Questions tagged [map-making]

For questions that have to do with the science or practice of drawing maps. If the question has to do with making maps this question is good. Note: This tag is about creating maps of physical features, not creating the physical features themselves. For that see the geography tag.

Filter by
Sorted by
Tagged with
85
votes
29answers
9k views

Encrypting maps

Encrypting texts is a very old technique, which is known already from the time of the Romans, if not earlier. Now a simple text cypher is easily done with low-tech means, as long as those trying to ...
50
votes
21answers
5k views

What would be used for “coordinates” on a large asteroid?

Assuming we had a non-spherical asteroid that doesn't have a magnetic "north", how would the inhabitants define areas on the asteroid? How would they explain to a visitor to go to a very specific ...
49
votes
25answers
7k views

The magical map - how to stop it being too powerful

In a Middle Earth type world, there exists a magical map. It has the property that anything that happens to the map also happens in the real world. The map can be 'zoomed' in or out to get the right ...
43
votes
7answers
9k views

What software is available for map creation?

I'm looking for recommendations for software to build my world, physically. I want to be able to create maps of the entire world and then drill down to individual areas and define the towns and ...
39
votes
15answers
5k views

How to go about creating an “inaccurate” map?

We have a professional cartographer, who travels, creates maps, duplicates them, and sells them to people as he travels. Unfortunately, he is not the best at his job - and he has nothing other than a ...
38
votes
8answers
3k views

Mapping a fantasy/horror building where rooms overlap

A group of people have stumbled into one of those classic fantasy/horror houses where the usual rules of space don't seem to apply and is very confusing. Bits of the building appear to overlap with ...
35
votes
5answers
4k views

Destruction by design - how best to go about crafting a ruined landscape?

Ruins of many kinds are a staple of stories whether for games or tales of high adventure. My question is about the design process behind such structures: should one start with a city or building and ...
34
votes
11answers
5k views

How can I indicate a third dimension on a map of outer space?

I'm working on a map of several star systems (with the stars, planets, etc. not to scale with the map), and I'd like to show that they don't all lie in the same plane. Some orbits are perpendicular to ...
31
votes
17answers
30k views

Best places to be on Earth when an all out nuclear World War III breaks out?

This is a world building question in a preventative context because those people or countries would be left fully functional while others gone and the safe areas is where the world building would ...
31
votes
6answers
4k views

How can I create a map of an underground city?

This question is, like How long will it take to form a new dialect and language in underground steampunk London?, part of an experiment I'm conducting on Worldbuilding. I'm temporarily switching gears ...
28
votes
11answers
24k views

Explaining uphill rivers scientifically?

I see this in so many maps. Normally, the water flows downhill because of gravity but here it is the opposite, rivers will go above the hills. When you mention this incoherence, the authors refuse to ...
28
votes
4answers
4k views

Less boring classifications of earth-like terrain when making maps

When creating a map for a fantasy world, I typically add broad top-level descriptions for terrain. Mountains here, forests there, a river, a swamp etc. Watch any nature documentary, and each terrain ...
27
votes
7answers
3k views

How could bird people map the air?

For sentient avians, knowing the location and behavior of currents in the air would be vitally important. Jet streams, thermals, downdrafts, and shear layers would all be important in their daily ...
23
votes
9answers
4k views

How can I create a map of a rapidly-changing world?

I have a basic setup for my world consisting of about five continents. I know their shapes pretty well, and their positions relative to one another. I also have the basic geography down (this is all ...
22
votes
6answers
9k views

Is my world map unrealistic?

Just to say this first, the map is intentionally on a slant, and so the Northern cold areas are displayed at more of a North-West Angle, for example. I am designing the world from scratch, and am ...
22
votes
7answers
2k views

How to create accurate map with white spaces?

Several times I had idea for a medieval-like world where the people living on the planet did not discover all the world yet. I know the first two steps: Create a map of whole world, for worldbuilder'...
20
votes
2answers
4k views

“Globe to draw on” software?

Looking for a desktop application that lets me draw on a sphere with my mouse, which I find very much needed for geography on a whole planet. With a world grid and showing coordinates and all, ...
19
votes
6answers
514 views

Can my spaceship figure out its position using Cepheid Variables?

In my story, reasonably far in the future, an intrepid group of explorers are on the first manned mission to the Andromeda galaxy, travelling close to the speed of light. They slumbered in suspended ...
18
votes
5answers
6k views

How do I put a rectangular map onto a globe?

I've spent time hand-drawing, and then scanning, and colorizing a world map using Paint.Net. The map uses a rectangular projection (something like an Equirectangular, Plate Caree, or Behrmann ...
17
votes
6answers
3k views

Bringing Hot and Cold climates together

I'm building a map for a tabletop RPG (Pathfinder specifically), the aim of which is that my players will be trekking around and visiting interesting places. As part of that, I'd love to portray a ...
16
votes
11answers
7k views

Is this map realistic/believeable?

I'm working on this map right now. Is this map realistic/believable? The continent would be about 5 million km² and lies in the temperate climate zone. (I intended it to be smaller than Australia; my ...
16
votes
4answers
3k views

Hollow Earth - how to measure it?

I'm making a map for my friend - I drew a pretty neat cartographic grid with a proper map projection - and then he reminded me that his world is actually an inverted Earth with a glowing ball of ...
16
votes
5answers
407 views

Architectural encoding of maps

Picture a band of explorers deep underground in huge dwarven underground complex they have been exploring for what to most of them feels like an eternity. They come to hub like chamber with a dozen or ...
16
votes
5answers
641 views

World Map - How can I tell if the Ecosystems are realistic?

I'm trying to create a world map for my fantasy novel. My problem is that I love designing things, and I'm finding myself bogged down with figuring out how desert A got where it is, and how plain B's ...
16
votes
3answers
458 views

What is a good reference size for a settlement?

I have been sporadically building a particular world, mainly by developing its cultures with events (often paralleling Earth history) and individuals, rather than shaping the cultures beforehand. One ...
15
votes
4answers
268 views

Maps in a portalized island group

This is my first time posting on Worldbuilding, so please, if I make any mistakes or don't provide enough / the proper type of information, do not hesitate to tell me. Introductions aside, let's jump ...
15
votes
2answers
862 views

What are the known algorithms to create a planet with a subterranean cave network?

I know a few algorithms to build an elevation map for a planet, but most of them do not take into account the underground aspects of the planet (caves, tunnels, ...). Are there any algorithms to take ...
15
votes
2answers
541 views

Ratio between planet-size and terrain elevation?

Let's imagine we have an algorithm that produce an elevation-map for a sphere. I wonder if the ratio between the planet radius and the delta between the highest and lowest altitude is a constant or ...
14
votes
7answers
334 views

How to navigate without magnetism?

Suppose a team of explorers touched down on an Earth-like planet which do not generate its own magnetic field and there are always a thick layer of cloud covering the sky at all time. My question is ...
13
votes
3answers
1k views

How to name places that have multiple names?

When designing a world it is convenient to decide how places will be named : Elements like the continents and the oceans. However, it is likely that the different cultures of the world will not ...
13
votes
2answers
551 views

Site for online custom map with tags or labels

I am looking for a site that will do the following for free: Allow me to upload a map of a world (either URL or file, I don't mind). Allow me to tag/label that map, to mark the locations of thing (...
12
votes
1answer
2k views

Is there any planet modelling software?

I am searching for a software capable of creating any planet ( like universe sandbox) with the ability of shaping the landscape and adding tags to any coordinates I wish to in order to represent ...
12
votes
1answer
143 views

Realistic Landmass Formation on Torus-Shaped Planet

Having recently discovered that torus-shaped planets can actually form, I've started to consider using that design as a setting for a map(no real purpose in mind, just map making for the sake of it). ...
11
votes
10answers
1k views

Finding the area of a nation

How can I find the area of an irregular shape while taking into account the distortions of Equirectangular projection?
11
votes
6answers
3k views

Mapping the far side of the galaxy

Humans got a one time ticket to the other side of the galaxy, traveling $2r$ in just a few days (where $r$ is the distance from earth to the super massive black hole: 28,000 lightyears) The stars we ...
11
votes
5answers
2k views

A water cycle in an underground setting

The ozone layer depleted beyond reasonable levels and life on the surface has become impossible and life migrated underground in giant caves connected together by tunnels. Some of those caves have ...
11
votes
1answer
3k views

Map generator for big world

There are several programs available that will generate a random map of an Earth-sized planet, complete with a choice of projections from sphere to 2-D representation. Are there any available that ...
11
votes
8answers
2k views

What tools can I use to draw a battle map?

I want to draw a battle map for the cover of my book. By battle map I mean an image like this: What tools can I use in order to draw such map easily?
11
votes
5answers
549 views

How would a world with drifting land-masses be mapped/charted for navigation?

Context The world is made of floating islands suspended in the atmosphere. For all intents and purposes, the world doesn't have a solid surface. Due to a magical influence, islands rise from the ...
11
votes
2answers
732 views

Quick-and-simple point-and-click cartographic software to easily make a basic map

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 ...
10
votes
3answers
2k views

What would the star chart be like if earth had a ring?

Recently, I've seen those pictures showing what Earth would be like if it had rings, and that made me wonder, what would the sky map be like? This ring would appear as a fixed object (pretty much as ...
10
votes
1answer
840 views

How do I design a map that looks old?

I'm in the process of designing an old map (18th or 19th century) and I would like it to look worn out. But then I was wondering where it should be more damaged. I would prefer to avoid damaging the ...
10
votes
1answer
142 views

Discovery of space-time distortion via post-apocalyptic cartography?

So I have been working on a world where space has been "cracked" by some mysterious disaster which plunged the world into chaos. It is not immediately apparent - i.e. no giant glowing holes in the ...
10
votes
2answers
209 views

Is there a software (preferrably free) that can help me make a map from a preset land mask?

I already have a land mask (view below) from a basic world map generator, but I need anyway that will help me place mountains, deserts, rivers, cities, etc on it. And, if possible, a height map from ...
9
votes
6answers
2k views

Which map projection would result in an accurate visual depiction of a mega crater?

Would a large, I mean large, impact crater on a spherical world be noticeably distorted on maps using different projections? Eg mercator, hanmer-aitoff, equidistant Etc. Side question - Would there ...
9
votes
4answers
699 views

When did humanity have the knowledge to prove this semi-flat world is an octagon?

The world below is flat. However, there are no endless walls of ice or force or magic - Instead, each side of the octagon "wraps" to the other side. That is, the North boundary wraps to the South ...
9
votes
2answers
2k views

What tool can I use to draw a simple map of a fictional world?

I want to draw a map of a fictional world, which consists of two regions (countries), separated by mountains. Are there any tools which allow you to draw such maps with little effort?
9
votes
4answers
863 views

In a World of islands floating in the air how would people navigate?

We are creating a world of floating islands, these vary in size from small outposts that are little more than a Dock and Watchtower, through independent farmsteads, to full Nations in which the ...
8
votes
6answers
557 views

How would you create a map based upon scent (or other senses)?

Human's primary sense is sight. Therefore our maps include icons designed to represent various sights. Scale maps include reference scales and accurately represent to the distance between the visual ...
8
votes
4answers
1k views

How realistic is the geography of my map?

I was told to post this question separately, so here it is. I need help with the geography and climate of my map. Blue circles are ports Gray circles are cities That one brown circle is a town The ...