Friday, February 27, 2015

Mapping Gerona

Indulge me, please.  I'm a terribly lonely person.

(Not really.  Who is taking the pictures, hm?)

Yesterday I posted a map of Spain that is in progress.  It still is.  But I thought I might do again something I did with Switzerland ages ago.

Take a corner of Spain - Catalonia, shown below:

I've left the scale on the map - so the reader can see that one hex is slightly less than one inch.  Here I've plotted the cities, I've drawn in the coast line, which is as painstaking as the city plotting.  I've added circles to indicate the 'high country' and arrows to show where the rivers ought to go.  Black circles indicate that the hex should display the highest elevation for the hex.  These hexes have no centres.  Orange circles do have centres; these hexes should show the elevation for the lowest centre in the hex.

Take note of the dotted lines around the text boxes.  Also take note that we'll have to make changes about what is on top of what; those centre circles on the coastline, for instance, should be on top of the coastline.  These are things we want to fix.

Here I've removed the circles for hexes colored orange, changing the elevation numbers on in the bottom right corner when applicable.  I've also added blue numbers for each hex where the river flows through.  These indicate the approximate size of the river - it works out to about 0.25 cubic meters of water per second per number - but really, it is just a general assessment for comparison to other rivers.  An ordinary mountain stream typically has a discharge of 1 meter per second - so it would be rated at '4' on the map above.

Rivers tend not to gather much energy on flat plains - which describes Gerona below the town of Olot.  Incidentally, I found out yesterday from looking at Google Earth that Olot is a volcanic zone.  I like these little surprises.

All I've done here is draw in the west border for the Gerona Marquisate (Spanish title).  It replaces the green line that can be seen in the prior map.  Notice that it, too, overlaps the coastline.  In the end it should be lower than the coast.

Here I've drawn in the small river/stream running through Gerona.  I've moved the river numbers a bit to make room for the river.  I've also tweaked all the place names (only in Gerona) so that they're not overlapping the centre circles they describe.  Incidentally, the font sizes for the centres are based on their size:

  • 8pt - less than 1000 residents (Banyoles)
  • 9pt - 1000-3999 residents (Figueras)
  • 11pt - 4000-15999 residents (Mataro)
  • 13pt - 16000-63999 residents (Gerona)
  • 15pt - 64000-255999 residents
  • 17pt - 256000 residents or more (Barcelona)
I haven't got any cities with more than a million inhabitants - so far.  I haven't done China and I don't have a final number for London yet.  Paris has 940,000.  Barcelona is 534,000 (was huge in the Renaissance).

The next step is to further define the coastline by covering the water side of coastal hexes with a shape that corresponds to the coastline.  Here I've shown it outlined in black, before putting it behind the blue line of the coast where it will partially cover the coastal hexes.

There, I've put the coast further back.  The trick here is to overlap things in the right order; the water overtop the hexes and the coast line overtop the water.  Note that the one river and the border (both at the top of Gerona and at the bottom) is still showing over the water.  We'll need to fix that.  If you're paying attention, you'll see that the elevation number for the hex containing Gerona is in the upper right corner of the hex, rather than the lower right.  That's because in the lower right it would conflict with the center circle for La Bisbal.  Moving it up looks better.

There's very little left.  There's a number next to Ripoll that needs to be moved on top of the border line and the all the hexes need to be colored according to its elevation:

There, done.  I've fixed the borders, moving them back, fixed the river, fixed that number in the La Pobla hex, centered the title for the Cerdanya county, colored the hexes and removed the feature that shows the boundary around text boxes.  Just like that, it looks like my maps normally look.

If I've done this right, the reader should be able to run the images as a slide show, with minimal jiggling between pictures.  This really isn't as much work as it looks - it took much longer to cut the pictures, make myself pause as I did and set them up for the post.  Altogether, what's shown is about 20 minutes of work.  The bigger part is the annoying city placement and coastline drawing.


Tim said...

I find this stuff to be so much fun. While it can be slow and plodding at times to graph each little piece of a map, it can also be enormously relaxing to just sit down and work on.
I've been using Paint.NET for my maps (which is painfully performance-intensive: like 9GB of my RAM for a 6400 by 6400 pixel map) although you make me wonder how well Publisher runs for large files if the scale is as big as 1 inch per hex.

Alexis Smolensk said...


Copy and paste your paint file into Publisher - you should find it on your computer in the same file as your Microsoft Office. Then experiment with it. These maps are 3000 x 3000 pixels and run at the speed you'd expect from using microsoft word (they save fairly instantly too).

Alexis Smolensk said...

Oh, I was going to add - they average about 1.5 - 6 megabytes in size, - much smaller than your paint file. It uses about 23 megabytes in ram.

Tim said...

Sweet, sounds like it's time to muck.