View Full Version : [Other] Requesting a map? Please read me.

07-23-2008, 12:16 PM
If you would like a map do not demand one, but ask politely.
At every internet terminus there is a human.
That human is more likely to help you if you follow the human rules of courtesy.


If you are requesting a map there is a certain minimum amount of information which is useful to put into your request. Please feel free to copy and paste the template below into your post adapting it to your needs so you don't get deluged with obvious questions. Apart from inserting a prefix to your original post, you don't have to slavishly follow the the guidelines below, they are just for assistance. For excellent examples of a map request please see this post (http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?16542-Post-Apocalyptic-New-Orleans&p=170059#post170059) or this post. (http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?17454-Battlemap-Commission-Traditional-Fantasy-Setting)

If you are more than a hobbyist or would like to know more about Commissioning artwork check out Commissioning Illustrations (https://www.dropbox.com/s/59lz1x6c5sc02re/Commissioning%20Illustrations.pdf) by Randy Gallegos. Written for those in the art illustration industry it has great information that will make it easier to negotiate an agreement with almost any artist.

[Compulsory] Commission

Please select a prefix [Paid], , [Paid?] or [other] from the drop down menu when composing your post.

Unpaid: saying 'please' rather than just demanding a map usually gets a better response. Also note that if you plan to make money from the map, like using it in a book or game that will be published you should expect to pay for the work.
Paid: please provide details on the amount and method of payment (e.g. I am happy to pay $X for the map via Paypal) or how to contact you to discuss rates (e.g. please send me a Private Message to discuss rates).
Paid?: might mean that you may make payment depending on the quality of the work or if the map is for a commercial project and payment is dependent on the project making sales.
Other: is for anything else.


[I attach a scan of a rough sketch of the map I had in mind]
[A brief verbal description e.g. - This will be a world map of three continents on an earthsized planet or this will be a map of a large coastal city]
The scale of the map will be approximately X miles to the inch.


[I am looking for a map in the following style - insert hyperlink of style of map required.]
[I am looking for a (describe style e.g. greyscale, photorealistic, similar to the maps on page x of the DM's guide etc]

Quality & Size

[Professional / semi professional]
[Required for print / web]
[Dimensions of map: x inches by y inches (or pixels)]
[Raster / Vector]

Time Constraints

What time limits (if any) are you working to?


- (as simple or complex as you need. If you want something watertight consult a lawyer, the suggestions below are just for illustrative purposes and may not provide the protection you require).
Please note that in order to use the map in any publication you'll need reproduction rights or copyright to the map. However for most uses, commercial and non-commercial, reproduction rights are enough. If you ask for full copyright to the map you should normally expect to pay more for it. (read more about copyright here (http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?13664-Copyright-and-Creative-Commons)). Sometimes you only want rights for a single use of the map and sometimes you'd like to have rights to use it again and again, so what it may be used for and for how long should be considered.

I would like reproduction rights to the map
I would like copyright of the map
The artist will retain copyright of the map
I will have the right to use the image for commercial purposes, the artist will have the right to exhibit the image as part of his portfolio but not to exploit it for commercial gain.

Tip: *** You are unlikely to get a cartographer to make your map if you want it done for free but also want to have copyright of the image ***

Contact Details

Please note that as an anti-spam measure you need to have 5 posts on the board before you can send or receive Private Messages on this bbs. If you post an e-mail address you might want to take some precautions against evil, e-mail address harvesting spambots. Example:

(remove the -- and convert "at" to @)


What Happens Next

Hopefully your request will be taken up quickly, but if not, do not despair, sometimes it may take up to a month or longer for a map request to be taken. Many people who request maps will only check the forum to see if their request has been taken. You might wish to have an email alert instead so you don't have to keep visiting the forum to see if anyone is interested in making your map for you. If you want to have an email alert, go to the 'settings' button on the top right of the screen. Scroll down (left hand side) to 'General Settings' (under the subheading 'My Settings > My account' ) In the General Settings scroll down (right hand side) to Default Thread Subscription Mode and choose 'Instantly using email' from the drop down list. That way, you will get an instant email notification when someone posts on your thread. The guild is an informal collection of individuals and we do not vet cartographers using these threads; that will be your responsibility. We have however suggested that members keep a portfolio of past commissioned work that includes a list of references. It might be a good idea to ask to see these prior to deciding to hire the services of a cartographer.

