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D&D Maps Via Google Maps/Earth

Welcome to a nerdy post that'll only interest the gaming community.

There's plenty of sites out there that offer D&D campaign maps. Most of 'em suck. You totally lose the feel of the story you're telling if you hand the players something that looks like it was made in Mspaint on an EGA montior. And I mean I could draw something, but it'd obviously look like, well, I drew it. And my drawing skills lie more in the realm of funny comics than cartography. So I figured why not base a campaign and its stories on actual places?




Behold the glory that is Google Maps and Google Earth. All this stuff is just ripe for the taking. This, for example, is the overland map that my four players are currently trudging [and sailing] though.





The main benefit of Google Maps is the scalability of the maps. If everyone, for example, docks at an island, I can give an overview of what the island looks like. The players' imaginations fill in the blanks in scenery by taking what they see and turning it into setting. This particular island is on the SW corner of the main northern continent.






This island, considerably harder to see on the main map, lies south of the main island in the upper left on the overland map.














And to those that miss the "Ye Olde" feel of maps: that's what photoshop filters are for.

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  • Anonymous Anonymous says so:
    May 11, 2008 at 2:32 PM  

    HA! Great idea, and thanks for it! top

  • Blogger Chuck says so:
    August 11, 2008 at 9:35 AM  

    Hang on. Did you take user generated topography, convert it into photorealistic topography, and then upload it to google Earth for handling?

    Or did you just rip your campaign maps from some far corner of the real Earth that you hope your players have never heard of? top

  • Blogger Mike H. says so:
    August 11, 2008 at 11:04 AM  

    I just completely ripped it off of Google Maps. And it's actually not a far corner of the earth: It's about 300 miles away from us in northern Michigan.

    Once I found my place, I just did some basic screenshot photo editing to make it mappier. top

  • Blogger Chuck says so:
    August 26, 2008 at 7:41 PM  

    I did the exact opposite, and imported all my D&D maps to Google Earth:
    http://lablemminglounge.blogspot.com/2008/08/fantasy-gis.html top

  • Anonymous Christopher says so:
    May 20, 2011 at 2:22 AM  

    I've taken to doing the same thing for my campaign world. Most officially released maps (like your original post said) suck, and they usually seem so blocky and unnatural. I like to design my own towns and regions(I'm a bit of a map fanatic), but after a while I began to realize it's difficult to make every town look different but still feel real.

    I've found that looking at towns in remote areas of the world and "tracing" the roadways, water borders, and general building layouts is a fantastic way to make a town map that looks and feels real (since in-fact it is). Alaska is wonderful, for instance. Most of the towns are tiny - the kind you would find in a medieval world - and completely influenced by the geography.

    Places in the far north tend to be better suited for D&D conversion, since areas are less populated than in the rest of the world. top

  • Blogger Tiamat5774 says so:
    January 7, 2012 at 11:22 AM  

    This comment has been removed by the author. top

  • Blogger Tiamat5774 says so:
    January 7, 2012 at 11:24 AM  

    Good idea albeit not a new one. lol
    been doing this for 2 years.

    My island world, Genesica, is basically Australia flipped and mirrored. top

  • Blogger Jack Barrow says so:
    February 23, 2012 at 12:44 PM  

    I've based my campaign in 14th Century England in the reign of Richard II. I use maps of England for locations, though I drawn my own because I want the borders from the period.

    I also use the English nobility as described on Wikipedia so I can tell who is the Duke of Lancaster or the Bishop of Hereford and it means my NPCs have real names.

    It's meant I've had to make some decisions about the other races but there are locations for dwarves and gnomes in the mountainous regions, halflings live in villages just the same as most humans do and the elves are nomadic and largely cut off from mainstream society. top

  • Blogger Jack Barrow says so:
    February 23, 2012 at 12:45 PM  

    I've based my campaign in 14th Century England in the reign of Richard II. I use maps of England for locations, though I drawn my own because I want the borders from the period.

    I also use the English nobility as described on Wikipedia so I can tell who is the Duke of Lancaster or the Bishop of Hereford and it means my NPCs have real names.

    It's meant I've had to make some decisions about the other races but there are locations for dwarves and gnomes in the mountainous regions, halflings live in villages just the same as most humans do and the elves are nomadic and largely cut off from mainstream society. top

  • Anonymous Anonymous says so:
    July 1, 2012 at 11:47 AM  

    using Google earth is a brilliant idea. Y9ou get much more realistic stuff than the standard D&D. top