## Developing the Map of Shtakamashkan

Since last time I’ve done a bit more work on the Shtakamashkan map.

I created a better, although still not very good :|, temperature map in PlanetGenesis. I used the Y-value basis “noise” to start with(I’m not sure that has made its way into the build; you may have to compile from CVS, sorry). I ran that through the arcsine filter to get latitude angles. Finally, I ran that through the cosine filter to approximate equinoctial insolation. I rendered that to a 16-bit planetary png in 4096×2048 resolution.

Once I had my temperature (or more accurately, insolation) map, I used Flexify to transform the projection to a south pole centered form. I also generated a graticule centered on the south pole. This is where I realized just how bad my first temperature map really was. I failed to realize that the equator would be a square around the middle half of the map with lines along the top and bottom of the left and right quarters. Meh.

After a lot of erosion work in Wilbur and my friend’s app, I used Wilbur to generate a river mask. This is somewhat approximate as it uses a D8 flow algorithm and doesn’t take temperature into account, but I’ll use it as a guide to generate a river shapefile. Over the glaciated areas, the river map gives an idea of the direction in which the ice flows(Could be useful for some purpose, I guess).

As you can see from the following imagery, I’ve started digitizing rivers and inserting cities with names generated in WordBuilder.

This is the map configuration I use when locating and placing rivers. River locations are also helpful in placing cities.

This is the map with my current progress on rivers and the like.

One power of a good map, or even this map, is that it can inspire stories. I did an area measurement of that triangular valley in the upper left hand area of the continent(not northwest, because this is an oblique projection, but it’s hard to come up with valid directional terms for a map like this…). According to that measurement, the area was bigger than Russia. After a bit of research, I worked out that ArcGIS doesn’t properly measure areas except with equal-area projections, but I was inspired to place a caravan rout equivalent to the Silk Road there. The resulting route, denoted by a tan-colored line, between the Roman Empire/Mediterranean-equivalent western terminus at Dulsek and the China-equivalent Ksulfesh at the eastern terminus with Shklafov in the middle turned out to be 8,219 kilometers long with the correct geodesic(Great Circle measurement). That’s about 1,000 kilometers longer than the actual Silk Road. Cool.

Shkorfuk, on the coast could be an equivalent to India or the Parthian Empire. They could also be something like Byzantium or the Ottomans. This isn’t by any means a straight up copy of Earth, so I can pick and choose or do something completely different.

By the way, I remeasured that valley in Gall-Peter projection. It’s still nearly 8 million square kilometers. So it is actually bigger than Russia.  All of these measurements assume that Shtakamashkan is the same size as Earth. By my figuring the planet won’t turn out to be much smaller than the Earth and might turn out to be bigger, so these are still pretty darn big places. It’s good to keep in mind what a big place a world is.

Another place of interest I’ve added since seeing the map is an old abandoned Waqu research station in the polar mountains. It’s a very long overland trip over something like 4-6,000 kilometers of hostile ice plains and mountains. Add to that the area around it would have been unapproachable for about three hundred years after the fall due to radiation. While it would be clear to an offworlder inspecting the site(which would probably be of early interest since it is still noticeably radioactive) that it was never subject to nuclear weapons attack(many of the installations are still somewhat intact after more than a millennium of exposure to a quite hostile environment, although some buildings have collapsed under the weight of accumulated snowfall), it was powered by a fission reactor of moderate size that, left unattended, suffered a full-on meltdown. There are a few other places with similar radiation traces in more accessible parts of the planet. But mutated local wildlife and eventually the Skavun themselves have since picked over any remaining Waqu artifacts.

Although I don’t have too many details in my mind for other areas, I figure the upper parts of the continent, further to the east of Ksulfesh around Shkropagrul and Maktrogush will be somewhat forbidding grey fishing villages. These are the only areas where the coast is poleward of thirty degrees south, so this would be the coldest, least hospitable coastal real estate on the mainland of Shtakamashkan.

So now, thanks to this map, I have skeletal descriptions of five cultures(I already had some idea of what I wanted to do with the islanders) and a very lonely isolated place of mystery. Not too bad for a start.

The Astrographer

p.s.

Here, in a not particularly attractive color scheme, is a comparison with Earth.

Shtakamashkan compared with a more familiar world...

One more bit of newness. Shtakamashkan reprojected.

Sometimes the pole-centered projection can be confusing, but this feels a bit confined.

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