View Full Version : Good software for mapping

09-28-2013, 03:45 PM
Hello guys, I've got yet another question on my lips that really interests me: I am looking into buying a mapping software to create world maps, town maps and perhaps dungeons. The thing is I already found something interesting that struk my interest, though seeing that the software is from 2009 I wanted to know if there are some "new" tools that popped up on the market. I personally only found this very promising site with its products:


They Triple Package for Campaign, City and Dungeon Cartographer 3 is what I personally aim to buy, it suits any situation that I could encounter and I've watched some youtube videos that showed off how those programs work. However, being rather "new" in this particular hobby I wanted to consult the more experienced GMs before making any hasty choices. I'm willing to invest into my hobby, but getting a better bargain is never a bad choice, right?

09-30-2013, 10:13 AM
well, i usually go with free stuff. after all, you can find free or buy lots map tiles for much much cheaper that look completely awesome and will load in any mapping program, even free ones.

i've been following pro-fantasy for years, and have never managed to convince myself to buy into it. all of their features can be found in other, free products.

myself, i usually use either gametable (osu-gt) or maptools. both of which are free. gametable is free, simple, easy to use, and has virtually no learning curve. maptools is free, complex, medium skill to use, and has a fairly high learning curve, especially if you want to use the awesome advanced features (like lighting effects tied into the fog of war, and more) which take a fair amount of prep work (though there are community offerings pre setup). i have collected a large amount of free tiles, which satisfy most needs, and i can convert other maps to scale whenever i need to for something specific.

i'm not sure the cartographer package, nice as it seems, is the best route to go, unless you are an artist with both the time, talents, and skill to make nice maps. but even then, there are plenty of free offerings that can accomplish everything ccc can.

09-30-2013, 10:43 AM
Well, I tried most free tools and maptools and AutoRealm as alternative option were not what I had in mind. I am really one of those that lack the "skill" to do maps themselves like that, so knowing this I tried to get an alternative that would allow me to make maps despite my problems.

It's not like I put down free options right away, but I actually tried them and couldn't really get anything done at all. If my campaign weren't in need of many maps I'd do one or two myself, but this is a campaign with a lot of fighting, so maps are mandatory for me. It is also supposed to be a "game" rather than pure roleplaying and "storytelling", so a map is something crucial there (at least from my point of view).

I wouldn't do this if it weren't my last attempt to get this going. Without maps this campaign is on ice for sure.

09-30-2013, 03:34 PM
fair enough. do note that i suggested using the money not spent on ccc to instead buy sets of map tiles, providing you with lots of high-quality reusable mapping options. ^^

and that i have a large collection of map tiles i've gathered for years.

but to be honest, during game sessions, i tend to just hand draw the maps out on a software whiteboard so everyone can see it.

09-30-2013, 04:02 PM
I own the ProFantasy products and like the a lot. Some of the features I like about them is that you can put links on your maps and point them at other maps. For instance, on a world map, you can put a hot spot on a country, then link it to that map, so when you click on the area, it opens the country map. On the country map, you could put a hot spot on a town, which would open the town map. On the town, you can put a hot spot on a building and you guessed it, open up the building.

Now on the flip side, CC does take some getting use to to make maps. Course, the same could be said for using GIMP, PhotoShop, Painter, etc.

One of the big helps I found with CC is the Cartographer's Annual. I've subscribed to previous years, usually paying the fee to get the year's annual at the end of the year so I can get all 12 issues! The artists that make themes in them are fantastic, and you can use those themes to build your maps!

Hope that helps!

10-02-2013, 01:20 PM
now that is an excellent suggestion. myself, i can't afford the money for it, so i have to look for exclusively free options. =P probably warps my view somewhat.

10-05-2013, 12:02 AM
You can try out the services of ESRI..i have never used them but i think they are suitable for providing good quality and easy to use software's for creating world maps.

10-06-2013, 07:09 PM
ESRI does produce the best mapping technology out there, but the products are extremely expensive. government agencies and businesses pay a lot of money to use ArcGIS(the current product sold by ESRI). there is relatively steep learning curve to using ArcGIS, You can get a degree in college just to say you can use GIS software.
if you are interested in using hex maps you can try hexographer, or even better rpg manager. both have a free verison. for hexographer your use of all the utilities are pretty limited unless you pay like 30 bucks. it is a pretty good mapping utility if you buy it. rpg manager is similar but involves more than just mapping utilities. the only downside of the free version is that you can only make small maps.
if you want more free form mapping that is cheap you can use a art utility like paint or photoshop or adobe illustrator. I have seen some very nice maps just made from Paint.

10-15-2013, 01:36 AM
The software has a fairly steep learning curve. It is true CAD vector graphics. Good stuff, but expect to be lousy at it for a while. BTW I did buy it. My old winbx was way flaky. I ended up just using GIMP in Linux. Fewer bells and whistles but it works.

Also check comparability with current windoze, or at least the one you have.

Oh, some of my results with GIMP

Evil Nosferatu
10-15-2013, 10:21 PM
Funny that this is kind of the thread that I was thinking of creating. Though I was going to ask more specifically for information on online gaming. What sorts of gaming experiences the peoples have had and what they might suggest for someone who really wants to try his hand at such things.

10-16-2013, 05:02 PM
i use the old gametable/osu-gt software. minuscule learning curve, java- so cross system compatible, fairly fast. occasionally will drop a connection - which was never a problem for us as we were also using voicechat / conference call.

we find it easy to use. basic drawing tools and able to use images for pog/tokens, backgrounds, and so forth.

11-29-2013, 01:45 PM
I've been using profantasy software for about a year now and I love it. its worth the money. I would also suggest investing in one or two of the annuals if you find an art style you prefer. I bought all the annuals up through 2012 at gen con for like 50% off and it was well worth it. some of my best work was done in Herwin Wielink style. I also consider myself an amateur cartographer, so that might have something to do with my love for it. I love maps.

I like to put a lot of detail and thought into my maps. some of my more recent regional maps took about 15 hours to create starting from a blank slate to finished, printable state. however, my first map took me about 2 months to slog through as I learned how the system worked. once you learn all the little intricacies of the program then making maps is easy and fun and you will find it hard to stop sometimes.

you should check out the show and tell forum of their site. there are some amazing maps there, and for those are just starting out, the community is very friendly and helpful.