I would call it "a tutorial to make this map" and let others decide if they can use it for other things.
I'm in the initial brainstorming stages of this map. (Although I can already see the finished product in my head, I know damn well that such a project changes considerably as it grows.)
I'm thinking, I'll just use this thread as a Project Blog, and maybe at the end I'll post over in the Finished Maps area. We'll sort out whether to call it a "tutorial" later. Maybe others can pick up a few techniques here & there but I don't think it'll be much as a tutorial per se. Bah, giddy on my Featured Map scroll, maybe I was just hoping to get a Tute badge also. Hah.
The first thing I am concerned about is scale. Scale, in astronomy, is very difficult to deal with. If you get the orbit of Pluto into scale, you can't see Mercury and Venus. I am intending to abstract the scale completely. But, that leads to a parallax problem between planets. If I get all the planets into the proper zodiacal locations for 15605/09, but I discard the proprotionality of the orbits, then this graphic will only function accurately from the viewpoint of the sun; the angles and distances between any two planets will be utterly wonked.
Oooh, idea: maybe I can rig some sort of abstract logarithmic graphic element to represent the scale quantities that are lost by giving up the realworld orbital radii. Hmm! I have no idea what it would look like. That concept needs to cook for a while in the back of my head.
Another thing I am considering is artistic style. I want a semi-medieval, celestial spheres sort of thing, Copernican with a taste of Flammarion. This ought to be a lot of fun and I hope I can balance antiquity with futuristic scientificality. The one could easily overwhelm the other. Me wants both.
Ooh, it's clicking! I can feel it note to self: nonconcentric arcs! (Will I have any idea what that means a month from now? Even if I do, will it work? Stayed tuned, same bat channel.)some sort of abstract logarithmic graphic element to represent the scale quantities that are lost by giving up the realworld orbital radii. Hmm! I have no idea what it would look like.
I like the way you think, it sounds very spontaneous. SeerBlue
LOL, thanks, you make it sound like a good thing
A grid of sorts has manifested itself in the plan. Granted, it's a round grid, but a grid nonetheless. The X dimension is the planetary orbits, from 0 @ the sun to 100% @ the Oort Cloud. The Y dimension, which sadly enough begins with Z, is the Zodiac, from, well, hell I dunno where it starts, Sagittarius is at the galactic center so maybe I'll start there, but anyway it's a circle .. but if you unroll that circle, you'd get a 12-point line for Y, to go with the X orbits.
Now, I am a big one for using color to distinguish visual elements. I dunno what kind of color I will use across these two dimensions. I could alternate two colors across the Zodiac, making a stripey thing, purple-orange-purple-orange ... or maybe I can use yellow-orange for the summer signs and blues for the winter -- no that won't work, summer & winter are complements at the poles, there's no such thing as a winter month for the whole planet, hmm. I might start with white at the sun and work out through yellow and red and purple to blue at the fringe. That sounds good. But that takes the whole spectrum! What's left for the Zodiac?
Are you sure spontaneous thinking is the way to go?
How 'bout some sort of colour shade to denote orbit distance on a log scale. You could do the inkiness of space in black and the relative size of moon or orbit as a blue shade?
I'm not sure what you mean about the moons as a shade of blue ...?
I was thinking about moons yesterday and I dunno what I will do with them. I don't want a string of moons off to the side of each planet ... that would be kinda ugly and what would I do with the 4 planets that have ring systems? (5 if you count Pluto cuz I added one there, a micro-asteroid-belt kinda thing). But if I show moons as orbits, that's a durn lotta extra circles all over the map. Doesn't Jupiter have like 60+ moons? I can't include that many anyway. Maybe I'll end up with a string. Shoot. I dunno.
Today I hope to learn the positions of the planets for the date in question. I have a copy of the awesome Starry Night astronomy software and I think I rigged it for AD 15605 once before. Wish me luck :p
Oh, new idea. I could write this map in the story as animated ink. Then the heroine could just set the date for what she wants, and all the planets move to the proper positions. She might even gripe about it not being to scale. Hmm, just a thought. The printed map, obviously, will be a still image. I'm not gonna do this as an interactive Flash video with a built-in astronomy database. Sorry, I ain't got the time and I ain't nowhere near good enough with Flash. It would be cool, though, huh.