Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Fictional Google Maps

When I found this map casually embedded in an Obsidian Portal campaign it was a bit of a revelation. On the one hand it seemed so obvious, but then how simple have Google made things for us to do this? Having maps in this form seems like a no-brainer really for things like the evolving world in a roleplaying game setting. Here is another example using the World of Warcraft lands. So lets take a peek at what might be involved in getting a map through the Google APIs and permissions...

Firstly there is a different logic for creating custom maps on top of the normal Google map data, that is cool, but not the same thing.

Searches for how to bring a map (or any image for that matter) into the Google map 'viewer' is something that seems to throw up references to scripting and APIs and the kind of complexity I was hoping would not be involved. Yes, I was hoping it might be as simple as scrunching an image file into some format that could be called along with the viewer embed - and hey presto.

The actual method looks a little simpler that outlined in this thread if I can trust the super work of Mike Gleason Jr. Well maybe it is that he has packaged the tricky bits for us, but look at the nice examples on his site. I promise I will find time to test this very soon, but I wanted to get some links up on the site for reference right now before I lose them...


As far as making a cool map goes, I just watched Jessica Khoury's map making tutes and they were easy to follow and used some clever tricks (brushes, layer styles etc) to get a great result. As far as drawing my own map elements, getting tips like those from Herwin on Fantasy Cartography are very helpful. I have popped in and looked at other tutes and ideas (like fantasticmaps), but this is a good starting point...

I like the elegant hand-drawn look, but maybe the ultimate map would be to get something as gorgeous as the Middle Earth Map built for Chrome.

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