How to play a mapmaker

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Mapmakers are often respected, but they don't tend to get paid for their work, so they have to rely on what they can gather while traveling. The key points are accuracy, readability and a neat finished product.

Most established islands are already mapped, but there's always room for better versions, and there are also unmapped regions. Back in the old days there were lots of text-only maps, but nowadays most modern maps are either fully visual or a combination of text and images.

Preferred vehicles

When mapping a primitive island, it's good to have a vehicle that can travel on paths because roads are unlikely to be upgraded. It's also possible to map on foot, but then it gets likely that someone with a vehicle will publish a map of the same region before you're finished. When mapping coastlines, if you have a fast ship like a raker, you can advance faster, but if you intend to map every location, you need a smaller boat to dock to places that don't have a coaster harbor. A sloop or a longboat may be more convenient on primitive and small or medium-sized islands.

Making visual maps

The best way to make accurate visual maps is to save the map images from the game and align them in an image editor such as Photoshop or Paint. In the past it was possible to erase individual pixels based on color and align these gaps, but nowadays maps are dynamically blurred, so the colors and pixels don't match exactly anymore. You might notice especially while mapping a coastline, that once you reach the point where you originally started, the final pasted image won't match the first one. That's why it's good to use a program that supports layers, so that you can realign the pictures later if necessary. The other option is to accept small inaccuracies and not let them bother you.

Once you have a finished map made out of copypasted pieces, it's good to draw a personalised version based on this. Often maps get too large to fit on a screen, so it's good to reduce the size as much as you can without making it unreadable. On big islands, you can also have one small map that only mentions the largest or most important towns and several local maps with a larger resolution. You can also make visual resource maps. If you use numbers instead of town names, make sure they are large and clear enough to be read. Blurry numbers or abbreviations make a map unreliable and difficult to use.

Size limits

When mapping large islands or making an atlas of several islands, you might run into the maximum character limit on a note. To avoid this, it's good to abbreviate things that appear frequently, such as directions of roads, or break maps into several volumes. Images also have a size limit, but nowadays it's so large that you must be doing something wrong with compression if you reach it. Back in the old days, the limit was much lower. That's why old maps often come in several pieces or are hosted outside of Cantr server.


When mapping a region that hasn't been mapped by someone else in advance, there are a few strategies you can follow to avoid passing through the same locations repeatedly. One is to move in a spiraling path, always naming the neighboring locations to known places, so you'll recognize them when you run into them. Another method is to go zig-zagging back and forth, either north-south or east west, then travel outside the explored square to get back to where you started. If you're mapping a large area that has lots of repeating resources, it might be worthwhile to travel along the edges of terrain types to get a general image of how the island is built, before exploring the inner parts of terrain regions.


It's possible to post a version in each new town you map, but this is often unnecessary. It's better to make a finished version when you reach a major town, and publish it there. It's also good to put a lot of effort into a finished version instead of spitting out an ugly sketch. If you expect someone else to continue your work, it's good to include the individual map images for each location, but if you intend to finish your own work, one compilation is often enough, and it looks better if it has been painted over with a uniform look instead of being a puzzle made of screenshots.