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Thread: What am I missing?

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    Guild Novice imaginerofdarkness's Avatar
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    Default What am I missing?

    This is my first map ever. I made it for a slightly medieval story. I'm currently working on the country to the south (Ryleres) and am wondering it there is anything I could add to make this a more realistic map. I really have no knowledge of map-making and would appreciate any helpful criticism.


    What am I missing?-map.jpg

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    Guild Journeyer LindaJeanne's Avatar
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    Great map! Is that hand-drawn and scanned in?

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      jtougas is offline
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    First off let me say that this is very nice. Hand drawn maps have such a nice feel to them. To answer your question I have to ask you a question. What are you trying to accomplish with this map? Are you trying simply to convey information? If so The map is fine. You could scan it into a digital format and color it and it would be a very nice functional map. If you are trying to create something more "artsy" there are hundreds of things you could do. Simply adding color and some shadowing would go a long way to creating "art" If you are looking for an "atlas" style map there is much information in the tutorial section of the forum that could help you achieve this. I always ask myself what the purpose of a map is. For me it is always about the story so the "feel" and the "atmosphere of the map is the most important thing. Once you know what you are trying to do with a map it is much easier to take the next steps. Having said all of that here is something to remember: If you like it and it does what you need it to do then it is good enough. Most importantly have fun.
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      waldronate is offline
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    The lake by Castle Hanolia has two outflows, if I read it correctly. It's a highly unlikely and unstable configuration of rivers as most lakes have only a single outflow (one outflow will cut the lakeshore down to below the other eventually and so capture all of its water). If it's human-made, of course, all bets are off because it's not going to be a geologically stable configuration.

    Without a scale and positioning on the globe it's hard to say if the Eleut desert itself is plausible, but apocalyptic deserts are common in the context of a fantasy setting.

    The river in the Eleut desert that arises from nothing much and then flows away from the ocean to go across the continent bothers me a little, too. There would need to be some sort of barrier that forces it away from its closest sea and makes the land slope that way (and such a thing isn't shown on the map). My biggest concern is where the water in a desert would come from, unless it's a class post-apocalypse desert. The most common source of "river flowing through a desert" is that it arises in well-watered headlands and flows through the desert on its way to the sea. Some real-world examples include the Nile (arises in the Mountains of the Moon and the Ethipian highlands) and the Colorado of the American Southwest (arises on the Colorado Plateau).


    Other than those little things that caught my eye, I'd say it looks pretty good. The artwork is much nicer than what I produce...

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    Guild Novice imaginerofdarkness's Avatar
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    Thank you, in general, for useful information!

    Scale is something I am still working on, and in the end will be based on how far I am going to want my characters to have to travel between major cities.

    I can fix the second outflow (the one going by the order) by simple having it start in the forest and not connect to the lake at all, correct?

    And can I start the river flowing through the Eleut desert in the mountains?

    If I do decide to compare this world to earth then the North-South line would run horizontally and the East-West line vertically. (hopefully that makes more sense)


    This is supposed to be a general traveller's map with just basic information. (i know it still needs a compass and scale)
    As I get deeper into my story I will explore new parts of this world and quite possibly make period maps. Not to forget political and physical as well.

    Thanks again for the help.

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      Yora is offline
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    Quote Originally Posted by imaginerofdarkness View Post
    I can fix the second outflow (the one going by the order) by simple having it start in the forest and not connect to the lake at all, correct?

    And can I start the river flowing through the Eleut desert in the mountains?
    Yes, both are quite plausible possibilities.

    Otherwise, I think the desert and the other open area west of it look a bit too empty. While there are some places where a sand desert directly touches the sea as a sandy beach, that's not a very common thing on earth. I think you could add some small forests or hills close to the coast to offer a bit more variation.
    And the other open area needs something There are some huge rather flat plains on Earth, but those are usually isolated from the coast by mountains or at very high elevations themselves. Again, some small hills or forests, and maybe some lakes might provide some variation.