Taken / Inactive Requests - The Archive

Taken Requests: Once your commission has been taken, please post in the thread to say it has been taken and it will be edited by a moderator to state it has been taken and eventually moved to the archive. Commissions marked as taken help to save time for mapmakers looking for new commissions to undertake. It will also mean that you will not continue to receive questions or expressions of interest from people who may be interested in making your map.

Inactive Requests: Threads which have been inactive for a number of months (about three) will also be moved to the archive. Threads in the archive can be responded to. Sometimes, many months after a request has been inactive, a mapmaker might respond. For this reason it is a good idea to have an email notification set up (see above) in case you are still interested in having your commission filled.


Please feel free to comment on whether you think the template requires any modifications, I'll keep the thread open until it looks like we have everything covered and then I'll do a final version, delete all following posts and lock the thread.



10-18-2011, 04:17 AM
thanks this is very helpfull

11-29-2011, 08:14 PM
Thank you for this post I’m considering making a request for mapping services.

11-30-2011, 10:22 PM
This has been most informative. Thank you.

12-13-2011, 05:21 PM
Very good explanation.Thanks

01-24-2012, 04:23 PM
Great advice, thanks! Still not sure if I'm going to find time for the map(s) I have in mind, so may post a request here sooner rather than later... ;)


02-21-2012, 08:42 AM
I posted a thread about wanting a River City map done, and it hasn't shown up. How long should it take because it's been nearly 24 hours.

02-21-2012, 08:50 AM
It was caught in the moderation queue. I've approved it now - apologies for the delay.

02-21-2012, 02:54 PM
Thank you very much!

03-05-2012, 06:44 PM
Thank you so much. Super helpful.

04-11-2012, 04:53 PM
Thank you Ravells !

08-07-2012, 11:56 PM
Easy enough - thanks for the info.

Dalor Darden
11-29-2012, 11:18 PM
I didn't list all of the suggested information; but I'm looking for a rather broad range of talent...thank you so much for this forum!

Ken E Baker
01-11-2013, 08:42 AM
Thanks for the info! Will do!

05-22-2013, 11:49 AM
Thanks for the info.

Hurrikane Hektor
05-29-2013, 09:38 PM
Thank you!

06-02-2013, 04:50 AM
Very good principles. As your reward, you have a grammar error.

"Sometimes you only want rights for a single use of the map and sometimes you'd like to have rights to use it again and again, so what it may be used for and for how long should be concidered."

It should say "...considered"


06-03-2013, 01:57 PM
Thanks Soloeus, error corrected. I found a couple more as an added bonus!

07-28-2013, 02:03 AM
Thanks bro. This is very helpful to me.

08-03-2013, 05:25 PM
I know it may sound strange but is it possible for multiple people to collaborate to create a map ? I think it could be a good idea espacially for unpaid request to allow people to collaborate and exchange ideas.

08-03-2013, 06:22 PM
The Guild does not impose any rules on how cartographers work. In spite of the word "Guild" in our name. If the client and the artists are happy with a collaboration, then that's terrific!

In fact, Ravells & I collaborated on a project… quite a long time ago. I made a continental map, and he did a couple of local maps.

08-17-2013, 06:41 PM
Before I post my request, I need to know what a professional map cost? I'm writing a fantasy novel and want to include a map.

08-18-2013, 05:30 AM
I donīt know if I am speaking foolishness or not, and I know that I am still a newie in the forum (and surely someother people had proposed this idea before) but maybe it could be a good idea to compose a general price table between all the cartographer members of this guild.

I know that the artist's rates of eachone are a very sensitive matter, but I think it could be a positive fact for everyone using this forum. After that either one is free to increase (or decrease) the proposed rates.

In the time I wandered this great guild I had found that the vast plurarity of people that use the Mapmaking Request section of the forum say "I donīt know the rates of the market" or "I am not acquainted with cartography rates" and usually thinks that create a map is worth of $50-$60... This could be true in some cases but not always or it is not true when someone's asking for a A0 realistic color map, do you know what I mean?

Well, I left this proposal to the forum... Feel free to complely ignore it if it is a sillyness (also if any admin thinks that it is not the apropiate place to talk about it he/she can move it without problem).


