[Mapping Issues] How to Mark Capitals

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[Mapping Issues] How to Mark Capitals

Postby Andaire » Wed Jul 23, 2008 6:30 pm

Moderator Edit: These posts have been moved here from the Alfheim, 8 miles per hex thread. Following is an introduction to this thread summing up the discussion that could not be moved.

Thorf wrote:James (Mystaros) sent me this message:

James Mishler wrote:You might consider changing the way you note the ruling settlement of a state. Rather than the single icon, the red metropolis, you could simply use a red-colored version of the appropriate settlement icon, be it village, town, or city, and then use the current capital icon as a metropolis icon (when black).

This shows not only that the settlement is the capital, but also what kind of settlement it is...


Next, Simone (Zendrolion) brought up the issue independently.

Zendrolion wrote:BTW, an idea comes to my mind: what about using the red colour to indicate the capital indipendently from the settlement's symbol? For example, if the capital was a town, paint the "town" symbol with red instead of using the "capital" red symbol. The "capital" symbol (not in red anymore) could be used to indicate larger cities (those, say, with 50,000 inhabitants or more).


This has been proposed many times before (in threads on the MMB as well as in private messages to me ;) ), but for now I am sticking to my original policy. My main reasons are that changing the capital symbol radically changes the overall "feeling" of the maps, and also that we don't have enough information on all marked settlements to support a reform to the symbols. Also, even if we did introduce this change, I would like to have the current town and city as small town and large town, and make the current capital symbol city, rather than moving the capital symbol up to metropolis.


Now we return to Andaire's original post. Please accept my apologies for the edit. :oops:

Thorf wrote:This has been proposed many times before (in threads on the MMB as well as in private messages to me ;) ), but for now I am sticking to my original policy. My main reasons are that changing the capital symbol radically changes the overall "feeling" of the maps, and also that we don't have enough information on all marked settlements to support a reform to the symbols. Also, even if we did introduce this change, I would like to have the current town and city as small town and large town, and make the current capital symbol city, rather than moving the capital symbol up to metropolis.


In the Mystaran Almanacs I do something similar, by using the phrase City of xxx even when the settlement in question is actually smaller than a city but is the capital, in a location holder. For example, I will say "Location: City of Farend, Kingdom of Qeodhar, Nayce. AS" even though Farend is actually a town (I think).
If the cartography of Mystara makes the distinction, I'd be willing to do the same in the MAs, eg by saying something like "Capital Town of Farend" (ie, if it'd appear as a red-bordered town on the map).
Last edited by Thorf on Sun Feb 07, 2016 9:12 am, edited 3 times in total.
Reason: Marked the thread with an "issues" (question mark) icon.
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Re: Mapping Issues: How to Mark Capitals

Postby Thorf » Thu Jul 24, 2008 1:35 am

Andaire wrote:In the Mystaran Almanacs I do something similar, by using the phrase City of xxx even when the settlement in question is actually smaller than a city but is the capital, in a location holder. For example, I will say "Location: City of Farend, Kingdom of Qeodhar, Nayce. AS" even though Farend is actually a town (I think).
If the cartography of Mystara makes the distinction, I'd be willing to do the same in the MAs, eg by saying something like "Capital Town of Farend" (ie, if it'd appear as a red-bordered town on the map).


Actually you bring up a good point here, in that we don't generally refer to a capital as a town - regardless of its size. The phrase "capital town" just doesn't have the same ring to it as "capital city".

Historically, there are a number of ways that smaller settlements can be considered city. In Britain (and possibly in other European countries too), one of these is to have a cathedral; another is to be declared a city by the king/queen/government.

In fact, our modern ideas of what a city is (i.e. a large urban settlement) are not necessarily relevant.

Wikipedia wrote:A city is an urban settlement. Definitions vary between countries, in some population size is a criterion, in others a city may be a settlement with a particular administrative, legal, or historical status.

... ... ...

In 1950 Gordon Childe attempted to define a historic city with 10 general metrics. These are:

1. Size and density of the population should be above normal.
2. Differentiation of the population. Not all residents grow their own food leading to specialists.
3. Payment of taxes to a deity or king.
4. Monumental public buildings.
5. Those not producing their own food are supported by the king.
6. Systems of recording and practical science.
7. A system of writing.
8. Development of symbolic art.
9. Trade and import of raw materials.
10. Specialist craftsmen from outside the kin-group.

