Maps?

Nov 2018
1
Boston
Finishing a project on the 8th Century and am fully realizing that many of the places and names are ... not exactly common knowledge. How many people know where the port of Ceuta is?

Maps would definitely help the project, but I am unsure if there is a application that will allow me to add details to my own map? Or whether there is a database of historical maps? Any help would be greatly appreciated.
 
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Chlodio

Forum Staff
Aug 2016
4,488
Dispargum
I find it easier to draw my own maps using the drawing toolbar in Word. The problem is that there is no such thing as a perfect map. Every map has flaws. Every map can emphasize some features but must minimize other features. Each problem therefore requires its own map. I doubt you will find a good map on the internet that solves your problem. Whatever you find will probably show features that serve only to distract your audience from whatever it is you are trying to show them.

Find a basic map that shows the country or continent you're interested in. Print it and draw a grid on it, maybe 10 squares by 10 or maybe fewer. Now draw the same grid on a blank page in Word. Now draw the map one grid square at a time. Start in the upper left. If the upper left square of the paper map has a squiggly coast line, draw the same squiggly line in the upper left square in Word. Keep going until you finish all of the grid squares. When you're done, remove the grid in Word and see how all of the squiggly lines fit together. Use tools like Group to link different lines together or Ungroup to remove mistakes and redraw that portion. It doesn't have to be perfect. It only has to be close enough that your audience can recognize "Oh, that's Africa," or "Oh, that's Italy." Once you've got the basic land forms down, then add the features you want like cities and ports, country boundaries, whatever. Don't forget a scalebar and North arrow.
 
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Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
21,980
SoCal
I find it easier to draw my own maps using the drawing toolbar in Word. The problem is that there is no such thing as a perfect map. Every map has flaws. Every map can emphasize some features but must minimize other features. Each problem therefore requires its own map. I doubt you will find a good map on the internet that solves your problem. Whatever you find will probably show features that serve only to distract your audience from whatever it is you are trying to show them.

Find a basic map that shows the country or continent you're interested in. Print it and draw a grid on it, maybe 10 squares by 10 or maybe fewer. Now draw the same grid on a blank page in Word. Now draw the map one grid square at a time. Start in the upper left. If the upper left square of the paper map has a squiggly coast line, draw the same squiggly line in the upper left square in Word. Keep going until you finish all of the grid squares. When you're done, remove the grid in Word and see how all of the squiggly lines fit together. Use tools like Group to link different lines together or Ungroup to remove mistakes and redraw that portion. It doesn't have to be perfect. It only has to be close enough that your audience can recognize "Oh, that's Africa," or "Oh, that's Italy." Once you've got the basic land forms down, then add the features you want like cities and ports, country boundaries, whatever. Don't forget a scalebar and North arrow.
Have you ever posted any of your maps on here, Chlodio?
 

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
21,980
SoCal
No, I haven't. Got a map you want drawn?
If you want, you could draw an ethnic map of a surviving Russian Empire at the start of the 21st century. Of course, this map would also include the various territories that a surviving Russian Empire will acquire later on (as in, after 1914).

Basically, I want to see how much of the empire is successfully Russified by now.

Also, if that's too difficult, you could draw a map of a German Empire which won WWI and annexed Latvia and Estonia afterwards (along with a land corridor from Memelland to Latvia, of course).
 

Chlodio

Forum Staff
Aug 2016
4,488
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...you could draw a map of a German Empire which won WWI and annexed Latvia and Estonia afterwards (along with a land corridor from Memelland to Latvia, of course).
I usually work with larger scales (smaller areas) but I'll give this one a try. What do you want the audience to understand when they see this map? Do you want them to see the new Germany in relation to Sweden, or the Soviet Union, or both? Is there a reason why Lithuania is not part of the German Empire? Do you want anything else besides political boundaries? Is Poland still part of Russia or is it independent? I assume Finland will be the same as Poland - either independent or still part of Russia. If Germany wins then Austria-Hungary survives?
 
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Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
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I usually work with larger scales (smaller areas) but I'll give this one a try. What do you want the audience to understand when they see this map? Do you want them to see the new Germany in relation to Sweden, or the Soviet Union, or both?
In relation to the Soviet Union sounds like a good idea. :)

Is there a reason why Lithuania is not part of the German Empire?
Because unlike Latvia and Estonia, it has a long history of being independent (or semi-independent, as a part of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth).

Do you want anything else besides political boundaries?
You could do the major cities and also the ethnic borders in 2020 in this scenario (as in, over a century after the point of departure for this scenario).

Is Poland still part of Russia or is it independent?
It's independent, and Ukraine is likewise independent--as is Lithuania.
 

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
21,980
SoCal
BTW, I strongly advise you to post your map onto Reddit after you will finish it (and assuming that you won't change your mind about doing it--though ultimately it's your decision and I want to be extremely clear about this).
 

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
21,980
SoCal
Here's an example of the type of map that I want, but with different borders and different linguistic boundaries: