View Full Version : World map WIP

09-11-2009, 10:58 PM
Hi all,
Pretty new here but I've been messing around with various tutorials as time permitted over the past couple of days. This seems like a great community and I really appreciate how willing the experts are to share their knowledge with beginners like me! :)

This map was made using Ascension's "atlas style" method. This is draft number x (I forget how many now) as I've tried out different things. I've finally got the shape I want but am still playing with hills, mountains, colors and such. This is the first one I've felt like dropping lat/long lines onto.

It's an Earth-sized world (this is a cylindrical projection) and this map is of the "western" hemisphere. The major landmass is a continent called Dazhou, an Asian-themed (with some differences) land that will be the center of a campaign setting I'm creating for a (hopefully) commercial project. There is an "eastern" hemisphere, of course, but right now it's just a basic shape and a handful of concepts and country names. I will eventually map it out in some detail.

I'm mainly just sharing now (and there's not really much to comment on) but would welcome any comments or critique. Will post updates as I make progress - busy time for me at work right now so I might be kind of slow but I'll be watching the thread for input from all of you experts. I'm going to try out rivers and such tonight/tomorrow so maybe another update tomorrow night.

Steel General
09-12-2009, 08:47 AM
Looking good so far, be interesting to say where you take this.

09-15-2009, 05:34 AM
Finally got a chance to work on this some more. This one has rivers, political boundaries, city markers, and names - mostly placeholders, as you can probably tell, because I haven't yet done much development beyond my target area. Most likely I have too many "town" level items on the map - you can't even see them when zoomed out. I'll probably cut back.

The desert area yielded by Ascension's technique (which I like and have decided to keep rather than choosing a gradient without tans) has thrown me for a bit of a loop. I'm going to have to come up with a concept for that...but it'll be neat because it might not end up being too cliche.

For political boundaries I decided to just go with a line surrounded by a glow, rather than the multi-colored regions I sometimes see. The boundaries are funny anyway and I have a lot of island nations. I was thinking about just a line in the same style betwen island countries - like you see on modern maps marking political boundaries when they fall over water. Also, though I've drawn boundaries around them the "countries" aren't necessarily unified...Minguo is made up of five feuding emperors that constantly trade territory back and forth. Not sure how to denote this on the map or if I even want to bother. So, any thoughts on these conundrums will be appreciated. :)

@SG: Thanks! I honestly have no firm concept of what I want as a final step. I'm starting to think I might prefer a less-realistic style...though I want to finish this one off first for practice and to refine the design of all of that stuff I haven't even pondered yet...like "Odd Desert Empire" and "Somewheria". :)

Steel General
09-15-2009, 06:37 AM
I like the font you used for the labeling, but at this resolution I can't read any of the smaller town names.

09-15-2009, 06:55 AM
Thanks. It's a random font I've never even noticed before. :) Kind of cool though.

I agree that the smaller labels are pretty useless. I think I'll just increase the size of the capital names and include just a couple of major cities for each area (with slightly larger font there too). I think they might show up at print resolution (it's 12.something" by 8.5" @ 300 dpi) but it's too busy even if they did. Maybe I'll leave the markers though.

It's too much for a map showing half of the world. I'll look at some real maps to see how much detail they go into. I'm thinking a map of the Americas probably shows NYC, LA, Mexico City, Buenos Ares, and maybe a handful more.

Edit - One question for those in the know: What should I do about marking scale on this map? The planet is Earth-sized, which would make the map about 12,450 miles across at the equator...but the distortion of the cylindrical projection would make the width much less as you moved up or down from that, right? Should it be based on some sort of average - i.e. the circumference at 45%? Is there a standard method? I searched a bit but didn't turn up anything (though my Google-fu may be weak).

09-16-2009, 04:50 AM
Just playing around tonight to see if I come up with other styles I liked. I've got the "stuff" mostly figured out so now it's just a matter of figuring out how I want to represent it. This one has saturation reduced and has been overlaid with a dirty parchment texture. Labels and symbols added in Illustrator.

Not the easiest thing to read, I admit. Still, I liked the script font...though it didn't work well for the legend and map title. I'll probably go for something more formal in the end.

