View Full Version : Simple how to for quick maps

07-10-2007, 09:21 AM
As I'm more a very interested spectator more than a master of maps as many here are, I keep an eye out for ways those of us with weaker imaginations and artistic skills can still create usable maps.

This tip comes from the latest issue Roleplaying Tips weekly (http://www.roleplayingtips.com), issue #364:

3. Quick Map Creation Tip
From: J.H. Swain
================================================== ==========
One thing I like to do is take real world maps, upload them
to a graphics program of choice, and trace them. It works
fairly well, and it's not as if anyone's going to notice
that, if you flipped the map of the city of St. Omhurst just
this way, it looks exactly like Bremerton, WA and the
surrounding area.

I've just started doing this, so I'm not an expert, but it
seems to be a pretty solid tactic.




07-10-2007, 09:26 AM
The simplest ideas are often the most brilliant. I'll be using this one!

Thanks for posting this great tip.

07-10-2007, 11:11 AM
Excellent, a fellow subscriber! ;) I saw that tip and thought the same thing as well. I would probably take it a step or two further and mirror as well as rotate it, but it would depend on the knowledge of my players and what I was copying. Johnn always has great stuff in newsletter.

07-10-2007, 12:39 PM
Here (http://www.ordnancesurvey.co.uk/oswebsite/freefun/outlinemaps/)is the Ordinance Survey site where you can get a free outline map of the UK at a (reasonably) high resolution in a number of file formats. I'm going to use part of it (together with other quick and easy methods others have come up with) to see if I can produce a reasonably convincing map in under an hour. Naryt's tip is certainly a good starting point though (although I suppose one could use FT as well, but I think the results using a real map are more convincing :Edit: unless your name happens to be HandsomeRob).


07-10-2007, 08:21 PM
Another couple of variants of this technique are to invert the water/land and play with scale. For example the first map of upstate Michigan (100 km across the whole map) can represent the edge of an entire continent (1000 km across). Landscapes are fractal and self similar enough that this works well.

07-12-2007, 11:47 AM
I'm J.H. Swain!

Glad to see you guys can use the tip :)

07-12-2007, 12:16 PM
Welcome aboard jswa!! Great to have you. I'm betting that we would all like to see more of your maps that you have created, and thanks for the tip!

07-12-2007, 12:21 PM
Excellent tip Jswa! Thanks a lot for sharing it!


07-12-2007, 02:40 PM
I'm J.H. Swain!

Glad to see you guys can use the tip :)

Welcome aboard! Thanks for sending that into roleplaying tips in the first place!