1. A few notes:

Based on the dimensions and placement of the tropical and arctic circles, this is in Plate Carree projection (The Tangent, Normal aspect of the Equidistant Cylindrical/Equirectangular). But the features don't show the appropriate distortion toward the poles, and rhumb lines and a compass rose are inappropriate for such a projection over this extent as it distorts compass bearings.

Consider what would happen if you travelled northwest and kept going northwest. (assume a magical, perfect compass) You would spiral in toward the pole but never quite reach it however many times you spiral around. If you travel "upper-left" on your map, you will eventually reach the top edge of the map, which is the north pole stretched out. This is why the Mercator projection (which does preserve compass bearings) projects the poles infinitely far from the equator and has to cut off the arctic and antarctic to fit on a finite sheet of paper (the polar regions are often covered by insets in another projection)

A universal linear scale is inappropriate for any uninterrupted map covering such a large extent regardless of projection. Again, consider that the poles are single points, the distance "along a pole" is 0, but in this projection the poles are as big as the equator. In any normal (aligned to the equator/axis) cylindrical (rectangular) projection like this, you approach infinite infinite distortion as you near the poles.

The regional map is also problematic in terms of projection. You can't just "zoom in" on a map by scaling it up. A projection suitable for a global extent isn't going to be suitable for a continent. You can sort of, vaguely pull it off if you are using Mercator (Which is why the web mapping services like Open Street Map and Google Maps use the Mercator projection) but otherwise, it doesn't work, you need a new projection for a new extent. The more zoomed in you get, the less of an issue this becomes (This is true of most of these problems). A map of a regional district and a municipality within it can share a projection just fine (I'd use UTM Zone 10 North for a general map of both the CVRD and North Cowichan for instance)

For your curved labels, it looks like you are warping the text rather than setting it on a path. You don't want to distort the individual letters; you just want them shifted and rotated. Yous should also try to adjust the letter spacing so they stretch across the area they label. (Don't just change the size or stretch it like an image, the first will make you text inconsistent, the latter will look inconsistent, and REALLY ugly)

Your terrain symbolization is also rather hard to interpret. It's a popular style in the guild, but it makes it rather hard to figure out what is a meaningful difference, and what is just decorative variation. It also makes it hard to figure out where the boundaries between terrain types are. That's acceptable for a base map that isn't really important, but if that's the case, I'd have either ditched the terrain entirely, or at least made it more subtle so the features that are important (presumably the political boundaries) is more prominent.

2. Hello Hai-Etlik.

First, let me say thanks for taking the time to give me some notes. Its greatly appreciated. The more I look upon the map the less satisfied I am with it and this reinforces some of the issues I think I've been having with it. So... I have a few questions if you are willing to hand hold a newb. as such, please do keep in mind that I am an amateur at this and its only my second go at a digital map.

Assuming I am not really talented and this is the best basic world map I can come up with, what would you say are the things you would most change to make the make more "appealing" as just a basic world map? I assume removing the compass rose and rhumb lines? These had originally been added for "artistic" measure. I know the rhumb lines are not accurate, but I thought they might make a decent artistic touch. Would you reccomend "converting" the map to another projection such as Robinson? Or would it be better to simply start over with a different style of map, more appropriate to the planetary view?

As an aside, I did create a "globe" version I made from the map. Does this have any redeeming qualities?

If not, is there any way to salvage the existing "land structure" and make it better fit a more accurate projection style? The world I am trying to build is specifically designed around the 2 large bodies of lad and the major island island "continent" chain. Its rather critical to the structure of the fluff of the world.

What would you recommend as a way for an amateur to begin making a cartography accurate world map? How do you begin with a proper projection and get the land mass to fit the proper curvature and distortion? Can this only be done with existing vector software that generates them (like Fractal Terrains)? Do you recommend any other styles/tutorials over this one? I have to agree that the more I look at this style, it might work well for small scale maps, but the scale seems drastically off for a planetary world map.

