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Thread: Anyone mind helping a newbie out?

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    Help Anyone mind helping a newbie out?

    Hey, Im new to this forum and to cartography in general. Recently I have been working on an RPG and decided to make my own world map. So I came across autorealm. It may not be the best, but I am new to mapping so its a start. I have made my landmasses and exported the image file so I can edit it in Gimp. However, I am wondering if a few things are possible to do and if they are, Id like to know how to do it.

    One thing Id like to do is add a border around the landmasses. Perhaps a black line that fades away as it gets further from the landmass for example. Is this even doable without doing it manually?

    Another thing Id like to know is what a "rosette chart" is used for. I've seen them used in other maps however I cant really understand why they are used.

    Ill probably ask more questions as I progress with the map. Ill also post some pictures if anyones interested in seeing it. I may be a little slow though, I'm a programmer not an artist haha. Thanks in advance guys!

  2. #2
    Guild Expert Gracious Donor Hai-Etlik's Avatar
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    So for the the coastline, you mean something like in these maps: Click image for larger version. 

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    You can sort of pull it off in raster software like GIMP, but you tend to get artifacts of the raster grid creeping in. Vector software like Inkscape or a proper GIS will generally give you better results. The Outset lines int he canada Map were done with QuantumGIS using the "Buffer" operation, while those in Baakoi were done in Inkscape with the "Outset" operation.

    And by "Rosette Chart" I think you mean a Portolan? Click image for larger version. 

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ID:	58547 A Portolan is a map designed for "Dead Reckoning" a form of marine navigation used in the 15th century. It amounts to "take a compass bearing, and keep following the compass until you hit land, and maybe try to figure out how fast you are going to get an idea of where you are along that line." It's not very accurate (As it's very hard to figure out your speed and doesn't account for sideways drift) or very efficient over long distances (as it doesn't follow great circle paths) but it's a big improvement over just hugging the coast.

    Being a programmer is a big help actually. All three of the maps I included involved some programming on my part. The web of rhumb lines on the portolan was done in Ruby. The names on Baakoi and the Portolan were all generated with a name generator, again in Ruby, and the tree placement on the Canada map was done using a centroidal Voronoi stipple generator I wrote in Java using JTS.

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    I have little experience with Gimp, but the mapwork I have done has been in Adoble Photoshop Elements. My solution for this has always been to use layers, and to create a layer in which I manually draw the outline with a airbrush-type of tool. Then I put that layer underneath the solid border, and erase the fade that appears inside the border. Usually gets the kind of look you're talking about, but it's work intensive. And, I don't know if Gimp even allows for this, so I might be throwing a non-solution at you. (If so, apologies!)

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