its my first time posting here and i hope i do it right (watched the tour and all that).

I've designed a World Map and would want to know if it looks realistic like that in terms of positioning of the Landmasses. I used Gplates to determine the size of all my Landmasses combined and it turn out i have a Land/Water Ratio of 36.935%/63.065%. This seems significantly more than Earths Ratio to me, but does it actually change something significantly?

I wanted an Earth-like planet and would rather cut some of the Landmasses than to have too significant changes.

The upper part of the Big Continent in the middle is supposed to be North Pole (see Picture 2)

World Map

Picture of the North Pole

  • $\begingroup$ Is the top section considered to be the North Pole of the planet? And is it circular? $\endgroup$ Dec 30, 2019 at 17:21
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    $\begingroup$ Other than maybe having more parts that look like they were once joined, similar inter locking shapes, if your suggestion they were once one land mass, otherwise that isn't an issue. the 5 circular islands in a row seems a little manufactured tbh $\endgroup$
    – user69935
    Dec 30, 2019 at 18:01
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    $\begingroup$ @JRams interestingly i added those islands as i read about hotspots and thought it would look more believable if added some, so i added 2 Hotspots. The one mostly on the right and the one on the left side of the big continent. $\endgroup$
    – Valerian
    Dec 30, 2019 at 18:10
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    $\begingroup$ @JRams: Hawai'i: geology.com/state-map/hawaii.shtml Though the islands could stand to be rather less circular and regularly spaced. $\endgroup$
    – jamesqf
    Dec 30, 2019 at 18:28
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    $\begingroup$ @JRams and jamesqf thanks you both for your feedback. I have made those islands far less round and let them follow an arc. $\endgroup$
    – Valerian
    Dec 30, 2019 at 21:48

1 Answer 1


To answer the specific question of whether or not the land to water ratio is too much to cause a significant problem; assuming all other aspects of the Earth's position and movement within the solar system are roughly equivalent, no, not too significantly.

Really it is pretty close to the land water ratio of Earth as Earth is at a ratio of 29/71. It is entirely likely that the 8% increase in land mass may cause a slight global climate shift. The most notable would probably be that the planet is likely dryer and colder. As there is less water to evaporate into the atmosphere, global humidity would be decreased, as well as there would be less water vapor in the air. Water vapor is technically the most prevalent greenhouse gas, which means less heat is tapped within the atmosphere. Likewise, less water in the air also means the sun's light is refracted through the atmosphere differently, although I don't personally know enough to comment on how significantly the difference would be.

All that said, whether or not this is too severe a difference could easily be handwaved away by differences in the sun and the solar system. For example, if the sun light hitting the planet is greater in this system, it could completely negate the difference in heating. Or you could lay into that and make the planet being colder a point of note. It really depends on how detailed you want to get into it. You could go full geophysics/astrophysics accurate and incorporate placement of celestial bodies, density of the planet's core, star size, type, and stability, and honestly just keep going until you earn a degree in your mythical universe...

If you are writing a fantasy story, I don't think any of that really matters because the audience isn't the type to look too closely into those details, and everything can be handwaved away with MAGIC if you so desire. they just need to believe that the world looks believable, regardless of whether or not it is actually feasible.

On a personal note about map design (which is not the main question); I think the islands/continents are too evenly spaced and a little too round, but other than that, not too bad. If you are imagining certain areas to have once been joined like Pangaea, then think about that areas that have split farther apart are more likely to have a greater difference in their coastlines, and the tectonic plates don't just diverge in straight lines, they twist and rotate as the separate and collide.

I would also recommend including mountain ranges and major rivers (or areas that once had rivers) in your design. These major features would have a significant affect in breaking up your landmasses, giving more text and less roundness to their shapes, as well as showing how 2 landmasses may have once been connected, even if their cost lines no longer mirror eachother.

The land has history, and a good map usually has enough minor notes to hint at the history, without making it overtly obvious unless necessary for the story. Deserts weren't always deserts and coastlines may have once been farther inland. Animal migrations and population changes can drastically affect climate as well. There are dozens of videos on youtube about map and world design though that can go into great detail about any number of individual aspects that I would highly recommend looking into.

  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for the feedback. Didnt even think about repositioning the sun or anything similiar. Interesting thought. Concerning your points about map design: i appreciate any and every tips. Having a Pangea like supercontinent at the start isnt really important to me, so thats not relevant. The funny thing about mountains is, i actually started the map by drawing tectonic plates and already have mapped out roughly where those mountains go. They just seemed unfinished, which is why i didnt include them here. The rest of the feedback is noted and i will try to incorperate it in the next step. $\endgroup$
    – Valerian
    Dec 30, 2019 at 21:56

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