Monday, January 30, 2017

At Last, Britain

Sorry to say that I took French leave on my online games for two days; people must be wondering what the hell I'm doing, what I'm up to.  I apologize.  I've been a bit down, a bit distracted.  It's encouraged me to focus on something I love, namely this.  I've finally finished off that corner of England that I left undone back in October, I've added the market city icons and all the roads on the two islands.

The Islands offered a lot of different challenges.  This last, to add roads, makes England look like a modern road map.  There are simple reasons for that.  Most of England is, first, near to the sea.  I think I remember reading that no part of Britain is more than 72 miles from the sea.  This encourages trade, since every port all around the two islands encourages the creation of a line of cities across the island to a port on the other side.

Second, the islands are largely flat.  This makes travel overland far easier in England, in particular, much easier than it is for nearly every other part of the world.  Few hills to climb, and few substantial rivers to boot, made nearly England terrifically accessible.  Only Wales and Scotland offer difficult terrain.  The corners of Ireland, on the other hand, were a refuge for rebels and tribalism (and poor in land), so that it was politically resistant to trade rather than geographically.

I'm glad to have this part of the world behind me.

In terms of trade, the map above creates this land travel map:

The small distances represent the number of market days between the various markets, due to both distance and terrain.  The next stage after this, before I can add Britain to my trade system, is to figure out the sea distances between this and the rest of Europe.

I was also going to say, I started working on this map sheet about ten years ago, about the winter of 2006/07:

Steadily, I've added pieces.  I remember when it was just Poland, on the right side of the map.  Then I added Bohemia and Moravia, Hungary, the parts of Yugoslavia, and finally Germany.  I remember what a headache Germany was.

I've talked about adding pieces on this map on the blog: Switzerland, the Low Countries, France.  I remember working on Italy and it just took up a tiny piece in the bottom right.  And now, at last, I've finished that tiny piece of England on the top left.  Done at last.  This is my biggest map, in terms of sheer complexity and memory.  This thing is 4 mb of data.


  1. Congratulations, Alexis! This looks awesome. We'll have to wend our way over there.

  2. Don't tempt me. Nearly put in my votes for England.

    I was really hoping Rowan was going to wind up being Irish.

  3. Congratulations! I am just getting started in your mapping footsteps and I know that there are hours research behind the product. In addition to being beautiful, the map embodies the monumental effort of making the world concrete. Thanks for showing the way!


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