This categorisation is descriptive, and not all ancients cities fit into this well, but it is used as a general touchstone when considering ancient cities.

One characteristic that can be used to distinguish a small city from a large town is organized government. A town accomplishes common goals through informal agreements between neighbors or the leadership of a chief. A city has professional administrators, regulations, and some form of taxation (food and other necessities or means to trade for them) to feed the government workers. The governments may be based on heredity, religion, military power, work projects (such as canal building), food distribution, land ownership, agriculture, commerce, manufacturing, finance, or a combination of those. Societies that live in cities are often called civilizations.

(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/City)


Indicating capitals by turning symbols from black to red is attractive because it allows us to show population info as well as capital status, but in my opinion it also changes the style of the maps just a little bit too much. I don't really want to mess with the conventions established by the official maps too much; doing so risks losing the nostalgic feeling I have been working so hard to preserve.

On the other hand I'm still open to argument on this issue, and there's always the possibility of creating variant maps. :)
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Re: Mapping Issues: How to Mark Capitals

Postby Zendrolion » Thu Jul 24, 2008 9:46 am

Thorf wrote:Historically, there are a number of ways that smaller settlements can be considered city. In Britain (and possibly in other European countries too), one of these is to have a cathedral; another is to be declared a city by the king/queen/government.

Another widespread factor to define a city was for the community to have a city-wall. Thus, often even small settlements (few hundreds of peoples) could be considered a city. In Italy, a defining factor was to host a bishop within the walls (i.e. be the seat of a bishophric); thus, cities like Prato (in Tuscany) were not considered proper cities (even if they had some thousands of inhabitants) becouse they "won" their bishophric seat only very late (17th century, in this case).

Indicating capitals by turning symbols from black to red is attractive because it allows us to show population info as well as capital status, but in my opinion it also changes the style of the maps just a little bit too much. I don't really want to mess with the conventions established by the official maps too much; doing so risks losing the nostalgic feeling I have been working so hard to preserve.

I'd personally like to go with the "red colour, whichever the symbol" option, but I also perfectly understand and agree on your point regarding old maps' conventions.
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Re: Mapping Issues: How to Mark Capitals

Postby Gawain_VIII » Thu Jul 24, 2008 3:48 pm

Zendrolion wrote:
Thorf wrote:Indicating capitals by turning symbols from black to red is attractive because it allows us to show population info as well as capital status, but in my opinion it also changes the style of the maps just a little bit too much. I don't really want to mess with the conventions established by the official maps too much; doing so risks losing the nostalgic feeling I have been working so hard to preserve.

I'd personally like to go with the "red colour, whichever the symbol" option, but I also perfectly understand and agree on your point regarding old maps' conventions.

I agree and understand both sides. My preference is with Zendrolion. My suggestion is to use the "capital town" only on the Updated (meaning "more correct") version...

Just a thought,
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Re: Mapping Issues: How to Mark Capitals

Postby Ashtagon » Thu Jul 24, 2008 6:55 pm

/me chimes in in favour of red for the capital settlement and freeing up the symbol for a new size category of settlement
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Re: Mapping Issues: How to Mark Capitals

Postby Thorf » Fri Jul 25, 2008 1:08 am

This issue deserves a thread of its own, so I have moved the relevant posts here. I edited the first post of this new thread to sum up the original discussion - apologies to Herve for putting stuff in his post that he didn't write. ;)
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Re: Mapping Issues: How to Mark Capitals

Postby Andaire » Sat Jul 26, 2008 7:00 pm

Thorf wrote:This issue deserves a thread of its own, so I have moved the relevant posts here. I edited the first post of this new thread to sum up the original discussion - apologies to Herve for putting stuff in his post that he didn't write. ;)

Like I would mind ;)
You were right to move this to a new topic, it deserves its own thread.
BTW this has led to title issues. I'm editing my posts that ended up with the wrong title.
Last edited by Andaire on Sat Jul 26, 2008 7:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Mapping Issues: How to Mark Capitals

Postby Andaire » Sat Jul 26, 2008 7:05 pm

Thorf wrote:Actually you bring up a good point here, in that we don't generally refer to a capital as a town - regardless of its size. The phrase "capital town" just doesn't have the same ring to it as "capital city".


