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Thread: First mapping attempt

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      PurpleLex is offline
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    Wip First mapping attempt

    Hello! This is, like the title says, my first attempt at a map. This was started around six months ago now and my first draft was in Paint (now that I have Photoshop, that sounds so bad to admit!). The map is a fictional world, the same climate wise as our planet (it's not alien in any way). It started out focusing on just a small area and now it's pretty massive since I decided to plan out the whole globe. This is for a fantasy novella series I'm planning and though it was originally limited to a small area, I was thinking that creating the whole world would be easier if I ever wanted to use different characters within the same 'realm' - and I'm also having a lot of fun mapping it and would like to include everything instead of abruptly cutting off a corner of a continent.

    Feel free to critique as again, first time mapping, I'll probably do a lot of things wrong, but don't tell me something's wrong or inaccurate and leave it at that - give me the reason and tell me what would be more realistic, please.

    The main map:

    First mapping attempt-fantasy-world-global-map.png

    Main map marked with fictional countries floating around in my head (the circle is where the main focus will be in the stories I have planned at the moment):

    First mapping attempt-fantasy-world-global-map-marked.png

    And the climates for the globe:

    First mapping attempt-fantasy-world-global-map-climates.png

    My reference for planning out the climates was from here. I feel like there's too much of a 'temperate' climate but once I have more accurate landforms placed - smaller mountains, the rivers, land elevation, etc - I'll add some more pockets of climate. What do you think?

    I did the rivers on the map right now because I was experimenting; I'll change them if necessary later on. There are lines in the continents on the eastern edge because I outlined them, then filled them in, now have to clean them up; it's not intended to look like that right now. Those were the last that I planned. I'm also going to clean up the peninsula in the middle quite a lot - that was where I originally planned the world so that's why it looks so, er, weird. I'm going to trim it up a lot on the bottom and rid of many of the islands along it's eastern coast. Other than that, though, I'm mostly done with the first layer of landscape, have to sharpen up the edges, maybe add in some small floating islands - what do you think? Enough land or too much? Also, the mountains - are some of them completely off base or should there be more? I've read a lot of threads here of people talking about climates based on spherical shape, river placement because of land, mountains because of tectonic plates, that sort of stuff, and how important they are to take into account, so feel free to chip in if something looks off!

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      The Doge is offline
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    Excellent work so far.
    I am also new to cartography and I have to say that your work shows great promise. I'm also very interested in that link on global climates...perhaps I'll steal those tips for my own setting

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      711Savior is offline
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    Your climates look awesome and accurate. Someone did their research

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    Guild Apprentice Facebook Connected Master Rahl372's Avatar
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    Great Work.

    I'm new to the guild too. The landmasses are really good; I am actually particularly fond of the shapes you have come up with. The northern portion of the western continents look realistic, especially the north western continents.
    I
    The only thing are the climates are bugging me a bit. That island to the north east has tropical zone at the same latitude as the temperate and ice biomes. I'm not sure if that's just an error or not, and to me it seems like there aren't enough arid regions since it's supposed to be like Earth since it's covered by about 1/3 (which I know it's not supposed to be Earth, but if it's more like our planet.).

    Otherwise it's a great start, and I know how crummy Paint is since I've tried doing maps on it I use it sometimes for very rough outlines for ideas I get in my head.

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      jbgibson is offline
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    How about if you include a taiga/ steppe/ tundra zone between arctic and temperate, and a savannah area of some sort between arid and any of the wet zones?

    I guess you're figuring on a Gulf Stream type current unnaturally warming the NE continent? I'll buy that getting it somewhat warmer than 'normal' for its latitude, but like Master Rahl372 said, not all the way to being tropical.

    Your land shapes will be more plausible if the n and s edges as depicted are not quite 90 degrees n or s. Csn we guess that what you show only goes to 80 or 85 degrees n & s?

    What combination of prevailing wind and ocean currents are going to get you those two arid islands just offshore of a wetter temperate zone? Or for that matter the big entirely arid island to the equatorial east?

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      PurpleLex is offline
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    @The Doge - Thanks; and yeah, take a look at that link, it's helped me a lot.

    @711Savior - Thanks, I'm trying!

