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Author Topic: Old West, the Pecos, and Sources for Maps  (Read 512 times)

Bren

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Old West, the Pecos, and Sources for Maps
« on: June 03, 2020, 11:18:57 AM »
I'm starting an Old West campaign using 2nd edition Boot Hill and I'm thinking of setting it in Texas between the Rio Grande and Pecos rivers also including a bit of southeastern New Mexico. I'm looking for a source for maps both historical and game related. Time period is a bit fuzzy (like a lot of Western movies) but roughly somewhere in the 1866-1885 time frame.

Thanks
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ffilz

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Old West, the Pecos, and Sources for Maps
« Reply #1 on: June 03, 2020, 01:38:00 PM »
Quote from: Bren;1132413
I'm starting an Old West campaign using 2nd edition Boot Hill and I'm thinking of setting it in Texas between the Rio Grande and Pecos rivers also including a bit of southeastern New Mexico. I'm looking for a source for maps both historical and game related. Time period is a bit fuzzy (like a lot of Western movies) but roughly somewhere in the 1866-1885 time frame.

Thanks

A quick Google search turned up some links:

https://www.loc.gov/maps/?dates=1800-1899&fa=location:texas
http://legacy.lib.utexas.edu/maps/historical/history_texas.html
https://mapgeeks.org/texas/
https://www.oldmapsonline.org/en/Texas

Google is your friend for this kind of stuff.

Bren

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Old West, the Pecos, and Sources for Maps
« Reply #2 on: June 03, 2020, 10:57:33 PM »
Thanks. I will peruse. I also found a nice way in GIMP to add a hex grid, so that will make historical maps doubly useful. Of course now that I type this, I can't find the damn link to the article. I'll try searching again tomorrow.
« Last Edit: June 09, 2020, 07:48:59 AM by Bren »
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Bren

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Old West, the Pecos, and Sources for Maps
« Reply #3 on: June 09, 2020, 07:49:27 AM »
Here's an update.

I had already found this great 1855 administrative map which is in high resolution and shows county borders and lots of detail. I've done a fair amount of work starting to modify for use.

Then I looked at this site:
https://legacy.lib.utexas.edu/maps/historical/history_texas.html

It has a lot of useful maps and links to other sites, two in particular I will find of great value.

1. This one is helpful as it has the dates of founding and disuse for Army forts in Texas:
Texas 1866-1890 Federal Forts (132K) From History of Fort Davis, Texas by Robert Wooster; Southwest Cultural Resources Center Professional Papers Number 34. 1990.

2. This one may well replace the one from 1855 that I've been using. It is available in very high resolution and has a lot of detail, including watering spots on roads and stage routes, and a very useful table showing the population by county.
Texas 1873 Railway Map (Library of Congress,Geography and Map Division)

The map Geek's site has this user interactive map that graphically displays county formations and changes from 1834-1931. Fun just to click through to watch the changes.
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RPGPundit

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Old West, the Pecos, and Sources for Maps
« Reply #4 on: June 19, 2020, 03:43:04 AM »
That's some good historical source material!
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Old West, the Pecos, and Sources for Maps
« Reply #5 on: June 19, 2020, 04:15:02 PM »
Quote from: Bren;1132501
Thanks. I will peruse. I also found a nice way in GIMP to add a hex grid, so that will make historical maps doubly useful. Of course now that I type this, I can't find the damn link to the article. I'll try searching again tomorrow.


Care to point me to the hex thing in GIMP?  I did a little poking around, but years of using Paintshop Pro 5 leaves me headscratching at GIMP.
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Bren

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« Reply #6 on: June 24, 2020, 12:13:49 AM »
Yes. I find GIMP much less intuitive than I did Photoshop. Sort-of like the difference between writing formulas using Reverse Polish Notation instead of the regular algebraic notation I grew up with. It all seems kind of backwards and I find I need to be very meticulous about what I intend to do and always watch what layer is selected. What selection may be on, etc.

Step 0: Find a map you like. Open the image in GIMP.

Step 1: Get a hex grid. (I found a hex grid out on the internet somewhere. Don't remember where, but it was on the first page that came up when I searched for things like "hex grid" "rpg" "map" etc.) Get the highest resolution grid you can possibly find. Mine is only adequate. If I zoom in very close the hex lines are pixelated.

Step 2: Open the hex grid image up in GIMP either as a layer or pasted as an image into a transparent layer you previously created in the GIMP map file. (I can't recall exactly which I did) If necessary add an Alpha Channel to the layer. You need an Alpha Channel for what comes next.

Step 3: Select everything except the hex grid. I found it easiest to select the grid itself and then invert my selection to get everything that isn't the grid.

