First GIS Test Map – The Pomarj


Finally, after a journey or about five years of learning, planning, testing and many hundreds of hours of data entry, its finally time to show a first preview of the new generation of Flanaess GIS based maps.

First out is a look at the Pomarj on a 13 inch x 18 inch map in scale 1:2,000,000. This map is primarily intended to be used digitally with a resolution of 300 dpi and labels that are a bit too small for printing. The purpose here is to make sure all the bits and pieces are working and can be made into a proper map.

There are still things missing here like river names, area labels and political names which are in the process of being added. Each of these layers have special settings that can be a bit complicated, so I want to do them one type at a time to keep my skills sharp.

When I started planning a GIS conversion of my Greyhawk map, my main worry was that the map would not look good. I saw all these simple pure vector maps that didn’t look suited for fantasy at all, thankfully things turned out quite differently. GIS software and the power of computers have developed a lot, making it possible to create truly inspiring maps. This new generation of my old maps is an improvement not only in the features it can offer, but also in how it looks.


Let’s look at the features of the map. It comes with two different grids, a black geographic grid with a line for each degree of latitude and longitude. This grid is used to locate things and keep track of directions. The projection is Orthographic with minimal distortion, but the directions vary across the map which the black grid shows. The white grid is there to help you keep track of distances, and I made three different versions of this map, each with a different white distance grid, a 100 miles square grid, a 30-mile hex grid and a 12-mile hex grid.


Which of these white grids you prefer depends on your use case. 12-mile hexes for those of you who use that for your hex-crawls, 30-mile hexes for those of you who want to stay old school and 100 miles squares for those who want a more clutter free map and still have a measuring grid. I opted out of numbering the hexes for several reasons, it is a lot of work, and adds a lot of clutter. Hex numbers are used for finding things, but now you can use coordinates which are easier, and can be more precise and work across different maps without hassle. Setting up a global hex reference numbering is a use undertaking, and redundant. An interesting alternative is to use what3words for geolocations. It is really cool and kind of fantasy-like, but it doesn’t work on printed maps, so lat. long. reference seems to be a better way to do it.


The roads also have little pick tick marks to tell distances. Small ticks every 5 miles and a bigger tick every 50 miles. These are a bit too small, and I’m going to make them bigger but if you look carefully, you can see them. Thanks to GIS they are now accurate and show the true (horizontal) distance along the road.

You can download the maps here:

This was a first look, more to come soon!