I must admit - since I knew it was going to be easy to send the material out, and that size wasn't an issue, I grabbed the whole map file as it was and made it available. Subscribers will take note there's a lot of junk in there, maps that should have been deleted, or maps that are duplicates because I intended eventually to change them to some new format (climate or otherwise). And I must also confess that when I look at these files, I see a lot of work I haven't done yet, and that makes me feel lazy.
But on the other hand, you can see how not everything I put together looks 100%, and that the fabrication of junk goes hand in hand with the fabrication of good work. That's a good thing.
Bypassing the 'Maps' folder, which is the work in the last stages, I ask the reader to look at the 'Map Rings' folder first. These many files represent the composite collection of the data on this website, which you can look over to see how the data is arranged there. Fallingrain.com is in general use by Wikipedia and other sites, and is a marvelous resource for simple and immediate information for any place in the world. That's how I stumbled across it, looking for elevation numbers.
The 'Map Rings' files, then, gives the relative elevation for every hex in the world, my having divided the hexes up according to this scheme here, which itself includes links to earlier posts on the subject. Hexes appear either white or grey, for no purpose than contrasting one ring on the documents from another, or in yellow on black for hexes that have been mapped already. This is an extremely useful check on the maps, to make sure that the hexes properly line up ... and it is a constant resource that I use while mapping to make sure I am producing accurate results. It is also helpful in the 'skewing' of the map to fit the projection effected by hexing the earth and flattening it, the reason why my maps don't look like those out of ye common Atlas. They do have a bit of medieval feel in the coastlines, however.
There's tons and tons of data there. Two things: you can find the equator on the file marked '301-320 4sep07 Done' ... its the centre tab. Also, for some reason a chunk of the western hemisphere was deleted (or failed to save back in 2007), so that rings 281-300 are missing it. I have the file elsewhere in the process of being corrected ... it isn't super important, however, so I just sort of work at it once in awhile. You can see from the dates on the files that I appear to have worked on creating this between Nov 2007 and October 2008. Those are just the latest file dates. In actual fact, the real mapping process began in 2005. It really took me three and a half years to gather the information and finish making this file. But no big deal.
Before I can create a map, however, I need to know what cities will be on it, who will control those cities in 1650 and how big those cities will be. Thus I research cities and towns shown on the maps of my olde, friendly encyclopedia (one must limit the work to some source, I'm not researching every village in the world!). The 'France Cities Workbook' is an example of my research - I am working on France to map that part of the world next. I haven't copied all the cities out of my encyclopedia yet ... only 194 of them, which would be the southern third of that country. This, too, is a task I only work at in bits; it can be quite dull to look up town after town, only to find out when it was founded and who controlled it and how many times it was burned or suffered from an illness or destroyed completely. But it does help me understand these regions more in depth as I read and read. Most of the main research, I admit, comes from wikipedia - quick search and extensive information on small, nothing places is very useful.
This information gets put together into a file like the 'Cities 22oct11' you have there. It too has little bits of floating junk on some of the tabs, such as a bit about Siberia, China, 'The Other India' (which means bits of India I actually need to make sure I've included - I think I have) and so on. The 'Compiled' tab is a mostly complete list of the cities, when they were founded (in many cases estimated), how big they are ... all the things that I put under the wikipedia months ago. This is collected together into the 'New Provinces' tab, (there used to be an old provinces tab, but its deleted now, and I never get around to changing these names), and the 'Kingdoms' tab. On the latter, you can see combined information for the population of the world at the point of latest update, and partial data on the total hexes which have been mapped for their vegetation. Again, I have so much of the world to work on.
The little box in green shows I've mapped the vegetation for just over 4 million square miles. Only 47 million square miles to go.
I have actually mapped a great deal more of the world, but I haven't determined its vegetation, and until I do that I don't record the actual size. It's just a little quibble for me - but I can see the size of a region just by looking at the map, can't I?
So, at present, there are 117 independent entities, the largest of which in population is the Moghul Empire (61 million people), mostly because it rules the heavily populated India. The Ottoman Empire comes in with nearly 30 million, and after that the Holy Roman Empire totals 14.5 million (which includes a lot of semi-independent entities). Europe has a great many people in it, but they are split and separated and usually at war with one another. The total population at present is 188 million ... which you will take note differs from the 115 million indicated on the Sources table. I added India to this, you understand. The numbers will go up again when I add the rest of Asia, Europe, Africa and all of the New World. I am estimating a world-wide total - now - of about 350 million, but that may be conservative.
This leaves the 'Map' Folder, which I'm going to cover quickly. Most of it is empty or junk, experiments or otherwise, but there are two folders worth looking at. The first would be 'New Hexes', which contains the elevation maps, and 'Terrain Maps' which includes all the vegetation maps (lord know why it's called 'terrain' ... don't worry about it). These you definitely want to look at. You can find a number of different keys for the meanings on the vegetation maps. Most of them are false, old, or flotsam before fixing them later. The one you should trust is found on the 'Ter D 06 - North Caspian' map. It is the one I think is most up to date.
Feel free to ask questions here or on email.