What are you using your maps for?

Now, I guess most people here in these forums use one of ProFantasy's map making products and make maps with them.

But I am curious, what do you all make your maps for? Role-playing games? Computer games? Books? Decorations? Maybe you use the tools, but what you produce isn't really a map? Please, chime in in this thread and let everyone know what you make maps for. And feel free to post examples.

(And if you haven't introduced yourself yet, we have a thread for that too.)


  • MonsenMonsen 🖼️ 43 images Mapmaker Administrator
    edited May 17
    Myself, I mostly make maps for my own Role-playing campaign. I've built my own world from scratch, and map it out as I need maps for new locations. Sometimes I make nice-looking maps if I have the time, and other times I just need a quick map. Generally, once the players have seen the map, I generally don't spend much more time polishing it, so it all depends on the available time till the next game session. Some of my maps are available in the campaign Wiki.

    In addition to that, since I am responsible for the user manual and Tome, I also produce example maps for those, as well as maps to accomplish my articles at the blog.

    I've also found CCx to be nice program for general illustrations, for example back when I took my Master's degree, I used for illustrations in my thesis. That's long ago now though, but the ability in CCx to specify node locastions by command line input makes it perfect for more technical illustrations. (It is a CAD program after all).

    Of course, some maps are made just for the fun of it, such as participating in contests & challenges, and for the community atlas.
  • I use CC# to produce maps for hex and counter board games. I have used it for Five games thus far:

    Defense of Corona which is similar to the 1953 War of the Worlds Movie in which I researched the order of battle of units available in California as well as those that were portrayed in the film and determined the location for the battle from clues in the movie, as being around Corona, CA.
    Counter-Attack at Arras which is where the British 1st Tank Brigade struck Rommel's 7th Panzer Division behind his Panzer Spearhead and smacked his infantry. He panicked, thinking he was under attack by hundreds of British tanks, but in reality it was less than 50, which contributed to the German Halt Order, allowing the BEF to make its way to Dunkirk. The British were forced back to their start line by nightfall by the returning Panzers. Notable because Rommel's aide was killed less than 2 meters away from Rommel.
    3 Scenarios for the game Main Battle Tank
    Mind the Gap. B Troop 11th Armored Cavalry Regiments fight in the area around Rasdorf, Germany when I was a platoon leader. 1977-1980
    Plug the Gap. D Company counterattacks a Soviet penetration of the B Troop screen line around Rasdorf Germany. At the time I was a tank platoon leader in D Company and then was attached to B Troop. 1970-1980
    Ambush at Rannagun. My plan to destroy the 1st echelon of a Soviet Motorized Rifle Regiment near Rannagun, Germany (itself close to Schweinfurt) in 1984-1987

    Four more are in work.
    Hammer's Slammers Mercenary Tank Company in the 23rd century, with David Drake's support. Probably set around the Little Big Horn or in the Aschaffenberg-Hammelberg Area of Germany.
    Covering Force. More known here from my trials and tribulations as recounted in Here I go Again.
    MBT Scenarios
    Sometimes just a hill based on training exercises at Fort Riley
    Unnamed battle based on a vignette in the Book First Clash, featuring units of the 4th Canadian Mechanized BattleGroup who were fine soldiers and a little bit crazy.
  • I use it mainly for my RPG campaign as well. I am building my own world as well for my RPG game, and so I've got plenty of uses for all these programs. However I'm rather new in using CC3+ for good looking maps. So far I only made rather quick sketches of overland maps and Towns in the area my players are trying to fight the bad guys at the moment.
    My next mission is to make multiple generic Battle maps, about 2-3 for several types of environment (Woodland, Plains, River crossings, Taverns on the Road, Mountain passes...). I'm aware that there are plenty out there for D&D type games, but the vast majority of them are on a square grid. As I think that a hex grid is way better than squares for multiple reasons, I'm gonna make all my battle maps on hex-grids.
  • I make to make them. I started out making them for my game sessions. But I quit gaming in 1985. Tried play by post this century and it didn't go well.

