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Astrocartician
12-02-2009, 03:58 PM
I wanted to see if I could get some opinions about this star chart before I finish it. It is designed like an elevation map. The thicker the line the higher the elevation. The z elevation is from +20 to -20 light-years. It shows all star systems within 26 light-years of Earth that that has at least a K class star mass in it.

mearrin69
12-02-2009, 04:12 PM
It's cool. I don't fully grok it...but it's cool.
M

ravells
12-02-2009, 05:07 PM
I love it. Really clever concept....should it be circular though?

Astrocartician
12-02-2009, 10:17 PM
I love it. Really clever concept....should it be circular though?

I started making the elevation lines circular. But, because some stars are close together I would have had to make oval and pie section shapes to get around everything. I felt it looked better using rectangular shapes.

But perhaps you might be interested in doing one that way. I think we could use some more star charts around here.

töff
12-02-2009, 10:33 PM
Why not color coded? With thin/thick lines, the information is there, but hard to read.

Astrocartician
12-02-2009, 10:57 PM
Why not color coded? With thin/thick lines, the information is there, but hard to read.

I plan to add more elevation levels numbers in various areas to make them hopefully more clearer. I could have done colors as well, perhaps going from red to blue, but I wanted the stars to stand out from the elevation lines. I thought this looked good although I also considered grayscale.

Like fantasy maps, star charts can be done in many different styles.

ravells
12-03-2009, 06:47 AM
I started making the elevation lines circular. But, because some stars are close together I would have had to make oval and pie section shapes to get around everything. I felt it looked better using rectangular shapes.

But perhaps you might be interested in doing one that way. I think we could use some more star charts around here.

I just don't have / don't remember my astronomy that well, but I may give it a go. I wonder if the old 'radio dials' site is back up, I'd love to use some of retro radio dials as inspiration.

BeRKA
12-03-2009, 04:02 PM
Very interesting idea. I like it!

wormspeaker
12-03-2009, 05:46 PM
It's an approach I've not seen before to render this type of 3D information. I'm not partial to it, but it is the first new way I've seen to represent 3D data in 2D in a long, long time.

euio
12-03-2009, 09:09 PM
I like it. Totally original and easy to understand. Much better than your first star chart.

One thing I would suggest is finding some way to make z=0 stand out. Perhaps you should colour the contour lines on that plane red or (or some other colour that makes it more visible the centre).

Astrocartician
12-04-2009, 07:50 PM
One thing I would suggest is finding some way to make z=0 stand out. Perhaps you should colour the contour lines on that plane red or (or some other colour that makes it more visible the centre).

I planned to do something with the z=0 line. It does need to stand out a bit. I am going to do more work on the chart this weekend. That is, if I get a chance.

Astrocartician
12-07-2009, 11:27 PM
I have added more labels on the elevation lines. This might make it easier to differentiate them. I am still undecided about changing the color of the elevation lines. I kind of like them all black. If I changed them, I was thinking of going with shades of gray. My thought was that making the stars the only objects with color allowed them to stand out from the rest of the map. What do you guys think?

hubbardmapworks
12-08-2009, 04:20 AM
i can visualize this map made in ArcScene....lifted up in 3-D. would be really clean using some 3-D modeling. cool map though. i agree with some of the above replies - the square planes distract from the star (round) shapes, and some more color coding is needing to establish better hierarchy of the planes. maybe deepen the colors of the stars too, to make them stand out more....?

Astrocartician
12-12-2009, 10:41 PM
I changed the black lines to grayscale shades. The top line is 20% black and goes to 70% on the bottom most. I think the stars stand out more and the lines are differentiated a little better. I still need to do the star details.

Locution
12-12-2009, 11:02 PM
I can appreciate the work that went into this but it is far beyond my feeble intellect.

hubbardmapworks
12-12-2009, 11:58 PM
like it!
i had a vision of another way,
have the stacked light years with color star symbols on top, but each star coming up from it's own small stack. i think square would look fine for this, just thinner stacks eminating up, and angled a little to see the step-up thing you have going.
the background image they eminate up from could be a margin-to-margin image of their relative postion to each other from some perspective...does that make sense?
i.e...do all the stars have to be 'planed' together across the area there?

someguy
12-13-2009, 04:08 AM
OK, call me thick, but i just don't get it.

euio
12-13-2009, 07:58 AM
Much better! The only change I might make would be making higher, rather than lower, lines darker.

Astrocartician
12-14-2009, 05:06 PM
OK, call me thick, but i just don't get it.

It is an elevation map. This link (http://courses.washington.edu/archy484/readings/tufte_1990_EnvisioningInformation_color.pdf) is to a pdf file that shows part of a book called Envisioning Information by Edward Tufte. If you go to page 6 you will see a beautifull elevation map. It is this map that first inspired me to think of using elevation lines for star charts. The lines on that map shows height from the lowest level to the top most. In the case of my chart, the difference is that the start level is at the top of the map. So, you are looking at depth as you would in a sea depth chart.

