000 and edit it with Adobe Illustrator to a basic map for further usage (coastlines, borders, etc.).

Second, to make a relief map from that using Fractal Terrains 3 and give it a physical geography (mountains, plains, vales, rivers, lakes, then towns and cities, roads, railroads, etc.).

To begin with, I cannot solve the problem of scale. If I want to scale up the original map (1px : 144kmē) to a scale of, like, 1 : 25,000, how am I going to proceed? The indication of pixel depends everytime from the resolution. Assuming that, after all I want to print the country map later in small parts, the scale should be 1 cm : 25,000 cm (that is the scale of offical topographic maps in Germany (http://de.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Datei:Topographische_Karte_1_25000 _Blatt_23_(6821)_Heilbronn_1902.jpg&filetimestamp=20110415230920&) by which I orientate myself). Or, to be more realistic, print it out in a scale of 1 cm : 1,000,000 cm (should be look like that (http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:%C3%96sterreich_%C3%9Cbersichtskarte.png), for example, or even scales of 1 cm : 400,000 cm like that (http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Schw%C3%A4bisch-Fr%C3%A4nkische_Waldberge.png)).

Can you please help me? It looks like a lot of work but I really, really want to make this happen. I hope I expressed myself in an understandable way... Thank you very much in advance!

11-28-2013, 07:12 AM
First of all a map with more detail is a large scale map and one covering a large continent is a small scale map.

If 1 pixel is 144km2 then the width and breadth of a pixel is 12km. It depends on how large you print the map where 1 pixel is one dot and you print at a certain dots per inch - or pixels per inch if you prefer. Given that we normally quote dots per inch on the printer then one pixel is 472000 inches of real world. Say you print on a piece of paper 10 inches square at 1:25000 then your looking at a real world size of 25000x10 inches which is 250000. So you can only print 2 pixels of that world on a piece of A4. Basically you just wont be able to do a 1:25000 scale version of that map unless you pick a very VERY small area of it and fabricate all of the detail in it. Just to put some perspective on it, our earth would be 3333 pixels at your map scale and a 1:25000 version of a part of the earth is tiny.

So to print out the original map at something like 100dpi at 1000 pixels at 10 inches of A4 then that is more like 10 inches is 12000m or about 1:50000000. So pick 1% of that and scale up which is still 1:500000.

Pontus Bergman
12-01-2013, 06:17 AM
Oh yes, thank you! Of course I meant large scale equals more details and vice versa. Sorry for messing it up. To begin with, I put the idea of printing it aside - so I can concentrate completely on the screendesign.

Step one was cropping the original .SVG-map focussing the landmass I want to draw. Then, to get it into 55px : 20km I had to scale it by 4081,63% (I still do not have a clue why exactly that number but that sounded reasonable when I compared another country map (http://novatopo.de/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/novara09_update.png) to the original world map (http://vgeo.de/karten/carta_15102013.svg), and there the scale of 55px : 20km turned out nice). Below you can see a cropped detail from my map which has now the size of 10,900px x 4,400px (W x H).

http://i1270.photobucket.com/albums/jj614/bergmanhus/vkn_11-1_cropped_example_1_1_thumbnail_zpse6e2f7c0.png~or iginal (http://i1270.photobucket.com/albums/jj614/bergmanhus/vkn_11-1_cropped_example_1_1_zpsa393fcf0.png~original)
(please click for image in original size)

What do you recommend me to do next: To draw the coastlines in a more detailed way in Illustrator as they should look like at the very end or to let them be so rough so FT3 can make the finishing touch out of that template? I do not know how accurately you can paint in FT3 and align to the reference.

Thank you again for your advise!