I decided to use the standard convention: things that are lower/deeper are darker in color and things higher are lighter. It also seemed to me that the thicker lines should be closer and therefore higher.
Originally Posted by euio
here's my quick and dirty sketch for ya....
it doesn't tie them in together in the same plane, but it would still show the number of light years out.
the background could be a drawing, or image, picture, whatever; possibly showing the stars position in the galaxy - relative to each other
looking forward to more maps of yours>>
I don't think anyone has used this approach yet. You have the start of something - are you going to make a large one? If you do, one small suggestion I have for you is to make the level indicators more different from each other. But other than that, I think your artistic ability and the type of software you use can produce a great looking chart. I hope you decide to make one.
As for the Alpha Chart, I am going to try to finish it before Christmas and then put it in the Finished Maps section. I appreciate everyone's comments and help. It is going to look better than it would have if I had done it without this forum.
It took me several minutes but I think I grok it. I'm the type who looks at those 3D pictures and don't ever see the hidden picture.
Very interesting way to depict your map!
I get it, and it is very interesting use of elevation map, but how do you use it?
Has anyone found a benifit to this approach?
At the root of it, I can find no mathmatical benifit, the benifit might be more abstract, and I just havn't seen it.
I'd be interested in any example of functional application, even if it isn't better than other methods. Would there for example be a fictional culture or species that would find a use for it, having a need to apply this method due to a lack of avaliablilty, or functionality, of some other?
Last edited by thespiritcoyote; 04-01-2011 at 08:16 AM.
@thespiritcoyote - first I'd like to apologize for the delay in answering your question. I don' t visit this site as much as I use to.
In flat 3-d star maps that use a parallel projection, the x and y axis is easy to measure. The z axis, however, is given by a number. While this is fine since you can put a lot of stars on your chart ( It is a Big Universe) it makes, however, the real distance between the stars hard to estimate. You have to take the distance between the stars that you see and the z altitude and then estimate to get the true distant. That too is o.k. but if you have a lot of stars on your chart you have to keep a lot of estimated distances in your head and that makes for a chart that is not user friendly. The elevations are to give it a bit of a visual 3-D effect. This helps to keep the amount of distance estimates in your head to a minimum. As for mathematical benefits, I suppose there really aren't any significant ones.
The Alpha chart was the first I did with elevations. I learned a lot from it and plan to do another in the future. Right now I am working on a star chart that uses 3-D perspective. This, of course, is the best way for we humans to visualize 3-D on a flat paper map. It also has it's problems though.
I'd like to thank everyone who has commented on my chart and who have showed continued interest in it.
It is a bit "odd" having squares and rectangles on a map of space, which is after all full of spheres and ellipses, but of course it's necessary for the map to work. And work I think it does.
The resolution is good for print, but a lower-res version might be better for the web.
I might also be inclined to just make star size relate to absolute magnitude, and drop distinguishing the stellar class.
Love it, maybe make the lines less black? So they don't overwhelm your presentation while still conveying that really interesting way of showing 3D?
Firstly, I have never thought of such an approach for stellar navigation. I like it. If you have time, you could try to make it less linear, but not necessarily ovular or circular- like a topographical map. As for the idea of using color to distinguish elevations, just be sure to use colors not also shown in the stars presented. You can have red stars and darker purple lines to indicate higher or lower elevations (per the galactic plane), so long as the redness of that line is not too similar to the red star. That sort of thing.
If you intend to have navigational lines between systems, though, I wonder if shadows on them would help to prevent confusion between elevations and course routes (possibly, also, dotted lines, where the negative elevation doesn't interfere). I can't say for sure how well any of this would work, since I draw things by hand to begin with, at least.
I hope this helps.