Mercator-Style Map of the Caribbean

I went back to the very beginning of the Cartographer's Annual for this map. It's made using the Mercator style and very few adjustments. It is based on a 1720 map by Emmanuel Bowen I found on Wikipedia with some reworking of coastlines where things got just too weird for modern eyes (e.g. the Bahamas and the Keys).

You can download a large (take care, it's 21 MB and a slow dropbox) pdf here and a middling size jpg (1.35 MB) here. These show my only problem with this map much more clearly: the hatching at the coastline are extremely low resolution, basically only single very huge pixels instead of lines.

I made the hatching by copying the land masses onto another layer, changing their fill style to Narrow Left Hatch and applying an Edge Fade, Inner with zero inner opacity and 100 outer opacity. It looks perfectly fine in Campaign Cartographer, but no matter how I print and export it I always get the blocky pixels. I heard that there are some problems with using some effects on bitmap fillstyles, but is there any way to improve the export quality? It's not a big problem, but it would be nice to get at least double the current resolution for the hatching.

Feedback of any kind is always welcome. Thank you for your time.


  • edited May 2013
    The map is very nice and the idea to use an edge fade on a hatch fill style is quite cute.
    Perhaps you could instead use a bitmap fill style based on a picture file such as this one .
    Plus you can make the bitmap white transparent...
  • Thanks, Joachim. Glad you like it. I used the bitmap fill style you suggested and the hatching does look a lot better. I'm off to tweak it a bit before I post the next version, though. Wouldn't hav thought the standard brush patterns would have such a problem with the effects that bitmaps would be an improvement. Good that you cleared that up for me.
  • Hm, this is strange. Whenever I go for importing the fill as opaque, the edge fade works just like normal. Whenever I set white to transparent (no matter whether via RGB values or Alpha transparency), the edge fade is not applied at all. I have changed nothing else apart from transparency. Any ideas why this might wreak havoc on the effects?

    I'm probably going to fake it out just by using a similar colour to my land mass fille, but it would be neat to know why just using transparency doesn't work in this case.
  • DogtagDogtag Traveler Moderator, Betatester
    That's awesome!

  • Posted By: BlindMapmakerbut it would be neat to know why just using transparency doesn't work in this case.
    I think I found an explanation and a solution:
    The effect is based on what you see, not on the entities themselves. When you make the white stripes transparent, it's like you just drew black lines. If you make the size of the effect very small, you'll notice that the edges of the black stripes fade away.
    The solution is to make the white stripes not 100% transparent. To do that, I used The Gimp to fill the white stripes with a very light gray, then applied a color to alpha filter, keeping the white as reference. Because the light stripes are not pure white now, the transparency is not full. With this the effect works fine.
  • Thank you very much, Joachim. That worked like a charm. I played around for a bit more and adjusted the width of the edge fade down a bit and this is the result. I'm very happy with it. A larger PNG version can be found here. Thanks again for the help and the nice comments, everyone.
  • RalfRalf 🖼️ 16 images Mapmaker Administrator, ProFantasy
    Very cool map - that style occupies a special place in my heart! :)
  • Henrie61Henrie61 Traveler
    For me its all the small islands that makes it a very realistic map.
    Love it.
  • Posted By: RalfVery cool map - that style occupies a special place in my heart! :)
    I also have very fond memories of this style. I used parts of it for the first (very haphazard) map of mine that got included in a book. Hopefully this one will come out a little bit better. What surprised me when I went looking for 17th century maps was that many were extremely similar to the style - right down to the symbols. Truly a great beginning for a great series.

    Thanks everybody for the nice comments.
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