Does that mean I shouldn't use that phrase in the almanacs? What would sound good? Suggestions? (since we're suggesting things for the maps, maybe you can suggest something back for text :D )

Thorf wrote:Indicating capitals by turning symbols from black to red is attractive because it allows us to show population info as well as capital status, but in my opinion it also changes the style of the maps just a little bit too much. I don't really want to mess with the conventions established by the official maps too much; doing so risks losing the nostalgic feeling I have been working so hard to preserve.

On the other hand I'm still open to argument on this issue, and there's always the possibility of creating variant maps. :)


Could you maybe try it on, say, a map of the KW, if it isn't too much work, so that we may see the result and have some visual to determine whether this shocks us or if we like it? (this may lead to a vote)
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Re: Mapping Issues: How to Mark Capitals

Postby Thorf » Sat Jul 26, 2008 7:33 pm

I fixed the other post titles so that they reflect the new thread title. :)

Andaire wrote:
Thorf wrote:Actually you bring up a good point here, in that we don't generally refer to a capital as a town - regardless of its size. The phrase "capital town" just doesn't have the same ring to it as "capital city".


Does that mean I shouldn't use that phrase in the almanacs? What would sound good? Suggestions? (since we're suggesting things for the maps, maybe you can suggest something back for text :D )


I would suggest "capital city", or just "the capital".

Could you maybe try it on, say, a map of the KW, if it isn't too much work, so that we may see the result and have some visual to determine whether this shocks us or if we like it? (this may lead to a vote)


That's a good idea. If someone would like to do a little research and come up with a list of symbol changes, I'll go ahead and make the map, and perhaps post a poll in a new thread. (Of course, we can already see this on the Red Steel and Savage Baronies maps, but it would be good to see it on the most familiar maps - the Known World.)
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Re: Mapping Issues: How to Mark Capitals

Postby Zendrolion » Sun Jul 27, 2008 10:52 am

Thorf wrote:That's a good idea. If someone would like to do a little research and come up with a list of symbol changes, I'll go ahead and make the map, and perhaps post a poll in a new thread. (Of course, we can already see this on the Red Steel and Savage Baronies maps, but it would be good to see it on the most familiar maps - the Known World.)

Here it is:

Capital (Country): Population = Symbol* [change from old maps]
Alfheim Town (Alfheim): 15,000 = Capital
City of Stars (Shadow Elves' Territories): 250,000 = Capital
Darokin City (Darokin): 54,000 = Capital
Dengar High & Low (Rockhome): 55,000 = Capital
Freiburg (Heldann): 25,000 = Capital
Glantri City (Glantri): 39,200 = Capital
Ierendi (Ierendi): 12,000 = City [change]
Minrothad (Minrothad): 25,000 = Capital
Norrvik (Vestland): 9,000 = City [change]
Sayr Ulan (Sind): 30,000 = Capital
Shireton (Five Shires): 24,000 = Capital
Soderfjord (Soderfjord): 7,000 = City [change]
Specularum (Karameikos): 50,000 (most likely around 60,000) = Capital
Thyatis City (Thyatis): 600,000 = Capital
Wendar (Wendar): ??? (25,000 supposed) = Capital
Ylaruam (Ylaruam): 20,000 = Capital
Zeaburg (Ostland): 8,000 = City [change]

* I'm taking what Thorf suggested in one of his posts, that it: using town symbol for settlements with 1,000-4,999 inhabitants, city symbol for settlements with 5,000-14,999 inhabitants, and capital symbol for settlements with 15,000 inhabitants or more.
This means, however, that you'll have a lot more capital symbols around the KW, with even cities like Kelvin or Selenica or Retebius or Corunglain be indicated as "black capitals". IMHO it'd be better to introduce the metropolis category, with the "capital" symbol being used only for cities with 50,000 inhabitants or more.

As you see, using Thorf method ("city" for large towns, "capital" for cities) you change only a few capitals (4), but a lot more settlements around the KW (14, if I've counted correctly). Using the metropolis option changes more capitals (12), but leaves most city symbols intact (only one change, Kerendas).
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Re: Mapping Issues: How to Mark Capitals

Postby metal » Sun Jul 27, 2008 11:21 am

I don't know if this will help, but here is my 2cps........

On my maps I'm using this for the diferent size settlements....

Hamlet (0-49)
a circle with a line north/south

Village (50-999)
a circle

Small Town (1000-4999)
a filled in circle

Large Town (5000-14999)
a circle with a cross

City (15000+)
a circle with a solid circle inside

Capitol
a circle with a star inside

I'm assuming in most cases the capitol will be one of the larger cities in the country.
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Re: Mapping Issues: How to Mark Capitals

Postby Andaire » Sun Jul 27, 2008 2:14 pm

Thorf wrote:II would suggest "capital city", or just "the capital".


