World Map WIP in GIMP + Bonus Special: Climates & Wind Currents!
Well... so a couple weeks ago I lost my job, and the following week began the process of moving into a new house where eventually I will be living with my fiancee/wife. So... the past couple weeks I've been relatively incommunicado (sans internet :( ).
But I got a moment here on some borrowed wi-fi, and thought I'd take advantage of some of the learning on GIMP I've been doing and have another go at my world map.
Yeah, like roughly 50% of all readers of fantasy stories and novels, I'm in the process of writing just such a novel (have been for years). And like roughly 50% of those writing fantasy novels, I made my own map. Only recently, in an attempt to actually improve my writing, I restarted the whole thing from scratch, and consequently started mapping from scratch.
So here, using the early stages of RobA's GIMP tutorial for regional maps is an attempt at a world map (roughly mercator projection-ish). The sea and base land are from those early steps of the tutorial. The mountains, forests, jungles, deserts, and arctic tundras are just blobs of color thrown on to start getting a feel for it.
I started this map by trying to consider the underlying tectonics and the effects it would have on geography (this required me to move some continents around to fit the tectonics). The first map shows as a red line the tectonic boundaries with color-coded plate movements. The second is without the tectonics.
The gray blobs are mountains and hills. The green blobs are forests, while the gray-green blobs are rainforests and swamp/wetlands. The yellow-ish blobs are deserts, and the white-ish blobs are tundra and frozen arctic ice.
The images are reduced in size by 50% from the originals, then you have the jpeg artifacts.
My current thoughts: I like how varied and interesting the north-western continent is. I'm not completely sure that the southern continents, in particular, have as much variety in coastline and appearance as perhaps they ought. I'm open to suggestions on improvements or thoughts. I tried to place the different zones in logical places (deserts on the leeward side of mountains or along the equator, rainforests along the tropics and in places with abundant rainfall, etc.), but I'm not 100% sure I got it all right. I'm guessing the leeward side of mountains are on the western side rather than the eastern side in the southern hemisphere, assuming the trade winds blow in the opposite direction down there (east-to-west instead of west-to-east).
Anyway... comments and critiques are most welcome.
Bonus Special: Climates & Wind Currents
Okay, I've been doing some cursory studying of the climate data and info, done some quick research on wind and ocean currents, and have a couple maps to show the results of that on this world.
The first shows the basic wind currents (the whitish arrows) assuming a world with a roughly similar axial tilt to that of Earth. In the faint blue arrows on the oceans, we see a general look at ocean currents. Warm water flowing away from the equator, cold water flowing back toward it.
This second map now shows, based on this data, where the wet and dry regions ought to appear, roughly. Toward the equator is the wetest region, as two wet warm-air currents merge together. Above (and below) that we have the driest regions, where air is being pulled away from this by the divergent warm air currents. Then a big swath of transitional area mid between cool wet and warm dry. Above that is a cool wet area (which will eventually be arboreal forest, primarily), and above that the arctic (tundra and arctic) regions which are also cold and dry.
These should help me place my actual biomes and climates... if I can understand what it all means.
It does suggest that where I placed deserts and some rainforests previously is somewhat incorrect. This will also all be influenced by rivers and lakes, which have yet to be placed. I'm anticipating a few large lakes to shake things up a bit and provide some needed wetness in a few areas.
The major problems for me are that on the western continent pair, I had anticipated a very large sahara-like region on the isthmus and most of the norther part of the southern continent and had thoughts in my head for the development of desert-centric civilizations in that region. Expecting much of this to suddenly become tropical rainforest changes things up a bit. I don't know if this will require me to redo the continents a little bit in order to get things in the zones I want them, and how much time that will take, considering it took me forever to get this far...
Additionally, I intentionally have a desert on the northern region of the center-right continent north of the large range there. Most of that should be tundra and some arctic, but the desert is (or will be, since I hid all the deserts and forests on this version) an intentional abberation.
So... any thoughts or suggestions as I progress on these maps? My goal is to make these as believable as possible before I'm done, given a few excpected caveats.