08-18-2013, 07:30 AM
@ Antonio and lonewrite: How much someone should pay for a map is a thorny question. One of the things that concerns me is that by even suggesting some sort of 'guild approved' rate we will be influencing the prices that people charge and I am not sure if that is a good thing. I think that if you are someone looking to have a map made the best way would be to ask a range of cartographers what they would charge and based on their portfolio, time they can produce etc. make a decision from that.

08-18-2013, 10:59 AM
There are a few factors affecting the price of maps I would imagine. From the type of copyright to the obvious amount of hours put into create the work. I would expect good, deep, maps probably rival or surpass centerfold paintings in terms of work hours. Simpler unpainted maps probably a lot less. If you are commissioning a piece I would imagine it really depends on what you are asking for and what the artist estimates it will cost in terms of hours and of course adjusted according to the copyright.

Perhaps if artist were to post a map and post the price they would have charged for that specific map it would be better than some sort of general list. Really it's the only way I see of doing it. I can't imagine a high quality map costing as little as 50-60 dollars. That really seems like a bargain bin price for even relatively plain black and white map.

08-19-2013, 05:13 AM
@ Ravells I am not talking about impose a price list to anyone but to create a help system both to requesters and artists (but above all to requesters) that allow to set a foundation, a common ground to start talk. there is a lot of people that expect to get a professional map for $50-$60 and maybe there is people that fearing a $1000 bill labels his/her request as "Unpaid".

08-19-2013, 09:12 AM
I believe that the common ground for the requests should be the interest for creating the map, not the cost. The price should be something settled by the parties depending on the complexities of the request, be it time constraints, detail, size or what ever. I also believe that it is withing human nature to want the most for the least, and having a list, no matter how it is presented, will only cause those that have no budget and wanting a simple map to look elsewhere. That is something that we should be avoiding. The filling of unpaid requests is a great way to practice working on a deadline and to someone else's specs (Another being the competitions.) and a great way to get into the field. Stating what you want to pay should only the opening salvo in the negotiations and THAT depends on the requester and should not be set by anyone else.

My two cents (+tax) worth.

08-19-2013, 09:37 AM
The irony here is that historically, one of the reasons for setting up a Guild (in medieval times) and enforcing membership was to regulate the prices charged by guild members!

....but we are not that sort of Guild!

08-19-2013, 03:21 PM
In general, folks creating maps can be considered as specialized illustrators, and it would be reasonable to expect rates comparable to those of illustrators.

https://www.graphicartistsguild.org/handbook is a good resource for setting pricing, but it just shows things prices van vary tremendously.

For example, for book illustrations, they state the size on page, style and quantity of illustrations will affect the price but is $250 to $1500 per illustration. Small illustrations, 1/2 page and less are in the $50 to $500 range.

Another guideline I read once for "visual artists" was to price per square inch (at a standard DPI, for digital).

I would encourage ALL folks who are creating works on commissions not to undervalue themselves or their work!

Just my opinion.

-Rob A>

08-19-2013, 03:54 PM
Personally, I quote different prices based on pixel count and rights agreement. My prices range from the lowest for non-commercial reproduction rights; with a significant rise for commercial reproduction-of-image non-copyright agreements; and are highest for full exclusive copyright agreements. I'd imagine this is the norm.

I also agree with RobA that visual artists should not undervalue their work - but at the same time I think it is important that new artists are able and allowed to do their first few jobs as cheaply as they want while they are establishing themselves and putting together a portfolio.

08-20-2013, 03:08 AM
As i said previously I am talking about a guidelines, not a strict policy that will be enforced with capital penalties (as used to happen in the case of medieval guilds Ravells). A guide for newies that want to not undervalue his or her job or a guide for requesters that want to know how much expect for a professional work.

I agree that size matters, also agree that copyright counts and I think that technique should count too (from my point of view creating an B&W map takes a lot less time that a full color illustration).

09-22-2013, 10:24 PM
Before I post my request, I need to know what a professional map cost? I'm writing a fantasy novel and want to include a map.


10-04-2013, 03:07 PM
got it. Loading up the details on a word document to dump in

10-22-2013, 09:43 AM
My apologies for the multiple post yesterday, should have read the posting confirmation dialog closer.