That would result in the loss of one level of information.
OTOH, this is repeated information, so maybe it could be skipped altogether. :?:
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Re: Mapping Issues: How to Mark Capitals

Postby Andaire » Sun Jul 27, 2008 2:20 pm

Zendrolion wrote:* I'm taking what Thorf suggested in one of his posts, that it: using town symbol for settlements with 1,000-4,999 inhabitants, city symbol for settlements with 5,000-14,999 inhabitants, and capital symbol for settlements with 15,000 inhabitants or more.
This means, however, that you'll have a lot more capital symbols around the KW, with even cities like Kelvin or Selenica or Retebius or Corunglain be indicated as "black capitals". IMHO it'd be better to introduce the metropolis category, with the "capital" symbol being used only for cities with 50,000 inhabitants or more.

Well, the capital symbol is made to be used, otherwise there'd be no point in changing its nature. I'd like to see the result, visually, though.
BTW if we start using it thus, its name should probably be changed to something more suitable. What naturally comes to mind is metropolis, but there may be something better adapted to a medieval/fantasy setting. :?:
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Re: Mapping Issues: How to Mark Capitals

Postby Andaire » Sun Jul 27, 2008 2:25 pm

metal wrote:Hamlet (0-49)
a circle with a line north/south
Village (50-999)
a circle


Is this in line with official material? I'd have put the line between hamlet and village at 100 rather than 50.

metal wrote:Small Town (1000-4999)
a filled in circle
Large Town (5000-14999)
a circle with a cross
City (15000+)
a circle with a solid circle inside
Capitol
a circle with a star inside
I'm assuming in most cases the capitol will be one of the larger cities in the country.


This would resolve the search for an adequate name for the last symbol, but OTOH it is not compatible with older conventions in a way that could cause confusion.
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Re: Mapping Issues: How to Mark Capitals

Postby metal » Mon Jul 28, 2008 4:51 am

Andaire wrote:Is this in line with official material? I'd have put the line between hamlet and village at 100 rather than 50.

No it isn't canon, and to be honest I've looked around today and I can't for the life of me figure out why I divided them like that. :?
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Re: Mapping Issues: How to Mark Capitals

Postby metal » Mon Jul 28, 2008 9:16 am

I believe what I did (it has been a couple of years) was to add "hamlet" under "village" from the Expert rulebook.

To be honest I have been drawing maps with no intention of anybody else every seeing them. One of the positive outcomes of our move is that I have become more involved, unfortunately I haven't been faithful to canon when it comes to symbols when mapping. I enjoy hand drawing maps. Take a look at Thorf's maps, alot of the symbols used are difficult to replicate by hand consistently. I am planning on posting some of my maps when I get a chance, when I do I will either update them to being closer to canon or I will post my legend for them.
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Re: Mapping Issues: How to Mark Capitals

Postby Thorf » Sun Feb 07, 2016 9:12 am

Zendrolion wrote:* I'm taking what Thorf suggested in one of his posts, that it: using town symbol for settlements with 1,000-4,999 inhabitants, city symbol for settlements with 5,000-14,999 inhabitants, and capital symbol for settlements with 15,000 inhabitants or more.
This means, however, that you'll have a lot more capital symbols around the KW, with even cities like Kelvin or Selenica or Retebius or Corunglain be indicated as "black capitals". IMHO it'd be better to introduce the metropolis category, with the "capital" symbol being used only for cities with 50,000 inhabitants or more.

As you see, using Thorf method ("city" for large towns, "capital" for cities) you change only a few capitals (4), but a lot more settlements around the KW (14, if I've counted correctly). Using the metropolis option changes more capitals (12), but leaves most city symbols intact (only one change, Kerendas).


Seven and a half years later, and I'm having a go at implementing this.

A preliminary look at Karameikos reveals that my idea of splitting the current Town and City symbols into Small and Large Town ends up littering the landscape with the "City" symbol, which is too much of a change for my liking.

Therefore, I'm abandoning this, and going with the Metropolis idea — only cities of 50,000+ get the old "Capital" symbol. As a result it will largely disappear from the maps, but this seems preferable to having the old "City" symbol scattered everywhere, which would really confuse people.

This also has the bonus that I won't need to look up population figures for every settlement on the map — only the capitals themselves.
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