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I have a sketched picture of my galaxy and I would like this to be electronic. This way I can access it from anywhere (tablet/laptop etc). I have tried looking at Word or Excel, but they are just not right for doing something like this.

It needs to have a grid and I need to free-draw territory boundaries, identify race systems, etc.

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    $\begingroup$ A simple HTML document should be adequate, but I guess you are after some software that is more specific. $\endgroup$ – Hohmannfan Aug 9 '16 at 17:06
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    $\begingroup$ Paint.Net (download), GIMP (download), or Pixlr (web) are image editing software that all support layers (you should find it easier to do a map if different things (boundaries, names, stars, trade routes, etc) are on different layers), so they should all work to this end. None of them are designed specifically for map making, though, just graphics in general. $\endgroup$ – Ranger Aug 9 '16 at 17:06
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    $\begingroup$ Will it be 3d or 2d map? $\endgroup$ – enkryptor Aug 9 '16 at 17:27
  • $\begingroup$ Consider as an alternative sourceforge.net/projects/skychart, but remember you're asking about mapping potentially Billiions of datapoints, and a good deal of processing overhead...not for lightweight hardware $\endgroup$ – Joe Aug 9 '16 at 17:27
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    $\begingroup$ Inkscape would be worth a look. It works with SVG files, so everything is scalable and zoomable, and can output to many formats. $\endgroup$ – John Dallman Aug 9 '16 at 18:35
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By trade, I'm a developer specializing in data visualization. I'm not sure how comfortable you are with coding but there are several open-source tools and packages that can help you with creating maps, grids and graphs. They need differing skill levels to handle, with some operating via simple drag and drop interfaces and some requiring html, javascript to set up (most of them have good tutorials and documentation).

Take a look at this link and see if there's anything that takes your fancy: http://selection.datavisualization.ch/ You may want to look into tools that provide graph and network visualization here, like cytoscape, arbor.js or tableau public.

If all that sounds too complicated, you could install note-taking and sketching apps on your tablet and use a stylus to draw stuff by hand.

Usually I use the first option when there is a large set of datapoints that needs accuracy and precise display, the second option when I want to be artistic and free with the drawing, especially with a stylus.

Hope that helps!

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Astrosynthesis is a galaxy mapping tool that does many of the things you're asking about. The current version is 3.0; I've used the previous version and it worked well.

One caveat... The galaxy is 3D, so the idea of "free drawing" borders doesn't really fly. You'd be talking about arbitrary surfaces, not arbitrary lines, which are very difficult to do "free hand". That said, AS does have a feature to visually show spheres of influence.

Okay... two caveats... It doesn't run on tablets, just full-up computers. Your question specifically called out tablets.

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Have you tried PowerPoint as an alternative to word/excel? I have successfully used it recently to draw intricately detailed, gridded, real-world maps.

Set the paper size sufficiently large (eg A0) and zoom to 100% to allow space for panning. Any shapes drawn can have their points edited to create custom curves or add/remove points to edit the shape.

In later versions (since 2010) the slide can be exported as PDF/PNG etc.

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At least two of the popular astronomy software packages have a defined data format for describing stars and solar systems and their positions in the universe.

Stellarium is (IIRC) fairly good at mapping the surfaces of our planets to computer simulations, and is centered on our earth and solar system, but you can add fictional planets and stars. (Wikipedia entry.)

Celestia is more focused on the galaxy and a little beyond, and there are several projects which are using it to define simulations of fictional universes. (Wikipedia entry.)

Celestia will probably be easier to work with for developing a new fictional universe, or even just a galaxy.

They are both free, both gratis and freedom.

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