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Thread: Fresh start with continental map

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      bartmoss is offline
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    Wip Fresh start with continental map

    Hi guys, hope you all had a merry xmas.

    As you may or may not remember, I have been struggling a bit in recent months with finding a mapping style and, above all, coastlines for a fantasy continent. It seems that I just really didn't like how my past few attempts turned out. The Corel Painter experiment was kinda sorta OK except Painter turned out to be too buggy to buy for 300 Euro, so that project also fell by the road side.

    A week or so ago I had a dream which was, oddly enough, a continuation of a series of dreams I had some years ago. In it, a group of explorers, well, explored a northern continent - I never saw a map of course but just the continent's basic features. So I sat down and started to map it out.

    This is the current WIP after about 12h+ of work:

    Fresh start with continental map-map01e-small.jpg

    The coastlines are a major hassle, I can tell you. I did cheat in a few spots, but I think only one is kinda obvious.

    What I know about the continent so far:

    This continent is roughly equivalent in position and size to our Earth's Canada; unlike Canada, it was home to a major civilization (no offense, Canadians). Think Roman Empire, just populated by non-humans. 100-200 years ago, a cataclysmic event shook the continent and reshaped it; it shattered the southern part and sank it beneath the waves until only the upper parts of the mountain ranges there remain as islands. This also pushed the west down and the northeast up a little, so that most of the southern and western coast are now also sunken. The eastern coast was raised, and the current coastline used to be continental shelf. The seismic activity also caused several large and a myriad of smaller chasms, canyons and sounds (as in the large inlet, not noise).

    There are a few human settlements on the east coast, which are now starting to explore the continent (and to plunder the ruins of the old civilization). Ship voyages to the west are only possible if one travels via a route very far to the south; the islandy area at the southern border of the map is considered too dangerous for large sailing ships; no reliable course has been chartered through that area.

    I am really only doing the map for the sake of getting the map out of my system, but I think the setting should work well for an extended sandbox style campaign.

    Oh, finally, scale - 1cm = 50km, I kinda marked off 5cm in the lower right corner.

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      Hai-Etlik is offline
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    For a high latitude small scale map like this, you're definitely going to want to get an idea of your projection and extent early on. This isn't something that can easily be fudged under these conditions.

    Given it's roughly the same extent as Canada, I'd suggest taking a map of Canada in a Canada specific projection and using that as a template. Statistics Canada Lambert Conformal Conic (EPSG:334 is my usual choice of projection for maps of the whole country. (As in this map Picture 1 of 5 from Contest Entries)

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      bartmoss is offline
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    I was afraid someone would call me out on that, I just hoped it would not be within 30ish minutes. Yeah, I am terrible at the math involved, so I try to wing it. I did throw a Canada map in as my reference layer, though, for that very reason. This is the grid they used:

    Fresh start with continental map-map01f-small.jpg

    Looks similar to what you use, at least to my very untrained eye.

    As an aside, is there an easy way to convert that sort of thing back to Equirectangular?

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      Hai-Etlik is offline
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    Quote Originally Posted by bartmoss View Post
    I was afraid someone would call me out on that, I just hoped it would not be within 30ish minutes. Yeah, I am terrible at the math involved, so I try to wing it. I did throw a Canada map in as my reference layer, though, for that very reason. This is the grid they used:

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Looks similar to what you use, at least to my very untrained eye.
    I wasn't trying to "call you out", I was just pointing out that this was something that could bite you if you weren't wary. For instance, you can't put a compass rose on this map. I wasn't saying that you need to include a graticule for instance just that if you do, it needs to be a fairly specific one.

    They are both Conic projections, which is fairly typical of maps of this extent and position and is why they look similar. I'd need to look at how the graticule distorts as you move away from the standard parallels to make a guess as to which particular conic projection it is.

    Quote Originally Posted by bartmoss View Post
    As an aside, is there an easy way to convert that sort of thing back to Equirectangular?
    If you're working in a GIS from the start, yes, but then you probably wouldn't be asking. With plain graphics tools, no, not really as it requires georeferencing the image, which is tricky unless you stick to normal aspect cylindrical projections (which this is not).

    That's why easy tools like G.Projector can't do inverse transformations. Also, some projections don't have closed form inverses which means you have to use complex, slow, and inaccurate numerical methods to reverse them even if the image is georeferenced. The commonly used conic protections do have closed form inverses though.

    PS: Here it is in Plate Carree/Equirectangular Fresh start with continental map-map01f-small_plate.png The georeferencing isn't the greatest and it lost a lot of resolution in the process
    Last edited by Hai-Etlik; 12-28-2012 at 06:56 AM.

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      bartmoss is offline
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    Oh don't get me wrong, I didn't take it in a bad way - I meant "called attention to the shortcuts I am taking". I very much appreciate constructive critcism, always.

    The Equirectangular projection (thanks for doing that) looks... weird. Not really unexpected, I guess. if I take one lesson from this, it's that I should work in euirectangular again in the future but always check the map in other projections and on Google Earth (nice and easy interactive sphere) - I did the later for some maps and it really helped reign in the worst problems near the equators.

    I do wish GIS software was more... accessible. It seems any serious world building project really should use GIS, but it's just so much easier to just whip out Inkscape and get going...

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      bartmoss is offline
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    And I figure I should probably add the "latest" WIP - it's been a while since I touched this map.

    Fresh start with continental map-map01j.jpg

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      Naeddyr is offline
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    Very nice, I wouldn't have the patience for all those elevations.

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    Looking nice! This something I'm keen to try, but it looks like slow work.

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    I like it. When do we get to see rivers and waterways?

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    actually, looking at it again, i wanted to ask, will you be adding any more levels of elevation? maybe between existing ones or above the high mountians? there's room for more if you want to get more detailed

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