Putting the stamps on the map*by Steve

Are you able to point to where the Wyrmberg is on the Discworld Map, or Tacticum, or the location of Nothingfjord? How about Ohulan Cutash? Well, When I started on this project I couldn't with confidence.

It occurred to me when the Compleat Discworld Atlas was published, that I really didn't know where many of the Discworld the stamps originated; I knew the names but had no idea where they were located on the map.

When I was a young lad I used to collect stamps from around the world bearing strange names and symbols; Suomi, EspaƱa, Magyar and Helvita, to name a few, bearing the faces of the British monarchs from exotic places such as the British Virgin Islands, Ceylon, Rhodesia and Nyasaland, and Tanganyika. I would stick them in my album, using hinges, and I find where the stamps originated on a map.

My first thought was "Great! Another project for the Catalogue." My second was, "Just how was I going to create this map?"

I couldn't find an existing map of the right size that I could use; many on the Internet didn't even have the countries in the correct positions.

So using the map from the Compleat Discworld Atlas I hand drew the coastline and the outlines of the countries on an A2 piece of paper. I then scanned the page in A4 sections in high resolution.

Using Photoshop I combined the scans into an image 14,000 pixels square, and then redrew the land and countries using a Wacom pen tablet. I used layers for the name of each country, town and feature. This gave me the freedom to adjust the text sixe and orientation to each landmark. I used Adobe Illustrator to create the polar coordinate lines.

Fourteen thousand pixels is a bit large for most screen so the map had to be reduced. After a number of trials I decided that 1000 pixels wide was the smallest I could make the map and still retain good detail. At the resolution I had selected I knew that the region around Ankh-Morpork and the Sto Plains would be too dense to be legible or useful, so I created a separate image for this area.

For each map I use an application called MapEdit to create the HTML code.

I use MS Access to manage the Stamp Catalogue so I incorporated the map locations in to stamp details. This allows me to use a Visual Basic program to create the HTML code for the site. If a new location is added it will be a simple exercise to update the catalogue.

In creating the stamp map I was surprised at the locations. I hope it will enhance your knowledge of the Discworld and the stamps.

You will find the link to the maps on the Catalogue home page in the left-hand bar below galleries, click the link here.

My next project is to create a stamp map for Ankh-Morpork.

* I realise that Terry, Bernard, Colin and Alan were the first to put Discworld stamps on the map.


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