    @Rahl372 - I'm glad you think so about the northern edge, that's where I was having the most anxiety. No, that's not an error, but I kind of did it as a filler. I'm researching 'Köppen climate classification' and Oceanic falls under tropical, so I put tropical there before I get into more detail with other I guess sub-climates (?), like alpine, oceanic, desert, rainforest, etc. But I'm happy you noticed it so I'll get right on tweaking it Question - ice biomes cover 1/3 of the Earth, like you said, would the alpine climate fall under polar? I'm finding conflicting facts here - some say it's temperate, some that it's polar, but the average temperature range for alpine is 12-25 degree Farenheit and it's often also called the Highlands climate. I don't know, would that sort of count as polar or at least polar-adjacent?

    @jbgibson - Ooh, taiga's a really good idea! Thanks so much; yeah, I'll definitely add that. I have plans on adding a savanna area, too, especially to the south on the western continent. I was trying to make the NE continent a sort of odd-ball-out (I have to research currents next) and I'm going to change the tropical climate there to a more specific Oceanic. By 'Your land shapes will be more plausible if the n and s edges as depicted are not quite 90 degrees n or s' do you mean that they seem to line up with each other on the degree lines? Or do you mean part of the world is being cut out? Sorry, I probably read that wrong, I just don't really understand I'm planning to add a steppe climate along the coastal edge next to those arid islands off the middle continent. And with the one to the far east, I'm honestly not quite sure what to do with that, I might make it steppe (after giving it a plateau geography), or I might make it moderately mountainous - I'll decide on that when I get a better chance to research ocean currents. So for now, I colored it in as arid as a placeholder, like I did 'tropical' for the NE island.

    Thanks for the climate suggestions, both of you, I'm going to get on with detailing them better

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      PurpleLex is offline
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    Alright, I've updated the climates again. It's the start of the week and I won't be able to update it for a few days (at least until the middle of the week), therefore I wanted to post up what I've got so far. Still in the process of tweaking certain things, feel free to critique. And thanks again, jbgibson, for the taiga suggestion, it's helped a lot! Can't believe I forgot about it.

    First mapping attempt-fantasy-world-global-map-climates.png

    Steppe can be classified under sub-arctic, temperate, or arid, so I just put it under temperate more for color-scheme options than anything else (I grouped the climates in the 'key'), but whether its climate is dry, wet, or cold is influenced by what other climates are around it. I marked an asterisk next to shrub-steppe because that's a rare, kind of odd-ball form of steppe - it's really more for me and my note-taking than anything to do with the map. I made the previously-marked arid island to the far east completely mountainous while I figure out what to do with it but I don't know, I might keep it that way. Um, what else.... Oh, Oceanic is usually on the west coast except for rare exception (because of ocean currents) but I took liberty with the middle continent's southern cove band and those islands I updated with the steppe climate, just a small section inside kept arid, as I was thinking the geography for the islands could hold plateaus. I kept the farthest east island there mostly arid but I'm not sure if I should make it all steppe or not. Thoughts?

    In my free time this week I'll research ocean currents to verify the climates and see if any of them need changed (I'm sure some do) - but it's also a plus as one of the characters for my story is going to be part of a merchant marine, or merchant navy, and I'll certainly need to research a lot of that, just to be safe. Yay for overlapping research
    Last edited by PurpleLex; 12-30-2012 at 05:07 PM.

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    Guild Apprentice Facebook Connected Master Rahl372's Avatar
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    "@Rahl372 - I'm glad you think so about the northern edge, that's where I was having the most anxiety. No, that's not an error, but I kind of did it as a filler. I'm researching 'Köppen climate classification' and Oceanic falls under tropical, so I put tropical there before I get into more detail with other I guess sub-climates (?), like alpine, oceanic, desert, rainforest, etc. But I'm happy you noticed it so I'll get right on tweaking it Question - ice biomes cover 1/3 of the Earth, like you said, would the alpine climate fall under polar? I'm finding conflicting facts here - some say it's temperate, some that it's polar, but the average temperature range for alpine is 12-25 degree Farenheit and it's often also called the Highlands climate. I don't know, would that sort of count as polar or at least polar-adjacent?"

    Actually I said deserts cover about 1/3 of the Earth; roughly 33% which not all deserts are hot like the Sahara. The largest desert on earth is actually located in Antarctica. Here's a good link on the Köppen climate classification that I like to use: World Climates. Essentially Alpine climate can be anywhere but it has to be high elevation. The best example which is quite obvious are the Alps in Central Europe, which is in a temperate latitude about 40-50 degrees North.

