View Full Version : Pleiades Star Map

02-10-2014, 02:51 AM
I have been working on a role-playing game set in the Pleiades Star Cluster, and have been struggling with producing maps for the setting. I've not done a large amount of cartography in the past, and what little I have done has been for campaigns taking place on a single continent or at the most 2. Mapping a star system or cluster is not something I know how to do, and any tips, help, or input would be much appreciated.

What I would like is a star map that feels more like an old-school nautical map, with the radial lines and stuff. I believe it is called a Portolan Chart.

What I have so far is really inaccurate and frankly looks like a horse's butt, but like I said, I've no idea what I am doing
Like I said, pretty pitiful.
If anyone could help me out, I would very much like to appreciate it.

02-10-2014, 03:05 AM
I wrote a big long thing and then something wouldn't let me post D:

I think the problem with those charts for a galaxy is that... well... I don't know how to say it really.

You can sail in any direction *on* the earth, but you can't sail *inside* it, or out into space :P

So you're dealing with a lot more directions with a galaxy which isn't as ... well... help me out here... the earth isn't 2D, but the sailing isn't really 3D either...

Whereas space...

So I'm sure it can be done, just not sure how.

Hmm.. lots of people doing star maps but what you want makes me think most of... like this challenge entry (http://www.cartographersguild.com/current-lite-mapping-challenge/25877-january-february-2014-lite-challenge-yet-unnamed-star-map.html) (the second map, all the way at the end of the thread).

I'm thinking you could do something similar... set aside certain *clusters* of the stars to represent that they are higher or lower, not so much north-south-east-west.

If you did it with outlines/boxes/something instead of colors, maybe?

idk.. i'm not real bright... you'll have better luck waiting for the smarter people :D


Just wanted to show a *really bad* illustration of the sort of thing I mean... of course you'd have better shapes... >.<



Also I think you've got too much unnecessary space around the stars... simple map, a few points, it should be zoomed in a bit?

EDIT the Third:

There's a few spots where the lines overlap in weird ways, just slightly off center enough that it throws off the whole thing (see in red)


02-10-2014, 03:42 AM
Regarding the 2D / 3D thing:

The milky way is 100k-120k lightyears in Diameter while "only" 3k LY "thick".
So even if you wanted to map the Milky Way, you would be safe if you used a "flat" map as an approximation.

I'm not an astronomer, but I guess, the same is true for the Plejaden as well.

Regarding the map:

Actually, there already is a fantastic picture available via Wikimedia:
Maybe you might want to start with this one as a Background and work from there?

Kind regards,

02-10-2014, 03:48 AM
The placing of the stars is as close as I could get them to the Actual cluster, the Pleiades (also known as the seven sisters). The game actually only takes place within this cluster, with a larger focus on the systems and how they relate to one another.
I see where you are going with this. It IS hard to convey a three dimensional map on a single plane, but rather than focus on the science and math behind calculating how to best represent their locations, I feel like a simple map is best. Which is why I went for the Portolan style chart.

02-10-2014, 03:52 AM
That IS an amazing image. But I wasn't sure about the rules of using a copyrighted image like that, so I avoided it.


The reason behind wanting the Portolan chart style is as a way to convey those rays of light in the picture

02-10-2014, 04:16 AM
Well, what if you did it with a compass-y style then? It's still not going to be "rays of light" but it might get you closer. Something like...


Only, yknow... good :P

02-10-2014, 04:38 AM
Well, what if you did it with a compass-y style then? It's still not going to be "rays of light" but it might get you closer. Something like...


Only, yknow... good :P

That's what I did with that, to kinda mesh the two ideas.
Looks a jumbled mess, though

02-10-2014, 04:57 AM
Close :P

Try removing the lines from the area of the compasses... so they go sort of... behind them :)

- Max -
02-10-2014, 05:11 AM
I moved this thread to sci/fi section since it doesn't belong to the CWBP thread.

02-10-2014, 05:23 AM
Regarding the License to use the Image:

This file is in the public domain because it was solely created by NASA. NASA copyright policy states that "NASA material is not protected by copyright unless noted".

So: use it however you wish :)

Kind regards,

02-10-2014, 05:31 AM
Regarding the License to use the Image:

This file is in the public domain because it was solely created by NASA. NASA copyright policy states that "NASA material is not protected by copyright unless noted".

So: use it however you wish :)

Kind regards,
Thanks, Kai!
I just wish I had photo shop skills so I could do more than crappy pixilated lines connecting dots

02-10-2014, 05:54 AM
Here's what I have using the NASA picture.
Still looks unprofessional, but worlds better than what I started with.
What else should I do?

02-10-2014, 05:59 AM
Well first... the lines ARE pixel-y. :)

Have you tried using the different brushes or playing with the brush settings to get smoother lines?

Second... the font isn't really attractive *to me*, but then, I see things funny....

And 3.... your lines don't have to go *all the way through* the stars. You could leave an area around the center of the star clear :)

02-10-2014, 06:06 AM
I'm using a very basic paint tool, i'm afraid. not much variety.
The font is there as a stand in. wanted something bold so it could be seen against the black.
Not sure how I'd go about doing that without mucking up the image. As I said, not experienced with this sort of thing

02-10-2014, 06:11 AM
Ohhhh you don't have software :)

In that case, I suggest you get some :P GIMP is free and very much like photoshop I'm told (i don't have photoshop :( ) I know there's some other ones too... I think Wilbur or something like that. There's a list you can access from the links at the top of the homepage that will show the softwares used by people here, and the cost (if any) and some other details :)

02-10-2014, 06:43 AM
While Gimp is cool, it might be confusing to a new user.
Without the aid of some tutorials, you are basically lost.

The map, Jalyha linked, is mine as has been done in PowerPoint 2010 mostly (in case you have acccess to this one..)

Also, this Little mockup here has been done in PowerPoint 2010:


It's just some basic shapes, and via the properties I removed the filling and added transparency.

If you want to try your luck with PP, you might want to go for this tutorial at first:

During this tut you are basically raising the resolution to print quality and you add some shape changing tools.

Kind regards,

02-10-2014, 11:07 AM
You might also consider reducing the icon size according to the distance between the star and the viewer.

On a side (sad) note: These seven stars are B stars, very hot and luminous one. Pretty in the sky, they age too quickly for lifeforms to develop naturally. Planets could still be colonized and terraformed in a sci-fi universe tough.
And don't forget that the cluster contain a lot more than 7 stars. Many of them are likely to have good planets for lifeforms.

02-10-2014, 06:37 PM
Azelor, I'm aware that realistically the idea that these stars do have livable planets or even terraformable planets is highly unlikely, and in fact several of the traditional Pleiades are several stars (Acetone is actually three stars), they provide a nice setting that can be loosely influenced by Greek Lore.
I've created an entirely new system for this game. In essence, this is it's equivalent to D&Ds Greyhawk campaign world. Other GMs will make new systems or clusters.

02-11-2014, 01:14 AM
Sapiento took a nice approach with a b/w star map here:

Simple, but effective ...

Just some food for thought ...

02-11-2014, 01:43 AM
sorry for doubleposting ..

I did another mockup, inspired by the thread linked:

http://www.m-i-u.de/thumb-i77358bzlnr6.jpg (http://www.m-i-u.de/display-i77358bzlnr6.html)

(You need to click on it, to see the full size)

Tools used: PowerPoint 2010 only

Time needed: ~30 mins

Kind regards,

02-11-2014, 06:45 PM
Schat, that looks fantastic. The difference is that this I'm not using wormholes, but rather a varient of the Alcubierre Warp Drive.