Maps add significant value to any military history page– most of the events described on the page were invariably planned on maps and as such, can be readily described and accurately portrayed in this form. This section provides a brief overview on the process of drawing military related maps. Maps should be drawn as Vector Graphics – this implies that the x and y coordinates as well as the properties of each object on the map is stored in the form of data, called a ‘vector,’ rather than as a pixel image. These vectors are shapes that can be zoomed in and out without them getting pixelated, and they are saved in a file format called SVG: Scalable Vector Graphics. A number of tools exist which allow one to draw SVG type images. However, not all web browsers or image viewers can render and display an SVG image and for this reason the SVG image is normally converted from SVG to PNG (Portable Network Graphics) format. PNG is an open source bitmapped file format that all web browsers can display. Although it does compress the SVG it is compressing vector data, not thousands of pixels (many of which are lost in compression formats such as JPG) and there is only a minor loss of clarity or crispness of image when viewed. Most importantly, like the SVG, the PNG can be scaled with materially less loss of clarity than a JPG or GIF or similar pixelated images. It is strongly recommended that both the SVG (for editing) and the PNG (for display) versions are uploaded to WikiCommons. A bitmap image editing tool is not necessary, but is handy for any post processing work you want to do on the PNG-format version after your map is generated, such as resizing it or adjusting the colour depth: The easiest way to construct a good military map is to use an existing map of the area required as a base layer. Depending on the source, this existing map can often be used ‘as–is, without any copyright issues. Alternatively, a copyright map can be used as a base to allow one to trace the necessary map features in creating a new, ‘own work’ map. The major steps are normally: These terrain layers can now be locked as they will seldom change when a set of maps are drawn to display the process of events of a battle or a campaign. This is now the base for adding the required historical data (‘Historical Layers’) related to the article. A separate Historical Layer can now be created for each stage of the battle and these can be set to be displayed or not displayed – always superimposed over the Terrain Layers. This allows one to keep the full set of map data related to one historical event in a single SVG file. Once all the required layers have been completed, one normally sets all the Terrain Layers to be visible, plus the first Historical Layer and exports or saves this data as a PNG file. The second Historical Layer is turned on (the previous one now set to ‘no–display) and a second PNG file is created, continuing until all the Historical Layers have been exported to / saved as PNG format files. These PNG files are then uploaded to Wiki / commons as well as the single SVG file. The image links in the article link to the PNG files. As SVG is an open–source format, numerous templates exist which considerably speed up the process of drawing maps. Templates are normally SVG files which are downloaded and saved and then opened using the vector graphics editing tool you have chosen. As a template often contains numerous individual features as objects or paths, one needs to ungroup the image into its constituent parts. Each of these ungrouped objects can then be copied and pasted into any of the Terrain or Historical layers. You will also notice that most annotation layers in a template contain a (en) suffix. Should you want to translate your map to a different language, simply create new annotation layers above the existing (en) layers and place your translated text on that layer. Changing visibility on the different language layers will then allow you to export the map in any of the languages included in the map. Depending on the scale of your map, one might need to resize the annotation symbols provided in a template. For a large area map one will normally need to increase the annotation symbol size, while in a detailed map the symbol size may need to be reduced. To resize the annotation symbols in Inkscape, select the Symbols layer, select the symbols objects (select multiple objects at once by pressing F1 and drawing a selection rectangle around them). Then use menu option Object→Transform→Scale and scale it to a size that will work on your map. Source.