    Crestar has over a gigabyte of bandwidth use just this month. So my maps are being used.
  • LoopysueLoopysue 🖼️ 15 images Mapmaker ProFantasy
    Drawing maps for me is just an extension of being a landscape painter. I like doing it, so that's what I do. Sometimes people like the maps I've drawn, so sometimes I share them.

    I also enjoy making new assets just as much as new maps.

    I like helping people, so put the two things together and you have you have a hopefully useful community assistant - at least on platforms where other more expert assistants don't go all that often ;)

    Sometimes I just draw maps in response to reading a lot of comments about how doing 'this' or 'that' is really difficult, to show people that none of these things are impossible if you just think a bit differently. Since I have an atypical brain due to having Asperger's Syndrome, I am probably ideal for this particular part of my job.
  • I'm a little like Jim. I make them because I love to. I also like submitting to the community atlas, and for my own world, which was originally meant for a book, but which I will now just turn into a massive Worldbuilding epic. (Cultures, politics, fauna and flora, history etc.
  • DaltonSpenceDaltonSpence Surveyor
    Use my maps? I have to use them for something? I generally just get an idea about something I want to map then figure out how to do it. Sometimes it's inspired by something I saw or read here, sometimes it's a blog article or Cartographer's Annual or add-on I want to try out, sometimes it's a place I've been or seen or heard about (real or fictional) … it varies depending on my mood and level of boredom. The one common element is that I use CC3+ to do it. Mostly I just want to have fun!
  • I do mostly for fun. But they are always for one of my RPGs settings or a comission for RPG material.
  • I mostly use my maps for my own Campaings and one shot adventures. Either as handouts or als Battlemaps, depending on the adventure and group of players. Some maps I made of areas where I organised a larp to print out andactually have a map of the area for the players to use.
  • roy.dentonroy.denton Traveler
    Since I usually don't live close to other Harn specific players and teacher high school takes up a lot of my time. Even during this pandemic since my school is a virtual one and we haven't slowed down a bit, finals this week, student finish Friday, and teacher have two work weeks then I have a month off before summer school.

    Any way, I do it mostly for the fun of it and all of it is specific to the world of Harn, for now.
  • Some of the maps I make are for my RPG games. I also enjoy reproducing maps from the books I read, or from modules (like the Village of Hommlet).

    Many of them are actually for RPG campaigns that friends run. I really like taking their descriptions and hand drawn maps and turning out something that helps the other players in the game immerse themselves in the world.
  • I noticed years ago my reltives had no hobbies, or their hobby was just one thing. So if their lives changed, they had no hobbies.

    So I have a number of hobbies and always have something to do, indoors or outdoors.

    Been trying to find the time to learn more about Epic Table, and resize some of my maps to work with it better.
  • thehawkthehawk Traveler
    edited May 18
    The only thing I've successfully done with CC is mapping the old grid-based CRPGs - ADnD gold box, Wizardry, Bards Tale, Might and Magic, digitizing the numerous paper ones I've moved from place to place for.. A lot of years. I am still slowly making my through those.

    If it's not strictly square grid-based, I'm still pretty hopeless. One of these days I may make it a priority to actually learn to do other things with it.

    In the interim though, most non-square grid CRPGs, I do screenshots and line everything up pixel-by-pixel to make the maps.

    All of that stuff is, like the others have said, doing it just to do it, and to share for anyone who might be interested.

    I've dabbled a little bit with The Continent and some Cities (I am pretty bad at naming things) for the stories I've cobbled together, and I look a lot at what other people do to see what it's capable of. I like to think I will eventually be able to map some of these places out. At least enough to be able to hire someone to finish and polish it.

    I use Visio for most of what I do; that I call maps, but probably not everyone does. I learned Visio digitizing old Infocom maps, and since then do all the usual stuff - network, process, transaction flow, hardware detail, infrastructure, the odd building or office space, electrical wiring and some plumbing.

