Episode #125 of the Stack Overflow podcast is here. We talk Tilde Club and mechanical keyboards. Listen now
81

Anything that happens to the map happens to the real world... eventually. Changes to the map simply put the world on the path to reach that change, and naturally the more impressive/far-reaching changes take longer to finish. Draw a new patch of green behind your house, and spend the next few minutes wondering how you never noticed that big tree in your ...


76

New Zealand. Nowhere in the southern hemisphere is a likely target for nuclear weapons, but New Zealand is further south than any other countries except Chile and Argentina, has a stable economy and government, a temperate climate, and is self-sufficient in food. It’s also far enough from anywhere else that it’s unlikely to be swamped with refugees from ...


67

Some advice here, before I dissect your map in my giant answer: it would be really, really helpful to anybody trying to evaluate the map if you had at least the latitude lines on it (longitude would be nice, but isn't really relevant to climate). It's also useful if your map is in a known projection when presented for evaluation and/or while editing, even if ...


64

The map and the world are magically linked to each other. Much like a rubber band, whenever they are pulled apart, the potential (magical) energy tries to force them back together. However, both the map and the world can shift back towards their initial positions. This is partially how the map stays true to the erosion, volcanoes, tectonic shifts that ...


62

Folding. Make a large map with large erroneous portions that become hidden with proper folding. This will confound even someone familiar with the area. "That looks like such and such river, but it doesn't have this adjacent mountain range..." Yes, creasing could give it away, so the solution there is to use separate pieces of different maps which, when ...


62

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so I'll add three. North Korea is the most likely country to start throwing missiles around. This is the map of the range of their ICBM's: Let me highlight a detail: Brazil is a country that is neutral on every major conflict, with important ties to all sides. Being outside the range of the first wave of ...


50

Create a topological map where it is only the relationship between the rooms and corridors that is significant, not their physical position relative to each other. So in other words if you imagine a triangle with a room at each corner, going from A -> B -> C and then continuing would normally get you back to A. However a topological map might show A, B, C ...


50

Use the same way people handle our ever-changing aerial continents - a daily weather report. Think about it: the oceans of cold and warm air, loaded with water or dry, move about great distances every day. Just touch the I̶P̶h̶o̶n̶e̶ Magical Slab, and images appear and a voice speaks: The county of Vhenice is nearing the Main City of Rhome today, and ...


47

The correct tools for the correct job In order to have something done on the map, it has to be done correctly - That is, things like notations and such won't show up, because they're not meant to be part of the map itself. Instead, you have to have the correct inks, the correct pens, etc. And not only that, but you have to draw it correctly. You can't just ...


43

You could always do it the way Robert Baden-Powell (the founder of the Scout Movement) did when he was posted to Malta as a spy, Draw maps as butterflies or some other animal. This does not require any special tools to decrypt other than to merely look at it. Those unfamiliar with the concept will see only an image of an animal / bug. In theory this could ...


42

It's very much a matter of what information they want to display in their primary 3d to 2d projection. The Mercator projection that everyone is so familiar with is simply designed so that lines of latitude are straight horizontal and any simple compass bearing is a straight line. This makes ocean navigation easier as the important factor was knowing how ...


39

Start with the people then the city then the ruins Cities always arise from the culture and situation of the people who built it. Their priorities will be expressed in what buildings are where and what they look like. Modern skyscraper-filled cities emphasize maximal value per square foot. Hobbits for some reason really liked round doors to their homes. ...


39

Mountains In Peru (for example) Cusco is at 3400 meters elevation. The average year-round temps is 12 C, the average low is close to freezing, and it has historically been below freezing every month of the year. Frost and hail are common in all months (although snow accumulation is rare) Meanwhile only 90 km away, is Pillcopata, Peru, at 500 meters, in the ...


39

Bizarre real maps In our real world of the planet Earth, some traditional cultures created maps that for most people would look absolutely like alien objects and will not be recognized as being actually maps, still the are maps, and they are of practical use. Inuit wooden maps The Inuit people of Greenland used carved pieces of floatwood to depict the ...


