Live Mapping: 1930s Street Maps

Hi everyone! :D

This week, Ralf will be creating a map with the Baedecker-inspired 1930s Street Maps style from the Cartographer's Annual Vol 5.

If you don't like YouTube you can watch it right here:

Or you can come and join in the live chat here:



  • Looking forward to this one, I want to do a map of Sydney Harbour, specifically The Rocks district - circa 1920-1930's for Call of Cthulhu...

  • hsv216hsv216 Surveyor

    That would be awesome mate! Looking forward to what you come up with. :) The State Library has a few maps that I can find, but nothing with any great detail of the rocks, i.e. more general city type map's.

    @Ralf any chance we could get some revisits of the older dungeon styles too? :)

  • Here's my basic starting point:

    I'm going to have to get funky where the Bradfield Express is, that didn't exist in 1923!

  • hsv216hsv216 Surveyor

    lol yeah no harbour bridge so will need to try and find maps where they had not started. This is an interesting subject. Found this as well not sure if you have seen it:

    Can do an overlay and has some maps from the period that might help.

  • LoopysueLoopysue ProFantasy 🖼️ 39 images Cartographer

    30 minute shout :)

  • edited March 16

    @Ralf Imagine my suprise when I started YouTube and The Rocks came up! Can I 'borrow; the FCW file! I'm sure yours will be better than anything I can do!

  • RalfRalf Administrator, ProFantasy 🖼️ 18 images Mapmaker

    Hi Jim! Of course, please find my FCW and jpg attached.

  • edited March 17

    Thanks @Ralf .

    Leave this one with me. If you don't mind, I'll finish what you've started and post the progress pics here. It may not be 100% historically accurate but will be good enough for game purposes. With your permission, I'd also like to post a copy of the finished map where the folks at Chaosium are likely to see it...nudge, nudge, wink, wink, say no more!

  • RalfRalf Administrator, ProFantasy 🖼️ 18 images Mapmaker

    Suunds great. Consider the map yours! :D

  • After reading about JM's interest in mapping part of 1920s Sydney, I went and checked both my copies of Chaosium's "Terror Australis" books for Call of Cthulhu (the original, and the new version). The original doesn't have a map of Sydney at all, and while the new version has two, a whole-city area map and a zoomed-in view of the centre (or part of it), neither is especially detailed, and neither usefully illustrates The Rocks, although they do look pretty, as based on period originals. Very pleased this has been resolved since, of course, especially via the livestream, and look forward to following progress with the further mapping! Good luck @jmabbott !

  • Doesn't Australia have enough terrifying natural things that kill you without the need for eldritch horrors?

  • taustinoctaustinoc Traveler

    I now have a mental picture of Cthulu, with a drop bear on his head, feasting on his squidly brains.

    Sadly, Midjourney doesn't know the difference between Cthulu and a baby elephant, or a koala and a cabbage.

  • They’re only terrifying because, for the most part, they’re small and venomous😉

  • Ok Folks,

    Been doing a little bit here and there as time permits. I'm interpreting the source map as best I can, as @Ralf pointed out, it's a little difficult to delineate clear blocks as the source map, for the most part, only shows the street frontages. Here is a WIP of where I'm at...

    I haven't researched this, but in this 'alternate' version of The Rocks, the large building and the docks on the Sydney Cove side is going to be the Passenger Terminus, whilst the other docks will be for commercial shipping with the large blocks nearby representing warehouses.

    Jeff Broflo1LoopysueRalfMapjunkieJimPWyvern
  • Not that much to do now; a couple of blocks, labelling create some Points Of Interest (Keepers only) make some minor adjustemnts here and there to tidy things up and it'll be just about done.

  • Ok. Found a newer map, there is handwritten date on it, 1923 which is closer to the era I need, that's a bit easier to work with:

    So, I'm re-doing the map, here's what I've come up with so far.

  • I found it is worth hunting around online for old maps more generally, when I was working on my version of a Lovecraftian Providence map late last year. That one compiled information from about a dozen different maps in the end, as the most detailed ones - needed to identify specific properties - were originally published in at least one book, with each double-page map spread scanned separately online.

    It really depends how much precision and detail you need from the historical side though, as it can be a lengthy process to find what YOU want, NOT what Google wants to show you!

  • An update.

    The to do list is:

    1. Break up some of the larger blocks to create alleys and such like.
    2. Add some buildings to the docks, particularly the long stretch on the eastern side.
    3. Label and create an index for streets and key buildings.

    This is the 'player' version. When I'm ready I'll add scenario specific places to the GM layer(s).

  • Hi All,

    This is nearly done. Last update before I finish it.

    Just got to fix one, make that two, obvious errors (see if you can pick them), add in a street and 1 more building block (just to the right of Hickson St in the SW portion near the school) and the indexes for named buildings, places of worships and roads/streets.

    All in all hasn't turned out too badly.

  • edited March 30

    Alrighty. Apart from trimming the grid to the "border" this is done as far as the mapping is concerned.

    I am flumoxed as to why only a few streets show the a grid reference, which is incorrect BTW. I've attached the .FCW as well. If anyone can explain what I've done wrong and/or how to fix it that would be much appreciated.

  • RalfRalf Administrator, ProFantasy 🖼️ 18 images Mapmaker

    Excellent, lovely to see where my humble beginnings ended up!

    One suggestion: Try to move and scale the Circular Quay label so it doesn't overlap the shoreline. There should be enough space if you move the "Harbour Trust" label a little to the left. That will make that area there look a lot tidier.

  • As I recall, Ralf ran into an identical issue with the automated grid referencing on the livestream, but I don't think there was a resolution to it there, other than to change things up manually.

  • Ok folks. Here is the final version of The Rocks, 1923. Feel free to use for your home games if you ever get to Cthulhu Down Under!

    Thanks to you all for your comments and suggestions, particualrly @Ralf: that tip re Circular Quay looks heaps better. I changed the colour of the glow on the text as well, it's hard to notice at this resolution but it does make a difference.

  • I think the finished map is an example of how adding some minor things really makes the map look so much better. This isn't that much different from earlier maps, but you add in some church shaped buildings, street names, and ferry lines and it really makes the map take off.

  • Thanks Julian. I 100% agree with you. With simple styles like this I think you really do need to add in some visual interest. That's why I broke up some of the larger blocks and tried to show some elevation with the coloured parklands. The map I used as a base for example has solid colour blocks for the most part but POI are shown using perspective like buildings.

    I could have (and probably should have) labelled all the streets but I thought that would make the map too busy, so I elected to only show some of the major ones (guess where the cultists and such like will be lurking...).

Sign In or Register to comment.