    And as Jim said, I too balance this hobby with others - the other one right now being to finish cleaning the garage..
  • Clearing the garage sounds more like a chore than a hobby ;)
  • I use the various tools to map my ttrpg campaigns, still getting the hang of things. Currently I'm working through making a global map for my campaign setting that I'm writing on World Anvil. That site has a great interactive map feature, so I intend to upload my maps as I finish them, and use those features to enhance it with links to articles and to hide/show points of interest.

    Recently, I've also been using it to work out a floorplan for an underground dome house that my wife and I are planning on having built in a few years. We were talking about how it would be laid out and I said, "Wait, I got this!" ;-)
  • 1 month later
  • WyvernWyvern Surveyor
    edited June 20
    Seeing the replies to Monsen's original query, I seem to be something of an aberration, as while I do make maps for RPG use, and tabletop wargames sometimes, the primary reason I invested in Campaign Cartographer initially was to make historical and semi-historical real-world maps, particularly regarding military history, and its mythical counterpart, from what wargamers class as the "Ancient" period. This covers pretty much everything prior to the widespread use of gunpowder weapons during European medieval times.

    One of the first maps I did with CC3 was for use with the Erin wargame rules produced by Scottish company Alternative Armies. This concerns the mythological island of Ireland, its waves of invaders, and the battles they fought in the mythical past. Alternative Armies make a unique range of cast metal 28mm miniatures to go with these rules, interpreting some of the mythic inhabitants of Ireland in interestingly unusual ways (to me, anyway). The background information in the rules included some details on a few places already, along with providing a sketch map based on a 15th century CE drawing from details given by Claudius Ptolemy (circa 90-168 CE). However, I wanted to go further than this, and embarked on a lengthy journey into the mists of Irish mythic history, and how that has been influenced by physical topography and prehistoric sites across the land.

    Ultimately, in 2012-2013, I constructed three maps of this mythical place. The first was based on modern topography, with selected Curious and Ancient places of interest added using various red-labelled symbols or markers. The purpose was to provide a range of sites scattered across the whole of Ireland, without cluttering the map too greatly, to help stimulate ideas for Erin game scenarios, drawing upon real-world and mythical Ireland, where the latter elements were mostly taken from the different redactions of the 11th century Lebor Gabala Erenn (The Book of Invasions).


    Since this was intended as a poster-sized map, the labels on this image are mostly illegible, so to give a better idea of what was going on, this is a closer view of the central-eastern part of the island - still a little fuzzy to keep within the Forum's image parameters.


    Blue labels are for watery elements - so coastal features, rivers, lakes and so forth - brown place-names for physical features such as mountains and hills.

    Next, I drew-up a revised version of that 15th century Ptolemy's map of Ireland with all of Ptolemy's place-names added using blue and brown labels, and red-labelled items taken from the Erin game background positioned in relation to the amended geography, as far as possible, along with green name-labels for the five peoples involved in the Erin setting.


    While compiling notes for this project, I came upon a paper by Robert Darcy & William Flynn, "Ptolemy's map of Ireland: a modern decoding" that had been published in 2008 in the periodical Irish Geography (Vol. 41, No. 1, pp. 46-69, if anyone wishes to hunt it up). Their research suggested a rather different form for Ireland as understood by Ptolemy, and on the principle one can never have too many maps, I decided to draw a third version showing this, again adding features as for the "other" Ptolemy map, but this time making the named watercourses more closely follow patterns like their plausibly-identified modern ones, variant coastline permitting.


    Further afield, one of my particular historical-archaeological interests has long been the ancient Near East, notably from the 4th to 1st millennia BCE. Published maps often use only established modern geography when discussing parts of this region and period, whereas both coastline and river courses are known to have changed considerably in places. This can become confusing, especially where ancient coastal trading settlements seem to be nowhere near the modern coast, along with those places no longer served by watercourses or wells of any kind. Plus of course, even maps with the earlier coasts and watercourses shown (so far as such things can be established now) frequently failed to contain other details of greatest interest to me - isn't that though always the way?!

