of course and I understand and appreciate the offer, I definitely considered posting an add in the help wanted section, but I'm more of the type of person who has to at least attempt a project myself before I just go and beg others for help on it. I felt bad enough that my very first post was in the help section
I'll definitely keep you guys posted on my map! I'm liking what I've produced so far, even though it is far from the perfection it will need to be in the future.
I've loaded up the map that I was working on while asking these questions. Its posted at the following thread:
What no one has mentioned is that a what is perceived as a quality varies with use-- i.e. how close you expect the person's eyes to be to the printed object.
A poster for a bus might be printed at around a dozen DPI. A banner that hangs from a regular ceiling might be 100 DPI or less. If i touch my nose to a 300 or even 600 DPI item the dots become visible. It's all about how it will be used.
If the users are expected to have their eye-balls more than say 18 in. away from the printed object then you can go lower than 300 DPI without a perceived loss is quality.
Unless your map has excessively small details or type, i'd guess no one would notice the dots in the 72 to 200 DPI range, depending in part on how many cards or other game paraphernalia they are expected to have between themselves and the map.
I have a tut about bitmapped images which includes DPI stuff here:
this covers what jwbjerk says about distance to item. Though I think in this case were looking at being sat around a table with this on top. Maybe asking game board printers what DPI they want in the master file would be a good start to picking the DPI for the image.
Anyway, glad you uploaded the image as it makes it clearer what type of image were talking about and I think it does lend itself to being bitmapped or could be mostly done with vector with that bitmapped texture masked in. If that texture was made of the seamless tiling type then I think the file size of the vector image + bitmap texture would be very small. I think a modest PC would cope better with this type for this particular type of drawing.
I think I would try to see if you can get this done with some help in Inkscape or let someone else do it (or partially do it as a starting point) with that, Illustrator or Xara. It could be done as easily with a bitmapped image if you happen to have the right kind of tools and PC. Whether Gimp is the right tool for that is something I cant answer as I am not familiar enough with it though id expect someone who was, to say "not" in this case, based on previous posts about its handling of big files. PS seems better as it has some large image format thingy.
Although I know you said that costs are an issue, this does seem like the sort of image GamerPrinter with his Xara seems to knock out in no time.
I can recommend you to use this poster making software for printing big maps multipage.