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      Lalaithion is offline
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    This looks great- I can't wait to see where this goes!
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      Hai-Etlik is offline
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    Well, the graticule (grid) is a bit problematic. Being square like that implies that the map is either, large scale ("zoomed in") and centred on the equator, or it's in Plate Carree projection, in which case the features on the map would be distorted, unless it's a large scale map centred on the equator. Based on the terrains though, I'd say it's at a temperate to subtropical latitude.

    There are other coordinate systems besides latitude and longitude that you can present with a graticule which might be scare in other situations, but they wouldn't really be appropriate for fantasy a map like this. In fact, for a high fantasy map like this, even a lat-lon graticule is a bit anachronistic feeling.

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      Lalaithion is offline
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hai-Etlik View Post
    Well, the graticule (grid) is a bit problematic. Being square like that implies that the map is either, large scale ("zoomed in") and centred on the equator, or it's in Plate Carree projection, in which case the features on the map would be distorted, unless it's a large scale map centred on the equator.
    Because the earth is a sphere, it actually doesn't matter where it is in the world, because it is an regional map. Plate Carreé projections (also called "equirectangular") were also invented around 100 BC, so having one exist in the middle ages actually is completely valid. In fact, the Mercator map, one which is usually imagined when you think about old maps, was invented in the mid 16th century. Latitude and Longitude were also invented by the ancient greeks, as evidence by this map made in the second century.
    What am I missing?-ptolemy_map.jpg
    Although this map is inaccurate, Latitude and Longitude were, in fact, used.

    There is, however, one important thing to take away from this discussion: if you make a world map, you will be forced to decide on a projection, or else have your world be literally flat. Wikipedia is a great place to compare what different projections look like- mercator vs equirectangular, robinson vs mollweide....
    This cavern is below all, and is the foe of all. It is hatred, without exception. This cavern knows no philosophers; its dagger has never cut a pen. Its blackness has no connection with the sublime blackness of the inkstand. Never have the fingers of night which contract beneath this stifling ceiling, turned the leaves of a book nor unfolded a newspaper.

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      Hai-Etlik is offline
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lalaithion View Post
    Because the earth is a sphere, it actually doesn't matter where it is in the world, because it is an regional map.
    Yes, it does matter. At the equator, the "box" bounded by a small equal angles of latitude and longitude is approximately a euclidean square. As you move into higher latitudes, it narrows and becomes more like a trapezoid, until you get a very narrow triangle at the poles.

    A map in a projection suitable to a restricted extent is going to try to minimize distortion within that extent so those shapes will be approximately preserved: At mid latitudes, a lat-long box with equal angles would be approximately a rectangle with an aspect ratio determined by the latitude. In a normal cylindrical projection it will be projected as precisely a rectangle.

    In tangent normal equidistant cylindrical, all such boxes are squares, but this means that they, and all other shapes, are being stretched out east-west. Which is a rather noticeable form of distortion. So my point stands, to get a square lat-long graticule, you can either be covering a small area near the equator in a projection that minimizes distortion within your extent. Or you can be in Plate Carree, in which case you can be anywhere, but would have significant and ugly distortion unless you are covering a small area near the equator.

    Plate Carreé projections (also called "equirectangular") were also invented around 100 BC, so having one exist in the middle ages actually is completely valid. In fact, the Mercator map, one which is usually imagined when you think about old maps, was invented in the mid 16th century. Latitude and Longitude were also invented by the ancient greeks, as evidence by this map made in the second century.
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Although this map is inaccurate, Latitude and Longitude were, in fact, used.
    Yes, I know the ancient greeks had an idea of latitude and longitude and tried to use it in map making. My point was that maps from the Medieval period, which high fantasy is generally based on, didn't. In fact they rarely used maps at all let alone ones with graticules. When they did draw maps, they were at best about giving a crude idea of topology: what was connected to what. That's why I specifically said "a bit anachronistic" I admit that wasn't exactly the clearest way to express my point. Dropping the graticule (admittedly somewhat harder given it's hand drawn) would sidestep the whole projection issue and better give a pseudo-medieval, high fantasy feel.

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