Hello everyone!

Don't worry about the slightly strange login name - I use it on another board, and it's easier to remember one name than two. I have HandsomeRob to thank for directing me here from there.

I'm currently embroiled in writing a fantasy novel which needs some Maps. In the process of making these Maps I find myself torn between expediency and perfectionism; part of me is happy with something which just shows where places are, but there's a more ambitious part which keeps saying, "you know, it would be nice if you had a proper heightmap for this and could write programs to work out rainfall and so on". Two questions in particular keep coming around a lot; I don't know if this is the correct place to ask them, but I'll repost if it isn't and someone can point me in the right direction.

1. Does anybody know of an algorithm which will take a map of a roughly Europe-sized continent which has coloured blobs to show different levels of heights (up to 200m, 200-500m, 500-1000m, and so on) and turn it into a realistic and believable heightmap?

2. (probably quite hard) If you have a heightmap and know the latitude and longitude of all its points, how easy is it to deduce the corresponding climates?

If there are answers, and they aren't too difficult to implement, I can do the programming myself; I'm just missing the necessary theoretical knowledge. Can anyone help?