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Introduction and some of my maps

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#1
ravells

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Hi Everyone,

I'm very excited to have found this site, as I mentioned in the introduction section, I mainly do cartography of fantasy places (it's great, no maths required!) but the principles of design and beauty are of course very important in this sort of cartography.

Below are some examples of maps I have created. All comments and criticisms welcomed (although I appreciate that some of them are a little unfinished!)


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#2
ravells

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Here are a couple more.
Ravs.

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#3
mika

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Great stuff. This kicks *s*! Though I'd age a bit the 'Austro-Hungarian Empire' map. And also I'd change the country colours (see Bulgaria) and shrink a palette a bit, to 4 colours for example. It's not always possible to use 4 colours only but the less you use the better a political map is.
Apart from that... Man I wish I had enough patience (and skill) to create such stuff.

Dom
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#4
Hans van der Maarel

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I agree with Dom re. color selection on the Austro-Hungarian map (also, Belgium is misspelled there...).

A more general comment: it appears you have combined images from various sources to produce these. E.g. the coat of arms on the Austro-Hungarian map appears to be way more detailed than the map itself. Also the coats of arms on the book map from your second post are much more detailed than the book image itself. This causes some visual clashes. It would be much better (balanced) if you could bring them more in line with eachother in terms of resolution/sharpness.

By the way, that "Hidden Kingdom" is surprisingly easy to find :P
Hans van der Maarel - Cartotalk Editor
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#5
ravells

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Thanks a million for the observations! The restriction of the colour palette in the AH Map really makes sense and had not occurred to me. Well spotted on Belgium (I did catch that one for the final image which was used as part of a powerpoint presentation).

I'm afraid the book image was pulled off the internet and I had to increase its size dramatically which is why the resolution went to pot. Perhaps I should have just drawn a book or modelled one in 3d?

Thanks a million for the comments, I'll be sure to post more WIPs here for your comments and will now have a long look around the site for all the wisdom posted here!

Ravs

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#6
frax

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For the AH map, it is interesting how effective the outline of Austria-Hungary is. I think the way you have styled it works very well, and it is not what I would have tried first.
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#7
Hans van der Maarel

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I'm afraid the book image was pulled off the internet and I had to increase its size dramatically which is why the resolution went to pot. Perhaps I should have just drawn a book or modelled one in 3d?


Maybe photographing one would work. You don't want it to look too 'clean'. It's supposed to be an old book with stains, tears and everything.
Hans van der Maarel - Cartotalk Editor
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#8
ravells

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I'm afraid the book image was pulled off the internet and I had to increase its size dramatically which is why the resolution went to pot. Perhaps I should have just drawn a book or modelled one in 3d?


Maybe photographing one would work. You don't want it to look too 'clean'. It's supposed to be an old book with stains, tears and everything.


Lol! Why didn't I think of that?? All that occured to me was scanning it, but then you wouldn't get the covers. I will do just that and redo the map. Thanks again, Hans! Thanks also for the compliments, frax.

I spent a long time last night looking through many of the posts and maps here. What I do are children's scribbles compared to all of you profesionals, so I will look forward to learning at the knees of the masters!

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#9
mika

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Lol! Why didn't I think of that?? All that occured to me was scanning it, but then you wouldn't get the covers.


:-) The simplest ideas are the most difficult to come up with, aren't they? That's why I like web places like this one... a lot.

Dom
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#10
DaveB

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Cool maps :)

On the A-H map I would adjust the placement of some of the country labels that are partially covered or crowded by the A-H boundary. It seems odd to me that a map labeled "Austo-Hungarian Empire 1913" has modern day countries... I guess the intent is to show the extent of A-H superimposed on modern day countries. Could that be made clearer (without making the title too wordy)?

As for 4 colors see wikipedia - 4 color theorem.
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#11
ravells

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Cool maps :)

On the A-H map I would adjust the placement of some of the country labels that are partially covered or crowded by the A-H boundary. It seems odd to me that a map labeled "Austo-Hungarian Empire 1913" has modern day countries... I guess the intent is to show the extent of A-H superimposed on modern day countries. Could that be made clearer (without making the title too wordy)?

As for 4 colors see wikipedia - 4 color theorem.


Thanks Dave,

The map has now served its purpose (as a slide in a powerpoint presentation), but I will bear what you say in mind for future reference! the intent was to show the extent of the AH empire against modern borders - most of the people at the conference (held in Vienna) were not Europeans and may not have been familiar with the poiltical geography of Europe in 1913. Thank you also for the 4 colour theroem which I will read with interest.

Just by way of a quick diversion, one of the most amazing co-incidences happened to me while I was drawing this map. I was at the local community rubbish tip / recycling centre throwing out some household waste. There is one area for 'general waste' which is just a huge pile of anything that people throw on it. Sticking out by my foot I saw the corner of a piece of paper saying 'Austria Hungry'. I pulled it out and found a perfect Bartholemew map of the AH empire pdf attached below and another one of Glasgow in the same period. I'm just so glad that the person who threw it away didn't put it into the paper recycling section!

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#12
Hans van der Maarel

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It should be a criminal offense to throw out a map... :angry:

But then again, it's got a good home with you now, so it all works out in the end :lol:
Hans van der Maarel - Cartotalk Editor
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#13
ravells

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It should be a criminal offense to throw out a map... :angry:

But then again, it's got a good home with you now, so it all works out in the end :lol:


I have also recently inherited a load of ordinance survey maps from the 1950s of Antigua and Barbuda and Ceylon (the scale is huge) - from an old family friend who worked in those parts as an engineer back in those days. I'm not quite sure what to do with them, there must be at least 30 of them and some of them are about a meter X 3/4 meter big. I was planning on giving the Antigua ones to the local Antiguan public library but do you know if there is a Caribbean Cartographc society / organisation? It might be better for them to have the maps than the local library. I have a feeling that they must be out of print now and may be quite rare. My Uncle John would have wanted them to go to the the place where they would be able to serve the most practical use for the community (typical civil engineer!).

Also I have read the 4 colour theorem and have a question. Why (apart from the fact that it is mathematically possible) is it preferable to colour political maps with as few colours as possible? Is it a simplicity is beautiful idea or is there more to it than that?

All the best

Ravi

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#14
Hans van der Maarel

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Also I have read the 4 colour theorem and have a question. Why (apart from the fact that it is mathematically possible) is it preferable to colour political maps with as few colours as possible? Is it a simplicity is beautiful idea or is there more to it than that?


It makes for a 'calm' image, which in turn makes it more pleasing to the eye.
Hans van der Maarel - Cartotalk Editor
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#15
mika

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I agree 100% with Hans. Quite often simplicity is the key when you want to design a good and readable map.
Fancy lines and symbols are good as long as they don't distract a reader from the meritum. Though finding a balance between them might be a pain in the neck :-)

The most important thing from my point of view is making the mapped theme as readable as possible. Then comes the nice graphics, even though that's the graphics that makes map readable. Vicious circle, isn't it...
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