    A couple of CC3 examples. This was one of the first maps of its kind I devised, back in 2013-14, for the 3rd millennium BCE, to illustrate the relative locations for a selected number of key ancient settlements around the Fertile Crescent region, notably in southern Mesopotamia (modern Iraq).


    Those familiar with the area will appreciate the head of the Gulf lies significantly north of where it does now, and there are more channels - mostly human-built canals - on the lower Euphrates river.

    The second example, from the same epoch, was to illustrate the places east of southern Mesopotamia known to have had trade links with the near-Gulf city-states.


    Here, there have been additional changes to the Pakistan-India coast and the lower River Indus, for instance.

    Sadly, the FCW files for both these maps were lost in separate hard-disk and memory-stick failures, before the originals could be copied elsewhere, so all that survives are a couple of JPEGs.

    Returning to more mythological themes, something else which has held a long fascination for me is the voyage of the Argo, firstly thanks to the Harryhausen "Jason and the Argonauts" movie, but in later times through the various ancient Greek and Latin versions of the tale. In 2015, I finally got round to doing some CC3 mapping for that too, regarding the outward voyage of the Argo from Greece to Colchis, at the eastern end of the Black Sea (modernly Georgia). The overview map:


    However, as this was designed as an A0 poster, I'd be amazed if anyone can properly read any but the largest labels on this reduced-size version. So this is just the mainland Greece part:


    Even that's not as clear as it might be, but the eagle-eyed may spot an unexpected inland lake where there now isn't one north of Pagasae, restored to its probable 1st millennium BCE appearance. And if you think some of the names look a little faded, you're quite right; that was entirely deliberate, because settlement names were often widely understood for the period, but regional names could be rather more fluid.

    I did a whole series of maps for some of the places sailed-by or stopped-at in one or other version of the Argo's journey, using a similar "contoured" style to this Black Sea one for the more historical settings and places. However, I switched tack for those more mythological places, such as Colchis:


    You'll notice a lack of scale on this image. That's because even the relative location of the places shown isn't firmly-fixed in the tales, let alone how far apart they were from one another. Real-world geography is no help at all, as even the possible location of the city of Aea isn't as established as you might hope.

    Along the way to Colchis, I devised a series of tabletop wargame scenarios, including mythical battles described in the tales as well as some "what if" ideas that didn't feature so, drawing on the "Hordes of the Things" (HotT) fantasy wargame rules. These allow small-scale actions to be fought on a handily square area - often no more than three-feet on a side. So I sketched the tabletop layouts for those too with CC3, like this one for the escape of the Argonauts from Colchis with the Golden Fleece:


    Can the Argonauts get to their ship and escape before the pursuing Colchians catch them?!

    Working on all this, in conjunction with the HotT rules, which allow for longer wars to be fought too, I came up with a couple of on-land campaigns between the various peoples along the southern Black Sea coasts and further inland that the Argonauts had met, knew about, or had sometimes fought with, many of whom also featured in the more historical ancient texts. So another mapping style could be explored as well, if of a more abstract nature suited to the standard HotT campaign procedures:


    It may not be obvious that Dorylaeum and Ankyra are intended as independent, unaligned cities, separate from the named powers illustrated here. For orientation, Cius and Amycus represent places near the eastern-southern Propontis/Sea of Marmara coasts, while the line from Calpe via Mariandyni City (modernly Eregli) to Sinope is effectively the southern Black Sea coast east as far as the modern Sinop headland of Turkey.
  • First rate stuff, Wyvern. I especially like the Ireland Maps.
  • LoopysueLoopysue 🖼️ 15 images Mapmaker ProFantasy
    edited June 20
    Wonderful maps, Wyvern! :D

    I mostly map for the sake of making maps. A bit like artists paint pictures.
  • Great maps, Wyvern! In general, how did you go about doing the real-world coastlines? Manually tracing from images? Would you mind detailing your workflow?
  • WyvernWyvern Surveyor
    Thanks very much folks!