09-16-2009, 04:58 AM
Looks fine to me, I do the same thing all of the time...a tan layer with a blend mode of hue or color. What you might want to do is make two versions of the map, one color and one parchment. On the parchment one you need to add a black or brown stroke to the landmass and rivers but that's about all.

Steel General
09-16-2009, 06:41 AM
I like this version as well, and though I'm not a big fan of the font you used to label the cities, etc. (and it's really a more a matter of preference than your choice of font), it is all very readable.

09-18-2009, 11:04 AM
I really like both fonts individually, but they kind of clash with each other. Other than that this is looking really nice!

09-18-2009, 05:24 PM
A couple of things to bear in mind when making a cylindrical map:

1. The land masses near the north and south poles need to be stretched wide, since when they're projected onto a sphere, they get squashed horizontally. For example, below is a picture showing what the south pole of your current map looks like when it has been drawn on a sphere. You might have intended the spikes, but I'm guessing not.

2. The width should be 2x the height. e.g. 2000x1000. The maps you've published here are 1860x1176, so you've drawn the land masses somewhat taller or narrower than perhaps they ought to be. (More appropriate dimensions for the maps would have been 1860x920 or 2352x1176.) This is because the circumference of a globe all the way around the equator is twice as far as the distance between its North and South poles, which is only halfway around the globe.

I hope these comments help a little.

p.s. I do like the style and lettering, though!

09-18-2009, 08:18 PM
Thanks for the info. That looks totally horrid on a globe...guess I misjudged the amount of distortion that would occur.

As to the 2:1 ratio, however, I used (or tried to anyway) the Lambert cylindrical equal-area projection (link (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lambert_cylindrical_equal-area_projection)). This is just the western hemisphere. I think the measurements of the whole map are 8"x22.something. I reckon from your comments that this isn't standard? I'm a 3D graphics kind of guy and it worked just like a standard cylindrical projection in 3D so it made sense to me. Is the 2:1 thing the most-often used in cartography? What's the projection called? I'd like to look it up.

Heh. Guess you can tell I'm a total newbie.

Thanks for the help!

09-18-2009, 10:45 PM
The 2:1 ratio is called equirectangular, since the distance between latitude lines and the distance between longitude lines are equal. (360 degrees of longitude, 180 degrees of latitude = 2:1). It's a special case of a simple cylindrical projection.

09-19-2009, 11:47 AM
It's also called "cylindrical equidistant" and "Plate Carré" (spelled variously Caree, Carre & Carree)

09-19-2009, 12:19 PM
One solution would be to increase the dimensions to something like 2800x1400, adding arctic and antacrtic snowcap regions of 112 pixels each, plus an eastern "hemisphere" extension of 950 pixels, something like the map below. But with some interesting land masses, of course!

The antarctic peninsulas would still be squashed in longitude, but not nearly as badly.

p.s. looking more closely at your map, I noticed that you've drawn the lines of latitude more closely together as you approach the poles. I assumed an equidistant projection, with longitude and latitude lines separated by the same number of degrees forming squares on the map.

09-20-2009, 01:38 PM
Here's my reprojection of Lambert equalarea into Plate Carré. That's the format used by Celestia (http://www.shatters.net/celestia/), the program I used to project the map onto a sphere. I used MMPS (http://www.users.globalnet.co.uk/~arcus/mmps/) to do the reprojection.

I'm assuming that what you've drawn is intended to be exactly one hemisphere. Unfortunately, an equalarea projection has even more severe longitudinal distortions near the poles than Plate Carré does, since its lines of constant latitude are squashed together at the same time that longitude is expanded.

To put it another way, if you reconsider the original map either to be of more than half of the world, or to be of a smaller, near-equatorial region, the design looks quite good. I hope these suggestions don't do too much damage to your intended design of the eastern hemisphere.

09-20-2009, 03:37 PM
I used MMPS (http://www.users.globalnet.co.uk/~arcus/mmps/) to do the reprojection.

Can someone compile a binary for windows (or dos, more correctly)?

