View Full Version : Historical Map Creation

03-24-2014, 12:21 PM
Hello everyone

First of all let me please state that in case this thread has a bad history to repeat itself, i'd kindly ask a moderator(or anyone on the forum) to guide me in the already created threads.

So to my question, recently i have developed an obsession towards making maps, and 3 days ago i decided to recreate historical maps of my own country.

The inspiration was mainly this style of map of Poland, where i'd do the maps of countries from the region, but knowing that i'm still a novice and i'd take me quite some time, i decided to make something more simpler. I grabbed a blank map of south-eastern europe, with rivers and all that, and i am stuck and dont know what to do next.

http://i.imgur.com/U9lUgdR.jpg <- something like this only in a smaller region
http://i.imgur.com/4el4sj4.jpg <- First though of how to make in which style
http://i.imgur.com/3NNtkvZ.jpg <- The style i want to make it currently using the same map only blank

Can someone tell me, what is best, Illustrator or Photoshop? Because on the third map i can clearly see its made in Illustrator, but i cant seem to grasp the technique when i try it with another blank map

Thank you and cheers!

03-24-2014, 01:01 PM
All three of those definitely look vector to me (i.e. Illustrator). It might be worth grabbing a vector map from wikipedia and opening it up so you can see how they're structured - look for maps with the extension ".svg", which means "scalable vector graphic", and you'll be able to open them in Illustrator/Inkskape/some other vector editor and see the inner workings :)

03-24-2014, 08:14 PM
So i found another blank map i want to work with. But what now? how do i start making it look like professional map like the ones i posted, as specially the third one?

These may sound stupid questions, but google was no use for me when trying to find any tutorials. The style i am trying to replicate is the one in the 4th image, but with clear defined borders (how to make borders in Illustrator is another mystery i cannot solve)

please help

03-24-2014, 08:39 PM
Could you provide a link to the map? That way I can see what you're looking at. Assuming the file is constructed in the way I'm expecting, to add borders you should select the shape you want to add the border to, and add a stroke to it, as described in this Adobe help article (http://help.adobe.com/en_US/illustrator/cs/using/WSA1E31D7D-13E6-41ac-AA8C-4AD129B9FC1Ca.html).

Don't worry about asking anything, there'll always be someone here glad to help :)

03-28-2014, 08:19 AM
Yes, this is the map


is there any problem that it isnt in SVG format?

03-28-2014, 12:13 PM
Yeah, the problem is that png is a raster format, you need a vector format.


Raster images are formed by a bunch of dots (called pixels), while vector formats are formed by a bunch of lines using maths. The above image illustrates the difference between these two types of image format - the enlarged "VS" on the left reveals the pixel based structure of a raster image format such as png, while the enlarged "VS" on the right still has crisp and clear lines since that's what the vector format is made from.

The reason you need a vector image is that you want the lines for the borders. Wikipedia has a load of open source maps here (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Blank_maps#Europe), just find an svg one that looks like it has what you need and try it out :)

03-28-2014, 12:59 PM
nonono i want that map in special because i like its design overall.

I just converted it in SVG format, but..its...all black and white now? what did i do wrong? how do i upload it?

- Max -
03-28-2014, 01:02 PM
You can't change a raster format (for instance png) to a vector format (for instance svg) with just saving from .png to .svg

03-28-2014, 01:25 PM
Illustrator has a smart select tool that you can convert the elements of an image into vector elements to work with. If you google something like "convert raster to vector with illustrator" im sure you'll find a nice video tutorial or two on youtube. Since that map is all solid colors without gradients and what not i think it should work out pretty good for you. Hope this helps good luck.

03-28-2014, 02:31 PM
You can't change a raster format (for instance png) to a vector format (for instance svg) with just saving from .png to .svg

nonono, i actually made it into a svg, with converter online and stuff

Its now black and white instead of blue and white, i wish i could upload but i dont know how

03-28-2014, 02:39 PM
nonono, i actually made it into a svg, with converter online and stuff

Its now black and white instead of blue and white

In that case you'll need to open up the file in Illustrator or Inkscape or whatever vector image editor you have and change the colors of the elements manually.

03-28-2014, 03:10 PM
Just replace the black and white with blue and white ?

03-28-2014, 04:57 PM
thank you both, i have now made it water blue colour and currently trying to figure out how to draw ACCURATE borders

If i import an image and put it on the canvas, put the opacity low and make a layer of colour, will that work?

03-28-2014, 05:06 PM
with illustrator, yes. You can draw like you would in photoshop.

03-29-2014, 08:41 AM
ugh..how do i fit the borders so i can use the pen tool to draw borders normally? is there an alternative for this?


03-29-2014, 11:48 AM
To begin with, try to have both maps on the same scale, I'm not sure it's the case right now, it's hard to tell. It's possible that they are not from the same projection, in that case they can't match perfectly. You will have to use ''landmarks'' like rivers or mountains to trace the borders. For the rest try to be as precise as possible but I have not specific hint.