    @Mike: Weirdly, the Ireland maps are the only ones I showed that have never been published! The main Erin one is still one of my favourites, partly because it was done so early in my CC mapping and yet turned out so well, partly because of all the interesting things I was able to find while researching it.

    @Sue: I rather envy people who can just sit down and create a map from scratch, or have an idea in their head they can bring to life as they go. I have to plan in detail in advance!

    @OverCriticalHit: All these maps were done using CC3, not CC3+, and so far as I recall, there wasn't any other option beyond tracing the coastlines in by hand using that. There are options now that would let you automatically trace a sufficiently contrasting edge within an imported image, for instance, and that would have helped to a degree.

    One big problem I had was that with the Near East and Black Sea maps, the areas covered weren't available on any single atlas or paper maps I could source, where there was a consistent scaling and use of contours. The problem was so great for the Near East ones, I eventually abandoned attempts to draw them as contour maps, and opted for the simpler Mercator-style drawings instead. Even on the Black Sea map, I simply had to wing-it to fill gaps towards the eastern edge on the maps I had.

    Of course, things get still more complicated when you're trying to adjust coastlines to their ancient appearance using what may be a simple line-drawing map in a published research paper, a sketch-map that may not be even in the same projection as that in the atlas chosen as a potential base map, let alone have a similar scale, or show any contours or other connecting features!

    I suspect that because I've been drawing maps for a very long time, at first only by hand, then later using various DTP or graphics programs, the idea of hand-drawing suitable polygons, both of the coasts and the contours, which may each sometimes take a number of sessions scattered over several days, hand-tracing something like these isn't such a big thing in CC. Indeed, there may be advantages to this, as several problems appearing on the Forum in recent times have resulted from traced coastlines having too many fractal nodes along them, and crashing the program as a result. Approaching mapping from the direction I have, means that for many years, I've tended to draw things like coastlines using only straight-edge polygons, since at this kind of regional scale, you can't tell any difference. If you need a curve, you just add a few more nodes. So if you look at the Black Sea map, for all the seeming complexity of the coasts there (many of the contours were done using smooth polygons instead), I didn't have a single CC3 crash while drawing it this way. I did foul up a couple of times, and have a lot of redrawing to do as a result (there may have been Naughty Words said as well...), but that was down to me, not the program!
  • Very interesting rundown, Wyvern. You certainly must have learned a massive amount doing all these amazing maps.
  • MstrCatMstrCat Newcomer
    While I bought CC+ for D&D maps, one of the odder uses I put it to is creating simple figures for engineering documents. I like the interface much better than Viso and Autocad. The shape tools are about the right complexity for and by using sheets I can do piping runs without having do breaks/cuts on every intersection. I have a 'map' which has all the common symbols for valves, tanks, pumps, ect to make things easier and more consistent.
  • We had a discussion in here several years ago, some folks use CC for their office design company.
  • Posted By: MstrCatWhile I bought CC+ for D&D maps, one of the odder uses I put it to is creating simple figures for engineering documents. I
    Yeah, due to the pandemic I had to quickly configure a home office with very tight space requirements, and I turned to CC to do it. I came to fully appreciate how much I liked the CAD workflow, and learned a lot about snaps in the process. The only thing that was missing was a quick way to put in dimension lines, which I would love to see added (I would use them for RPG battlemaps and floorplans).
  • I use CC3+ for my Tabletop RPGs games, but mostly for the adventures I've started to publish as a hobby. I've discovered mapping can be quite addictive, and quite frustrating at times also. I've been finding it quite difficult to make many of my maps match the descriptions in my adventures. Much of this is probably down to my ability with the program, and I guess the program and various styles have their limitations. Often I'm finding its easier and quicker to alter the description in the adventure than spend countless hours trying to figure it out on CC3+. Having said that, I still like to be challenged, so I'm enjoying it overall.
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