-Rob A>

09-20-2009, 04:37 PM
I can provide one for use with Cygwin (http://www.cygwin.com), if that helps.
I think it would only need the base install, not any of the software development libraries.

p.s. here's a link to a zip file conatining the sourcecode and binaries (along with some many-times-rewritten shell scripts that I used.)

http://www.lepp.cornell.edu/~seb/celestia/files/mmps-0-1-35.zip (2.2MB)

09-21-2009, 02:38 AM
Wow. I appreciate the analysis, Selden. If I had anything but "grey rep" I'd pass some your way!

Guess I need to go read up on map projections again. I was really liking the shape of the continent but I think I'll have to rework it for a more "equal" projection. Probably won't get to work on this much this week but hopefully I'll show something by next weekend.

Until then, here's an experiment I played with a bit...trying to achieve a hand-drawn look. Haven't quite figured out what to do about the details like mountains and forests...I think the Tolkien style is probably best. Any suggestions there appreciated.

09-21-2009, 05:28 AM
I kind of like the awkward 'spikes' towards the pole.
You could easily justify it by marking the pole as the site of some apocalyptic event.
It has a distinct mark, but you just can't quite put your finger on what caused it, perfect.. right? =)

Steel General
09-21-2009, 06:37 AM
You're latest 'experiment' looks pretty cool so far. Got a nice 'grungy' feel without going to grungy (if that makes sense :)).

10-31-2009, 01:01 AM
Wow. It has been forever since I've posted anything to this thread. I haven't given up on this world map...it's just kind of low on my list of things to get to. I have actually done a wee bit of work on it.

I have attached my reworked world map...just the outlines...and what I'm working with for my continent-of-interest (Dazhou).

Also attached are some zoom-ins of my sort of wishy-washy attempts at hand-texturing the thing. I like the jungle and forest stuff but just haven't been able to make a go of the open lands. Maybe it's silly to do this anyway. You can't see this stuff at continent level...but then again you can't see wood-cut mountains and forests either so... :)

10-31-2009, 01:05 AM
Hmmm. Guess the limit is 5 images. Okay. Well, here's the Ascension-styled continent map. I guess it's rather similar to one I've already posted...but it's my current continent view.

BTW, I will look again at the FAQs but didn't see anything about cleaning up old files. Am I supposed to be deleting old files or is there an automated process (or unlimited storage)?

10-31-2009, 07:31 AM
You don't need to clean up. Space isn't an issue yet.

Nice continent by the way. It does look like some of your lakes don't have outlets to the sea?

10-31-2009, 11:24 AM
@Gandwarf: Thanks. I'm not 100% sure that my hydrology will stand up to the river police and I need to look at it again. Many of the largest of those are supposed to be very deep, according to my backstory, and surrounded by higher ground. Not sure that gets around the need to have them drain on the surface to the sea. Imma consult some real maps again before I finalize those. I have another problem with rivers in that I had intended at least one to get to the northeast coast, where my city Haibianr is supposed to sit - but I ended up making a pretty solid wall of mountains over there.

11-08-2009, 09:22 PM
There are plenty of large bodies of water in this world that do NOT drain to the ocean. As long as the geography supports a bowl like topography. The glacial(sp) action created a lot of interesting terrain in north america.

11-08-2009, 09:55 PM
I know of five such large bodies of water. I am sure that there are others but these are the five that I know of - The Dead Sea (I think it's actually below sea level so it would have to flow uphill to get to the ocean), Crater Lake in Oregon, The Great Salt Lake in Utah, the Aral Sea between Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, and the Caspian Sea just west of there is the largest. This link will give you some more info - Endorheic (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Endorheic)

11-08-2009, 10:03 PM
The Aral Sea hardly qualifies as a large body of water these days. Hooray Soviet water policies!

Me, I'm partial to Lake Titicaca in South America, if for reason other than it's fun to say. Edit: Never mind, it has an outflow. Tiny one, but there. Lake Chad, now, that's a different story.

11-10-2009, 11:23 AM
Woo Hoo! I guessed all of those bodies of water by their shape before I read the names! Am I cool or what? (The word geek comes to mind)

Now back to the map. Keep it coming! It is looking great!

11-10-2009, 03:45 PM
Geek, cool... there's a difference?