As for terrain, this map, to me has more detail than it should actually. When compared to a topographic map of the Earth, it shows far more detail. Again, appropriate to a much smaller scale, but not so much on the world scale. I was trying to use this style to mimic the very basic view seen in these style of maps (you can basically see water, mountains, sand, ice and green for pretty much everything else).

Example:

Any suggestions are welcome, and I have access to a number of programs currently and am looking at 2 others. It is rather daunting when trying to figure out how best to approach making such a map and how so many different tools interact.

-- Have: Photoshop, Gimp, Wilbur, Fractal Terrains, PaintShop
-- Looking at: Astrosynthesis & Fractal Mapper

The issue I am having is being able to blend this basic concept of the world into the typical "randomizer" programs. Would you recommend simply using a randomizer like Fractal Terrains and trying to make it work, or is there a decent way to use a Photoshop "cloud" layer to use as the basis in something like Fractal Terrain?

As for the labels, you are correct that I simply used the existing Text tool in Photoshop that lets you shape the words (Flag shape in this case). The letters are already spread by using the spacing option in the tool though, but I hadn't thought of stretching them over the entire area of the map fearing that their size would overcome any other details of the map. Also, is there a tutorial on how to set the text on a Path? I simply added them as individual text shape layers.

Again, thank for any and all input. I apologize if some of this is rather rambling, but its already well past time to be in bed before work tomorrow.

3. The problem is that you have essentially distorted the land itself in order to compensate for the distortion in the projection. Reprojecting it will retain that distortion and will only make it more obvious. For instance, here's a polar stereographic projection:

You can also see the same pinching at the poles if you look carefully at your globe animation. If you want to fix this, you are going to have to redraw things.

If you want to avoid additional software, probably the simplest way to go would be to get one extra tool, G.Projector. It's a very simple tool for taking Normal Equidistant Cylindrical maps and lets you reproject them.

Then reproject the map to check for distortion (I'd recommend Polar Stereographic as I used above, Pick "Stereographic" from the list and set the latitude to 90 or -90) and then look at what's wrong. Then go back to the cylindrical version, and redraw the parts that need adjusting, save, reproject, and check. Keep at it until everything looks OK.

Then you can pick projections for your final maps, pump them out, and then do all the graphical stuff and labels (You need to do this after reprojecting because otherwise your symbols, textures, and text will all be distorted).

At the other extreme, you could do what I do and use a Geographic Information System. This is the software used for geography and much of map making in real life. It lets you work with raw "unstyled" data rather than graphics (The data can be raster or vector, but isn't necessarily graphical data). There is some commonality between GIS and graphics software but it's still very much its own thing. This has advantages in that you can do re-projection on vector data, You can reproject between different projections(Instead of having to start in Equidistant Cylindrical) it can do some of the styling and labelling work for you, and you have access to a bunch of additional tools but it's much more complex. http://www.cartographersguild.com/sh...-for-using-GIS

I'm afraid the only common point between us software wise is the GIMP, and I don't use it much so I can't offer much advice there, I was under the impression that Fractal Terrains used raster graphics though as I though it was essentially a DEM/Heightfield generator.

One last thing, you seem to have "large scale" and "small scale" backwards. In cartography jargon "scale " is the scale factor. so "small scale" means things are drawn small, and "large scale" means they aren't drawn as small. A map of a globe is "small scale" while a map of a city is "large scale". The area covered is the "extent", not the "scale"

4. Just popping in to say I really love how this is coming along When you re-drew the map I had to make sure I was still in the same thread, there was such a large difference! I like your labeling, though I'm personally a fan of more subtle and simple.

How did you do the globe? It's very interesting.

5. You seem to be in good hands. I have no idea what Hai-Etlik is talking about (although I am SO impressed by the knowledge) I can't really offer any suggestions with things like "projections" and such as all my maps assume the world is made of cheese or bubbles and can be stretched in any direction to fit my whim.... Keep up the great work and BTW the globe is cool !!

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