35

I think your headaches come from misunderstanding why the blank spaces exist. The Terra Incognita is simply an area the cartographer has no good information on. Most such areas had people living on them and trading with their neighbours. The Americas had advanced civilizations and were presumably visited by several groups before Columbus, but that didn't ...


35

Some general thoughts & critiques: I get no sense of scale from the map, so can't really speak as to believability. In other words, it could be a map of a continent, or it could be a map of an island the size of Cyprus. A scale (i.e., how many miles per inch) would be very helpful. Taking up two corners with cartouches showing the two hemispheres of the ...


34

Anamorphic drawing uses a reflecting surface to draw/view a scene (or a map) The shape of the reflecting surface is the cryptographic "key" that would allow the information to be extracted, while hiding it from anyone lacking the correct reflector.


34

My suggestion would be that you select a point on the asteroid to act as a pole. Perhaps the point of first landing? Then, using that point and asteroid's centre of gravity as references, you can map spherical coordinates.


32

Since the question specifically refers to maps, I should mention that it is quite normal for it to appear that rivers run towards higher ground, such as hills or mountains, on a map showing only the large scale details. This happens because you can't see the actual terrain the river flows through, which can be much lower than the large scale features that ...


32

Perhaps his trap streets have gotten away from him. These are intentional errors added by cartographers to prevent someone from copying their work and getting away with it. After all, if everyone described an area perfectly, how could you tell the work apart? If your cartographer is particularly worried about theft he might be letting too many of these ...


30

Encryption requires a key to decrypt. Lets work with that assumption. Draw a full map to act as the "key", and cut holes and lines and shapes in it that ruin it. Draw a second full map by first overlaying the cut out pieces of the key on top of the second map. For each section that is not covered, draw fake details and information into it. Then, remove the ...


27

Maps don't have to be geographical, they can also be diagrammatical, like the London Tube map. For instance, ancient Roman maps, the itinerarium, were graphs showing points of interest along a road rather than geographical relations. A branch in the road was a branch in the graph line. Another approach is symbolic maps, like the medieval T-O maps and mappa ...


26

If you look at historic maps (eg. this map of Europe from 1572), shapes are locally accurate and shorter distances are generally correct. However, if you try to combine this local information into a large-area map, small errors in distance and direction add up, giving a distorted overall picture. One way to get this effect is to mix up map projections. ...


26

This actually is pretty easy using the similar methods to what you mention. The "sun" is rotating, meaning that if you look up at night when the shaded side is toward you, you can see the inside of the sphere where it is still daylight. You can figure out how long it takes for the sun to rotate once. Lets say 24 hours just for fun. Then you figure out ...


25

Maps They would probably use something similar to our pilots. A winds aloft map. These maps describe the prevailing wind. While wind from moment to moment can be going many different directions, that's mostly only true very near the ground. Away from the ground the winds are much more consistent and powerful (this is why wind turbines are built to be so ...


25

Use an isometric projection. Source This will let you depict multiple levels and whether tunnels link up with one another or not. This is a map for getting around, not for urban planning or measurements. It lets people get from A to B, but gives about as much perspective about the whole layout as any city map might. People living in cubics might have ...


24

[This answer has been invalidated by a clarification of the question, but is included here for reference purposes.] Use height lines. To indicate if the item is above or below the galactic plane (or other reference plane), you might use different line styles (as below with dotted vs solid lines)... ...or you could use lines that radiate from a center ...


24

Whoever is going to be on that asteroid will necessarily used radio communication to keep in contact with the rest of the crew. To ensure communication a network of antennas has to be established, since a single antenna could at best serve half of the asteroid. Each position can then be simply referred to the distance from the (closest) antennas.


23

Color Encoding When the map is made, add landmarks and terrain features using a specific color. Accompany the resulting map with a set of glasses with color-filtering lenses designed specifically for that map. Medieval techniques would cause each map and each set of glasses to be slightly different, making perfect decoding of unassociated map-glasses pairs ...


23

I would map this in a more abstract way, essentially you are just looking for a graph of what connects to what. Draw each room as a rectangle (or whatever shape it is) on the paper and map the contents as usual. For the connections between each room just draw a line connecting the doorway of one room to the corresponding doorway on another room. The ...


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