View Full Version : WIP - basic elevation map

01-25-2014, 11:50 PM
I'm currently in the process of sorting out/finalizing details for my map of my newest world building project, and I made an elevation map to see if the placement of my main river(s) made any sense (which really, they don't, but I'll fix them later).

I started out with my hand sketch of the map:
and then built the mountains up:
60687 (for reference of where on the map)

I also felt like I should add some lower than sea level areas, but it doesn't seem right to me and I would like opinions/how to do this better.

I haven't drawn in a correct river yet, but I was wondering if this looked to be right? I've had issues with deciding the size and shape of the entire continent, so I haven't focused on larger geography, but this has helped me organize my thoughts (even if it's off).

In re: to the bg of the project, I don't have names for any of the kingdoms yet, but I have some very basic history and I'm focusing my attention on the kingdoms with the lake (ruled by a family whose Queen and some of the children are magic)(but I'm going to add a river to connect to the lake), and the kingdom partly in the woods/with a circular patch of woods (non-magic ruling family, but they have relations w/ druids who live in the forest, and the circular woods is a settlement, originally connected to the rest of the forest. Trading lumber with the kingdom to the north (who has a coastal border) diminished the forest.)

ETA: The original sketched out map is more of a political map I guess, b/c I outlined/shaded different kingdoms, but I expect that most of their borders will change as I develop geographical borders/other stuff.

01-26-2014, 10:14 PM
Yeah, if the dark green is lower than sea level it won't work. This is because you have a river flowing through it and off the top of the map, which can only lead to a Dead Sea type of water body (because if the river is at any point lower than sea level, it can only go even lower from there.)

I'm not sure how sea level is even relevant, though, because I don't see any sea on the map. Couldn't the dark green be just a lower level of elevation? Is all the vast expanse of green supposed to be almost nearly sea level?

01-27-2014, 01:13 PM
Thanks, it didn't feel right to me either, but that makes sense, especially since the elevation, according to the map, would go up in areas where I planned for the river to run, and rivers don't work that way so yeah.

I didn't cement any specific elevation levels, but the vast green is around sea level. My sketch is zoomed in to a level so that you can't see any ocean, but this is the northwest corner, and the ocean to the north is ~50 miles north of the western mountain, and the ocean to the west is ~70 miles of the western mountain (this is all definitely subject to change as I learn/figure out what I want this to look like though).

01-27-2014, 01:39 PM
You don't really need a lower than sea level depression to have a lake. It very much depends on the climate around your area.

If it is a rainy/temperate area, a lower than sea level region would fill up and eventually create a flow towards the sea. The Great Lakes in Canada/US and Lake Victoria in Tanzania/Kenya are good examples of this (hell, the Nile is what flows out of Lake Victoria!).
Only if the climate is dry enough will evaporation equal/top the influx of water and prevent any lake from overflowing.

Depending on the size of your lake, you should consider a bottleneck of hard rock which limits the outflow. This is exactly what creates a lake.
In the case of your map, I'd squeeze the northen mountains a little together, so you can have just that.
If you make them sufficiently close, you can have a sort of a gorge that the lake has eroded. A good example on Earth of such a gorge is the Iron Gates in the Danube. Check this picture:

Also, looking at your map, you can have a series of interconnected lakes (the dark green). But this would require, imho, a finer topography (more elevation level).

And lastly, with a little more detail added, consider saving a B&W version (black being sea level) and fiddle with it using Wilbur.