A Truly Fine Map of Britannia (Updated: Transparent Background Version)

Kevin Smith works for a GIS software company in real life, and evidently has some real talent with both GIS and image-editing software in general, as evidence by this absolutely sweet map of Britannia that he posted to the Ultima Dragons Google+ Community.


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Here’s his brief description of the piece:

Britannia. Built using QuantumGIS, GIMP, Fontforge , OpenJUMP , and some software I wrote myself in Java using the JTS library. I tried to represent it as it was between Ultimas 6 and 7 although the shape comes mostly from 4.

A more detailed description of the map’s development can be found here, although unregistered visitors to that forum aren’t able to see images.

The level of detail is beyond astounding, and I’ll direct your attention to e.g. the farmland that he has added surrounding many of the towns, and the keen transition to more tropical flora toward the southern reaches of the continent. This is, really, the sort of thing that should be hanging in a frame somewhere.

The First Age of Update: Sanctimonia downloaded the full-size map and made a few adjustments to it:

I converted it to RGB, added an alpha channel, created an alpha mask from the RGB channel, replaced the RGB channel with pure black, then duplicated the resulting layer to give more definition to the line art. Hope you like it.

And, indeed, the revised image is just a little bit crisper in its definition, and of course boasts a fully-transparent background. I have added it as a download, above, and to the newly-created project entry for this fine, fine map.

14 Responses

  1. MY LORD! This is one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen. This *needs* to be on my wall.

  2. WtF Dragon WtF Dragon says:

    There’s a certain…Tolkein-esque feel to the map, as well.

  3. Alatari the Steadfast says:

    This is beautiful work – nicely done!

  4. Thanks for the kind comments. This isn’t doing much for my humility.

    Yes, Tolkien’s maps and those in other fantasy novels were certainly an inspiration, as were some real life cartographers like Erwin Raiz and Nicolas DeFer.

    Also, I wasn’t actually working as a GIS Software developer when I made this. I do like to think that my fantasy maps helped a bit in getting me the awesome job I have now though. This one particularly so because of the spatial programming involved in creating it.

    I’ve documented the process of creating this map on the Cartographer’s Guild forum. You need to make an account to view images in it unfortunately. http://www.cartographersguild.com/regional-world-mapping/19042-britannia-version-2-a.html

  5. Shadow of Light DRagon says:

    Wow…that’s beautiful. And it looks so authentic! Which Ultima map did you reference for this? I want to guess Ultima VII but I’m not positive…

    • WtF Dragon WtF Dragon says:

      The references are listed in the post. πŸ™‚

      Or…no? No, they aren’t. That’s odd…I thought I added them last night. Will rectify!

    • U4 provided the basic geometry: The general shape, size, and position of things. I pulled details out of U4-U7 and even UO and U9 though.

      For a time frame, I picked after U6, when the Gargoyles have taken up residence on Terfin, but before the rise of the Fellowship. That felt like a reasonably neutral and stable period.

  6. mark says:

    sigh. its a shame this isn’t the world map for U4ever

  7. Molecule X says:

    What a beautiful map!

    I just got a pen tablet and I’m looking for some fun projects to work on. Is there any way the creator could upload a version with a transparent background (just the line art) so I could play around with coloring it?

    I’d like to use it for my upcoming “Savage Worlds of Ultima” pen and paper campaign. πŸ™‚

  8. Francois424 says:

    Awesome. *Nerdgasm*