KIDSGAZETTE

How to make a map with a little imagination

Digital version of the Iowa Transportation Map. (Iowa Department of Transportation)
Digital version of the Iowa Transportation Map. (Iowa Department of Transportation)
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There are a lot of famous writers who have used maps to imagine and plot out the world’s of their stories. For example, C.S. Lewis wrote “The Chronicles of Narnia” based a series on maps he drew as a child. J.R.R. Tolkien made a map of Middle Earth for his “Hobbit” series. And A.A. Milne made a map of the 100 Acre Wood for “Winnie the Pooh.”

The making of maps is called cartography, and you can make a map of a location, like the land and the rivers. Or you can make a map by theme. For example, a map of America where you chart where people eat the most barbecue.

For our purposes, let’s stick to geography.

It’s important to begin by deciding what you want to have happen in your world. Sea battles? You’ll need oceans and a lot of small islands. Dinosaurs hidden in caves? Well, we need lots of land, mountains and craggy surfaces.

Where is the main city? What do they do there? Is it a river city? An ocean city? A mountain fortress? Or is it out on the wide open prairie?

You should also decide who lives in your city. Is this a fairy city? A world of monsters? What do they need? Roads to travel? Rivers to swim in? Deserts in which to banish their foes?

Another important part of a map is the legend. That’s not the story. (Although story is important.) A map’s legend is the guide to understanding what is on the map. For example, a bunch of zigzags could mean mountains. On some maps the capitol of the city looks like a small sun with a dot inside of it.

Have an adult help you look up map legends and see what ideas you come up with.

Plato came up with Atlantis all on his own. He wanted to imagine a perfect society. What kind of world can you make?

KIDSGAZETTE ARTICLES

11:00AM | Mon, September 21, 2020

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