Sunday, April 3, 2011

Google Mars as Campaign Map

Though I’m using the Dordogne Valley in the south of France as a rough geographical location in my game, it seems like use of historical or real world maps in campaign settings is relatively uncommon. While playing around with Google Earth the other day, it dawned on me that it’s now possible to accurately do the same thing using another actual planet - namely Mars, using the View > Explore > Mars setting. While the Google Mars website itself would probably prove more valuable for most mapping purposes, the Google Earth application has some great animation and view options that could help with visualizing terrain details. For that matter, war gamers could use both to really create some terrific battle maps and scenarios.

Here's a short little animation I recorded using Google Earth to show the progression of some historical maps of Mars up to the present day...

Nathaniel Green (1877)
Giovanni Schiaparelli (1890)
Percival Lowell (1896)
Eugène Michel Antoniadi (1909)
United States Air Force (1962)

You can download a much higher quality version here (34mb .m4v file).


Loquacious said...

I love some of the Google aps for gaming tools. I use a lot of them in my own gaming life... neat twist.

richard said...

the more I look at Schiaparelli and Lowell the more I want to run a canals of Mars game, maybe using the Periplus and the Wells/Barsoom battle from League of Extraordinary Gentlemen as twin inspirations. Tremendous stuff.

You've seen planetocopia, I guess? And Earth's water and air compared with the ground?

richard said...

Sorry, planetocopia.

Unknown said...

We've actually used Google Mars already! In our Knights of the Astral Sea game, I needed to know the travel time from Coprates to the "face".

Fantastic resource.

Also, I do use real-world maps of New Zealand for my Greenstone fantasy world.

ze bulette said...

@Richard: I'd seen those comparison graphics but not the planetocopia - thanks for sharing that, very cool stuff.

Akrasia said...

Very cool!

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