I am still working on creating a nice star map.
I was quite happy with the galactic map I created some time ago (http://www.cartographersguild.com/sh...laxy-Revisited), but it necessarily lacks detail. So I decided to zoom in a bit and create a more local map of the orion spur.
The base map I used, as you will recall, was a NASA image of the Milky Way galaxy (http://www.spitzer.caltech.edu/image...-the-Milky-Way) which I turned into a more map-like background image - this included increasing the resolution, as the Milky Way Galaxy map was designed as a 60cm x 60cm drawing.
However, when I zoom in, it still gets too blocky, and besides the gaps in the spiral arms start showing badly. So I used gimp to create a new orion spur based on the original. Here's what I got so far; I am unconvinced that Terra is centered like that, I'll check tonight, but for now it'll do as a "sample" star system.
PS: Yes, I realize it's beginning to turn full circle and I am pretty much where I was a year or so ago, when I began to map out the orion spur for the first time.
Current WIP, with some minor updates - I added sector names (just some random temp names), though this is really a lot of detail that's lost overall.
I gave the overall "cosmology" or astrography some thought yesterday night. Basically, on the orion spur map, every sector is 200x200 light-years. If I accept the trade-off that these are 2d, then it's entirely possible to create a third level of zoom - sector maps - which then map EVERY star system in the setting. Of course, creating the Orion Spur map at light-year resolution is a lot of work, but much of it could be automated in some fashion.
As an aside, the systems on the map are all Piper worlds, except for a few systems very close to Terra (the "break-out-list" attached to Terra). Distances are not correct, but relative positions are quite reasonable.
Current WIP is a little detour. I decided to make the map a little more colorful.
Since I used noise on the base map, it's a 22MB png and can't be posted, instead here's a scaled down version and a 1:1 area cropped so you can make out details.
Edit: Used star brushes from http://sakura222-stock.deviantart.co...h-set-30314622 - doesn't seem to have restrictions attached to use besides giving credit.
Great stuff bartmoss! As Mearrin said, the colour makes all the difference!