I dabbled a bit in Silverlight this week and stumbled across a prototype of a custom map control that uses OpenStreetMap tile servers. For some reason MapTool came to mind and I threw together a Faerun Tile Server.
The results are surprisingly good for 3 hours worth of work. The Earth tile servers have up to 18 zoom levels. My Faeurn tile server has 4 zoom levels. The zoom level was largely a limitation of the original 4763×3185 image I nabbed. I used the standard process of carving the image into 256×256 tiles as described on OpenStreeMap site. This is the same basic technology that Bing & Google use.
I have also made an attempt at drawing polygons on top of the Faerun map. My creative side is imagining an OpenStreet map type of interface that renders MapTool style fantasy maps. Add some monster & hero tokens and you would have something pretty special.
One drawback to MapTool 1.3 is that the underlying map and vision blocking are not tied together. They are on seperate layers. The map is basicly a multilayer raster map. The vision blocking layer (VBL) is vector based. Creating the VBL is a pain and if change the underlying map, you have to redo portions of the VBL. I know RpTools is working on MapTool 1.4, perhaps they will entertain my suggestion.
If the map was vector based it might be possible to tie the map and vision blocking together. This might provide the possibility of auto generating the VBL.
Another bonus to making a fantasy map based on a geographic information system (GIS), is the ability to search for places and route via roads just like Google maps. The layering system for Dungeon Master vs Player is already built in to most of these tools.
I have made my SL_VectorMap Silverlight application temporarily available. I’ll likely make changes & upgrades later on.