# Thread: How to Map an O'Neill Cylinder?

1. ## How to Map an O'Neill Cylinder?

I certainly don't think I have the skills to do it, but I was wondering how the cartographers that frequent the guild would go about mapping an O'Neill Cylinder.

It seems to me that simply laying out three rectangles representing the three living areas side by side would be the simplest way, but it doesn't seem to capture the feel of such a massive structure.

2. Originally Posted by wormspeaker
how the cartographers that frequent the guild would go about mapping an O'Neill Cylinder.
You mean other than just make a rectangular image and map it to the inside of a cylinder?
Originally Posted by wormspeaker
doesn't seem to capture the feel of such a massive structure.
Capturing vast scale is indeed quite more difficult than it would seem, yes. Sometimes we end up with Godzilla props -- things that are proportionally correct, but carry that sense of "miniature."

3. Originally Posted by töff
You mean other than just make a rectangular image and map it to the inside of a cylinder?
Yes. Just making a rectangular map just doesn't seem to do it justice. Particularly since what you can see in the sky at any point in the cylinder would be just as important as what was around you on the ground.

Maybe something like below. (If they had 4 land masses instead of 3. It's hard to do anything but 90 degree angles in MS Paint.)

4. That image has a lot of wasted space. Why not make 4 strips for the land and map them into a cylinder? Think in reverse: a cylinder unrolled is a rectangle. Make a rectangle, roll it up ... cylinder.

5. Oh wait, are you asking how to make a flat map of the inside of a cylinder? Not a 3D view?

6. I'd suggest that the map show the land areas as rectangles (and circles) next to one another, but include a 3D picture of the cylinder to help give the scale. If your skills are more in drawing flat maps, you needn't feel intimidated by trying to draw a 3D perspective view and keeping it current as your maps progress. That's the easiest part for a 3D modeler. I suspect there are people here who'd be glad to help project your maps into a model.

Don't forget that the interior surfaces are only part of it. There are multiple levels "underground" as well as in and on the end caps.

7. Simply unrolling the cylinder until it's a flat rectangle like below would be the obvious choice for the simplest way to do it, but to me it just seems to lack impact.

I agree that the first option has a lot of wasted space, but I'd figure it could be filled in with data and little arrows pointing to items of interest. I don't know if option 1 is the best way to go, but to me it just seems to give me the feel of the space colony more than a simple projection like option 2 below does.

8. Originally Posted by wormspeaker
Simply unrolling the cylinder ... just seems to lack impact.
Strip out the four Sky spaces, and stagger-step the four Land spaces in an artful presentation. In the world of cuisine, it's called "plating." It's not all about the presentation -- the content surely is the primary concern -- but serving it up artfully makes a huge difference.

Edit ... did I say four ... I meant three ... even the Watership Down rabbits count better than I can.

9. Why restrict yourself to rectangular maps?

Although the ground areas are rectangular, that doesn't mean that their maps have to be. Wedge shapes might be appropriate, for example, if more important items are at one end of the cylinder, needing more details.

10. I don't know. It still seems lacking.

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