Maps have been around for centuries- they help us know what cultures were aware of in terms of their neighbors, other lands, and so on. Map making continues today, as we map other planets, the bottom of the seas, and continually produce high quality maps here that measure various aspects of culture, demographics, and geography. I have a rough draft of my map on paper but I’d like to make a digital version. One thing I struggle with when making maps is the scale of everything. If I had the ability to zoom in close enough to see towns and villages in detail, I would be able to place the towns and cities far enough apart to appear realistic. This looks close to what I’m looking for. It’s not exactly what I want but I’ll check it out anyway. Huh, it’s interesting. I just wish you could zoom in and out. It makes drawing fine lines harder. Overall though, it’s an awesome program. If you just want a graphics program, CorelDraw is a bargain. You can use Google maps as a layer to get a scale and to put things in the right place. I made this in Campaign Cartographer 3. It’ll take quite a bit to get used to it if you’re experienced in vector-based software (such as CorelDRAW), but once you get used to it, making stuff is pretty much a breeze. I only used the overland mapping part of CC3. From memory, there are two-three more modes/whatever – one is for making tokens/elements used in the map, and the other is for making dungeons. Keep in mind that there are several styles – the linked map is your typical fantasy map style. Worth mentioning is that I use Corel suite (DRAW and PhotoPaint) to make dungeons. I find vectors more intuitive to use. If you’re looking to work with stuff on a wide range of scales, vector drawing software, like Inkscape and Illustrator, is your best bet for versatility. DTP software might also be useful in much the same ways, but they offer more text tools and less graphics. Still, I used AppleWorks for years for my map making, and it didn’t even support layers. Another option is to use actual map software, like QGIS, and build your map on top of a map of Earth for the right scale. If you prefer raster graphics (painting, with pixels, in Paint/PhotoShop/GIMP/stuff), you can use a separate layer with a grid, or a circle representing a set distance, to help you place locations at good distances. For some projects, I’ve used a ‘one day’s travel’ circle/grid, for others it’s been more like a ‘land belonging to this town’ circle/grid. I don’t believe you’re necessarily bad, just that you’re using your tools wrong. Using the right colors, even a map made up of really rough shapes can look great. It helps to learn some tricks for making the geography a bit more realistic and interesting. Subtle use of Clouds layers and Layer Styles, for example, can add a lot to a map’s look. If you’re already familiar with Photoshop you can probably use Photoshop instead of GIMP, Wilbur is an extremely good programme for simulating errosion on a height map. It helps a lot for finding river placement and for making realistic landscape shapes (both contours and coastlines) from a height map. It’s certainly allowed me to massively up my map-making game. This is actually a pretty good tutorial on making a map in Wilbur using a random noise as the ‘base’ for it. It also gives you a pretty good introduction to using the tools in Wilbur. Ignore the stuff after on Blender. Source.