Thursday, August 16, 2012

Aret and Ara: The Cartography Problem-Amount of Information

One of the main problems I am having adapting all this information to a free, internet available campaign world is the size of the world, and the level of detail in the world. For some scope, I recently combined several different maps of the main world into one scale map. Since they are not all identical maps, I averaged the images, made them all black and white lines, removed most of the noise, and tried to clean them up where available. Unfortunately, a lot of the 'averaging' makes straight lines, and removes some of the subtlety of the coastlines from my various map makers. So, consider this map of 'playable land and sea area' as very, very, very rough...good for knowing the rough distances between the continents and island groups. I'll show how the LaCroix map (the nautical map used in my campaign) fits into this map, as well.
But, to give an idea of scope, here is the rough map (note that if an island only appeared on one map, it got averaged out of existence) made up of all the other maps. The heavier lines (I tried to clean them up) are usually places where the same bit of coastline was the same map to map.
The map, again, is not very accurate for terrain shape, save in the most general of ways, and I moved continents up and down to 'match' the equator line on all maps. This map is a variation on the square map we've used for tabletop sea battles.

To show the scope of the information problem, I whipped up a quick overlay on this estimating the amount of information I have for each area on the map, ranging from 0 to 10% or so (nothing more than a few names of cities and places) to greater than 90%, where I have the land mapped out over large time periods, huge active campaigns, etc. On this map, black represents information, and green represents a lack of information. I tried to make it out in rough blocks:

And, for my campaign, for the players who've asked how off the official nautical map of the city of Misty Cross (the places that 'officially exist') IS, here is the unlabled background of the LaCroix map.

I think you can see I weighed this map heavily creating the other, at least in terms of continent shape, if not placement.

So, suffice it to say, there is a LOT of room for expansion by other creators on the map.

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