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Thread: How to view a Flat world map in the Round

  1. #1
      jwbjerk is offline
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    Tutorial How to view a Flat world map in the Round

    I haven't seen any tutorial that explains simply how to view your world map in 3D and check out how the poles look. There are surely other ways, but this is how i do it, and it's pretty simple.

    As we all know the world is not flat-- it's round. And round and flat don't translate very directly to each other. It's very easy to accidentally create a distorted, pinched-looking polar regions without meaning to.


    1) Create you map exactly twice as wide as it is tall. I believe this projection is called "Equirectangular". With this projection, vertical dimensions are not distorted anywhere on the map. I.E. if 10 pixels in a N-S line equals 100 miles at the equator, it will be the same thing at the poles. However, horizontal dimensions are increasingly distorted toward the poles. On the same map, 10 pixels will only equal precisely 100 miles at the equator. But you don't necessarily have to worry about all this.

    It's the most common way spheres are textured on the computer, so files set up like this are just right for other applications, like Celestia.

    How to view a Flat world map in the Round-round-tut-1.jpg


    2) Download Google's Free application SketchUp
    http://sketchup.google.com/

    3) Download and unzip this SketchUp file

    Round-World.skp.zip
    This file was based on this globe by José Manuel

    4) Open "Round-World.skp in SketchUp.

    5) Open the Materials Palette, from the main menu: Window -> Materials

    How to view a Flat world map in the Round-round-tut-2.jpg


    6) In the Materials Palette, double click your the planet's texture (see #1) This will expand the palette.

    7) In the newly revealed lower section of the palette, use the drop-down menu (see #2) to change the texture to whatever you want.

    8 ) Bask in the glory of your 3D world.
    Use the Orbit tool (see #3), and the Pan tool (see #4) to rotate your world by hand, or jump to preset "scenes" with locations at the top. (see #5)

    How to view a Flat world map in the Round-round-tut-3.jpg


    9) If you discover your poles are pinched, you can find tutorials on how to use Hugin to fix it.

  2. #2
      Rythal is offline
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    thanks, I will have to try this tommorow

  3. #3
    Community Leader Facebook Connected Steel General's Avatar
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    Nice, thx for posting.
    My Finished Maps | My Challenge Maps | Ghoraja Juun, my largely stagnated campaign setting.

    Unless otherwise stated by me in the post, all work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 United States License.



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      bambua is offline
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    Thanks for this, it's actually helping me see how things would actually layout on a globe a lot, mush appreciated.

  5. #5
      zhar2 is offline
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    Seems too complicated, just use google earth and a overlay, simple.

  6. #6
      jwbjerk is offline
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    Quote Originally Posted by zhar2 View Post
    Seems too complicated, just use google earth and a overlay, simple.
    I don't know how to do that. Searching tutorials for "google earth" didn't seem to bring up anything relevant. I've spent a little time looking for this info outside of the guild too.
    If you have a better method please share.

  7. #7
      RobA is offline
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    Quote Originally Posted by jwbjerk View Post
    I don't know how to do that. Searching tutorials for "google earth" didn't seem to bring up anything relevant. I've spent a little time looking for this info outside of the guild too.
    If you have a better method please share.
    It isn't in a tut.

    http://www.cartographersguild.com/sh...ll=1#post69006

    -Rob A>

  8. #8
      jwbjerk is offline
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    Quote Originally Posted by zhar2 View Post
    Seems too complicated, just use google earth and a overlay, simple.
    Quote Originally Posted by RobA View Post
    Thanks Rob.

    I tried it out. As for it being simpler, i don't think so. Once you are set up, loading a new texture takes a similar amount of time to load up a new or updated texture.

    Google Earth has some advantages. Navigating around your globe is easier with Google Earth. And it will draw grid lines, equator etc. Does anybody know how to change the tropics and the (ant)arctic circles? These would be in different places for planets with different axial tilts. I'll need to try it some more to see if Google Earth falls down in some areas that sketchup handles better.

    EDIT: It seems Google Earth adds a perspective distortion as you get closer. There doesn't seem to be a way to turn it off. In sketchup as i have it set up in the example file, you get a perspective-less isometric view which is more useful for some map-making purposes.
    Last edited by jwbjerk; 05-21-2010 at 01:40 PM.

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