    The climates do look more detailed now that you added more climate zones. I think the most difficult thing about trying to figure out how the climates work is that in reality the Earth's climates aren't sectioned off like in a map; rather things just sort of blend.
    Last edited by Master Rahl372; 12-30-2012 at 06:04 PM.

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      PurpleLex is offline
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    Quote Originally Posted by Master Rahl372 View Post
    "@Rahl372 - I'm glad you think so about the northern edge, that's where I was having the most anxiety. No, that's not an error, but I kind of did it as a filler. I'm researching 'Köppen climate classification' and Oceanic falls under tropical, so I put tropical there before I get into more detail with other I guess sub-climates (?), like alpine, oceanic, desert, rainforest, etc. But I'm happy you noticed it so I'll get right on tweaking it Question - ice biomes cover 1/3 of the Earth, like you said, would the alpine climate fall under polar? I'm finding conflicting facts here - some say it's temperate, some that it's polar, but the average temperature range for alpine is 12-25 degree Farenheit and it's often also called the Highlands climate. I don't know, would that sort of count as polar or at least polar-adjacent?"

    Actually I said deserts cover about 1/3 of the Earth; roughly 33% which not all deserts are hot like the Sahara. The largest desert on earth is actually located in Antarctica. Here's a good link on the Köppen climate classification that I like to use: World Climates. Essentially Alpine climate can be anywhere but it has to be high elevation. The best example which is quite obvious are the Alps in Central Europe, which is in a temperate latitude about 40-50 degrees North.

    The climates do look more detailed now that you added more climate zones. I think the most difficult thing about trying to figure out how the climates work is that in reality the Earth's climates aren't sectioned off like in a map; rather things just sort of blend.
    Oops, read that wrong! That's fascinating, I didn't know there was technically a desert in Antarctica. And thank you for the link, I'll definitely check it out - I think I used that site for researching the savanna climate. I'll be sure to look over my Alpine climate regions, too, to account for the high elevation factor. Right, and on Earth you have all these little pockets of sub-climates that are difficult to properly account for. If it didn't take so long to map, I'd feather the edges of all the climates so they look overlapping and show the mix of climates but as it is, that'll just have to exist in my mind I appreciated your input, thanks!

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      jbgibson is offline
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    Here's what I mean by the problem with your depicted map extent stretching all the way to the north and south poles. I'll assume you intend an Equirectangular projection. Not super useful when you get too high in latitude, but easy to concieve of and easy to draw. First problem is an equirectangular world map is going to be 1:2 in proportion height to width. So you've left out a third of the planet - assume it's water. I just show it as blank white.

    Crud, somehow I flipped your map east-west. No matter; the principles are the same.


    First mapping attempt-purple3equirect.gif

    If you wrap that on a globe and look at it from nearly north and nearly south (off-axis a smidgen; helps to see it as a sphere) see how extremely pinched the landmasses really are? It's the equirectangular view that's distorted; these are closer to true shape (at least the polar-most bits are; on the orthographic view the bits around the outside are horribly distorted - okay here since you intuitively expect the periphery of a ball to be smooshied, what with viewing it at such a slant.

    See how the south pole red dot on the equirectangular view is a long line?

    First mapping attempt-purple3orthonorth.gif
    First mapping attempt-purple3orthosouth.gif

    If I asume you aren't showing this map all the way to the poles, the distortion differential between the two views goes down some. Here I backed it off so the N & S edges of your blue-and-beige map are at maybe 78 degrees N & S.

    First mapping attempt-purple4equirect.gif

    See how the "real" shape is less pinched poleward now?
    First mapping attempt-purple4orthonorth.gif
    First mapping attempt-purple4orthosouth.gif

    THe other way to think of this is that if you're going to draw your map in equirectangular or mercator or the like, you have to manually "stretch sideways" details that are close to the poles, and not run any landmass right up to the pole unless you want a razor-sharp peninsula that just happens to touch the pole. If you need polar landmass, it's easier to visualize one that's centered (-ish) on the pole, since we're used to seeing Antarctica stretch all the way across the bottom of an earthly map.

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