To all the worldbuilders, mapmakers, cartographers, and more: Hello! Having been a long-time admirer (and user) of maps for years, my appreciation for the art and science involved in creating a map is deepening as I do more research. Research for a story I'm writing, a story in which a map is a key plot device, and cartography is intrinsic. But as I delve deeper and sporadically into my research, I get a little sidetracked, and I keep wishing I knew a few cartographers in person so I could sit down and just have a nice chat with them about what they do.
I'm hoping a few of you might be willing to have that chat.
Resource recommendations, "tricks of the trade," little-known facts, and the like are definitely appreciated and welcomed. But I also have a few questions. If you'd be willing to answer them, either in this thread or in a message, I would love to hear from you.
- What are the core parts of a map that must always be included (e.g., compass, scale)?
- What are some common cartographic terms, or your favorite terms (e.g., point of beginning, terra incognita)?
- What are some cartographic "secrets" that aren't well known to the general public (e.g., trap streets)?
- What's your favorite part of mapmaking, or the general cartographic process?
- What are some artistic vs. informational trade-off decisions you often have to make?
- What are your favorite features to include on a map?
- If you had to create a map of the world without today's technology, how would you proceed? How much could you map in a year? In ten?
I've popped in and out of various areas on the forums here and haven't found the answers to my most basic questions, but I am new, so if this information does exist already in a thread, please do point me in the right direction.
And if this isn't the right place for this thread to live, please forgive me and move it as appropriate.
It is easy for me to get lost in research because I enjoy learning about new things in general, so any thoughts you have will be read and absorbed with glee. Even if you only answer one question, I'll be delighted.
Thank you for reading this far, and if you've decided to answer a question or two, thank you doubly!