Tag Archives: Cartography

I actually didn’t except this, but the Cartographers picked my suggestion for the February/March challenge: Map a river! I guess this means I actually have to submit something for a  change… and so should you!

Northern Continent, WIP 3

3rd WIP of the Northern Continent map:

map01h-smallI’ve added two layers (the “high mountains” layer is very unfinished though – it’s obvious where more detail is needed) as well as adding a lot of detail to the existing layers. Click on the image for a 2048px wide version. I’m fairly happy with how this map is turning out, if I may say so myself…

A Northern Continent, WIP 1

More cartography…

A Northern Continent
A Northern Continent

Click on the image for a (slight) zoom.

This is a map roughly representing a continent that featured in a series of dreams I had over the years, where a group of adventurers would explore the continent. It’s all made-up, of course; I never saw a map of the place in my dream but the basic features are all there…

 

Building a Better Star Map III: Placing Stuff

Now that we roughly know what territory humans occupy, it’s time to start working on some actual, practical details. First I used our theoretical groundwork to set a border for the Federated Nations – my setting’s “precursor empire”, if you will. It’s a white, thick, dashed line on this map:

Interstellar Borders, Part 1
Interstellar Borders, Part 1

I then placed Empire (red), Terran Federation (dark blue), and neutral nations (lighter blue – the smaller nations). Having a number of smaller independent nations that can and will get caught up in our interstellar war makes for more interesting politics and plots.

It’s getting a bit crowded so from now on I’ll turn off the whole mess of circles. It’s time to return to detail work anyway – after all, my first version of the star map wasn’t bad – it was just too large and too off center!

Starting to transfer some planets on the spinward edge of human space, I decided to work along the former FN border – moving out just a little bit since the Free Colonies, the worlds named after Arthurian knights and of course the Sword-Worlds were always intended to be “the frontier”:

Details on the Frontier
Details on the Frontier

Looking at the map, though, I am beginning to realize I will probably have to improve the background eventually as well – it was probably not the best idea to make it so “noisy” (pixel-y). I like it, but it’s causing problems with compression. Here’s a version with a 5×5 pixel Gaussian blur applied to the blueish background:

Smooth
Smooth

Which version do you guys prefer?

Incidentally, I am working off of a bitmap export of the old star map, marking off worlds as I transfer them to avoid duplication and omission.

I do not follow any sort of “scientific” method for placing these worlds. While there are some things I could work out – for example, star forming regions would have young stars that haven’t had a chance to develop worlds, if they ever will – the amount of work that would be required is in no way justified by the benefits. So instead I simply place and will keep in mind that they are “important worlds” for when I work out detail maps.

 

Building a Better Star Map II: The Leapfrog Effect

In my last post I began to improve the consistency of my star map. I will continue with that effort – and today I will attempt to figure out just how much “project leapfrog” might affect the expansion of human space.

Project Leapfrog was a project the Federated Nations ran in the late 23rd Century – building vast colony ships that were then sent off to “leap ahead” of the regular exploration and colonization.

Just as a basis, this is what I worked out so far.

Guesstimating a future frontline
Guesstimating a future frontline

Leapfrog 2, “Francis Drake”, founded Eureka in 2308 and was “discovered” in 2390.

We do not have fixed locations for the other two Leapfrogs, nor dates they were contacted by the explorers and colonists that followed them. I did place them on the original map, of course, but for the purpose of improving the map I can easily shift them around.

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