Step 4: Delete everything selected. That should leave you just the hex grid with everything else in the layer transparent. If you place this layer above your map layer, then the hexes superimpose on the map and voila you have a hex map.

Now you either have a hex grid layer that you put above your map layer and everything is great.

Or like me you have a small area of hex grid and map that is much larger than that grid. That's OK. You can fix that.

Step 5: The tedious part. You just keep copying or duplicating the area of hex grid that you have and moving new bit so it links up with the old bit until you have a layer that is one giant grid at least as large as your map. You'll need to zoom in pretty far when you are lining up one section of hex grid with another to ensure you've got the hexes lined up right. The first time I did that I had a couple of uneven patches where the grid didn't line up properly.

Note: Depending on your map resolution and file size the GIMP file and even an exported PNG or JPEG are going to be very large. The GIMP file for my campaign map is 337 MB. The two original maps of Texas that I downloaded were 17.4 MB and 122 MB. (I had to combine those two files to get what I wanted for the Trans-Pecos, but that's a separate issue.)

On the plus side I now have a map of the entire state of Texas with a grid made up of 2-mile wide hexes. Perfect for using in a Boot Hill campaign.
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Bren

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« Reply #7 on: June 24, 2020, 12:18:49 AM »
Quote from: RPGPundit;1135029
That's some good historical source material!
In another thread somewhere (on this forum I think) somebody linked to an insurance map of a city dating from (I think) the 1880s. It has a frighteningly cool amount of data that one could use in a campaign. Buildings. Size of buildings. Wells. Type of occupant. Number of stories with doors and windows marked for every story. Type of construction e.g. brick, wood, etc. And the type of roof. It just begs to be used. The idea that I could tell the players where the windows on the third floor really are located or what that roof they want to break through is made out of is amazing. It may actually be too much information.
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GameDaddy

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Old West, the Pecos, and Sources for Maps
« Reply #8 on: June 24, 2020, 09:37:06 PM »
Osher Map Library, 1846 map of Texas
https://oshermaps.org/browse-maps?id=977

1884 Post Route Map of Texas (Includes Rail Lines)
https://oshermaps.org/browse-maps?id=17081

1741 French Map of the Hudson Bay and Mississippi River Basin
Hudson Bay Company ( A Superbly Good Map with native names for rivers and geographical features!)
https://oshermaps.org/browse-maps?id=46729

1609 La Florida Map by Geronimo Chavez
https://oshermaps.org/browse-maps?id=45836

1705 New Mexico Map by Zacharias Chatelain
https://oshermaps.org/browse-maps?id=45427

Old Maps Online (Searchable archive of all the online map archives!)
https://www.oldmapsonline.org/

Findlay's 1827 Map of Texas, California, And Mexico
(Love all the Old Spanish geographica names. Was like, Where the F&*k is San Pedro Bay, anyway? Now it is Long Beach Harbor, LoL!
https://mapgeeks.org/Texas/#!fancybox/6887149b/1827-Map-of-Mexico-including-Texas-and-Upper-California.jpg

Mapgeeks.org Texas maps
https://mapgeeks.org/texas/
« Last Edit: June 24, 2020, 10:03:15 PM by GameDaddy »
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LiferGamer

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Old West, the Pecos, and Sources for Maps
« Reply #9 on: June 24, 2020, 11:16:18 PM »
Quote from: Bren;1135952
Yes. I find GIMP much less intuitive than I did Photoshop. Sort-of like the difference between writing formulas using Reverse Polish Notation instead of the regular algebraic notation I grew up with. It all seems kind of backwards and I find I need to be very meticulous about what I intend to do and always watch what layer is selected. What selection may be on, etc.

Step 0: Find a map you like. Open the image in GIMP.
.

Late response, but Thanks!

Here's a map I'd find useful in the area/period:  https://texasbeyondhistory.net/forts/images/frontierpostcivilwar-lg.gif
Your Forgotten Realms was my first The Last Jedi.

If the party is gonna die, they want to be riding and blasting/hacking away at a separate one of Tiamat's heads as she plummets towards earth with broken wings while Solars and Planars sing.

Bren

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« Reply #10 on: June 27, 2020, 02:51:56 PM »
re: GIMP. Your welcome. Let me know if it works for you. Also if you find a really high resolution hex grid.

re: Fort map. Thanks, that's prettier than the similar black & white map I found somewhere or other.
Currently running: Boot Hill 2E      Currently playing:_D&D 5E and Call of Cthulhu
My Blog: For Honor...and Intrigue
I now have a gold medal from Ravenswing and Gronan now owes me 9 beers and I owe him 2 beers.
And this just in, jeff37923 has jumped on the beer wagon. He now owes me 1 beer.