Astrocartician
12-14-2009, 05:12 PM
like it!
i had a vision of another way,
have the stacked light years with color star symbols on top, but each star coming up from it's own small stack. i think square would look fine for this, just thinner stacks eminating up, and angled a little to see the step-up thing you have going.
the background image they eminate up from could be a margin-to-margin image of their relative postion to each other from some perspective...does that make sense?

I believe I understand part of your idea- It would look like an isometric type map except instead of line ascenders it would have small square planes seen at an angle under the star symbols. As for the background image, I can't quite picture what you have in mind. Perhaps you could make a small drawing with 3 or 4 stars to show me.


i.e...do all the stars have to be 'planed' together across the area there?

I put stars on the same plane to show that they were at a similar height as well as to not crowd the chart with too many lines. If you notice, some stars have dotted lines around them. These lines show the exact level of each star by the distance it is from the solid lines. When the chart is finished, each star system will have a dotted line around it.

Astrocartician
12-14-2009, 05:18 PM
Much better! The only change I might make would be making higher, rather than lower, lines darker.

I decided to use the standard convention: things that are lower/deeper are darker in color and things higher are lighter. It also seemed to me that the thicker lines should be closer and therefore higher.

hubbardmapworks
12-14-2009, 10:00 PM
here's my quick and dirty sketch for ya....
it doesn't tie them in together in the same plane, but it would still show the number of light years out.
the background could be a drawing, or image, picture, whatever; possibly showing the stars position in the galaxy - relative to each other
19505
looking forward to more maps of yours>>

Astrocartician
12-16-2009, 07:44 PM
Nice!

I don't think anyone has used this approach yet. You have the start of something - are you going to make a large one? If you do, one small suggestion I have for you is to make the level indicators more different from each other. But other than that, I think your artistic ability and the type of software you use can produce a great looking chart. I hope you decide to make one.

As for the Alpha Chart, I am going to try to finish it before Christmas and then put it in the Finished Maps section. I appreciate everyone's comments and help. It is going to look better than it would have if I had done it without this forum.

Ecrocken
12-18-2009, 11:32 AM
It took me several minutes but I think I grok it. I'm the type who looks at those 3D pictures and don't ever see the hidden picture.

Very interesting way to depict your map! :)

~EC

thespiritcoyote
04-01-2011, 09:14 AM
I get it, and it is very interesting use of elevation map, but how do you use it?
Has anyone found a benifit to this approach?
At the root of it, I can find no mathmatical benifit, the benifit might be more abstract, and I just havn't seen it.
I'd be interested in any example of functional application, even if it isn't better than other methods. Would there for example be a fictional culture or species that would find a use for it, having a need to apply this method due to a lack of avaliablilty, or functionality, of some other?

Astrocartician
04-24-2011, 08:06 PM
@thespiritcoyote - first I'd like to apologize for the delay in answering your question. I don' t visit this site as much as I use to.

In flat 3-d star maps that use a parallel projection, the x and y axis is easy to measure. The z axis, however, is given by a number. While this is fine since you can put a lot of stars on your chart ( It is a Big Universe) it makes, however, the real distance between the stars hard to estimate. You have to take the distance between the stars that you see and the z altitude and then estimate to get the true distant. That too is o.k. but if you have a lot of stars on your chart you have to keep a lot of estimated distances in your head and that makes for a chart that is not user friendly. The elevations are to give it a bit of a visual 3-D effect. This helps to keep the amount of distance estimates in your head to a minimum. As for mathematical benefits, I suppose there really aren't any significant ones.

The Alpha chart was the first I did with elevations. I learned a lot from it and plan to do another in the future. Right now I am working on a star chart that uses 3-D perspective. This, of course, is the best way for we humans to visualize 3-D on a flat paper map. It also has it's problems though.

I'd like to thank everyone who has commented on my chart and who have showed continued interest in it.

cantab
10-02-2011, 04:22 PM
It is a bit "odd" having squares and rectangles on a map of space, which is after all full of spheres and ellipses, but of course it's necessary for the map to work. And work I think it does.

The resolution is good for print, but a lower-res version might be better for the web.

I might also be inclined to just make star size relate to absolute magnitude, and drop distinguishing the stellar class.

-NoXoN-
10-11-2011, 11:26 AM
yeah is cool

moriturimax
01-28-2012, 10:22 PM
Love it, maybe make the lines less black? So they don't overwhelm your presentation while still conveying that really interesting way of showing 3D?

Relic Kimah
10-04-2013, 11:40 AM
Firstly, I have never thought of such an approach for stellar navigation. I like it. If you have time, you could try to make it less linear, but not necessarily ovular or circular- like a topographical map. As for the idea of using color to distinguish elevations, just be sure to use colors not also shown in the stars presented. You can have red stars and darker purple lines to indicate higher or lower elevations (per the galactic plane), so long as the redness of that line is not too similar to the red star. That sort of thing.

If you intend to have navigational lines between systems, though, I wonder if shadows on them would help to prevent confusion between elevations and course routes (possibly, also, dotted lines, where the negative elevation doesn't interfere). I can't say for sure how well any of this would work, since I draw things by hand to begin with, at least.

I hope this helps.