Short version:

Just as the title says, I'm looking for a quick-and-simple point-and-click cartographic software to easily make a basic map.


Long version:

This might be asking too much for too little, but I wish to make a simple map. It needn't be beautiful, or highly detailed (these would be nice, but are hardly necessary). I need only the level of sophistication that one might attain with five or ten minutes of pen and paper sketching (I would go this route, but don't have a scanner) – though better than a very simple hack job in MS Paint.

I have the map in my mind, but would be willing to work with randomly generated stuff if I could add/subtract/edit the result. It's several continents wide, with some mountain ranges, badlands, city markers, etc.. Its purpose is merely readers' reference in a book (e.g.: Narnia or Middle Earth).

It could be something as simple-looking as (or even more so than) this map, or this one, or even this one – though preferably more aesthetically pleasing than this example or this other one.

I have pored over several lists of really excellent of cartographic software.
and more that can be found here on StackExchange

As a result, I've installed GIMP and AutoREALM, but while each has some wonderful bells and whistles, both are more labor intensive than this need be.



Where might I find map-making freeware designed for the use of a lazy idiot? It's embarrassing to say this, but I'm just looking for ease of use, not something with awesome features.

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    $\begingroup$ Not quite as fast as point-and-click, but if you start by saying, “Fiat lux!” and work diligently for about six days, on the seventh day then you should be able to just take a photo for your map. A bit traditional, but seems to generate high quality graphics. And you can shoot video if you want! $\endgroup$ – SRM Jun 19 '18 at 18:00
  • $\begingroup$ @SRM, you're killing me... $\endgroup$ – JBH Jun 19 '18 at 21:13
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    $\begingroup$ On the other hand, please feel blessed by any and all answers you receive. The reason there are few (if any) simple cartographic software packages is because cartography is NOT simple. It just looks that way when all you have to work with is pencil and paper. $\endgroup$ – JBH Jun 19 '18 at 21:15
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    $\begingroup$ More serious: never underestimate the ease of posting to various Internet forums and paying for a cartographer to generate a map for you. I’ve done that a couple times... you can get good work for a basic fantasy map for about $50-$100. Start with DeviantArt.com $\endgroup$ – SRM Jun 19 '18 at 21:33
  • $\begingroup$ @SRM I thought that it was "Klaatu barada necktie". Huh, I suppose that might have been the problem... :-D $\endgroup$ – Charles Rockafellor Jun 20 '18 at 9:59

For my money you can't beat hand drawn maps, ever, but you've indicated that you're too lazy for that so; AutoREALM, AutoREALM and AutoREALM are the best options you have for world or country scale maps. Sorry probably you don't want to hear it but AutoREALM is literally the only decent software I've ever found that doesn't require effectively pixel scale manipulation to get a really decent result. There is also Campaign Cartographer but I understand it's quite expensive and even more complex and less user friendly than AutoREALM, and there is Inkarnate which is web-based, not downloadable (though the created maps are), also not free for the full version, the Beta version is still free at this stage; the maps are gorgeous and the interface is reasonably nice in my experience but is still fiddly. Cityographer is good for automatic generation of urban environments, I have either that or something very similar but I can't find it right now. Dave's Mapper is an online tool that uses pre-existing tilesets to build dungeon (in the DnD sense of the word) scale maps, you do have to be picky about the tiles you use to get good results but they are there.

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  • $\begingroup$ Well, strictly I love working maps by pen-and-paper, it's the software learning curve that I'm leery of, but I'll just have to keep plugging at AutoREALM. Thanks! :-) $\endgroup$ – Charles Rockafellor Jun 23 '18 at 13:27
  • $\begingroup$ @CharlesRockafellor No worries, sorry I didn't have better news for you. $\endgroup$ – Ash Jun 24 '18 at 10:19
  • $\begingroup$ Update to all readers (and Ash): I spent a little time with some simple tutorials and found AutoREALM's learning curve to be extremely forgiving (way better than GIMP's)! :-) youtube.com/watch?v=3RqZpFrBq88 $\endgroup$ – Charles Rockafellor Jun 25 '18 at 17:05
  • $\begingroup$ @CharlesRockafellor Cool glad it's working well for you. $\endgroup$ – Ash Jun 25 '18 at 17:08

I've an alternate idea for you: Unity (game engine) free, and the amazing worldbuilding plugin called Gaia... I use it for, well, Unity worldbuilding... and it's pretty darn amazing.

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    $\begingroup$ I've looked at once or twice so far in my mapping-program searches, and I kept debating about grabbing that or not. I'll give it a shot, though! Danke. :-) $\endgroup$ – Charles Rockafellor Jul 9 '18 at 10:08

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