TLDR - First map, going for realistic, building from the ground up. Skip to the pictures.
For the rest of you, like I said in my member introduction I've been lurking for a few weeks after having found this forum through two links to Tear's Saderan tutorial, one from here and one form r/worldbuilding. (I wonder how many times y'all hear that...) Anyways, I subscribed there and signed up here in order to develop my own world for a story that has been floating around in my head for a while. I'm going to do the mapping here, and I do hope you will all weigh in with advice and criticism (constructive and otherwise).
I was overawed by the maps featured on the home page, and I hope my map will be somewhere near half as good.
Also, in an aside, I attempted to start this thread once before, and it hasn't shown up. So, if I wind up posting multiple threads, I'm sorry, and this is the main one. =)
I'm going for as realistic as possible for the world, because in my view as an anthropologist, the environment has some determinant effects on the cultures that emerge within it. I'll therefor be starting from the ground up with this world, and taking only a very few liberties along the way (such as preventing the extinction of certain species, allowing for magic of a sort, etc.) but map wise those should not have any affect.
So, the plan is a World Map, on the scale of our Earth. I'm assuming same composition and density, similar orbital period, axial tilt, and overall northerly land mass concentration for the sake of simplicity. I'm giving it one major satellite, a little larger but also further away than out moon, so it should have a similar tidal influence; and two minor ones that will have negligible tidal pull.
I'm going to start with a coastline that I like, (because if I don't like that why bother?) and then to work backwards from there to the tectonic plates. They probably wont be scientifically accurate, but all I really need is to figure out where the mountains and major earthquake zones will be. That is today's post. Next will be major wind patterns, ocean currents, temperature, precipitation, drainage, climates, and biomes. Then the mapping of historical borders and major sites through a few major periods until I get to where I want my story set. At that point I will begin the final map with the current political landscape and in a (hopefully) original/visually appealing style. And then I'm going to print a poster of it. So its going to be a big project. However, I'm not as ambitious or talented as Schwarzkreuz, so I'll not be setting a time limit =)
But first thing is first, I need a coastline. So here it is. The blue is temporary to distinguish water from land.
Tectonic plates. Red hashes are mid-oceanic ridges, red dotted line is a nearly entirely subducted plate, blue dashes indicate subduction zones, and blue arrows indicate movement. I threw in a really FUBARed region in the southwestern continent because I wanted something interesting to explain that inland sea. So the area is resultant from some major cataclysm in the not super-distant geological past, but far enough away that the effects have dissipated. Say an asteroid impact or a magavolcano.
Major mountain ranges indicated. I'll add in some more, because not all mountains are resultant from the current plate arrangement (see Appalacians) but these will do for now. The purple fuzzy area is a major plateau, and the ringed mountains on the sw continent indicate the crater outer ridge, or the caldera, or what have you.
So, thoughts? Is there anything that needs to be addressed before I continue?