Fantasy mapping is an exciting and widely popular branch of cartography. Often among the more art savvy folks, fantasy cartographers create mountain ranges, seas, forests and cities that no one has ever seen! Below are a couple of maps I created for a Dungeons & Dragons world my friend created. While Cardonia is a fictional place, the landscape below actually exists on Earth!

The "fantasy" maps below are created with real world data. Cardonia is an island that would form in southern Ireland if sea level were to rise about 112 ft. Creating realistic coastlines is one of the hardest challenges of fantasy mapping and can be a painstaking process when done by hand. However, landmasses like the one below can be created in less than 15 minutes!

Hillshades, contour lines, and even watersheds can be generated for the fantasy world as long as the data is available. The geology always makes sense as well. I looked at the topography and found areas where it looked as though rivers and lakes could exist, and then just Bob Ross'd a few happy little waterbodies in for a more realistic and interesting landscape. These maps are super fun and simple to make. Check out my tutorial to learn how to make a fantasy world of your own!

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