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Thread: Resizable Map Outlines?

  1. #1

    Question Resizable Map Outlines?


    Complete noob here, both to this site and to mapping/photoshop CS2 (which I probably should get a more updated version of sometime).

    Curious if there's a good way to create a rough world map, but in a way so you can zoom in on a part of a continent to do country/kingdom maps, zoom in even more and do a town map, etc.. without having to redraw it by hand each time you do a more detailed map of an area. Since I personally lack any form of ability to draw, I doubt I could accurately recreate the intricacies of coastlines, rivers, etc just as they were on the world map. I know if I attempted that now I'd just get very pixely outlines if i attempted to blow up part of an overall worldmap to do a town map, for example.

    Not sure if I'm making any sense.. Basically I want to create a worldmap, then later on use parts of that world map to make a country map, parts of those to make town and city maps, etc without all the coastlines and rivers and such being completely different looking from the original map, due to having to draw them from scratch each time.

    Any help would be appreciated.

  2. #2


    The way I generally go about it is I create my overview map, then when I want to make a larger scale map, I bring my overview map into the document, scale it up so that the new area I want to map is the size I want, then I use that as a template guide for the new map. I simply trace the old lines on a new layer. That way, the landforms will be the right shape, and the towns will all be in the correct places, but I get the level of detail I desire. Once I have all of the information that I need replicated, I hide the old map and continue on with the new.

    There are ways of getting a zoomable map like what you've described, but the processes I am aware of can be somewhat technically complex and far more cumbersome than the workflow I've suggested above.
    Bryan Ray, visual effects artist

  3. #3
    Guild Expert Hai-Etlik's Avatar
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    Well, you can't just zoom in on a world map and have a reasonable local map. You can sort of pull it off if the world map is in Mercator projection, and you jump straight from small scale world map, to a large scale map of say a small country without any medium scale maps in between. This is why web maps like Google Maps and OpenStreetmap generally use Mercator.

    So, to shift between a small scale world map, and a medium or large scale map, you need to reproject. With raster images, this will give you the same pixelation problem as with simple scaling, but with added squashing/stretching. There are some some relatively simple but limited tools for doing this like G.Projector and FlexProjector. If you want to get serious about it, there are proper GIS tools, but they are more complex to use.

    If you use vector shapes rather than raster, then the pixelation problem is eliminated, however, a vector coastline is still limited in how much detail is there. A too far zoomed in vector shape will just look kind of simple. Also, there are no simple graphics type tools that I am aware of for reprojecting vector data, so you would have to use a GIS for this.

    I think your best option would be to keep a simplified map in Equidistant Cylindrical projection that just keeps track of your shapes. Then project that using G.Projector into whatever projections suit your particular final maps. Then trace over the somewhat messy results you'll get from that to clean it up. If you have a 'fractalize' function like that in Inkscape available, this can fill in some missing detail in a reasonable way.

  4. #4


    It sounds like you are getting spoiled by Google maps. keep in mind that it's not a single map, but rather many maps from satellite pictures down to areal and land based photos.

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