01-17-2014, 08:29 AM
Would it be possible to make the "contact information" piece
Really Large and Brightly Colored?
It seems like every single request is lacking contact information,
and it's a hassle to remind constantly.

01-17-2014, 12:16 PM
we could make it mandatory to read this thread before posting a request

01-17-2014, 12:47 PM
You could also make a form that has required blocks of information that include contact and all the needed information required for any map request - then publishing that request as a 'stat block' of information as the first post in any map request. I don't know how much work that would entail or whether the forum software even allows that, but that's one way to go to guarantee all info is provided.

01-17-2014, 01:33 PM
I agree with GP and the others. Its indeed a bit messy lately.

02-11-2014, 02:50 PM
Can I somehow change the prefix on a request? I put [Paid?] because I might pay depending on whether the map or a derivative of it is published, but I can't pay straight away, so I'm worried it may have been misleading.

- Max -
02-11-2014, 03:07 PM
I changed the title of your thread to unpaid.

02-11-2014, 04:17 PM
I changed the title of your thread to unpaid.

Much appreciated.

02-12-2014, 12:03 AM
Thanks bunches!

03-03-2014, 03:25 PM
so if $50-60 is on the cheap side about how much would be a fair asking price for a fantasy world map? like a $100? or is that still on the low end?

03-27-2014, 09:32 PM
Thank you. Taking this into account as I post

03-28-2014, 03:29 AM
whether you can use the card in the indie games?
how much it might cost?

04-22-2014, 04:44 PM
Thank you for this thread to help newbies like me learn more about commissioning. I have a lot to re-read. And I want to ensure I get all the bases covered when I set out the outline of my map project - special thanks to Schwarzkreuz for insight shown so far too.

05-02-2014, 08:30 AM
For heavens sake, I know nobody wants Guildguidelines for commissions but 20-50$ offers again and again? Comeon.

05-02-2014, 12:08 PM
It would be interesting to see a map with just 1 hour of work on it;)

- Max -
05-02-2014, 12:19 PM
I wouldn't even work 1 hour on a $20-$50 commission :P

05-02-2014, 12:40 PM
Honestly, I charge a lot more than $50 an hour, but I can create many maps in an hour's time, depending on what kind of details are involved. I couldn't create a city map, or an entire detailed dungeon level, but single, simple structures, small villages and general wilderness or cavern maps - it can be done (at least by me), however, I generally only take commissions from publishers these days. Consider that my last 2 commissioned maps were for Raging Swan Press and Paizo Publishing.

05-17-2014, 05:37 PM
I hope taxes are being paid...

05-28-2014, 04:29 AM
I fully understand. Thank you!

07-01-2014, 10:41 PM
Excellent primer on how to request a commission! Not having a clear idea of what details to ask or to give, I've been dreading the process of looking for someone to produce a map for me. Your straightforward template certainly makes the process much easier to face.


07-15-2014, 10:17 PM
Thanks for the guide lines.

10-19-2014, 06:57 AM
thanks for the posts was looking for some guidance so that's a great start !



10-23-2014, 11:21 AM
Thanks very much for putting this together.


11-03-2014, 11:12 AM
Thanks a bunch! New to commissioning.

02-26-2015, 08:35 PM
Thank you so much for making this information accessible and easy to locate on the forum. I would never want to insult an artist with a cheap commission request, but I really don't have the slightest clue on where to begin the ballpark figure or how to hazard a dialogue. It was very daunting! Once I read all of the material you have presented I hope to submit my request to see if what I want is even a possibility!

03-05-2015, 01:01 PM
To everyone who requests offers for their maps:

This is a professional group of cartographers and artists. When we send you information, samples of work, and price offers to do your maps, we reserve enough of our time in case you accept it.

For that reason, PLEASE be professional enough yourself to respond to each and every person who contacts you, even if the response is "No, thanks." That will help us plan our time, or be free to accept other commissions without worrying about whether we might get overloaded unexpectedly.

Thanks for being courteous and considerate of the time of others.

Cornelia Yoder

04-20-2015, 09:52 AM
Thanks for those explanations. I will request some maps for my Game of Thrones campaign soon :)

10-11-2015, 11:49 AM
Thank you!!

03-21-2016, 02:31 PM
Very helpful, thank you.

04-10-2016, 11:39 PM
Agree, this is helpful, thanks.